FlightAware Discussions

PiAware sees no aircraft


I have just set up a PiAware using a DVB stick and one of those tiny little aerials (cut to correct length) that I know are not great.

I am currently building myself a collinear coax antenna but I have the PiAware set up with what I currently have available.

The issue is I notice that despite living right below a flight path my PiAware sees zero aircraft.

I set the system up following the procedure on the PiAware website on a Raspberry Pi 3, it has wifi access. When looking at my own local statistics on my home network I can see that the PiAware knows if I unplug the DVB - it says ‘AJAX call failed (error: Not Found) Maybe dump 1090 is no longer running?’

So I presume that the DVB is set up and working - is my presumption correct?

Is there some way of knowing for sure?

I would like to have at least seen at least some aircraft before having to wonder whether it’s my homemade antenna or not…


What DVB stick exactly? Some rtlsdr-compatible dongles have tuners that can’t reach 1090MHz. You need one with a R820T or R820T2 tuner.

Hi obj,

I wondered that too, I recall that it I had it operating and seeing aircraft a few years ago, and have just started to get back into it again.

It looks exactly like that one in the top right here: https://www.satsignal.eu/raspberry-pi/dump1090.html - Though I know that doesn’t actually mean much.

I pulled the cover and the RTL chip is labelled RTL2832U - I am caused to think that it can tune between 500kHz and 1.7GHz.



There are two chips in a DVB-T
The Tuner chip is R820T

The dongles which have (RTL2832U + R820T), are OK for 1090 Mhz

The dongles which have (RTL2832U + FC0012), are NOT OK for 1090 Mhz

Chip FC0012 is not Realtec. It is Fitipower.

You can see this in the output of 2nd command below

## Install test software rtl-sdr
sudo apt install rtl-sdr

## Stop piaware & dump1090-fa to free the dongle for test
sudo systemctl stop piaware dump1090-fa

## To test your dongle, give following command
## Output will show the tuner chip found 
rtl_test -t  

Thanks abcd567,

That’s it, FC0012, no work around?


Unfortunately no workaround. Return it to the seller if possible, and purchase another one with chips RTL2832U + R820T (or better R820T2)

I didn’t see that test initially, I was just reading off the chip labels.

I did that test and it gave me the following:

Found 1 device(s):
0: Realtek, RTL2838UHIDIR, SN: 00000001

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
usb_claim_interface error -6
Failed to open rtlsdr device #0.

I have ordered an R820T2 device. No point returning the FC0012, I have had it for years.

Thankyou Guys.

Above output shows that you performed rtl_test -t without first stopping dump1090-fa. First stop dump1090-fa & piaware, then perform the test

sudo systemctl stop dump1090-fa piaware
rtl_test -t

When I tested after stopping dump1090-fa, the output shows both the chips

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner

Okay, now it says ‘Found Fitipower FC0012 tuner’.

Handy to know for the future, thankyou!