Until now I’ve been feeding using a small cheap indoor antenna, and everything worked fine. Recently I moved to a new location, at a high floor apartment, and decided to upgrade my setup. I purchased a new outdoor antenna and some strange things started to happen.
I use a Raspberry Pi with a FlightAware Pro Stick Plus, and this antenna: amazon. com/gp/product/B00WZL6WPO
When I assemble the setup indoor and place antenna next to the window, I get an excellent reception, with 100+ nmi range. However, once I bring the antenna to my balcony it suddenly stops receiving any signal. While it is my hand it can register some occasional messages; however, once I fix the antenna, it doesn’t receive anything. I check if I’m receiving anything by looking at the dump1090 UI.
Also, I made the following interesting observation. The antenna has an N-type connector. Once I unscrew the connector almost to the end (about 1/2-1/4 turn left), the antenna suddenly starts receiving the signal again.
So, it turns out that the antenna only receives the signal when it is either inside, or almost unscrewed from the cable. With almost unscrewed cable left for a day, I’ve got 200+ nmi range. However, I don’t feel that the N-type connection should work like this.
I did the following troubleshooting:
- Bought a new cable and got the same result. So, I tried these two cables:
- Tried playing with the cable position, moving the antenna and the receiver around, and slightly bending the cable in different directions right next to the antenna connector. As a result I found that the outcome with the tightened connector seems to only depend from the antenna location.
- Tried slightly bending the internal parts of the connector to ensure there is definitely a solid contact inside. This didn’t help as well.
- I connected my old antenna to the receiver. It received the signal from any position without any issues.
- As the system doesn’t work in the configuration where it is supposed to have the best reception, I thought, that potentially, there could be a receiver overloading. I tried various gain values for dump1090-fa, including AGC. None of them worked.
At this point I’m out of the ideas what can be wrong, and asking for some help. I have my feeder running with a barely-screwed antenna now; however, I don’t think that is how the system is supposed to work. I’d appreciate any recommendations and suggestions.