Posted on Aug 19, 2016 by Colin
Earlier this summer I had set up a flight tracker using an RTL-SDR and some software called dump1090. It worked great at the time; I could track about 20 or so aircraft at a given time using the stock antenna I got with my NooElec branded rtl-sdr. That’s not terrible, but I knew I could have done a lot better.
Today I decided to build a new antenna. I searched through different antenna designs online and ended up settling on an antenna called the cantenna. To sum it up, it’s basically a soda can and coax. After I built it, I was able to track a whole lot more aircraft, and the range was much better. It was like night and day to compare the two.
After using this antenna setup for over 24 hours, I was able to track aircraft 300 km away from my location. In some cases I was able to track some even further away, some almost 350-400km away!
I hope to eventually install this antenna outside and use a raspberry pi to get the ADSB information instead of using my old dualcore laptop. Time’s running out for that though. :(