New Piaware user here in Houston, TX. I set up my Piaware about 3.5 hours ago and am already seeing some flights when connecting on port 8080 with a web browser. This is currently set up in my office which is in a big metal building, so I’m not seeing too much activity, but I have seen a few flights pop up thus far.
However, when accessing flightaware.com/adsb/stats/user/cmgr2000 I see “No Active FlightAware ADS-B Sites For This User (cmgr2000)”. I’ve already claimed my piaware and the CLI output suggests that everything is operating as it should:
pi@piaware ~ $ sudo piaware-status
dump1090 is running.
faup1090 is not running.
piaware is running.
dump1090 is listening for connections on port 30005.
dump1090 is listening for connections on port 10001.
piaware is connected to port 10001.
piaware is connected to FlightAware.
dump1090 is producing data on port 30005.
dump1090 is producing data on port 10001.
Am I doing something wrong?
Also, any tips to improve reception? I have the antenna inside on a windowsill at the moment. Roof access will not be possible, unfortunately. Are there any upgraded indoor antennas that I can connect to the NooElec receiver, or is it pointless considering the fact that I’m in a big metal building?
I restarted my RPI per the recommendations in a different post - 10 minutes later, I received an email from FlightAware welcoming me, etc. Still curious whether you guys have any ideas on improving reception. Thanks!
You have two significant challenges - one is having the antenna inside a metal building, and the other is that even though the glass window appears mostly transparent to light it’s probably coated with a metal oxide to darken the glass. That metal oxide is likely causing 90 to 99% of the signal available to you to be reflected away from the window and thus your antenna inside the window. There’s not much you can do about that (except perhaps throwing a chair through the window, but that’s perhaps a career-ending move %^).
Putting the indoor antenna as close as practical to the center of the window is the best way to get improved field of view and improve the potential to hear ADB-S messages. A 1090 MHz dipole with a reflector behind it may be the best you can do in your situation. At 1090 MHz, a wire dipole is 131 mm long. The concept is something like I’ve ASCII-drawn following:
| center-conductor element A
coax from SDR |
| shield-conductor element B
The above dipole would get taped directly to the window glass, with the dipole elements vertical and the coax running away horizontally to the frame of the window. A suitable reflector could be a piece of cardboard or something similar with a sheet of aluminum foil glued to it. The sheet of aluminum foil will need to be at least 1 x 1 wavelength square, or about 28 cm on a side. It’s not super critical, can be bigger. The foil-covered cardboard should be spaced behind the antenna on the glass by about 70 mm.
For the raw materials, you can start by taking that near-worthless mag mount antenna that comes with the USB SDR dongle and cut off the antenna from the cable. Strip back the outer jacket of the coaxial cable about 1" and gently (use a toothbrush or similar) brush out the shield braid until it’s completely unwrapped from the center conductor. Strip 3/4" of the inner jacket away from the center conductor. Tightly twist the outer braid into a bundle. Cut two pieces of solid copper wire (any gauge will do, but I’d use 16 ga or heavier) to about 70 mm each. With as little excess as possible, twist the inner and outer conductors around the very ends of each of the elements (the center conductor connects to element A end, the shield conductor to element B end). Solder the connections. Trim excess wire/shield braid/etc. Tape the stuff to the window, getting the connected ends of the dipole elements as vertical as practical with the soldered connection ends within a 1/8" or so. Trim the overall dipole length to be about 130 mm tip to tip. (It’s likely the antenna is a little long due to the loading from the window glass.) Plug the coaxial cable into the SDR and see how it works. Experiment with the spacing of the foil shield behind the antenna, but 70 mm is a good place to start.
This is by far not an ideal antenna, but neither is your situation. In terms of performance, YMMV. But it’s likely a far better antenna than the one that came with the dongle.