FlightAware Discussions

PiAware Reception Stats and Review

Quick question for this great community…

What stats can be reviewed for determining if any settings could/should be changed to increase coverage/distance?

Long version;
Single site mounted 12 feet AGL with pretty good “line of sight” in all directions and I’m not overly worried about the few “weak spots” seen in the coverage graph (known cell towers due North etc).

A point in time from SkyAware 2020/12/7 22:05UTC:
Total Aircraft: 133
With Positions: 123
Messages: 812.8/sec

Coverage screenshot from yesterday (12/6)

There’s another user within a mile of you who saw six more aircraft than you on December 7. Seems like there are 4 or 5 within a 5 mile circle who are in the same 1700+ range. It’s very possible that you are already seeing all of the aircraft that there are to see.

Have you checked out heywhatsthat.com? It can show you a theoretical max range ring for various aircraft altitudes, that you can compare to what you are receiving. It doesn’t know about trees or houses, but does a pretty good job with terrain limitations. Make sure that you enter the correct altitude for your antenna, then try varying that height to see if you can improve with altitude. Again, it may show you that you are getting what you get.

In my case, I have my antenna slightly above the roofline of my 2 story house - about 30’ AGL. If I were to raise it another 10 feet, for example, I wouldn’t gain much in max distance because the terrain that is limiting is so far away. For example, the Cascade Mountains start about 40 miles east of me, and limit my range in that direction. From my roof, they are about 10-15 degrees above horizontal. Raising my antenna 10 feet is going to make a rounding error of improvement to range. It’s even worse to my west, where the Coast Range is ~100 miles away.

Sorry for the extra-long response, but the point is that you may already be getting all of the planes that there are to get.

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Determine your theoretical maximum range by method described in the following post, and compare it with what you are actually getting.

What is the Maximum Range I can Get?



Thanks! Long but well explained, so beneficial.

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Thanks for the help and additional links.

heywhatsthat.com is a handy resource. It pretty closely aligns to what I’m able to achieve with my setup.

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Thank you! I’ve run that command and have a populated upintheair.json but it’s not showing up on my dump1090 map.

ls -al /usr/share/dump1090-fa/html
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 13347 Dec  8 17:04 upintheair.json

I’ve tried digging through script.js but can’t see why upintheair.json isn’t being read/added to the the ol.geom.
Any thoughts / pointers?

You may just need to clear the cache and/or force a page reload for it to show.

You need to do this:

Adding [] was the trick.
Thanks @LawrenceHill


Well the link was for /tar1090 :slight_smile:
Anyhow you’ve found the solution for dump1090-fa.

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I’ve updated my “site rings” color in script.js to #AAAAAA so they’ll show up more clearly if I switch to a dark map…

Thanks everyone for the help!


Re-executed the wget from heywhatsthat.com to get the 10,000 and FL40 rings added.

Also, installed graphs1090 and loving it. (thanks @wiedehopf for this great tooling)
Any way to reduce the single messages?

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That’s normal, nothing to worry about.
Should change the color …

Get tar1090 as well, /tar1090/?pTracks alone is worth it in my opinion.

Installed (super simple), very cool, lots of nice features and polished

QQ on the graphs1090, any thoughts for why min/max aren’t charting for ADS-B Message Rate graphs?

It takes 24 hours or so.

It’s for the previous 7 days not including the current day.
Thus it provides a reference for the current day.

Seeing your 15% strong messages: Thoughts on optimizing gain

Thanks… I’ll be patient and wait for a week to pass :slight_smile:

As for adjusting gain, it seems to have made a significant change in the positive direction. I set it from “max” to 49.6 and restarted dump1090-fa at 2020-12-10 0816CST


Not what i said :slight_smile:
Min Max over 7 days ending with the previous day.
So you’ll start to see something after 24h.

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That is not a valid conclusion from those data.

Restarting will always produce a jump in number of tracks as aircraft currently in range are all counted as a new track.