Friday, June 3, 2016

AIRCRAFT RADIO - AVIATION MONITORING (VHF BAND - Part 1)

Hello and welcome back....

Aircraft radio or Aviation Monitoring is one of my most favorite hobbies.

With Aircraft Radio you can hear pilots taking off, getting clearances for landing, dodging extreme weather conditions or sometimes preparing for an emergency landing or situation.
Then add the Control Tower, Air Traffic Control, Ground Services, Weather Services & Military Comms and that's where it gets exciting. 

You can literally put yourself next to the pilot with air band monitoring.

But how do you get started?


A scanner radio that covers the Airband (108-136mhz) frequencies is a good start. The 108-136mhz is whats called the VHF band and has 25khz spacing.

You can also receive Aircraft frequencies in the 225-400mhz band (known as the Military Band), 400mhz band covers Aircraft company chs and Shortwave Band also covers some Air band Communications.

In this post, i will cover the VHF band (108-136mhz) for the time being.
Later posts will cover Military band and Shortwave.

Some Scanners that cover Air band frequencies include =

UNIDEN - UBCD436PT - Handheld (latest model) ($849)
                  UBCD536PT - Mobile/Base (Latest model) ($799)
                  UBCD325P2 - Handheld (small brother of the 436PT model) ($749)
                    UBC126AT - Handheld ($249)
                 UBCD396XT - Handheld (own and recommend :)) ($469)
                 UBCD996XT - Base/Mobile ($na)
                 UBC355XLT - Base/Mobile (own and recommend) ($199)
                     EZ130XLT - Handheld (budget model) ($129)

ICOM - IC-R6 - Handheld ($299)
              IC-R8500 - Base ($2499)

GME - RX1300 - Handheld ($299)

ALINCO - DJ-X11E - Handheld ($599)
                  DX-R8 - Base ($799)
                  DJ-X7E - Handheld ($269)
                  DJ-X3E - Handheld (own and recommend) ($219)

TECSUN - S2000 - Base/Desktop ($425)
                   PL680 - Portable ($199)
                   PL660 - Portable ($179)
                   INTEK AR-109 - Handheld ($125)

AOR - AR-ALPHA - Base (Professional) ($10,999)
            AR-DV1 - Base/Mobile (the ducks nuts) ($1799)
            AR-ONE - Base (dreams are made of this) ($5,799)
            AR-5001D - Base (stop it, your turning me on) ($4,699)
            AR-6000 - Base (wet dream material) ($6,999)
            AR-8600MK.2 - Base/Mobile ($1199)
            AR-8200MK.3 - Handheld  ($699)
            AR-MINI - Handheld (budget) ($299)

                                                                                               The Ducks Nuts
** Please Note = Prices are a reference only

This list is current and is only some of whats available but a search on ebay etc, will reap rewards with older units (just check that the scanner covers the 108-136mhz band)
Most of these above scanners are available, band new from Andrews Communications Click Here (they also stock second hand as well, give them a call)
Or
Tecsun Click Here

** ANTENNAS **

The stock antenna sadly is not going to cut it when listening to Aircraft Comms. Saying that, if you live right next door to an airport then disregard what i just typed.
For the rest of us, a better antenna attached to your new toy will reap wonders.

For handheld scanners i use and recommend Mobile One antennas inc model - BNCSCAN or SMASCAN
                                                                                                                                     or
                                                                                                                 BNCAR124 or SMAAR124
for handhelds. The BNCSCAN (bnc type thread) and the SMASCAN (sma type thread) are made for scanners that cover wide frequency coverage, are longer than the normal antenna (310mm) and costs around $40/45 but will receive heaps better than the supplied antenna that came with your radio

The BNCAR124 / SMAAR124 Antenna are a dedicated antenna made for Aircraft band, are smaller than the BNCSCAN / SMASCAN (210mm) and costs around $35/45

For Base setups, the Mobile One whip antenna SCATXLOW or SCATX is excellent. On Airband the SCATXLOW has 2.14dbi gain and the SCATX has 2dbi gain. Costs about $50.

If you really want a better setup then the AIRKIT antenna (2dbi gain) or CDB124 (3dbi gain) is an excellent way to go. The AIRKIT antenna is 2 antennas in one and costs around $125 while the CDB124 base antenna costs around $165

For Mobile (car) setup the Mobile One antenna M124-3 (3dbi) is an excellent choice at $60

All Mobile One antennas are made on site in Australia (Camden Airport)...

Check out Mobile One Airband Antennas Here
                                    Scanner Antennas Here

Also a check on  Ebay or Aircraft suppliers (Icom, ect) for replacement antennas that will also do a better job than the antenna your radio was supplied with. The Icom antenna that comes with their Airband transceiver is an excellent choice (model - FA-B02AR). This antenna has a bnc fitting and costs around $50. Check it out Here


** FREQUENCIES **
  
Distress - 121.500 (listen for 'MAYDAY' or 'PAN' calls)
Air to Air ch - 123.450 (also known as the 'Chat Ch')
Air to Air - 126.350 (Pacific region - outside official airspace)
Air to Air - 128.950 (Pacific region - inside official airspace)
Gliders - 122.700
Flying Clubs - 119.100
ATIS - Sydney - 126.250 (Automatic Terminal Information Service)
         - Bankstown - 120.900
         - Coffs Harbour - 117.000, 130.300
         - Richmond - 126.300
         - Tamworth - 123.800, 114.100
         - Broken Hill - 118.400, 114.200
         - Camden - 125.100
         - Dubbo - 119.800, 114.400
         - Wagga Wagga - 115.000, 123.700
ACARS - 130.025 & 131.550 (Aeronautical Communications Addressing & Reporting System)



PLEASE, Don't forget to shout me a coffee (see link top right corner)... Any amount big or small is much appreciated and it keeps this site happening :)

6 comments:

  1. Would it be possible to pick up air band (sydney airport, Richmond air base) clearly with ubcd396xt in Glenmore Park?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you should be able to hear aircraft. An outside antenna would be preferred, sometimes mounting an antenna on top of your tv mast will work wonders (the higher, the better). Richmond is to your North and Sydney is to your East. Glenmore Park is a fly over zone which is great to hear aircraft passing over head as they fly West.
      Cheers

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your response Michael.
      Would a Mobile One SMAISCAN antenna receiver air band much better than the stock antenna?

      Delete
  2. Hi , my AOR MINI has a few issues after many years of good service ...the squelch is not working . Is there a repairman in southern Sydney you know? Although it may be time to upgrade to a 396 .Thanks for the updates . Danny

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, only one i can think of is Gencom.. They're at /42 Canterbury Rd, Bankstown.. Ph 97906305
      Ask for Robert
      Hope this helps

      Delete