Tuesday, 17 October 2017

ADS-B Shootout: FlightAware vs rtl-sdr.com Antenna Kit vs Jetvision

Three antennas on windowsill, one week.


FlightAware ADS-B antenna, yours for around $45, left black in image above.
rtl-sdr.com Antenna Kit, middle puny one, part of antenna package for $10,
Jetvision ADS-B antenna, fat big white one on the right, $90 dollars or so at manufacturer website. Friend's loan.
FlightAware antenna is my arbitrator for aeons, know what it will do, rtl-sdr.com antenna kit included first just for fun, then jaw on the floor. Had no info, expectation nor indoctrination regarding Jetvision, apart from reading sparse reports here and there that it works good, but couldn't test as $90 is $90.

Update Oct 20: Apparently rtl-sdr.com Kit was suboptimally positioned, so I'm rerunning this test at the moment.
Update No 2 Oct 23: Another rtl-sdr.com antenna kit on the way to test bunny ears vs "proper" orientation. Judginf from the fact and memories that similar dipoles are configured in a similar fashion just as I inadvertently did - mental image of identical antennas on old TV sets, which never heard of radio theory, lest my parents who adjusted them to get reception. We'll only know when second kit arrives for a side-by side comparison.

Comparative results

Jetvision antenna 9.87% more totals than FlightAware antenna; I estimate a margin of error of maximum 4% due to antenna positioning and slightly different line of sight.
Performance of rtl-sdr.com's antenna kit was the real surprise; comparison of maximum ranges on a given day vs Jetvision antenna:

Conclusion: none this time. Each antenna plays in a different league; which is reflected in purchase price: $90 vs $45 vs $10 for a box full of antennas and two mounts.


  1. Please give a chance to dipole. Orient it vertically and perform test once again.

    1. Just found an update in article, will wait for new results

    2. Hi Max,

      I'll rerun this test with two rtl-sdr.com antenna kits, one bunny ears and one vertical versus Jetvision antenna to see the differenence. I've added rtl-sdr.com's antenna just for fun, and since I've grown up with bunny ears on top of the TV I seemingly made a mistake, but we'll see. 30% Totals is not shabby from a general purpose kit :-)