So here’s a fun tidbit for you all:
Shielding the hell out of your USB 3 peripherals - if they’re anywhere near your antenna, will substantially improve your reception.
Backstory: I’m in an apartment so the quest to get an antenna on the roof is dicey at best - but, I’m on the top floor on top of a small hill and from my window have an unobstructed view of most of the Manhattan skyline. I’m about a mile from LGA so even with the crappy stock antenna, reception wasn’t bad.
Made a crappy little dipole, experimented with the FA antenna - but ABCD’s cantenna was the clear winner. With this setup I get pretty decent range.
Anyway, I was troubleshooting my laptop the other day and when I took it out of the room, I happened to notice the number of tracked aircraft jumped pretty dramatically. (from about 50 to about 70)
After walking around my apartment like a crazy person, with a scanner squelched at 0 and set to 1000mhz AM, on a very strange hunt for EMI - I set it down on top of the USB 3 cable from the computer to a hub and some external hard drives and it started chirping like a 1990’s modem. .
Turns out, this is pretty much a known issue of USB3. Intel has a whole whitepaper on the subject.
Intel’s paper focuses on 2400mhz, but look at how much bandwidth it’s using in the 1000mhz band! Any RF leak has Gotta be causing some interference, right?
Now, The USB 3 hub I was using was quite old. and likely, was not sheilded anywhere near properly. Threw a ferrite on the cable, but it didn’t help much. With my external drives plugged in and the unsquelched scanner 12 feet away by my ADS-B antenna, I could hear the noise floor raise when I plugged in the drives, and drop when I ejected them.
My crazy solution was to wrap the entire USB cable, and hub, in aluminum tape, and then ground said tape with some jumpers to… to ground. That did help. I have a new (and all metal) usb3 hub coming that I hope will let me take off my computer’s tinfoil hat.
Hopefully this helps a few of you eek out some extra range and better message rate!