Piaware v 6.1 results after 7 days

I’ve upgraded to Piaware v6 and v6.1 when they were released and I thought it would be interesting to share the results after a week of running them.

All in all these 2 versions have improved my reception of positions and aircraft.
All is dependable on the weather off course but I can see some good results of these software versions.

I have auto gain enabled and it does it’s job very nicely.
Previously I had the gian set manually, the autogain uses a little higher level and also the weak signal floor has been raised from an average of -34,5 dbfs on manual gain to -30 dbfs on autogain. I know I can reduce that but I’m still in evaluation mode.

Using 4 recievers show an slightly higher postion in the user ranking on Flightaware, ( I used to be around postion 120, now on postion 110).
The position is ofcourse not relevant but it is nice to see that the autogain improves also in relation to other feeders.

Anyway, if you wonder if the new software version is usefull just look at the pictures below. These are from 1 out of 4 feeders, change date is 2 september 2021
Equipment used : Raspberry Pi 3 B, Flightware Prostick (Blue),Flightaware Darkblue filter, FA Antenna (indoor) or Vinnant Antenna (outdoor).
A job well done by Flightaware :wink:

snip 5


Thanks for sharing!

I think the auto-gain is a great idea, certainly for initial set-ups or for those not adjusting the gain manually and leaving it at -10.


After a bit of fumbling around and help from @foxhunter, @tomvdhorst and @wiedehopf I’ve now got one Pi running tar1090/readsb with maximum manual gain and a second Pi running dump1090-fa with auto-gain, as my PSP performs better with a fixed manual gain, but my RTL setup appears to work better with auto-gain - no idea why, but just looking at both my FA and FR24 stats.


I have all PSP’s I’m thinking of getting a RTL-SDR just for reference puproses. I’m think of builing a test set-up, so either a 5th PSP or a RTL-SDR. Pricewise it doesn’t differ much, but then again I woul have to get a decent antenna for it as well ( and a filter and maybe a preamp) :rofl: there goes the low budget option…

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I think the PSPs are the best, but the RTL should have slightly better message rate.
I’ve got both, just for fun and to compare - I have my Jetvision Air Squitter too, but that’s more of a setup and leave it device.
I’ve actually split my signal from the antenna, after my Uputronics preamp, using Mini-Circuits splitters*, so that I can have just one antenna - I know there’s a loss, but with my decent LMR-400 coax and then the Uputronics, it’s pretty minimal.
Might be an easier thing to try, if you want to do some comparisons with dongles.



Got a RTL-SDR device today for 30 Euro’s including all the cables that came with it. Antenna is rubbish, so ordered an additional Vinnant one and a 1090 filter as well. Then I can compare the PSP and RTL-SDR that will be located next to each other just to see how they perform. Since the RTL-SDR doesn’t have an LNA or SAW filter I suspect the PSP to do better. Oh well if so another excuse to get myself a preamp for the RTL-SDR :rofl: :wink:


Mini Circuit products are very good, but are very costly also. Here is a cheap one. Has anyone tried it?

OK, I’ll be that guy: what is a PSP?


Flightaware’s Blue Dongle: Pro Stick Plus



I bought a couple of these to compare various receivers on the same antenna.

It works well for my purposes and I am getting acceptable coverage compared to other antenna systems here.

I haven’t done any measurements of loss or isolation.

For the price they are a bargain but I wouldn’t risk the space shuttle on it.


Thanks. Now everyone else can follow the thread and know what others are talking about.:slight_smile:

I’m sorry, didn’t think about the abbreviation. It is the blue dongle indeed.

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Not tried that one, but I buy mine used from eBay, to keep costs down.


The one you use seems to be Wilkinson Power Splitter


As per Wilkinson design, the splitter is designed for a frquency at which each side of top stripline (formig a square shape) is 1/4 wavelength. This means it will will work properly at or near that frequency only.

However the sellers are claiming it to be 100 Mhz to 2700 MHz :astonished: . Well there is nothing to be surprised. Such over-blown Specs are usual at Ebay and Aliexpress. :wink:


Test site installed and running since sunday, last component arrived today (Vinnant antenna). That was amazingly quickly delivered, ordered last Sunday, delivered to my house today.

Started off with a lmr 240 cable and just a piece of copperwire. average range 12 NM
Message rate low on the SDR reciever. on average around 20-30 messages per second where the blue dongle is doing around 250-300 per second.

Added a filter to see if that would improve it but then the rate dropped to 2-3 messages per second.
Removed the filter again and it improved to 20-30 messages per second again.

Added the antenna this evening, message rate stays the same, range improved to 40-50 NM where the blue dongle has 150 NM on average.
The antennas are located right next to each other so the reception range should be equal in terms of line of sight.

My conclusion for now is that it works, with a limited reception and range.There is a quality difference in the receiver that seems to be quite significant.
Certainly the missing SAW filter and LNA built in to the blue dongle have advantages in comparisson to the unfiltered and not amplified SDR decoder.
I think the limitations are that big that I won’t opt for a Uptronics preamp at all, the result would still be mediocre with this piece of hardware that does the decoding.

So it will do for now as a test object but when the Pro Stick X will be released I’m going to replace the SDR device with that one.

Wait until you see specs from reputable manufactures like minicircuits or MACOM, Esp their broadband-stuff, give you the typical specs, that only apply to the center frequency…. The further you move away from the center of the band,the more questionable the specs become. (And dont believe their graphs showing specs at band-edges either… they will tell you it is for a typical device, lol)

Hi, I actually have the opposite experience with PiA6.x with dump1090-fa. The message rate has dropped slightly. I am running Flightradar24, Adsbx and Piaware on the same RaspberryPi. With PiA5 I got more range and more messages. I have no idea why ? Maybe weather, less planes, I don’t know. Greetings :wink:

PS. I’m new to this forum. How to add a graph ? Thx

You can add a graph bij making a screenshot of it and then add it into your post by uning the load (Photo) icon at the top of the replying field.

As said earlier in a different post. Autogain isn’t the holy grail.
If you already have a well tuned environment it can be of little value.
Most of the people don’t optimize so that’s where it can be a benefit.

Thanks for your reply and the tip to upload images :slight_smile: I hadn’t seen the icon.
I added the graphs.

PS: I will try to turn off autogain and figure out what the optimal gain is for my location.


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