Suggestions for new Antenna or Receiver for weak signal and better range

Hello all, I’ve setup FlightAware and FR24 using readsb as decoder. I currently have this basic antenna and receiver. I’ve setup the antenna on the terrace and is clear from obstructions and there aren’t any higher buildings that obstruct the signal. The closest airport to me is around 20NM. I’ve set the gain to AGC which apparently sets the gain to maximum which is 59. The statistics are as follows.

The peak range that I’ve got is 130NM. Avg. Max. Range of around 50NM
Now, I have a few questions.

I’ve seen fellow feeders here get ranges as much as 250 NM. Is there any chance that my Antenna can pick up such ranges ? Or should I upgrade the setup. Is just upgrading the dongle enough or does the antenna needs upgrading ?.

Do I have the Gain setup correctly ? Or is there any tweaking that can get me better signal or range. I modified the gain extensively to find which gain setting would get me the farthest range and it’s 59.

The following antennas and receiver are within my budget and available in my country.

ADSBexchange Blue. This one has a filter in built.

NooElec NESDR SMArt - Premium RTL-SDR w/ Aluminum Enclosure, 0.5PPM TCXO, SMA Input & 3 Antennas. RTL2832U & R820T2-Based Software Defined Radio.

RTL-SDR Blog V3 R860 RTL2832U

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

The adsbexchange blue will likely be the best upgrade for ADS-B (the other SDRs you mention don’t have the filter for ADS-B and they don’t have an LNA either).

1090 MHz is mostly line of sight so it all depends on houses / trees around you.
Getting the antenna on top of the roof usually helps a lot.
But that requires a proper outdoor antenna.
Attic works well for some and requires less gear.

In regards to terrain, you can check your theoretical limits here:


Thanks a lot for replying. Will check it out.

I know a ADS-B balcony antenna veteran who can steer you absolutely in the right direction.
Tomvdhorst is his handle and he recently bought a couple of appropriate antennas from Vinnant in Slovakia that are: COL1090/5-SU , standard 5,5 dB antenna. Vinnant is a excellent antenna manufacturer and I am using one of their models here in the USA. Your current antenna is totally an entry level antenna and will not maximize your range in any position or orientation.

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Thank you. Looks like vinnant has a huge catalog.

Yes, and they are very good people to deal with. Very much customer satisfaction oriented. The owner will email you. Hard to find that kind of service most anywhere. Highly recommended.


That’s great to hear. I’ll definitely consider them.

Thanks for the pointer. I executed the HeyWhatsThat terrain/range mapping, and it very closely maps my effective range shown in Piaware Skyaware.

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I’d go for the blue ASDBx dongle and order a Vinnant antenna.
This antenna performs as well as the FA antenna for half the cost of that:

I don’t know if they ship to India but I guess you can always walk through their ordering proces. if there are shipping options it will tell you along with the cost of that in Euro’s.
Also you will need a cable to connect the dongle with the antenna.
That can also be bought on the Vinnant site in different lengths so you can order the correct length as well. A good cable will improve your reception as well an the antenna itself.

Here you can see the effect of such an antenna in comparison to a stock small whip antenna
position count:

The first part is the stock antenna and the later part the Vinnant antenna.
Aircraft count:

As Wiedehopf stated the dongle you have now doesn’t have a filter or LNA so it will be limited in comparison to the ASDBX dongle or the one I’m using, the FA Prostick plus with additional barrel filter

Antenna veteran, I’ve been called many names but this is a new one :rofl::crazy_face:


I was thinking “old dog selling new tricks” but thought better of it. The glasses and the pipe are very distinguished.


Here’s the full picture :sunglasses:


Oh, pilot!
Do you work from home as well?