FlightAware Discussions

Setting up antenna mast and using with piware

I will be erecting a 100 ft antenna mast for a project.
This mast will be privately owned and at this time I will have only 2 antennas and was thinking of moving my piware setup out of my attic and onto the mast.

Has anyone here deployed a piware to an antenna mast?
If so would you kindly share any hurdles or challenges you faced?


Are you putting the piaware on the tower or just running coax to the antenna?
You can power the RPI via POE, if you want to put it on the tower. You will need to keep it cool and dry.

Another choice is to put a pre-amp on the tower. This allows you to run cheaper coax.
It would need to be in a weather proof case.
It can be power, over the coax, by bias-t using the RTL-SDR dongle or airspy.


Many people here successfully have, just search for eg masts, and you’ll find a lot of information and areas like waterproofing, lightening, highlighting the issues that might arise.

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Try putting one of these as close to your antenna as possible:


I power mine with one of these:


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The Nooelec is a well respected dongle, but I see no mention of a Bias-T function available to power an amp.

Are you sure that’s the dongle you are using?


Check out NooElec’s description on Amazon:

Yes, it is clearly stated there.

Not knowing it has a Bias-T leaves you rather exposed

  • Always-on, 4.5V bias-tee

Using the wrong antenna or filter will give it a dead short.

There is no need to deploy the whole thing on the mast. Just put there a preamp with 1090MHz filter and run a coax to house (where network and 120V is available). You can build a small shed (or a big box) at base of the tower too.
I am running 150 ft of RG6 coax to my AirspyMini/Pi3. Power over coax.

PS: Personally I am not using the T available in the dongle, voltage it is too low to allow for voltage drop at the preamp side. I have a variable voltage (steps) source in my house, set to send 9 V with an injector over coax and a 5V stabilizer up at the antenna before feeding the preamp.