FlightAware Discussions

Which is the best Dongle?

I have both the FlightAware Blue ADSB dongle and the FlightAware Orange ADSB dongle at two different locations.

Is one better than the other for more reception or does the Blue Dongle not show as many flights due to 1090 flights only or ?

Are either of these two the best choice that exist?

In the past I had a amp from Direct TV, a filter and such but bought these from FlightAware just to try it out.

This question is ‘huge’. I’m not in a position to reply now, so I’ll get some popcorn and ‘watch’. :upside_down_face:


Popcorn for me as well please :slight_smile:

The blue stick is known as successor of the orange stick. It contain filter and LNA.
Both can deliver the same results depending on the location and environment.

So the answer to that question should be something like “Maybe, but”

Is there a better or other brand that I should look at as well?

Thinking of replacing the Orange with the blue but if there’s a better option, I’m game to try it too.

Depends what you are looking for in the end mate. There are no perfect answers because so much rides on your location, antenna placement, and outside “noise”.

If money is not an object and you want to squeeze as much out of your system as possible, then I’d suggest looking into an AirSpy R2 for your radio, some good RF cable, a good filtered LNA like an Uptronics or RTL-SDR Triple-filtered (not currently available) and maybe a DPD or FA antenna.

If you want admirable performance without breaking the bank, then go with the FA Blue with some decent cable running to an FA Antenna. Between the two, they are probably the best bang for the buck that you’ll get for most locations.

Antenna placement is going to be the key and that’s where you’ll need to experiment the most. The rest mention popcorn because there are so many right answers to your question, but you haven’t clearly stated what your goals are and under what constraints you may be working under.


The best dongle cannot work properly without the rest of the environment.

  • Good Antenna
  • Good Cable
  • Good Environment (which might make additional filters or LNA required)

Only this in combination will give you best results
I have optimized my setup with the blue stick as much as possible. Any further improvement requires now at least an Airspy which is as almost as expensive as my whole setup

1 Like

I’m looking for more hits, or capturing more flights than I currently do.

I have built a spider antenna and I have a good cable that is only about one meter in length.

Location is the best chance for tracking the most planes, you cannot merely buy your way to more traffic which I understand but there is a way to maximize what’s there which is what I am after.

I had a decent jump in traffic once I installed the orange dongle but if I can get even more with a blue then I’ll buy a blue one.

I read a review of the blue on amazon stating it filters out certain planes which would be counter productive towards tracking the most flights. Hence the question I asked. Which is best.


First check what your max range is. Then check on a regular site, what’s the current traffic is and compare it with what you get at this time.
Afterwards run investigation what possibly block your device from better reception. A filter could help, an LNA could help, a better antenna could help but it’s not guaranteed.

Another thing you should consider is comparing your stats with other stations near to you.

You will reach a point where you will not get more flights. The only option then would be moving away from your location.

You’ll need to move away from the spider more than likely and get something up on the roof if at all possible. Your message and plane count will increase substantially.

You still haven’t given any detail at all about your setup other than you have a homemade spider connected to an FA orange with meter of “good cable”. We can only assume it’s indoors unless you did some extra work on your spider… Have checked your potential range using https://www.heywhatsthat.com/ ? Have you run scans with your current setup to see what your location’s off-band noise pattern looks like? Are you sitting on your roof or in a basement with that meter of cable when comparing? Have stopped reading this after the first question mark?

You would get better answers when providing information or the answers you get here will be totally useless and as generic as the question. Need to figure out what sort of time and effort you want to put into your quest.

1 Like

The blue dongle does not filter certain planes. I suspect they were referring to certain flights being hidden on the FlightAware site itself. The hiding of those flights is not related to the dongle being used.

Filtering is done on upload to Flightaware, but not locally. You will see all aircraft on your local map.
Amazon reviews are 90% crap

Do I Need A Filter?


1 Like

Sorry, my home is at sea level and I have my antenna mounted on top of my roof which is at most 20’ above the ground.

I built several antennas and the spider out performed the diope style, and the beer can style.

Setup, raspberry with an orange dongle from flightaware, mounted on my roof top running the software version 3.7.2

Do not know how much more details there are. Basic setup like what is decided to build from flightaware

I’ve done none of these test simply because I’ve never been exposed to doing them.

How do I check these things and what is required to perform these checks.

Thanks. I don’t know squat about these things, obviously

That was this morning. By this evening, you’ll have a whole new shopping list!


I still have the original setup of a DirectTV amp, a filter and a different dongle… I went with the Orange one as it was said to be better and it was but now I think I’m down like 30% from where I used to be.

Going to swap out the orange for the blue this week.

Now you know why I said the question was ‘huge’. Enough popcorn for me. :smile:

As already mentioned, you’ll learn a lot along the way. Excellent info has already been provided. My ‘input’ will not be the best, but I think is what it’s called for for the moment.

My number one suggestion at this point is:

  • Replace the Spider with an FA antenna;

This change alone should increase the number of planes seen.

My number two suggestion is:

  • Replace the orange stick with the FA Pro+.

This can increase performance a bit more, specially if a non brick-wall filter is enough to deal with mild interference, if an issue.

Make sure the coaxial cable used is good, make sure there is no water ingress in the cable.

Nine out of ten people will see most/all they can see with the above hardware. As your interest for the hobby increases, you may throw more money into it, but the ‘law of diminishing returns’ starts to kick in.


Thanks, I’ll swap my Orange out for the blue one I have in SoCal. I know location is everything as my SoCal location tracks like 3k planes a day whereas NorCal is like 1K and I have the sane style Spider at both locations.

Being in CA there is little water intrusion as the song says, it never rains in Southern California.

I’ll look at the FA antenna … This one??


You want the 1090 MHz one. That’s where the action is.