FlightAware Discussions

Suggested USB sticks

With FA discontinuing the sale of their dongles on Amazon, I’m looking at other affordable options for stick receivers. I know I can still order the FA ones on their website, but the price is like twice as much as Amazon used to sell them for.

I purchased a green RadarBox stick and swapped it with a blue FA stick that I have on a test system to see how they compared, but with it I’m only receiving about 10% of the traffic that I get with the blue FA stick. Is there something different about the RadarBox sticks from the FA ones that require a change in my Pi’s configuration settings somewhere?

Are people starting to use other brands of receivers, or are you sticking with the FA sticks and just paying the higher prices?

Thanks!

I’m using an orange FA Pro dongle that I bought in August. I did pay almost double the price compared to Amazon but I’m unable to purchase directly from Amazon in my country so I had to get mine from a private reseller who adds a large markup. Everything to do with electronics, computers, cameras and photography, etc. costs more here than in the US. Prior to that I used a Nooelec NESDR SMArt dongle.

Regarding the Radarbox dongle it’s possible that you need to adjust your gain or possibly set your PPM for it. Unless you’re using PiAware/dump1090-fa version 6 or higher with adaptive gain and your dongle’s PPM is 0.5 due to its TCXO you’d need to tweak these settings by hand then restart the dump1090 service, then monitor for a while, repeat as necessary until you find the gain that works best with that dongle. If gain’s set too high you’ll receive fewer messages due to signal distortion and front-end overloading. It will appear just like a gain that’s too low as far as messages received and planes seen.

In my case I was seeing a lot worse performance with my new FA dongle vs. the NESDR SMArt until I added a 1090 filter near my antenna.

Re: differences between FA Pro Plus blue and Radarbox green you can compare the technical specs of both of them yourself. They both contain preamps (LNAs) and filters but the amps may have different amounts of amplification and the filters may be of different designs. You can probably find out by searching the web.

(Disclaimer: I only started tracking planes with ADS-B software in July 2021.)

Search for it. There are other resellers offering these sticks as well. Amazon is not the only store.

That’s strange. Friend of mine is using both on one device and both perform the same way.
So there is something else not working on your setup.*

With any other stick you very likely need an additional filter or LNA (both are built in to the blue stick) which makes your purchase higher at the end

The green RadarBox stick is both amplified and filtered. I’ve got a couple of them and they perform very well. If you are down 90%, the problem is somewhere else in your system.

If the FA stick is getting hard to find, I’d guess stock is being run down in anticipation of the new model (possibly next month).

If you can, hold off buying your next dongle for a little while!

Those are probably stuck in one of the 65 ships waiting outside of Los Angeles port.
Record Number of Ships Stuck at Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports Waiting to Unload - Vision Times

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