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Range Variation from same aerial

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  • Range Variation from same aerial

    I have been using a Kinetic Sbs-1e now for over ten years. I have it connected to an external aerial and get what I would describe as good reception/range from my set up, it does better then I need. Last year I decided to look at using a FlightAware pro stick and put one in with a raspberry pi4. I was a bit out of my depth and knowledge with this but it works ok and I now feed flight radar 24. I used both the roof mounted aerial and the kinetic standard aerial for each set up switching between the two aerials from time to time just to see the differing results. Obviously I had major differences in reception between the external aerial and the Kinetic mobile. I run a screen for each so I can see the differences real time.
    I wanted to balance the two setups and decided to buy a splitter to connect the external aerial to both the pi and the SBS-1. I ordered a Mini-Circuits splitter which arrived yesterday and I set it up. It became obvious quickly that the FlightAware/Pi setup could see aircraft further afield than the SBS-1, Circa 50-75 miles and even some of the aircraft closer to me within say 60 miles don’t show up on the SBS-1.
    My question is why do I get more range on the FlightAware/pi setup to the SBS-1 and can I up the range to the SBS to equal the FlightAware pro stick.
    I hope I’ve described this ok.


  • #2
    The SBS1 is outdated and the SBS don't have good performance compared with the software decoding available combined with an SDR.
    Especially if you don't have strong interference the FA Pro+ has very good reception.

    If you like statistics and fine tuning i'd recommend adding readsb as a decoder and graphs1090 for statistics (should both work fine on a pi24 image


    • #3
      Thank you for replying wiedhopf. Not what i was hoping to hear but it is what it is. The SBS-1 is still my preferred device so i will plod on with it. Thanks again for the input


      • #4
        The documentation for the Basestation software isn't great so i don't think you can input SBS protocol data into it?
        But maybe you can, that way you could use the RPi port 30003 data to feed the basestation software.

        If you want some more interesting stuff to do on the Pi, i'd suggest switching to readsb and installing some statistic graphs.
        You could also feed someone who will return you MLAT results.

        Installing readsb on the RPi should be as easy as running the install script and setting the location:
        If the RPi is currently feeding FR24 that will continue to work, the script reconfigures fr24feed to use the data produced by readsb.


        • #5
          Thank you weidhopf. I already run dump 1090-fa and the graphs. I'm not that great with RPi are you saying adding reads over dump1090fa would improve things. Yes i am feeding FR24


          • #6
            It's not terribly different.

            You should be able to switch to readsb and back to dump1090-fa using the scripts on the pages linked above.
            Anyhow with the FA Pro+ if you have it connected to a good antenna you might want to adjust the gain:

            Just mentioned the MLAT results because fr24 doesn't give you any MLAT positions for your local map, others do.


            • #7
              I'll give it a go. Many thanks again


              • #8
                Hi wiedhopf, just a follow up and thanks. I've installed all the bits that you suggested and yes my system is improved. I now have MLAT which i never fully understood and now do and i have more aircraft on screen. Also added the auto gain so I'll see how that runs over the next few days.
                Thanks again for the advice