FlightAware Discussions

NooElec ADS-B Discovery set - any good?

Do you mean you have done like I have done in April 2016 (see photo below), but with whip removed and Nooelec antenna fitted to sma female of prostick?

Yes - looks just like your picture but with the Nooelec antenna in place of your white one.

Any pigtail antenna w/o ground plain won’t do well. Keep in mind that my goal is not (yet!) a 400 miles range but to tinker around at low budget.

I played around with several antennas (coax/collinear, cantenna, chopped down magnetic mount, spider) but my best performance has been the FlightAware 26" which is currently in my attic.

For the record my second best was my poor man’s spider. I stripped a coax with the center conductor to 68 mm. Instead of an N-connector and soldering on legs, I made 4 legs out of 14 AWG stripped household wiring cut an extra 10 mm to 78 mm. Then I bent the 10mm end down to the 45 degree angle, heated up the coax outer insulation, and jammed the legs in against the outer conductor. Finished it off with a couple of ty-wraps to hold things in place. Looks like crap but works amazingly well.

Third best is chopped 67 mm magnetic mount on a tuna can at a remote location.

Then make this 50 cent “coax only, without connector” Spider, which I used for experiment linked below.

Why Antennas Have Ground Plane?

(1) Use 8 radials instead of 4 radials to improve performance.
(2) For outdoor use, around the area where radials are inserted into outer plastic cover of coax, apply few drops of a sealant (such as 2-part epoxy, or silicone sealant, or hot melt glue).

May 2015:


Another vote for the poor man’s coax antenna. Tried to post a picture of mine yesterday, constructed per the guidance and advice of ABDC567, but my usb hub was messed up, for some bizarre reason.

I started with a 4 wire spider and made one with 8 legs, all for the price of a little coax and a zip tie.

I have done a soldered eight leg spider, several cantennas, the 8 leg po boy, the worthless little antenna thing that comes from amazon, and the FA fancy dan antenna.

My location is a little weird still, on my front porch, but there is NO NOTICEABLE difference in the po boy, eight leg spider and FA antenna. The cantenna is right behind, and without the gain adjustments I made subsequent to testing it.

Here is the spider, it is working today!

Good luck

400 miles is a big ask. I can get 400KM daily, however, I am less than 100ft amsl.
Does www.heywhatsthat.com suggest that you can make 400 miles?

Gmbl, mixed miles and km in my example. :smiling_imp:

Your coax-only/poor man’s/EZ spider looks good.

Well, not really, but you are kind to say so. Only drew blood twice!

  1. Well, the Spider need not to look elegant as a Fashion Model. As long as whip & radial lengths are fairly accurate (+/- 5%), it will perform good.

  2. I am sorry to hear that you got injured twice while making this spider. Yes, it is a bit tricky to push-in the radials below the outer jacket, and the sharp tip of radial may slip and injure the hand. The member GDoggRaspberry has mentioned he heated up the coax outer jacket, then inserted radials. This will make it easier to push-in the radial and reduce chance of hand injury.

How you heated up the coax outer insulation? Put it in microwave or some other method?

I’ve tested both the smaller and larger versions, post on the blog comparing them to other antennas.

Summary: They’re great and inexpensive.

I just used a heat gun to soften up the insulation a bit since I was stretching it out for the legs.

Edit: Added a picture. The inner insulation was adhered to the center conductor and I probably should have cleaned it up with some goo-gone, but it adds to the overall shoddy look and this antenna still worked very well. Also, the camera perspective makes it look like the leg pointing to 4:00 is longer but they’re all the same length.

“but it adds to the overall shoddy look”

I’m loving that! Good Job!

Thanks for input. It will be great if you give the link to the “post on the blog”

EDIT: Never mind, Googled and found it:


Wasn’t sure that I can link to it, that’s for the larger 5dBi, for the smaller version see:

rtlsdr4everyone.blogspot.ie/p/re … ennas.html

What is inside WI-FI antennas, which have similar appearance as small (3 dBi) & large (5dBi) NooElec ADS-B Discovery set?

The small ones are narrow-body Cantenna.
Large ones are Wire Collinear with phasing/loading coil & decoupling sleeve.

As the Spider need not be elegant looking to perform well, dont bother about its looks.

In the model I originally built one and a half years ago (May 2015), I left the insulation on whip and radials.

Last month (Sept 2016), for experiment to demonstrate the affect of ground plane, I built another one. This time I removed the insulation from whip & radials.

I have noticed that men like the naked wire more than the fully covered ones, although the wires are not at all sexy :slight_smile: .

Built One and A Half Years Ago (MAY 2015) - Using Insulated Core Wire

Built Last Month (SEPT 2016) - Using Core Wire With Insulation Removed

Very nice, abcd. I was going to comment on the lack of shoddiness, but wait… is that a piece of copper sticking through the insulation? And maybe a ty-wrap tab not trimmed all the way back. Niiiiiiice. :stuck_out_tongue:

I take back what I said earlier about antenna performance: I recently set up another Piaware that I’ll be moving to a remote location and in the process I found that my poor man’s spider outperforms my 26" FlightAware antenna in my attic. I still think it’s all about the higher gain FA antennas having a shallower pattern and they really need to be up high. I’m in a bit of a valley and under a roof so the wider spread of the spider seems to be doing better for my receiver. FeedMe is running my old 50" FA antenna that didn’t work for crap in my house, but he’s got it on top of a building and is getting very good results with it.