RadarBox Optimized ADS-B Antenna + RTL-SDR Bundle Sale $39.95 + Shipping
Over in our store we're currently selling a RadarBox branded bundle that includes an ADS-B optimized antenna with 10 meters of coax, AND an ADS-B 1090 MHz optimized RTL-SDR dongle. RadarBox24 is an ADS-B aggregation flight tracking service similar to other services like FlightRadar24 and FlightAware. The set is RadarBox branded, but of course can be used with any tracking service, or just for your own private ADS-B station.
The bundle is now on sale for US$39.95 + shipping! The sale will last until stock runs out and this sale is only available from us. At other places like Amazon it is currently selling for US$64.95.
To purchase please visit our store and scroll down to find the RadarBox bundle "Add to Cart" button.
The antenna has 7 dBi gain, 50 (+-5) Ohm impedance, and is made from fiberglass and aluminum. It is fully waterproof and outdoor rated with 10 meters of coax cable and includes mounting clamps. The RadarBox RTL-SDR is specifically optimized for 1090 MHz ADS-B reception with it's built in filter and low noise amplifier.
The bundle ships out once per week and tracking is provided 1-2 days after shipping.
Great review Cathal and thanks. This sounds like a great package at a great price. Haven’t purchased that package (yet), but have home brewed a transposed coaxial collinear antenna from a YouTube video and sealed it in PVC tubing. Used RG/6 coaxial cable for the antenna and feed line. Using an amplifier and the RTL-SDR.com dongle the coverage was very satisfactory even though the amplifier was not mounted at the antenna but inside the shack. The amplifier definitely made a difference and increased the number of loggings. So if in a bind try connecting the amp inside the shack and see how the system performs.
I got this package recently, and overall it’s pretty good. I’m a happy customer.
I have been comparing the antenna like-for-like with a home-made colinear coaxial antenna, and two of the ADSB-specific LNAs available from the shop on this site and a pair of Pis with Airspy Minis that I got during the BLack Friday sale. My setups are Pi4 / Airspy-mini / ADSB-LNA / 3m coax / home-made CoCo 8-element Antenna; and Pi3 / Airspy-Mini / ADSB-LNA / Radarbox antenna. The LNAs are at the receiver end, but they are acting as filters more than amplifiers for my city environment.
Overall, the Radarbox antenna performs well, maybe 90% of the daily messages and 97% of the range that I can get with my home-made antenna at the same location. My Airspy configs are identical, except the gain on the Pi4 setup is -13 where the gain on the Pi3 is -15, balancing the RSSI seen from the same aircraft at the same time when less than . 20km away.
The Radarbox dongle is seeing more messages than a naked RTL-SDR dongle, but significantly less than an RTL-SDR dongle matched with one of the ADSB-LNAs from here. The filtering on the Radarbox dongle is reasonable, but not spectacular. I did comparison graphs between the Radarbox and an RTL-SDR + ADSB-LNA, on the same antenna close to the same time, and the Radarbox could still hear the GSM/LTE data where the ADSB-LNA took that out of the equation completely. I’ll attach the links to those graphs when I get then copied up to my website.
For the price, one would not get a better basic commercial waterproof 1090-optomised antenna, and the dongle is a bonus at the price. It can be improved on for sure, but only at additional cost and some effort. For a half-decent turnkey solution you won’t do better for the money.
(Note, the best way to cheaply improve the received signal when using this antenna and the included dongle, would be to put a bias-tee power injector inline, powering an ADSB Triple-Filtered LNA somewhere upstream.)
Here’s a 30 min waterfall scan of the frequency range from 800 to 1200 MHz, from the dongle included in this kit: http://www.cathalferris.com/files/scan.png
Here’s the same frequency range using an RTL-SDR Triple-Filtered ADSB LNA and an RTL-SDR dongle: http://www.cathalferris.com/files/scan_rtl_lna.png
Same Pi, same antenna, using the methodology outlined here https://discussions.flightaware.com/t/do-i-need-a-filter/27833. Note that the png files are >4000 pixels wide.
That’s a phenomenal comparison of the difference between close to $60 worth of hardware (RTL+LNA) and the $15 RadarBox24 dongle. Well, let’s say $40 to get an outdoor antenna with it.
And you’d have to spend additional dollars to purchase an outdoor antenna for the RTL+LNA. So maybe closer to $100 all-in if you were starting from scratch to get that level of performance.
Next $27 I spend tho will be on that LNA, that thing looks to be a performer!
Seems worth a go at this price. I do see the coax and LNA are in the “wrong order” but if that causes too many issues I’ll just chop the coax and replace, move the dongle closer, or try another LNA closer to the antenna. My main interest is getting an external waterproof antenna I can can easily stick on a pole and leave up for a winter or few. For me a section of coax sealed at the antenna end is enough to open up some options, I know that won’t suit many who want a turnkey solution, but then that is probably why these are currently on offer(?).
10 meters of coax at 1090MHz? Unless it’s ultra low-loss coax (which I doubt at that price), say goodbye to your antenna gain.
I have one of those dongles, it’s got a 20db LNA so no prob with gain loss.
That’s not how it’s done. You put a LNA directly after the antenna, and before the lossy cable, not after it. Because the other way around, weak signals slip below the noise floor, and then the LNA in the dongle will amplify only noise.
Hence the built-in 1090mhz filter. As an actual user and assuming it’s the same unit pictured in the advertisement, the ADS-B dongle demonstrably pulls in more tracks at a greater range over the ‘stock’ RTL-SDRv3, on the same antenna / feed cable.
Is it better than an outboard LNA as you described I cannot say but for the money, I’d say it’s a good deal to get ‘up and flying’ inexpensively with ADS-B tracking.
Some anecdotal experience with the antenna; it’s rumoured that it is a co-linear antenna that benefits most from being up high due to something like having a flat horizon. This is not an accurate description but it is important to get it up above the roofline for optimum reception, with a good view out to the horizon.
I’ve found this antenna to work well for UAT978 and I currently use it for VHF/UHF scanning of frequencies around 156mhz and 450ish. Due to my very near proximity to my local safety services repeaters (+/- a mile), the reception is very good.
Last, it’s a pretty well constructed antenna, it’s been outside for over a year now with no issues.
Note I did not purchase this package from this site, am not affiliated in any way with rtl-sdr blog nor RadarBox24 and haven’t been compensated in any way.
Just a user who thinks for the current price of $40, you’re getting a pretty good deal.
That’s a lot of words for “I’m brushing aside the fact that the amp is at the wrong end of a long coax run.”
Exactly, just like your arse and your head, ya gobshite
David, there’s no need for insults, especially since they’re trying to help you and are, in fact, correct.
It’s not a high performance set up, but it’s meant to be a unit at a good price that gets beginners up and running easily.
Me fully agree with your idea. I am using Flightaware Prostick Plus after little modification. My receivers are inside metal enclosures. Me have 2 sites which work at Flightaware net.
Generally me measured simply with RTL1090 utility bunch of receivers prostick Plus and have inside LNA 22dB . This mean really better performance than me expected and declared by company (19dB).
I know how work professionaly grade receiver. Have a Beast by Jetvision (author DL4MEA – known microwave
expert of amateur radio community) Beast has not published schematic diagram, but using FPGA. This one IC is a “secret of success” . Here is a significantly higher frame rate per second (fps) over 1000fps.
So I built one from partial DIY kit and excellent.
on every one site me have under antenna LNA cca 25dB with bandpass filter. Me strongly recommend one from shop here. Necessary are low loss short coaxial cables, quality mounted RF connectors (N or SMA type)
Bias T and of course linear power supply, well filtered.
If you want spend a little more money try Radarcape receiver. User cannot be disapointed.
On another site at performance and sensitivity FA Prostick Plus at price level 25USD beating Airspy R2 receiver at price 168USD.
Airspy R2 is able replace scanners like Uniden but….. around 900MHz and up is loosing sensitivity really significantly.
If you want run Flightaware Prostick Plus with ADSBspy sw it is not possible. Youssef and his team cleared code.
Me have not Radarbox dongle at hand or on the desk. But, what you can expect at price class 15USD????
Thanks for reading.