Where next~? (Hardware upgrades)


Morning all,

I have what I think is a pretty sweet station

oPi running ADSB-Receiver.net image (Incl piAware and Mut)
fA antenna
fA filter
HAB amp
LR400 coax

… but i;m still using the original RTL USB stick.

Getting pretty decent range, c280 - 300 nm - good coverage etc.

Have seen some of the well-known branded reciever “boxes” (cant remember names off hand!)…

What would be a recommended “next step” upgrade to the USB reciever itself, and why?

Not wanting to spend mega-bucks, maybe up to £100 at this point…

Looking for recommendations and “pitches” of what such an upgrade would give?

Ta :slight_smile:


HAB amp https://store.uputronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=50 ?

overall noise figure of the unit to 0.75dB
PSA4-5043+ Ultra Low Noise Figure, 0.75 dB

For LNA important parameter is Noise Figure.

PGA-103+ : Low Noise Figure, 0.6 at 1 GHz; 0.9 dB at 2 GHz
SPF-5189Z : Noise Figure 0.55 dB at 0.9 GHz
MGA-82563 : Noise Figure 2.10 dB at 1.0 GHz

Another option is to extremely shorten the length of the cable and place the receiver near the antenna.


The only things I can think of, under the available budget, are:

  1. Replace the generic dongle with an FA Pro Stick +. Gain settings may need adjustments;
  2. Or an RTL-SDR Blog v3 dongle. Better shielding and other improvements;
  3. Increase the height of the antenna (you didn’t say how high it currently is).

But frankly, with that kind of range, I would be happier than a pig in a garbage dump.:rofl:


Not clear if you are looking for more range, more coverage or more planes. 280-300nm is pretty good for range, you might want to check on what your horizon “should” be, using the heywhatsthat website.


I agree with @skip20092017
I have a radarcape (~$US700) with a DPD antenna, cavity filter, uputronics amp and LMR400. I only get to 200NM as I am only 30ft(10M) AMSL. I get 1600msg/sec so am probably close to the limit.

If you have a lot of electrical noise in the area(I have a dozen cell towers) you could try a better filter. I need to use both the uputronics amp/filter and a cavity filter in my location. The radarcape has a huge dynamic range so can easily cope with it.
The V3 rtl-sdr is better than the first gen. It also works well with a bias-t powered amp.
V3 specs https://www.rtl-sdr.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTL-SDR-Blog-V3-Datasheet.pdf
The latest FA dongle is also great.

Have you look at optimsing the gain setting. This can help a lot of people. abcd567 and others have done a lot of work on this.
Shielding the dongle also helps me. I bought some metal cases for my FA dongles(I have several setups).
(You can also use the case from an old rtl-sdr dongle on an FA dongle)

Putting the RPI in a metal case can protect the dongle from the electrical noise it makes.
Even putting RF chokes on the usb power lead and USB pigtail for the dongle(if you use one) can help with noise.

There is a user near you that gets a lot more traffic. They get more range to the south. You get a lot more to the North.

They could just be in a better location (usually higher) to see more traffic. Maybe check with them to see how they are setup.