Where is the configuration file for version 3.5.3


I have a new FlightAware Pro Stick on its way. Somewhere I saw where I could change the gain, but how do I see what’s the gain is currently set to?

I’ve see references in other posts to a conf file but I don’t have a /etc/piaware.conf file. Nothing in /boot either. So where does Piaware store its configuration?

This is running Rasbian Stretch Lite released on 2018-03-13.



See the advanced configuration documentation. Sorry, most of this only works for the SD image.
See @abcd567 responses below.



Check OS

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ cat /etc/os-release
PRETTY_NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch)"
NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux"
VERSION="9 (stretch)"

Check file piaware.conf

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo cat /etc/piaware.conf
# This file configures piaware and related software.
# You can edit it directly or use piaware-config from the command line
# to view and change settings.
# If /boot/piaware-config.txt also exists, then settings present in
# that file will override settings in this file.
feeder-id xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx   # updated by fa_piaware_config
allow-auto-updates yes   # updated by fa_piaware_config
allow-manual-updates yes   # updated by fa_piaware_config
pi@raspberrypi:~ $


  1. Open file /etc/default/dump1090-fa for editing
    pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo nano /etc/default/dump1090-fa
Above command will open following file:
    #dump1090-fa configuration
    #This is read by the systemd service file as an environment file,
    #and evaluated by some scripts as a POSIX shell fragment.

    #If you are using a PiAware sdcard image, this config file is regenerated
    #on boot based on the contents of piaware-config.txt; any changes made to this
    #file will be lost.

    RECEIVER_OPTIONS="--device-index 0 --gain -10 --lat 43.xxxx --lon -79.xxxx --ppm 0 --net-bo-port 30005"
    DECODER_OPTIONS="--max-range 360"
    NET_OPTIONS="--net --net-heartbeat 60 --net-ro-size 1000 --net-ro-interval 1 --net-ri-port 0 --net-ro-port 30002 --$
    JSON_OPTIONS="--json-location-accuracy 1"
  1. In line starting with “RECEIVER_OPTIONS”, change the gain value to whatever value you desire:

  2. Save (Ctrl+o) and Close (Ctrl+x) file.

  3. Now restart dump1090-fa for new gain value to be implemented

    sudo systemctl restart dump1090-fa  


I had already found that, but when I run piaware-config I get
“warning: /etc/piaware.conf: failed to read config file: couldn’t open “/etc/piaware.conf”: permission denied”

If I run sudo piaware-config It just goes back to a command prompt.

I mispoke earlier, there is a file /etc/piaware.conf, but if I do “sudo less /etc/piaware.conf”

This file configures piaware and related software.

You can edit it directly or use piaware-config from the command line

to view and change settings.

If /boot/piaware-config.txt also exists, then settings present in

that file will override settings in this file.


it has no settings and there is no /boot/piaware-config.txt file.



sudo piaware-config -showall


You are trying to use command applicable to Piaware SD Card image to a install which is Raspbian Stretch image + Piaware & dump1090-fa add-on package

In Raspbian Stretch image + Piaware & dump1090-fa add-on package:

  1. The piaware-config.txt file does NOT exist.
  2. Use sudo at start of each piaware-config command.
  3. Gain is NOT set by sudo piaware-config rtlsdr-gain xx. It is set by
sudo piaware-config rtlsdr-gain 35
Set rtlsdr-gain to 35 in /etc/piaware.conf:10
sudo systemctl restart piaware

It can also be set by EDITING the file /etc/default/dump1090-fa


“sudo piaware-config -showall” works, YAH!!!

I would still like to know where the file that holds this is.



Why on earth would they make an SD card image and “apt-get install piaware” different?

That makes zero sence to me and I’ve been in computers and electronics for over 40 years!

It just creates confusion like it did here.!


If you want to adjust GAIN in your install, then you have to forget piaware-config.

In your install, irrespective where piaware-config stores the gain value, piaware will NOT SET THE GAIN OF DUMP1090-FA.

The gain value in the file etc/default/dump1090-fa is the value which determines the gain. This value is controlled and over-written by piaware-conf ONLY in Piaware SD Card image, NOT in Stretch + Piaware add-on.

Edit file /etc/default/dump1090-fa and set gain value there, and restart dump1090-fa.


What are valid values for the gain settings in case I need to adjust it? Mine is currently

“RECEIVER_OPTIONS=”–device-index 0 --gain -10 --ppm 0 --net-bo-port 30005"

so -10



is that a typo ? should be --device NOT -device
RECEIVER_OPTIONS = ”--device-index 0 --gain -10 --ppm 0 --net-bo-port 30005"


any value from zero to 50 is valid. Any value between these limits you enter, the dump1090-fa will adjust gain to its neares value. For example maximum gain is 49.6. If you enter 50 or 51 or 49, dump1090-fa will set the gain to nearest value i.e. 49.6.

If a negative number is used such as -4 or -11, the gain will be set to ZERO.

The only negative value dump1090 accepts is -10. This does not mean gain is set to -10. The value -10 is a special value and it switches the dongle to AGC (Automatic Gain Control) mode.

To see the list of gain steps:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo apt-get update

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo apt-get install rtl-sdr

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo systemctl stop dump1090-fa

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ rtl_test -t
Found 1 device(s):
0: Realtek, RTL2832U, SN: 00001003

Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U
Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
Supported gain values (29): 0.0 0.9 1.4 2.7 3.7 7.7 8.7 12.5 14.4 15.7 16.6 19.7 20.7 22.9 25.4 28.0 29.7 32.8 33.8 36.4 37.2 38.6 40.2 42.1 43.4 43.9 44.5 48.0 49.6
[R82XX] PLL not locked!
Sampling at 2048000 S/s.
No E4000 tuner found, aborting.
pi@raspberrypi:~ $


Odd, I copied and pasted the whole line but somehow that extra dash is missing. The file is correct however


Thanks for all the great info. The new FA dongle seems to be working slightly better than the NOOELEC that I had. I’m going to let it run for a while before I go making any changes.

Thanks for all the help.



If you copy-paste code, some lines will appear very bold, as in your above quoted post… This can be avoided. Please see this thread::