FlightAware Discussions

Would appreciate some advice

Good afternoon,

Using , on recommendation of one of the guys her): RTL-SDR dongle V3, with ADS-B PcB antenna.

After moving around my antenna, I think I found the “best” spot. If I check my “range” it looks not too bad. I know I do not have a range to the north and there is a gap was ( because of the apartment building in front of me. But in the the weird thing is that hardly see planes in the east. I checked and there are planers, (Berlin, Hannover, Hamburg). So something is not right.

I put some money in my piggy bank this year:) so I am able to upgrade my gear. So I would appreciate it if someone of you is willing to give me some advice how to improve my reception.
I attached some screenshots to give you an idea. of the current situation and my reception.
Another antenna, dongle extra LNA, I don’t know. Hope you will bear in mind that I am not a tech guy. I simply love tracking planes and feeding them.

I also noted that that in the graph ABS messages rate, the messages >3 dBFS is very low, compared to some other screenshots I saw here. Could that also be a reason?

Please remember my antenna is just temporary fixed. I know it looks ugly.

Thanks in advance.

![Schermafbeelding 2020-10-09 om 16.30.44|690x176]

looks like you have some issues to north/north west.

Are there any obstacles or just because the antenna is on a bad position?
You should check heywhatsthat.com first to identify your theoretical max range.

I would also assume that a different antenna position can have a significant impact. The netherlands are not known for large mountains which can block the range normally.

From the picture the antenna look mounted on third or fourth floor, should give you also good reception if mounted away from the building

Thank you for the reply. Actually I am in the top floor. My balcony is an “inside” one. And I am not allowed to put an antenna on the rooftop.
And yes a different position had a huge im pact. Tried about 8 portions and this one gives me the best result.
I attached the heywhatsthat result. IF that would be true:):slight_smile:

Still I cannot understand why I don’t see planes in the east, as the map shows I do have a range there and every once and while a planes pop ups there.

Have been reading the forum for the last few weeks, just Ito get an idea how to improve or what equipment would be better, but still have no ( good) idea.

It seems I have the same antenna, or the same kind of antenna, PCB-only, passive, no power supply, no components, and it is pretty sensitive to its disposition and PCB angle. I really don’t know why.
Mine works better with the PCB on its trench.

That’s why I’ve drawn a line on mine. Perhaps yours behaves the same way.

Where is it? The map above looks more like the Radarbox range.
The green field shows where you have received aircraft in the last seven days.

Heywhatsthat is different. It gives you the max range you can get based on your geographical position. More is not possible, less very likely

thank you, yes it looks the same. no power supply. Haven’t tried on the PCB angle. will check that as well.

In most cases the antenna does not need a power supply.

What also hasn’t been documented so far is which devices you are using beside the antenna.
Raspberry? USB-Stick with/without filter? which cabling?
Which settings in software, e.g. gain?

Difficult to give advice without these details

I know it is the the max range. And yes it is a screenshot from Radarbox.
Will try to add them again

I am using a Raspberry Pi 3b+
SDR-RTL dongle
No filter
Cable, also recommended by Wiedehopf, ( see attachment as well.)

I for the gain I use Wiedehopfs optimise gain in gifhup, It says gain is optimized.
pi@raspberrypi : ~ $ sudo /usr/local/bin/dump1090-fa-autogain

Gain already at maximum! (0.086% messages >-3dB)

pi@raspberrypi : ~ $

Hope this helps:(

This clearly shows that your range should be very good, but you have limitations based on your environment.

If just using an RTL-SDR v3 and that antenna, I think you’d fare really well by adding the RTL-SDR triple-filtered LNA as well. I little bit of amplification (and filtering from that device as well) may go a long way for you. It is another cost unfortunately. You will need to enable the bias-t on your radio to power it. Put it directly under the antenna.

Thank you for the reply. As said before I did put some money in my piggy bank. Collected a lot of empty bottles for the deposit.:):):slight_smile:
And Christmas is coming so will ask my wife for some extra pocket money:)

I am not a fan of the automatic gain scripts
I used it a while and it set every time to 49.6 which overloads it on peak times.

The gain setting should be set to a value and then been monitored for at least 24 hours. Then try another setting.

And you should either add a filtered LNA or change the stick at least to the blue Pro Plus stick from Flightaware.

Yep, that’d be my suggestion too.
The RTL-SDR blog V3 is an excellent general purpose receiver. To optimise it for ADS-B, particularly in an urban environment, a filter+amp will improve your performance significantly.

@FeverBeaver, with respect, that’s awful. Unless you glued the joints, the endcaps arn’t waterproof.
For the SMA, neither the SMA coupling or where it crimps to the cable is waterproof.
The metal brackets will be effecting the antenna. Get rid of the upper bracket and slide the antenna up as far as you can (2cm?).
Even better, tape it to a plastic tube /rod /etc. and raise it a lot more.

@foxhunter, please reread the OP. Most of your questions were answered in the first post.

Buy a Flightaware 26 inch 1090 Mhz antenna.

It appears that the antenna is on the inside wall of the enclosed balcony.

Try attaching it to the balustrade on the outside of the balcony and keep it well clear of any metal.

If the outside of the balcony is glazed you could just tape it to the window well away from the frame.



Or at the window, that would give also better reception

@geckoVN I was pretty happy with my mountings, that was looking good. However, I followed your advice and got rid of the upper bracket (which was there to ensure the andenna would not tilt), and glued the lower encap (the upper already was, as I’ve opened it before).
I’ve raised it the extra centimeter or so, considering my place, I can’t get it any higher.

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Not a bad idea, but the window is my living room as well. Don’t think that would be the best idea:)

Thank you. Yes the balcony y is glazed, so will try to tape it on the balcony and see what will happen.:slight_smile:

I have just an ordinary indoor antenna, sits on a window sill facing West (Direction of Heathrow and about 14 miles away) but I still get better distance to the East. Guess that may be the aircraft are still quite high to the East but as they descend closer to Heathrow airport I lose the signal from them.

Lot may depend on surrounding altitude of aircraft as well as position and quality of antenna.