Portable ADS-B and SiriusXM receiver buyer’s guide

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Today’s portable weather accessories for iPad have evolved from basic ADS-B receivers to sophisticated, multi-sensor devices capable of providing in-flight information that rivals many panel-mount avionics systems. For the price of a few flight lessons, you can have in-flight weather (ADS-B or SiriusXM), GPS, traffic, flight data recorder and a backup attitude/heading display, all on your iPad. There are a lot of options out there, so we assembled this buyer’s guide to help you sort out the details, with updated information covering ForeFlight’s new Sentry Plus. Click on the image for a larger version.

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13 replies
  1. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Can we see a head to head review. We are aware of the features they have, but what about sensitivity and bugs? Ease of use? Disconnections? Updates? Lots of features we would like to see reviewed. Thank you!

    • Bret Koebbe
      Bret Koebbe says:

      Hi Aaron — yes, we’ll be doing an in-depth review of Sentry Plus next week from the cockpit to help answer the questions you have here, as a new segment in our Product PIREP series.

      • Ron Pogatchnik
        Ron Pogatchnik says:

        Hi Bret,

        Just curious. What happened to the SlyRadar. I have a S3 w/ ext antenna.

        I also have the SkyRadaar DX I had prior to the Stratus. It is mounted with external antenna.

        It performs much better than the Stratus in that it picks up way more traffic.

        I noticed over the years that most aviation magazines nerver mentioned the SkyRadar units. I think it was the first ADSB in that was available.

  2. John
    John says:

    What about the life span of the CO components? CO detectors typically last about 5 years- some a bit longer. Will
    these sentry units will all need servicing or repair in 5 years? Will we have a false sense of security when using these things? I’d like a unit that does what a Sentry+ does without the CO detector and get my own separate CO detector.

    • James price
      James price says:

      Thses are mostly battery powered – stand alone units. There is no wiring or installation. Some people place it on the top of the panel. Others attach it by suction to a window. Either way will help the unit receive the ADS-B signals.
      Most of the units communicate with your iPad or iPhone via WiFi. The Garmin receivers connect via Bluetooth. I hope this helps. Jim

  3. Daryl Fladager
    Daryl Fladager says:

    Do you have to upgrade from the basic subscription with ForeFlight to use the sentry ads b receiver.

    • James Price
      James Price says:

      The simple answer is “No”. ADS-B receives works with all levels of ForeFlight subscriptions.

  4. Robert McLeod
    Robert McLeod says:

    I am curious about the connection. If the Sentry units use wifi rather than Bluetooth do they not work if your iPad doesn’t have a wifi connection?

    • Bret Koebbe
      Bret Koebbe says:

      The Sentry generates its own Wifi network, which your iPad will connect to. The benefit of Wifi vs. Bluetooth is that you can connect as many iPads and iPhones to Sentry as you can fit in the airplane, vs. usually just a few with Bluetooth devices.

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