Worth moving the aerial outside?


I’m currently using the FA aerial high in the loft of my house with reasonable success.

I’m looking at the possibility of mounting it outside. It would be at the same height, though, so would this be worthwhile? There’s a fair bit of work involved with cabling etc so I’d probably not bother if the difference is likely to be negligible :smile:


It depends on what it’s around the antenna. If it’s metal or concrete, you are very likely to see a worthwhile improvement. Even if it’s something more ‘benign’, it may improve reception.

I’m in the process of doing the same. Will report back when done.


Every situation is different. However, in general, reducing the amount of obstructions (walls, buildings, trees, etc.) between the antenna and the aircraft will provide better results.


Depends on your interest level.

I only have an indoor system, supplied antenna in an upper bedroom. My main interest is with aircraft reasonably close by so my map shows live positions rather that FA’s delayed display.

I live around 15 miles from Heathrow so much overhead traffic is around 7000 feet.



As for antennas, has anybody seen this one? What type is it? Look at both pictures.

Another one:


Good find!
These are called PCB-Antenna. This design was mostly around US$ 50

Since Chinese seller’s prices are very low ($9 & $12) it is worth trying.
If it proves rubbish, it is not a big monetary loss, but sure will be disappointment and frustration.

It needs to be encased inside a PVC Pipe for outdoor installation. Add cost of pipe and two caps on both sides of pipe.

Photo with dimensions from another Chinese Seller on Ebay,(price US $9.99)


Yes, it must be enclosed for outdoor use. I was curious about the design. I could not figure out whether they are J-Pole, 5/8 th, etc. The second antenna reminded me of the cantenna, on first look.

The ADS-B ‘market’ is on the increase. Lots of products on eBay. They also have BP filters that claim only 8 MHz BW.


I saw one of those, and the description sounded like the copper trace section where you see solder, indicates the antenna was impedance matched for 1090.


This is basically a 1/2 wavelength dipole (128 mm total, about 10mm less than a 1/2wave). Each limb is nearly 1/4 wavelength (128/2 = 64mm).

The feed is through a twin-wire transmission line (formed by strip line instead of circular wire). The lower limb acts as 1/4 wavelength decoupling sleeve also, but not fully as it is not all around the feed-line.

As the dipole limbs are wide, seems that this antenna has broad bandwidth, and may possibly pick large amount of GSM 850 and 900 Mhz signals. Finer the dipole limbs, narrower is its bandwidth.




Thank you for the explanation, @abcd567.


Thanks for all the replies :smile: I’ll have a think. In the loft, it’s just roof tiles and the waterproofing above it - not sure how much signal that’s blocking. @Dxista - I’m looking forward to your report.


I am also waitig for @Dxista results. Theae will give a very good idea of extent of improvement.

Meanwhile these two posts will give some experimental figures by various telecom agencies.

(1) RF Signal Loss in Penetrating a Building

(2) Attenuation of RF Signal by Glass, Masonry, Wood & Concrete





Nice experimentation. The version with the reflector is very interesting.

Thanks for the link.


The f5ann pcb antenna design is more than 4 years old (last revision 2014). The Chinese pcb antennas on ebay are very recent, and seem to be clone of f5ann design.


Clone? You are being nice. Not the first, and certainly not the last case. There were very good projects out there, that died after they were ‘cloned’. I just found out that the Zumspot is the lastest casualty, ‘thanks’ to the Jumbospot clone. These are DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) internet gateways, used by hams, mostly on 70cm.


I’m about to set up my PiAware ADS-B in my two story attic beneath a plywood/asphalt shingled roof using the 26 inch Flightaware antenna. Anyone have any experience with this type of setup?


Yes…my current setup. Actually, in your case it should be even better, as it will be in the attic. Mine is inside the garage. My range is up to 150nm.


I guess that is quite common, I remember quite a few pictures of attic antennae in a thread here about different setups.

My antenna is in the attic too, with a wall to the North, clay tiles to the East and West, and a vast expanse of an untidy attic to the South.

Distance wise, I see what I am supposed to see according to heywhatsthat.

There is no easy way to put it outside, maybe apart from a existing satellite dish installation. However, this is lower, and it would put two layers of clay tile + everything that is in the attic between the antenna and the direction with the best reception, so I haven’t bothered.