FlightAware Discussions

Outdoor antenna?

I’ve built my PiAware and it looks to be working well in my house! I plan to move it out to the hangar, a steel building. Clearly I need an outdoor antenna to make this work out there.
Will the little antenna that came with the ADS-B receiver survive outside? It has a magnetic base, perfect for a steel roof. Or, is the only real option to buy/build something better suited to being out in the weather?

Without a pic of the antenna it is hard to say. I would think ‘yes’. If the weather destroyed it over time I would just upgrade antennas them. Really no harm in giving it a shot.

The antenna is from this thing: amazon.com/gp/product/B009U7 … UTF8&psc=1

The antenna that comes with the RTL-SDL dongle isn’t that great in the base case. You definitely want to get an external antenna that you can attach to a mast somehow. Ideally it should be grounded and the antenna/adapter not directly touching metal (e.g., your roof) too.

Well, I’m now a believer that it is all about the antenna. I moved that little one to my roof and I’m seeing 10 times as many airplanes. I guess it is time to build/buy a dedicated outdoor antenna.
Anyone have plans for one?


I built one similar to this. Follow the steps on the page.


I have basically the same SDR rig and currently using the cheapie antenna. It is place indoors, but on the top floor and the building is on a hill. My range is about 100nm; sometimes I see a little better.

A better antenna is in my future.

I’ve seen outdoor, external antennas do 250-300mi FYI.

I took a 6 segment one across the country over the summer. From atop the RV, detection (according to FA’s ADSB stats page) was up to 250nm+ range depending mainly on location.
Back home now with a ground plane antenna which is limited by hills on the horizon.

If you are looking for a quality outdoor antenna I recommend this one based on the price and build quality.

buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop-by … 25-00.html

I picked one up last week but I have not been able to test it because I am waiting for an adapter to come in the mail. Once it comes I will post a followup comparing the performance to the other antennas that I built (a ground plane, coaxial colinear, dipole, and j-pole).

I have one of these ebay.com/itm/Omnidirectional … 2ed79034d3

I added a satellite dish pre-amp ebay.co.uk/itm/111371687924 the other end.

The amplifier added 5-10% to the range and # of aircraft

It gives me 250nm range with the pi+dongle - see goo.gl/spOBpc (this receiver is about #30 in the FlightAware feeders table)

If bidding on the antenna - bid the minimum - no need to compete, there are always more the same.