Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AIRBAND TERMINOLOGY

Hello and welcome back... A reader was asking about Airband Terminology and what various codes are used in flight procedures...

Often when listening to Airband / Aircraft radio, some of the codes used can get a bit confusing, so i will attempt to clarify what various things mean...

Hopefully by the end, you will know what a PAX is and whether you can push them under a aircraft's wheels.



CODES

AACC - Area Approach Control Centre.

ACC - Area Control Centre.

ACARS - Aircraft Communications Addressing System - Kinda like a messaging system so air and ground staff know whats happening with the aircraft.

ADF - Area Direction Finder.

AFB - Air Force Base.

ADIZ - Air Defense Identification Finder.

AFFIRMATIVE - Yes

AGL - Above Ground Level. (also a gas company but you already knew that)

AIREP - Transmitted report inc weather.

AIRSPEED - Aircraft speed in Knots.

AIRWAY - Beacon path for aircraft.

ALTERNATE - Airport used in diverted landing.

AM - Amplitude Modulation.

ANO - Air Navigation Order

ANR - Air Navigation Regulation

APU - Air Turn Back = Go back to the airport. May be due to an illness or bad weather.(can also mean Auxiliary Power Unit depending on situation)

ATA - Actual Time of Arrival.

ATC - Air Traffic Control.

ATS - Air Traffic Services.

ATIS - Automatic Terminal Information Service

AUSY - RAAF flying international route callsign.

AUSSIE - RAAF callsign.

AUW - All Up Weight.

BFO - Beat Frequency Oscillator (some shortwave radios have this)

BLOCK - Altitude clearance with lower/upper parameters.

BOGEY - Military term for 'Target Aircraft'.

BUNT - pushing the aircraft nose down into a dive (hang on to your hats)

CAT - Clear Air Turbulence (also a small fluffy animal but you already knew that)

CAVOK - Ceiling and Visibility better than expected.

CARRIER - Commercial Passenger Airline.

CBS - Cumulonimbus cloud formation (thunderstorm?)

CHARLIE CHARLIE - Slang term on HF 'Copy Your Message' (could also be a name of someone 'so good, we named you twice')

COMMS - Communications 

CONFIG - Configuration or layout of the plane (seat layout)

CSM - Customer Service Manager = The poor bastard that cops all the shit when something goes wrong.

CTA - Controlled Airspace.

CX - Cancelled = Your flight has been Cancelled. You will now want to speak to the CSM.

CVR - Cockpit Voice Recorder

CW - Continuous Wave (Morse Code)

DELTA - Suffix to flight number meaning 'delivery flight'.

DIW - Dead in the Water (not good)

DME - Distance Measuring Equipment.

DMEA - 200Mhz Distance Measuring Equipment.

DX - Long Distance Communications.

ELT - Emergency Locator Transmitter.

ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival  = 'are we there yet?'

ETD - Estimated Time Departure

ETOPS - Extended Range Twin Engine Operations = Approval for aircraft with two engines to fly long distances over water.

FIR - Flight Information Region.

FIS - Flight Information Service.

FLAMEOUT - Jet Engine Failure (do you believe in god?)

FLIGHT LEVEL - FL310 = 31,000 feet

FOD - Foreign Objects Debris = Bits and pieces found on the runway that can cause problems to aircraft when taking off or landing.

FRM - For Routine Maintenance

FREQ - Frequency = Mhz, Khz

FS - Flight Service

GCA - Ground Control Approach = sometimes used in military.

GNS - Omega Navigation System

GO ROUND - Aborted Landing = 'you screwed up, go round and try again'.

GPU - Ground Power Unit

GRADU - Gradually.

GREEN - Military speak for Scrambled Speech Mode 

GROUNDSPEED - Speed in Knots = wind speed across the ground

HAC - High Altitude Chart

HEAVY - Aircraft bigger than a 707 (American slang)

HF - High Frequency (shortwave)

HOLD - Air pattern flown in a oval shape while waiting for clearance.

IAS - Indicated Airspeed

ICAO - International Civil Aviation Organisation

IFR - Instrument Flight Rules

ILS - Instrument Landing System

IMC - Instrument Meteorological Conditions

INS - Inertial Navigational System

INTER - Intermittent

J - Business Class

KHZ - Kilohertz (frequency)

KNOT - Nautical Mile per Hour.

LATITUDE - Meridians running east / west

LOCALISER - Radio aid to assist landing

LONGITUDE - Meridians running north / south

LSALT - Lowest Safe Altitude

MACH - Speed of Sound.

MAVERICK - Military speak for 'Target aircraft'

MEDEVAC - Medical Evacuation Flight

MET - Meteorology aka weather

METAR - Aviation Routine Weather Report

MISSED APPROACH - 'you screwed up, go round and try again'.

MIKE SIERRA - Maintenance Status

MLS - Microwave Landing System

MTOW - Maximum Takeoff Weight

NAUTICAL MILE - Equal to 1.151 statute miles

NAVAID - Navigational Aid

NEGATIVE - No

NDB - Non Directional Beacon

NIGHT VMC - Night Visual Meteorological (weather) Conditions

NOSAR - No Search & Rescue Watch Required

NOSIG - No Significant Change

NOTAM - Notice to Airmen = Information for pilots regardless of gender.

OAT - Outside Air Temperature

OCA - Oceanic Control Area

OCTA - Outside Controlled Airspace

OKTA - 1/8 of sky covered by cloud

OMEGA - Worldwide Navigational System using 8 Low Frequency radio stations across the globe.

OPS - Operations 

ORBIT - similar to holding pattern.

OVERSHOOT - Go round, sometimes emergency related or done in practice.

PAR - Precision Approach Radar

PAX - Passengers.

POB - Persons on board

QNH - Altimeter sub-scale setting giving elevation if the aircraft was on the ground (barometric pressure adjusted to sea level)

QSL - Conformation of Reception

RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force

RED - Military speak for  'In Clear Communications'

RNC - Radio Navigational Charts. 

RNP - Required Navigational Performance = Its a really really good GPS system in the cockpit.

RT - Radio Telephone

ROGER - Communication Acknowledged

ROMEO DELTA ALPHA - Re-despatch accepted by flight crew.

ROMEO DELTA UNIFORM - Re-despatch not accepted by flight crew.

RVR - Runway Visual Range.

SAM - US Air Force special air mission.

SAR - Search and Rescue

SARTIME - Time Search action is required to commence.

SELCAL - Selective Calling Device (used on HF (High Frequency)

SHEAR - Sudden change / speed of wind direction.

SID - Standard Instrument Departure

SKED - Schedule

SOB - Souls on Board (Passengers and crew)

SQUAWK CODE - Transponder code which identifies an aircraft on radar.

SSB - Single Sideband Radio Mode (used in Shortwave radio)

SSR - Secondary Surveillance Radar.

STOL - Short Takeoff and Landing

STUD - Frequencies for Military airfields. (also a name for myself)

TACAN - Tactical Aerial Navigation

TAS - True Air Speed

TEMPO - Temporary

TOPS - Cloud Tops (where angels live) 

TOGA - Take Off, Go Around = Throttle setting that puts the plane in max power, often used when aborting landings due to weather, or a PAX (wearing a toga) on the runway.

TOW - Takeoff Weight

UHF - Ultra High Frequency.

UM - Unaccompanied Minor.

UNDERSHOOT - Just short of the runway.

UNIFORM - Military speak for UHF Radio.

US - Unserviceable Equipment.

USAF - United States Air Force.

USB - Upper Sideband Radio (used on shortwave radio)

VASIS - Visual Approach Slope Indicator System.

VECTOR - Directional Steering Oriented by Radar.

VFR - Visual Flight Rules.

VHF - Very High Frequency

VICTOR - Military speak for VHF Radio

VMC - Visual Meteorological (weather) Conditions

VOLMET - Scheduled Aviation Terminal Weather Broadcasts.

VOR - VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range

VSB - VHF Survival Beacon.

WHEELS UP LANDING - Landing where the wheels have failed to extend.

WX - Weather

Y - Economy Class (aka cattle class)

ZULU - Universal Co-Ordinated Time

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 :)

Photo = Mike Wyss

Thanks to Qantas & Bob Bell for some of the info used ...



 

Friday, August 26, 2016

FAKE PLANE CRASH THIS SUNDAY

Hello and welcome back... Be listening to your radios this Sunday as a emergency training management host a mock plane crash at Barangaroo (Hickson Rd) Sydney. (9am - 2pm)

There will be 400 emergency personnel with 500 victims (that's a big plane crash) on the crash site 

GRN channels should be active with Special channels popping up that only happen in emergency's as well as other frequencies..
If you live in the city, be sure to use Closecall function to capture those special frequencies.

Check out the full story here = http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-26/fake-plane-crash-will-test-nsw-emergency-response/7781294?WT.ac=localnews_sydney

Should make for some interesting listening..

Friday, August 19, 2016

UNUSUAL ANTENNA

Hello and welcome back... A reader sent this in of a unusual antenna in the lower mountains...

To me it looks like an upside down hills hoist clothes line, maybe a homemade antenna. Wonder how well it picks up?

What do you think?



HELICOPTER FLYOVER

Hello and welcome back... Yesterday afternoon, Sydney's west and Blue Mountains was treated to an amazing site..

A flyover, very low by a 1966 Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) (VH-UH1) registered to Pays Helicopters / Australian Native Landscapes (ex Heli-Aust) and is housed at Bankstown Airport)

It made my day...Love the Chop Chop sound :)

 Photo by a very excited Michael Bailey (Springwood NSW)

Rumor has it that its the same helicopter from the movie 'The Supremes?'


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FREESCAN OFF LINE

Hello and welcome back... Been noticing of late that the Freescan Software used for programing Uniden Scanners seems to be offline. The website seems to have shut down?

So while we wait for the site to return, i have decided to put a copy of the software so that its available to download...

I have put it on my dropbox account which you can access here - Click here to download Freescan Software

OR
https://sites.google.com/site/sixspotsoftware/downloads
(many thanks to one of our readers)

Just click on the bottom bite that says 'No Thanks - Take me to the file' and then 'download'

There is another site that i have found (Soundforge / Andy Whittaker) who was asking money for the download, as far as i know the software was free, so this may be a scam

I hope the original site returns soon...

Pleeze.. 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 :)

P.S i have updated the 2 downloads (GRN and Air Pack) of this link..

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

THE LEGALITY OF CHINESE RADIOS

Hello and welcome back.... With the flood of Chinese radios on the market, i'm talking about radio makers such as Baofeng, Puxting, TYT and a string of others.

These radios offer value for money with features galore (LED lights, FM Radio, Duel Receive / Transmit) who seriously put other larger radio company's to shame.

These amazing little radios are available from around $29 - $399 on Ebay and Alibaba.

There's just one problem...

In Australia, they're ILLEGAL.

Well, it is to transmit on one and if the ACMA don't like the look of you, you could be fined for just having one in your possession.

The fine is a whopping $12,000 and if your caught selling these radios its a staggering $150,000

THE ACMA SAY =

The use of non-standard radiocommunications equipment including, but not limited to, cordless phones, land mobile transceivers, CB radios and a range of low power appliances, may cause costly interference. Some of the services which may be affected by interference are cellular (mobile) phone services, broadcast radio and television, and two-way radio services, including emergency services.

The use and (sometimes) possession of radiocommunications equipment not specifically designed to comply with Australian standards may be illegal. There are severe penalties for operation, possession for the purpose of operation and supply of radiocommunications equipment that does not comply with applicable Australian standards.

It is illegal to operate any radio transmitter in Australia unless the operation of that transmitter is authorised by a licence issued by the ACMA.

Low power transmitters are generally covered by an ACMA radiocommunications class licence. Spectrum usage and equipment standards vary around the world, and it can be difficult to ensure that equipment purchased overseas complies with an ACMA class licence. The operation of most base stations, mobile and handheld transmitters can only be authorised by an apparatus licence, which incurs additional costs.

Two-way base, mobile and handheld equipment other than those used in the amateur service usually requires the assignment of individual operating frequencies. It is most unlikely that this type of equipment, which may be authorised for use in other countries, could be authorised for use in Australia without at least requiring a frequency change, and in many instances cannot be operated at all. As a result, it is generally impractical to bring such equipment into Australia.

Radiocommunications equipment approved for use in Australia has the C-Tick compliance mark, showing that it meets mandatory technical standards set by the ACMA.

If radiocommunications equipment is designed to connect to a telecommunications network it must also comply with regulations applicable to telecommunications equipment and be labelled with the A-Tick compliance mark. It is not necessary for such equipment to also bear the C-Tick mark. For such equipment, the A-Tick mark is sufficient indication that the equipment complies with both radiocommunications and telecommunications regulations.


MY SAY =

Look, i get it... These radios, if in the wrong hands can cause lots of problems, programed correctly you can start transmitting on various emergency services, business owners, State Rail, etc etc...

Also if transmitting on say, Ch19 on UHF CB there has been instances where the splatter can be heard on Ch 18,17 and sometimes 16. This apparently does not happen with a certified radio.

I own a Baofeng GT-3 and using software (Chirp) have disabled all transmitting on my radio so it is now effectively just a scanner now.
I have also gone one step further and cut a small piece of rubber from the transmit button so there is no way i can accidentally transmit on my radio (see pics below)

But is it still legal?.. I only receive now so it should be O.K (i hope)

Even if you have an Amateur radio license you may still be in trouble

BUT.. What i don't get...

Most radios that have the 'Tick' of approval are guess what??... Bloody expensive.

Why can't radio manufacturers like Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, etc, etc, make radios that don't cost the earth... Seriously, if small Chinese company's can do it then why can't larger company's.. after all, most of them are made in bloody China anyway

I hear you say, the components are better quality??

I own a Alinco scanner (DJ-X3) and while its a decent radio, my Baofeng has way better sound, its so clear and crisp and the Baofeng has a keypad, the Alinco does not...
Both receive the same...
One radio cost $59, the other cost $249
While the Alinco receives Airband Radio and a crappy Shortwave, the $200 difference is hard to swallow, may have been OK 10 years ago but not in today's market.

Still, these Chinese made radios have more features including (as mentioned before) LED lighting, FM Radio (alinco has this), Duel Receive, ....and while components may be more expensive, it still does not cover the fact that they the larger company's are $200 - $400 more expensive...

Me thinks a huge shake up in the radio communications is in order with larger company's not able to compete with Chinese company's who are able to make radios for as little as $29

Legal or Not...


HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHINESE RADIO NOT TRANSMIT

Using CHIRP SOFTWARE untick the options to turn off the transmit functions (see below)... Note, the VHF and UHF TX Transmit has been disabled


AND

If your still paranoid that you may still hit the transmit button accidentally... try this hack (note - this will void your warranty)

This hack cuts away a small piece of rubber of the transmit button and wont allow you to transmit.


 Four screws hold this radio in place, they are hex type nuts (i used a small flat screwdriver), be carefull not to shred the screw heads.

The 2 gold nuts have to come off, its pretty easy, just take your time...

Should look like this...

Gently pry the bottom up while pushing on the antenna node, it should then look like this... A small bit of tape that holds the speaker the the case will now come off (this is the warranty seal)... Be careful of the small speaker wires...

Pry the rubber button out..

Pry the rubber button inside out...

Using a sharp knife cut half the rubber from the transmit button (middle)


Put back into radio pushing the rubber gently into place with a small screwdriver... NOTE = make sure the button writing is the right way up (see below)


Now, Just put the radio back together, gently watching for the speaker wires...

Casualty, even being careful, i managed to catch the little rubber holding the plug (above).. but the radio went into place better (also pry the sides apart gently while trying to place the keypad into place)

NOW there is no way you can transmit on this radio...

Pleeese, 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 :)

MORE PICS..
http://www.stevencombs.com/ham/2015/03/22/baofeng-gt-3-mark-ii-tear-down.html


Sunday, August 7, 2016

FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW

Hello and welcome back... I Love Air Shows...

The sights, smells (burning aviation fuel hmmm) and the pure speed and size of Aircraft on display and in the air.

If you live in the U.K, then you are very very lucky... Why?,
Because they have an Air Show that ..(wait for it)..

Lasts all week. That right. How wicked is that?

The Air Show at Farnborough airport (Hampshire) U.K goes from Monday thru to Sunday with the first four days mostly for trade customers and then the last 3 days are for the general public.
During this time, a whopping $74 billion changes hands.

Thankfully for us on the other side of the globe, someone thought it was a good idea to document this event and (god bless their cotton socks) put it on YouTube.

Some of these videos goes for a lip smacking 5 hours, its just like being there...

Videos include commentary and professional camera work

I'm in heaven, Enjoy


MONDAY  (Day One)



TUESDAY



WEDNESDAY



THURSDAY



FRIDAY



SATURDAY



SUNDAY



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 :)


LINKS

http://www.farnborough.com/



#NSWRadio&Communications
#NSW Radio & Communications

Huge Thanks to Farnborough International Airshow for the videos, you guys rock...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

QANTAS AIRCRAFT FORCED TO TURN BACK TO SYDNEY

Hello and welcome back... You know the feeling, you suddenly hear on the radio or TV that an aircraft is in trouble and its local... Time to fire up the scanner.

Around 4pm a Qantas A380 (QF1 / Qantas 1) Departed Sydney to Dubai.

About an hour into the flight a warning light on the dash started making itself known and the pilot decided to burn fuel before heading back to Sydney for a 'Autoland Touchdown requiring the whole length of the runway'

The problem was with a heater that takes hot air from the engine and is used to heat the cabin so everyone is warm and toasty.

I picked up the flight as it was headed south and listening to Approach (s, w) on 128.300Mhz

The plane (VH-OQI) landed safely around 7.15pm.


FREQUENCIES

128.300 Approach ( S,W)
126.100 Director
120.500 Tower
GRN Id Code 10111 - Airport Fire

There was probably company channels active but i wasn't close enough to hear.





































































#Qantas
#Qantas QF1
#NSW Radio & Communications