How coax cable loss affects ADS-B reception

Over on YouTube user Adam Alicajic has uploaded a video showing how coax cable loss affects the frame rate when receiving ADS-B. To do this test Adam uses a precision attenuator in between his ADS-B antenna and RTL-SDR dongle to simulate attenuation from coax cable loss. His results show that for every 1 dB of attenuation the frame rate drops by about 10%.

Coax cable loss for common type of cable can be estimated with calculators available at and RG-6 cable has a low loss at 1090 MHz of about 0.23 – 0.32 dB per meter, whereas RG58 has a loss of about 0.5 – 0.6 dB per meter and RG174 (stock antenna cable on most RTL-SDR units) has a greater loss of about 1.2 dB per meter.

Coax length loss contribution to the bad ADS-B reception


  1. Gregory

    it says nothing about if he has frequency corrected the dongles crystal offset. that may also contrbute

  2. Randaller

    I have removed 7 meters coax extension cable and got ADSB reception improvement from 60 km to about 120 km distance.

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