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Help Troubleshooting sudden loss of range

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  • Help Troubleshooting sudden loss of range

    Hi Folks,

    I recently updated from my NooElec SDR with antenna to the FlightAware Pro+ with 1090 filter built in, and as well the FlightAware 66cm Antenna. I saw a more than 2x performance increase in number of positions and in range (almost 200NM on one side, and 100NM on the rest).

    Then about a week or so after I upgraded the components, we had a snow storm come through and it caused some issues with power. My Raspberry Pi did lose power and later came back online with everything else. After that I noticed that my range has gone from 2x to 1/4. I get about 25NM with the same setup (eg the new SDR and Antenna). Swapping back to the original SDR and Antenna I get more or less the original range I previously had (around 100NM on one side and 45NM on the rest).

    So it seems it's either the SDR, or the antenna/connector. Thinking this, I purchased the same FlightAware Pro+ SDR. Received it today and swapped it for the previous one, going with that because it would be the "active" component of the lot. However I seem to still be getting the limited range even with the 66cm Antenna and the new SDR as I did with the previous Flightaware SDR.

    My question is how can I troubleshoot the connector and Antenna? Any other suggestions on what to look for? Do I need to order a new connector and Antenna to rule those out as issues as well?

  • #2
    Possibly water/moisture got into coax connecting antenna to ProStick+. If possible, replace cable.

    Other possibility is water/moisture got into the Flightaware 26" antenna. Keeping it at a warm dry space for couple of days may dry it.


    • #3
      Sorry it was my mistake for not mentioning it in my original post. The Raspberry Pi, along with the Antenna and cable are all located indoors, in the window sill. Nothing in mounted outside or exposed to the elements in any way. I have ordered a new cable regardless to see if that will help before trying to also replace the antenna.


      • #4
        Strong cell/mobile signals saturate the front end amplifier of ProStick and ProSticPlus. The built-in filter of
        ProStic Plus is located between rf amplifier and tuner, and does NOT protect rf amplifier from overloading, and an exteral filter may be required.

        Was there a new cell/mobile phone tower (or antennas on roof of a high rise building) installed/started operating nearby recently?

        You can test the presence and intensity of Cell/mobile signal by doing a simple 1/2 hour test as described in this thread:

        Find Out Existing RF Signals (Cell/Mobile/Pager etc) In Your Area



        • #5
          Ahh thanks. That gave me the area to look. While I don't believe there are any new cell towers, I did have a new "smart" power outlet that had been installed. While the raspberry pi wasn't connected to it, it was immediately below the antenna. Disconnecting that smart outlet seems to have improved reception with the FA sticks significantly. At least to the same point as the NooElec SDR. I'm going to run it for a few days and see where it stands, but it does seem that the Wifi of the power outlet was causing at least some of the issues, but it didn't manifest for a couple of days which is why I didn't even consider it initially.

          Thanks again!


          • #6
            One other cause of wifi interference turned out to be an Android box I had near the same location for quite some time (long prior to ever setting up any SDR). I any case, making sure I powered down the android box completely, instead of it just being in sleep mode, from my window the reception jumped to 170NM+ And that's in less than ideal weather, and on the opposing side of the house from the window.

            I look forward to mounting it outside at some point in the future. In the mean time, it's great to have my range back again! Thanks for helping me track down that interference and to be more aware of it.