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Author Topic: PlaneFinder Receiver  (Read 2388 times)

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Online Anmer

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PlaneFinder Receiver
« on: August 22, 2016, 01:17:34 PM »
Just had an email from PlaneFinder, probably in response to my registering interest in its receiver:

It's taking us a while but we have finally made the Plane Finder Radar available.

We've been running these on our network for some time with great success.

You can purchase one via our online shop and/or find out more information.

http://shop.planefinder.net/products/plane-finder-radar


£249.17 plus UK VAT = £299

I'll have a think about it.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 10:33:19 PM by Anmer »
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Offline IanH

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Re: PlaneFinder Receive
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2016, 10:24:04 PM »
I have also received that e-mail as a result of expressing interest. The £299 is a special introductory price according to the web page.

Will I buy it? Probably not - they have missed out on the initial enthusiasm of potential buyers by keeping everyone in the dark for too long.

A couple of years ago I thought that enthusiasts would upgrade their dongles to better hardware - I think I was wrong. I suspect the age of the high end receiver is dead and eBay prices reflect that. Do I regret buying an SBS-1e and SBS-3? No because that was what was available a the time and I would have missed out on several years of radar spotting. But my main source of data is now an FR dongle and filter with an external Taylormade antenna. The SBS-3 is the backup.


Offline Keef

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Re: PlaneFinder Receiver
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2016, 01:45:27 AM »
Absolutely agree with the high end/cost receivers being a thing of the past

I also agree with not regretting spending hundreds of pounds on what can be achieved with a much lower outlay today.

But if nobody went out and spent the money in the 'early days' it would have taken us a lot longer to get to where we are today.

Happy days!


Offline Mariner

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Re: PlaneFinder Receiver
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2016, 07:58:36 AM »
Good Morning All,

Is the Kinetic Puck regarded as a high end reciver?

Rgds/

Online Anmer

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Re: PlaneFinder Receiver
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2016, 08:50:32 AM »
But if nobody went out and spent the money in the 'early days' it would have taken us a lot longer to get to where we are today.

This is a valid point and I was more than happy to pay GBP £400 for a "barely used" SBS-1 in 2005.  Kinetic took a risk in developing the hardware and software for a totally untested market.  And BaseStation is still the software of choice.

Plane Finder clearly thinks there's a need for a specialist, GPS equipped Mode-S receiver "for accurate multilateration" and has invested in the design and manufacture of its bespoke receiver.  But why?

How much more accurate does MLAT need to be?  And can it only be achieved if there are three or more of these receivers, sited appropriately, within a radius of approx 100 miles?  For example, is MLAT guaranteed for my location and between what altitudes?  And will I see all the plots or will some be blocked?

At the time of writing, my FlightAweare Pro Stick is synchronised with 57 nearby receivers and I get to see all the MLAT plots.  The Pro Stick and RPi cost me less than GBP £60 and I can reuse the RPi if I decide to "retire" from radarspotting.  To be totally honest, I'm not sure what I'd gain by spending GBP £300 on a Plane Finder receiver.

And what's Plane Finder's motive?

We know FR24's Radarcape receiver has GPS (though mine has stopped working), specifically to enable MLAT.  But PlanePlotter achieves MLAT without GPS, as does FlightAware's PiAware.

I suspect anyone buying a Plane Finder receiver will be sharing data by default.  Can this be disabled?

And, at GBP £300, is there a profit margin for Plane Finder?  Is it selling them for profit or has it got a pile of spare receivers that it wants or needs to shift?

A couple of years ago FR24 considered selling its receiver but decided against it, citing the cost of distribution and support.  I don't think AirNav is selling its ComStation.  FlightAware sells it's Pro Stick, filter and antenna (at cost price) but I haven't seen it's RPi based receivers for sale.  Possibly to avoid costly distribution and support?

In summary.

As a consumer, with existing Mode-S equipment, I can't justify GBP £300 for a Plane Finder receiver, other than curiosity.

As an "industry observer", I don't understand Plane Finder's motive unless it has unused stock to shift.

Kinetic may have sold 10,000 SBS-1/3 and possibly 1,000 Mode-S Pucks.  AirNav maybe 3,000 RadarBoxes.

FR24 has deployed around 4,000 receivers and has another 8,000 "volunteer" feeds.  FlightAware claims a total of 7,500 feeds including its own receivers, maybe 1,500?

From what I can ascertain, Plane Finder has under 2,000 feeders.  It's going to have to sell a lot of receivers to catch up.  And will those who buy be in locations where it needs new feeds, where GBP £300 is the equivalent of a year's income or more?

Interesting eh?
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Online Anmer

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Re: PlaneFinder Receiver
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2016, 08:56:13 AM »
Is the Kinetic Puck regarded as a high end reciver?

Depends what defines a "high end receiver"?

As I understand, it uses the SBS-1 technology and runs BaseStation.  If it has the same performance and reliability as the SBS-1/3 models, one might consider it to be a "specialist" receiver costing a lot more than a DVB-T SDR.  On the downside, you need to use it with a PC.

As others have observed, the DVB-T SDR/RPi combo is a game changer.
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Offline IanH

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Re: PlaneFinder Receiver
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2016, 11:21:33 AM »
Nicely summarised Mike.

Should be compulsory reading for anyone thinking about becoming a radarspotter  :D