This looks like a lovely little toy, but I am unclear which antenna to use with it , and those on the site cost more than double the price of the receiver itself. It collects ADS-B (aircraft info) which I intend to process in software.

I am a pure software guy, with no knowledge of hardware, who is thinking of buying such a receiver to play around with it.

I live two miles from a major airport. Any idea if I could get away without an antenna (told you I know nothing of hardware ;-)? If not, what's the cheapest I can get, with post & package to the UK? I would prefer to use it indoors, if at all possible, rather than running a cable out to the garden, or even hanging it out of an upstairs window.

Anything else that I need to know?

1 Answer 1


UK amateur radio stores will have SMA antennas and connectors, as SMA is the most common connector for handheld transceivers. Please specify you want a UHF antenna for monitoring 1090 MHz ADS-B/MLAT aircraft transmissions. Conventional aircraft voice radio is 108-136 MHz AM; make sure to specify to the seller you need 1090 MHz. Also, make sure to get a standard male connector as there are 'reversed male' SMA connectors.

My Yaesu VX-5 HT receives aircraft UHF transmissions with its factory stock two metre rubber duckie antenna 20 miles LOS from PDX, but you can also obtain a connector and coax to attach it to an antenna in a window or an exterior omnidirectional antenna if that's not enough signal for you.

A vertical antenna is preferred as aircraft radios use vertical polarization.

How cheap is cheap? Here are rubber duckie 1GHZ capable SMA antennas which attach to the receiver, a broader selection of all that vendor's 1GHz capable antennas, another vendor's choices, and other selections. Put the receiver module near a windows on a pie plate or other flat metal object to provide a ground plane.

1GHz UHF mag mount antennas can be ordered with the SMA connector to get it further away from the module if needed.

If you need cheaper, get an SMA male to PL-259 female connector and a metre of stiff, solid copper bell wire at a hardware store, or out of your junk bin. Wrap the bare end of one piece of wire around the exterior of the PL-259 (larger end) connector and run that to a radiator or other ground. Take the rest of the wire, strip off a couple of cm on one end, fold the bare wire with pliers, and jam it into the interior of the PL-259; the other end goes straight up into the air. See illo at https://images.app.goo.gl/ku2TSmUQCsTuviYv7 ; more ideas are at https://survivalcomms.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/basic-antennas-for-vhf-uhf-field-communications-part-1/

And, get a license! It's fun!

73 and best regards.

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    Thanks for the info. 17 squids is a fair price, even if it is almost as much as that cheap receiver; but I can reuse the antenna if I move to a more expense receiver. Do I need a license if I am only receiving, not transmitting?
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 6:32
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    Oh, that is a legal question, and I'm a Septic, not a Subject of Her Majesty, God Bless the Queen. On this side of the Big Pond, it's absolutely legal. Finding an 'Elmer', an licensed amateur radio operator willing to serve as a mentor, and asking them could resolve that; also, amateur radio stores might also help answer that,. I can say that ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence/radiocommunication-licences/… does not say a receiver must be licensed, but other receivers (TV) I know must be licensed where you are.
    – K7AAY
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 6:52
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    Lolx! A "septic" who knows what a "septic" is :-) It was you mentioning quid that threw me off. If it makes you fell better, round our manor we refer to "Shermans", rather than "septics" ;-)
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 6:55
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    Being Southron, I find I am uneasy at calling myself a Yankee, so I borrowed the Australian lingo 'Septic'.
    – K7AAY
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 6:57
  • 1
    I can follow your logic there, unfortunately, to most of the world, you are all Yanks. Sad, but true :-( When I run into one of our antipodean cousins, I can't avoid greeting him with a cheery "G'day, cobbler"
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 7:01

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