FlightAware Discussions

Which one is the best antenna?

You could look at ANTENNA MAGUS.
There is a student edition.
I had trouble getting it installed, with the simple interface crashing and gave up.
Someone with a bigger brain may have success?

I have tried it couple of years ago. Do not remember exactly what happened, but quit it due to some problem.

The second side strip of PCB is ready now
Next is to put pieces together and run the simulation.

Full View:






Either the simulation is grossly wrong
If Simulation is OK, then the PCB antenna is rubbish

Only the field test will reveal the truth





As you’ve highlighted, the max gain is 3dB
As this is only fractionally better than a 1/4λ groundplane. Only a basic side-by-side test (of physical antennas) will show if the model has any validity.

Clearly, the 12dB claimed is outrageous, I’d expect the design (not necessarily this implementation) to approach 6dB.

IF the simulation model is valid, then the radiation pattern is horrible, totally unsuitable for ADS-B, where we need maximum gain in horizontal direction.

There seems to be something wrong in simulation, either the model itself, or the software 4nec2 is not capable to handle such designs.

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Side by side comparison of the Pimoroni 1.2m Antenna and the FA Antenna. Same location, same setup, same gain setting on a FA Pro Stick. Cable lenght, about 40cm of LMR195. everything in a metal box for RF shealding.
Let them run for two days. The Pimoroni antenna seem to pick up less messages but range is about the same.
If i increase the gain from 38.6 to 40.2 messages are about the same as FA but the -3db messages reach 8% and far far away planes are not that well tracked(many one message tracks). Unfortunatelly i was not that inspired to install Graphs1090 when i began testing, i was only interested in range. So basically the 8.5db gain is about 7db gain.
I like the FA antenna, its lighter and shorter.

For me the AirNav Antenna was crap, half the range of those other two.
I have a Vinnant antenna which im goint to test in the same setup.
My A3 Antenna is in another location, so no objective test possible.


Be interesting to see the Vinnant antenna test i got 1 here on mobile test watching

I have a plot from another location, more horizon view and higher, beats them both(FA and Pimoroni). So altitude, and clear view are about 70% of a good reception, i would say.

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Vinnant testing until Sunday, probably.

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I had purchased one for testing even though I don’t like the molded-in cable. As I was taking it out of the sleeve, a piece of spring wire that was sticking out of the cable boot made a nice gash in my hand and it only took two seconds of testing to determine that the whole thing was completely shorted.

Well, i shortened the cable as much as i could and put an N-Female connector. I also took the cap off and is seems like it has the FA design but other than that i have no equipment to test it nor do i wish to cut it open…for now. Im testing it against the Vinnant Antenna right now.

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What is your max range per heywhatsthat.com?

I have a comparison of a handcrafted antenna with 3.8dB and the Jetvision with 5dB
The result is more or less the same as i am already at max range per location

However the Jetvision is more reliable on long term outdoor usage

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For reference

Apparently Vinnant, FA, A3, Pimoroni are all meeting the range.(post 137)
The only one thats not is the AirNav antenna.
Edit: Corrected the hight of airplanes 10000m-orange, 13000m-blue

Ignore the plots from post 135, the tests in that post are in another location with about 90 degrees of horizon view. Its purely raw performance of those 4 antennas.

That’s just not how it works.

First you have to exclude MLAT because you can get MLAT results for 3 minutes after you lose reception for an aircraft.

Then obviously heywhatsthat needs to be set for the altitude the aircraft is flying at.

Anyhow this makes nice pictures:

Even without the 2nd part, /tar1090/?pTracks makes nice pictures.

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@ wiedehopf Thanks for the advice
I dont get that many M-lat planes, about 20/day acording to Flightaware stats.

Still, i can confirm that Vinnant, FA, Pimoroni and A3 achieve this range.
With Vinnant, the max was 500ish msg/s, the others i do not know,
If i have the time i will test them all, as indicated also with Graphs1090 attached.

In my mind, the ‘best’ aerial is the one which gives me an actual signal map which matches my heywhatsthat plot.

Bear in mind we’ve had some tropo so my range has been extended a bit but I think this is pretty damn close.

which matches my heywhatsthat plot.


Vinnant vs Airnav Antenna
Left is Vinnant, right is the Airnav on the graphs

That’s the same for me here and a reason why i recommend it to check this before doing too much try&error stuff.
My range plot fits exactly to the heywhatsthat range.

That’s just a (funky) yagi.
Why post that in a thread titled “Which one is the best antenna?”

When it comes to ADS-B, directional antennas are a niche to say the least.