FlightAware Discussions

Question on coverage area with a piware receiver

I’m thinking about building a piware receiver but have a question about coverage. From the FAQ:

**How large is the coverage area for an ADS-B site? (Back to top)

The coverage is line-of-sight between the antenna and the airplane. That means that coverage at higher altitude is much greater than at lower altitude.

The distance of coverage varies based on the installation. FlightAware’s experience is that it ranges from 100mi / 160km for a small antenna next to a window and can be up to 300mi / 480km for a large antenna on a mast.**

Does this mean that if I have my antenna inside next to a window, it’s only going to “see” airplanes that fly within the “cone” from my window up?


Line of sight and a good antenna are key. I have an outdoor DP Productions antenna. I pickup aircraft over Hilton head island, SC. I’m in Central NC.The stats for today show 1559 positions picked up from SSW. However, to the north of me, I only pickup 50-100 miles. There is terrain to the north. Low flying aircraft are harder to track. It’s much harder to track low flyers because you loose line of sight so easily.

You will pickup aircraft at your window, but you will miss a lot.

Basically, yes. I’m currently still running the little antenna that came with the receiver and it’s sitting in a window on the north side of my house. Unsurprisingly, my coverage map is very heavily weighted towards aircraft to my north. I’ve considered building a better antenna, but since I don’t own my home, I’m pretty limited in what I can do to mount an antenna on my roof. I’m thinking of trying a small ground plane antenna in the attic to see if that improves my coverage.

I built a ground plane antenna and put it in the attic in my house with no holes needed, it with an LNA/filter is giving me pretty damn impressive coverage. I just installed the amp last night so take a look at the numbers in my stats over the past couple days. I had a poorly built CoCo antenna in my attic that I replaced with the GP Saturday night-ish and you can see the improvement, then I installed the amp last night and you can again see the beginning of another significant improvement. Today’s numbers will be off because I had it unplugged for a couple hours for testing/tuning, so I wasn’t sending traffic in for a bit last night (after midnight UTC)



Yeah, your post about your new antenna setup was kind of what inspired me. :slight_smile: