FlightAware Discussions

Radarcape dual antenna system

Hi all, I have a dual feed Radarcape, which is a nice bit of gear, but so far behind feature wise to current ADSB tracking programs it is not believable. I am seriously thinking of dumping the Jetvision system and install a different system onto the beaglebone black board. The unique thing about this receiver, is the ability to combine 2 antennas into your receiver, like a yagi and a 360 degree antenna. Will this dual feed work with a different OS and ADSB system installed or is there some Jetvision programming that incorporates the dual feed into their ADSB system??

Just get an extra RPi and use the beast data provided by the Radarcape on 30005.

You could for example use a piaware sd-card and use the relay option:


Oh there is even a Radarcape option, but it will probably be pretty much the same as relay.


Doing that means you still retain access to the built in mlat features and feeders, but can use additional software without affecting the receiver. The radarcape is still a very good receiver and will likely outperform an airspy, since it’s hardware based.

Caius, I have an airspy set up, using the same type of antenna, same height off the ground, same type of LNA, which out performs the Radarcape.

Wiedehopf, please amplify your suggestion, "

set up how in relation to the radacape.


Well you just have it on the same network and configure the Raspberry Pi to use the Radarcape as a data source.

So in piaware-config.txt you put: (or configure it via sudo piaware-config)

receiver-type radarcape

IP address needs to be that of the radarcape.

Will only work on the piaware sd-card image not for the package add-on install.
With the package add-on install you could do it too with some configuration.

Ahh ok, I can do that very quickly. Stand by.

Well that worked. Now have a raspberry 3+ using the radarcape receiver via your scripts wiedehopf. Now I will start to fiddle. I wonder what will happen if I dable in the gain settings per piaware, will it change the gain settings in the radarcape??? It will also be interesting to see re MLAT tracking…

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No, the sdcard gain settings are specifically for a rtlsdr dongle; and the radarcape doesn’t have adjustable gain (it’s got enough dynamic range that there’s no real need for it; just don’t put too much amplification on the front end)

I thought that might be the case … lol

Depending on antenna and cabling, it might improve performance to use an LNA for the Radarcape.
(optimally close to the antenna of course but not required if your cable is good and not too long)

The rtl-sdr LNA might be too strong with 27 dB.
But if you also get a 10 dB attenuator it could, it would probably be an improvement.
Might also be fine without attenuator, one would have to try.

Re the lna and your comments, obj & wiedehopf, I wont get a chance to experiment till Monday, but an uptronic ceramic LNA, … too much for a radarcape???

Just try.

The comments above are in regards to reception, it won’t damage anything if the signal is too strong by 20 or 30 dB.

I use the uputronics LNAs on my radarcape and airspies. Both work better with them. The airspies are somewhat deaf without an amp.
In my location both required a cavity filter between the antenna and amp. Too much interference otherwise.

Right conducted some experiments with just the Yagi and then just the omni directional, both with the amps off. Definitely a difference in detection’s with the amps off, not as strong, after about 12 hours. Not a real difference between the Airspy and the Radarcape. I am planning to leave this non amp’d Radarcape till Wednesday, when I will be installing a larger size enclosure for this equipment. I would imagine I will be reconnecting the LNA’s onto the Radarcape.

Now with relation to installing a different system onto the Radarcape, well wiedehopf’s suggestion about re configure for the RPI to use the Radarcape as a data source, works a treat, still keep all the Jetvison programs. Unfortunately I don’t believe there are too many Radarcapes within range to utilize their MLAT tracking properly. Funny, you would think the detection’s for the Flightaware Raspberry feed and the Radarcape feed would be identical, same data source, but no, the Raspberry is always just a few lower than the Radarcape :thinking::thinking:

Ok, I take it that an odroid XU4 install would be classified as a package add-on install above. What extra configuration is needed, just experimenting.

You can use combine1090 and configure the TARGET to
Configure combine1090 with the radarcape as the only source.
I believe the appropriate port is 10006, so change PORTS to only say 10006.
As SOURCES you only use the radarcape ip address.

Then you open /etc/default/dump1090-fa and change --device-index 0 --gain -10 to --net-only
This way dump1090-fa won’t try to use a dongle but just wait to receive data.

That should be all that is required.
piaware settings remain default.

dump1090-fa webinterface only displays aircraft with at least 2 messages decoded.
There are also a few other things applied to sort out bogus messages.
That can mean aircraft need to send a few more messages before they are displayed.

I may have to re do the card. I had already applied your scripts for such a relay, when I first got up, before your replies above. Of course, the scripts I used are for a Raspberry pi, not an odroid. Applying these scripts above may have “muddied the waters” a bit, so a start again without applying the PI scripts… lol. Currently at work so won’t do that for 7 hours or so. One thing I did notice though,

when I undertook the above script, that line was slightly different in my /etc/default/dump1090-fa, so when I get back to that stage, I will post my relevant line, just to be sure we adjust the right bits. :slight_smile:

Which scripts?

You can change back the piaware settings to default by not supplying a value for the option.

piaware-config receiver-type ""

That’s not a script but a configuration file. (undertook?)
Maybe you mean

when i was changing the above file

Try to be clear, otherwise i don’t know what you mean.

Before I start, please define “piaware sd card image” and “package add on install”? I will be manually installing the piaware and flighaware component for the XU4. Will your relay work with the XU4??