FlightAware Discussions

Using Existing Cable Runs for ADS-B Antennas?

Hey folks,

Questions up-front, context to follow:

  1. Is it possible to use existing coax runs (for cable TV) in my home to connect to an antenna outdoors?
  2. Following Question 1, say I wanted to use a cable mast to also receive signal for LiveATC. Is it possible to get an antenna which would receive both?
  3. I haven’t drilled holes on the outside of a home before… I’d need a strong mast because it can get very windy here. Any tips or recommendations?

I’ll preface my context by saying I have almost zero experience with antennas, radios, etc. so I’m getting into PiAware to learn. Right now I have a small antenna sitting in a window which works quite well, but it is blocked by a unit behind me.

I recently moved to a new home which has a rooftop deck. On that deck there’s a coax connection which I was told could be used if I ever wanted Satellite TV (I don’t). However, I imagine the same connection could have also been used for receiving TV via antenna so I’m wondering if there’s a way to instead use that connector to receive ADS-B signal? A mast would grant almost clear line of sight in 360 degrees (possibly slightly blocked by another townhouse behind me, but I don’t think that would cause problems).

Some cursory searching tells me the signal would degrade after going over 50ft of the coax running through my home. I’m told however that adding 12V to the coax line may help prevent signal loss. It would certainly make things easier to install an antenna outdoors and route it to a Pi sitting inside my home to avoid extra waterproofing for the Pi itself.

While I’m getting into this and thinking about a mast: is it possible to get an antenna which would also let me pick up radio chatter and become a feeder for LiveATC and continue receiving ADS-B signal? Again, I’m a complete beginner when it comes to radio so I’d appreciate any resources which could help me understand more about this as I’m getting my feet wet.


Unlikely, airband and ADS-B use dramatically different frequency bands. You’d want two antennas. If you are really constrained by the cable run, you may be able to diplex the signals onto a common cable.

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There is an antenna out there that does that:

AirNav ADS-B 1090 MHz and Airband Outdoor antenna

But it has a coax run attached to it already. Not sure how much wind it would be able to handle, looks kinda sketchy.

12V … you don’t just put that on the coax.
That would be to supply an amplifier (LNA).
You’d need a wide band amplifier due to the different frequencies, for example the Nooelec Lana.
Then you’d need a bias-t to inject 5 V into the coax (interior end of the cable run).
After the bias-t you can then use for example a Y splitter cable or a proper splitter.

Not sure how well such a system would work, shouldn’t be too horrible.
But i wouldn’t expect top notch performance either.

Thanks for the replies so far!

In an ideal setup it sounds like there would be two separate cable runs for each antenna, and probably not through a home’s existing cable TV runs. I imagine I’m not the only aviation enthusiast who has tried this kind of setup (pulling radio comms and ADS-B). What do most folks do when they’re looking to get both of these things together? Do they just do the two separate runs? I’m leery about putting holes into the side of my home, let alone making those cable runs - obviously there are smart, safe ways to do it, but that’s not something I’ve done.