Newbie with poor plane count ...

[list=][/list]I’m a Newbie (3 days) … running Pi 3 PiAware, decent Co-Linear & good quality SDR-RTL stick and cable. Antenna simply hooked up indoors on a window cill until outside install. Plane count really very. very low; typically 1 or 2 per hour! I’m only 100Km from London Heathrow and under the flight path to N America. Do I have a problem? Am I expecting too much?

Nearest Airport is FFD (Fairford)

Reports Received this morning so far and yesterday

ADS-B 19 129
MLAT 0 0
Other 30 204
Total 49 333

Aircraft Seen
ADS-B 5 37
MLAT 0 0
Other 6 16
Total 11 53

Kind Regards


Sounds like a hardware problem; check your connections. If your antenna is homemade, that’s the most likely point of failure. What is the specific hardware (antenna, cabling, adaptors, rtl-sdr dongle) that you’re using?

Thank you so much - it’s great being able to bounce ideas around!

Commercial cables throughout, professional Collinear BUT …

I’m using a NooFlec,com SDR-RTL stick (bot cheap!) - and it terminates in an SMA(?) outside threaded connector. That couples with a bought SMA to N Type Male pigtail. However the pigtail SMA (internal thread) looks female. The threaded SMA spigot also looks female - there appears to be no male connection! This could be it - but I’m most confused.

Can I post photos here?



I find the stock whip antennas good for testing… They are small cheap and robust. Not the best in recieving but you shuld get way more than now. If not something is very wrong. … tats-24855 Very bad rtl stick with a stock whip just thrown outside for playing around… And when you compare it with my other setup ( better rtl stick amp filter 50cm coco on rooftop) it isn’t that bad at all…

Can’ t get a better range here because of hills all around…

Thank you to obj & Stummel for your responses …

obj - quite right - hardware issue! I’ve never worked with SMA connectors before: I have a female to female connection!

The male-to-mail adapter (SMA Male to RP-SMA Female) with sticky out pins on both ends is on order - none available locally.

Most grateful for the suggestion!

I’ll report back in a couple of days.

Kind Regards


Most radio gear (RTL-SDR dongles, non-wifi antennas / filters / amps etc) will use regular SMA connectors: male connector with pin and internal thread, female connector with socket and external thread.

Wifi gear usually uses RP-SMA connectors, and since wifi is more common that’s what most cables will have too unless you check carefully. RP-SMA reverses the gender of the center connector (male has a socket with internal thread, female has a pin with external thread)

You never want to connect a SMA to a RP-SMA, they either won’t fit or won’t make contact (as you discovered)

Difference between SMA & RP-SMA is in location of center pin.

SMA: Male has pin, Female has hole
RP-SMA: Male has hole, Female has pin

While reading description on catalogue, if you see WiFi written, most likely it is RP-SMA.

While ordering, carefully watch descriptions as well as photos in catalogues to be sure that it is SMA, and not RP-SMA.

Very many thanks for your help in sorting out my problem. New adapter on order. I’m looking forward to contributing to this project!


The female-female connection is much easier to jury-rig than male-male!

Take a snippet of stiff wire such as from a small paperclip and insert it in one of the female connectors, bingo, it is now a male connector. That should get you by until your new adapter arrives.


I used a staple. Much better results now. Many thanks again!