Over on satsignal.eu the author has set up a page showing live statistics of his ADS-B reception for the RTL-SDR and Airspy software defined radios, and also for the Beast ADS-B receiver. The Airspy is a $199 software defined radio that many consider as a next stage up from the RTL-SDR, and the Beast is a ~$270 USD dedicated ADS-B receiver.
Unsurprisingly the results clearly show that the Airspy receives ADS-B signals significantly better than the RTL-SDR. However, what comes as a surprise is that it is actually appears to be outperforming the dedicated Beast receiver. In the tests with the outside vertical antenna, the Airspy running on a Raspberry Pi appears to receive a significant higher number of messages and also sees planes out to a further range.
Not too long ago the Airspy team released their ADS-B software for the Raspberry Pi 2. They write that this software uses the full 10 MHz bandwidth and can even decode messages that are overlapping one another. We’ve also been told by the Airspy team that the Airspy is already in professional use as an ADS-B receiver amongst several small airports.
In the future we hope to compare the Airspy against the RTL-SDR on ADS-B reception ourselves, and also compare it against the 8 MHz bandwidth SDRplay whose development team have also recently released a new ADS-B decoder, as well as the recently released FlightAware ADS-B Prostick RTL-SDR.