Aircraft pop up out of nowhere?

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Premium Subscriber
Jan 31, 2014
North Little Rock, Ar
While running virtual radar, I am getting a pretty reliable 50 miles range on my temporary antenna. I have noticed an anomaly I dont understand.

While some aircraft pop up on the map at 50 miles, and travel over my house and out to about 50 miles, the next plane might pop up on the same flight plan, at the same or close altitude, but doesnt show on the map until its like 10 miles away...then stays on the map til it leaves out at 50 miles.

Do pilots turn this system on and off, or what would explain why some planes take 30 miles to "log on" to the system? It cant be weak transmitters, because they work great going out the other direction.

I was thinking it might be something on the plane blocking the signal (my antenna is only a dipole at the moment). I would choke it up to my system, but the next plane will pop up 30 miles further out just fine.

On another note, I notice a spot on the map about 15 miles from me (5 miles east of Little Rock Bill Clinton Airport), where planes fly to, then turn 10 to 20 degrees. Would that be a VOR location?


Active Member
Aug 13, 2002
What you describe is 100% related to your reception capabilities with your present antenna, There is certainly some minor directional characteristics to the aircraft antenna and resulting signal depending on the angle to the ground station but nothing that should limit the range the way you describe. What altitudes are we talking about by the way, FL370 or 4000'? It makes a huge difference in range at 1 GHz. given the line of sight limitations at that high a frequency.
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