FlightAware Discussions

Suddenly not seeing many planes at all

Hi all,
Running Piaware4 with both piaware and FR24 feeders on a Raspberry Pi3.

Just before Christmas, I ran an update on the Pi and things went bad - it wouldn’t boot, so I had to re-image and start from scratch. I reestablished the same FR24 and piaware feeds and the Pi is now feeding again.

However, I’ve noticed that it’s hardly picking up any flights. (I did think that maybe there aren’t any, but when I check on the FA website, there are a fair few around me, but my Pi is no longer picking them up. I’ve also noticed that my max range seems to have dropped from about 85 miles to 8 or 9.
Nearest airport is probably LPL (although MAN is equally close).

So I’m thinking maybe 2 things:

  1. Something’s gone wrong on the re-install (although not sure what would cause this)
  2. Something’s gone wrong with the FA Pro stick.

Antenna hasn’t moved at all - it’s in my loft, right at the top, no changes to the connector or cable.

Is there anything I can do to diagnose this before starting to pull it tp pieces and start again?


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graphs can be useful to get a better picture:

GitHub - wiedehopf/graphs1090: Graphs for dump1090 (based on dump1090-tools by mutability)

Given that you probably re-imaged the card, try re-plugging the SDR, re-doing the SMA at the SDR and re-plug the power for the pi.

You can check if there are voltage issues:

sudo dmesg --ctime | grep voltage

No output means no issues.

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Thanks, @wiedehopf - no output from the voltage check, so all’s good there.
I was just reading about the graphs, so good timing. I’ll get them instlled now and see what is produced and will come back.


While I wait for the graphs to collect sufficient information, I just had a thought that it could be the gain setting, so I changed this to max. Now I see a couple more aircraft, but they only appear for about 10 miles radius, then they disappear.

That points to either moisture in the coax or a bad connection.

Did you re-do the SMA connection at the SDR, check if the pin is straight and present?

When you ran the update, did you by chance move the Pi or bring other electronics up there?

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No, I’ve not even undone the SMA - it’s been attached to the antenna and the ProStick all the time. It’s up in the loft, so shouldn’t be getting any moisture.

A total fresh install (wipe the SD and start from scratch) seems to have made a bit of a difference, as I just had a couple of aircraft at about 20 miles out. Looking on the FA site, there’s next to nothing about now anyway, so I’ll come back when it’s a bit busier and see what it’s tracking. Meanwhile, the graphs are installed and should be tracking some data…

Thanks - will come back shortly…

OK, update… I’ve totally refreshed (re-imaged the card, reinstalled, etc.) and left it running with the graphs collecting information for a couple of weeks. I’ve noticed that the maximum range over the last 7 days, for example, is 27.9 nautical miles, whereas previously it used to be a maximum of 70, 80 or even 90 miles.
I’m beginning to wonder if this has something to do with the FA Pro Stick being faulty? Is there any way to check that?
I can send screenshots of my graphs if you let me know which ones are useful for diagnosing.


For that kind of partial fault … not really.
Only test is get a new one and compare.

I thought that might be the answer :slight_smile: I’ll have a look around and see what’s out there. If it is faulty, it should still be under warranty as I only bought it in May, so let’s see.


High ambient RF noise near 1090 MHz can severely reduce range. Could there be a sudden elevation?

I’ve resolved it. Turns out that the Pro Stick was the issue. Bought another and put it in and straight away, I’m straight back up to seeing aircraft from 80-90 miles, which was what it used to be.
Now, to see if I can get a return on the original, this could be interesting…

Thanks for your help!

Spot where I put the replacement Pro Stick in!

I am having the same problem. The FA recommended equipment was purchased and quite a bit of time spent to achieve a high degree of performance. The site was working well, seeing planes out to 200+ miles. Then about a year ago everything stopped working. A few months ago, on it’s own, it started working again. ??? At this time the site was ranked in the 800 range. Now it appears, the Pro Stick needs replacement as it is now ranked in the 7000 range and only seeing planes a few miles away. Enough in purchased equipment and troubleshooting efforts. I’m pretty much done with FA at this point.


Hardware is fickle. What troubleshooting did you do? (Since this is your first post, I assume you did not post here at the time that you were having trouble, which is unfortunate)