Whilst looking of the flightaware discussion forum I found a interesting post that describes a method of finding the potential range for a flightaware setup:
The Maximum Range achievable at any location depends on the curvature of earth and the terrain around that location. Terrain plays a very important role as hills and changes in ground level will restrict maximum range. Due to the fact that propagation of radio waves in GHz/Microwave range is line of sight, the range is limited by curvature of earth, and is about 250 nautical miles or 450 km for ideal conditions of perfectly level terrain. Hills and rises in ground levels will restrict that.
In order to determine what maximum possible range you can get at your location, follow the steps below.
Visit the site http://www.heywhatsthat.com
- Select tab “new panorama”
- Enter your latitude and longitude
- Enter your elevation (=enter elevation of your antenna)
- Enter title
- Hit “submit request” button
- Wait and view sponsor’s advertisement while panorama is generated
- When panorama is generated, scroll down to map, and click “up in the air” tab on top right of map.
- Zoom-out the map untill you see two circular curves in blue & yellow colors, showing maximum distance of aircrafts at 10,000 feet and 30,000 feet.
- Below the map you will see text boxes light yellow & light blue with default aircraft heights 10,000 feet & 30,000 feet. Change these to suite your requirements, and press “Enter” button. The two curves will modify to new height figures you have entered.
And the results…