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Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

NorthEasterner
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Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Hi
I'm looking for an Airband scanner and speaker to listen to my local airport for inbound and outbound flights.
The device doesn't have to have a microphone as I don't want to speak direct to the tower or planes.
Would be useful to know if any special (unusual) planes coming in and out, As I missed a BA 777-300ER after it was diverted from Tokyo to London as it was bad weather conditions at Heathrow resulting the divert of this beauty.
Regards
NE
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Have you looked at the DVB-T dongles which also double up as software radios (rt-SDR) ?
Cost about a tenner delivered from China and if you put a proper aerial up outside can pick up anything from a few Mhz to Ghz
http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/realtek-sdr-pc-dongle-for-under-20-pounds.html
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

I have one of these which I use to listen in to pilot to ATC conversations.

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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Do you want a "desk" scanner/receiver... or a handheld/pocket scanner
Maplin do a pocket scanner AR109  for about £70.00   but it needs some rooting around in the manual, and practice to set up the most used freqs for quick scanning, instead of scanning the whole airband range...
A Desk/Scanner will need a proper VHF antenna, best in an open high location..  Pocket scanners have very limited ground range, but will pick up "airside" traffic due to the aircraft height/direct line of sight reception.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Have been an occasional airband listener for donkey's years, there are lots of these frequency listings around but this one is as Ok as any http://www.airscene.co.uk/tinc?key=lcQ5Iywa&formname=uk_avi_db
Airband scanners are not designed to transmit only receive, so you wouldn't be able to "talk" to air traffic anyway.
I have one of these, and for a hand-held its very good: http://www.flightstore.co.uk/pilot-supplies-c1/airband-radios-c51/uniden-bearcat-airband-radios-c52/...
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

My interest was always ground movements at airports. For hand-helds you need to be fairly close to an airport for this as hills and tall buildings will block signals. Having said that, since I live near the top of a 600ft hill I can easily pickup (if a little faintly) Heathrow ground which is over 24 miles away as I am on the same side of the hill. Luton which in a straight line from here is about 8 miles I can't get at all as its the wrong side of the hill for me.
However its compensated for as I live within spitting distance of the Bovingdon beacon, where many aircraft circle stacking waiting release to land at Heathrow, Luton or sometimes Gatwick. In clear dark conditions there are many aircraft circling the beacon at different altitudes (hopefully) to be seen, with practice it doesn't take long to work out which ones are heard on the scanner.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

My Icom has a very wide frequency range of 0.150–1309.995MHz in AM, FM and WFM modes.
I currently have Shanwick Oceanic and Manchester, Doncaster, and East Midlands Airports programmed into individual scan banks for when I'm in the area.
Also with the aid of ARC5 software and a small cable I can back up and configure my scanner using my PC.

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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Quote from: NorthEasterner
Hi

The device doesn't have to have a microphone as I don't want to speak direct to the tower or planes.

Regards
NE
Doubt you would find one that  had a microphone that allowed you to contact the tower or planes as that would be illegal, it is of course fairly easy to rig a transmitter up to transmit on the same frequency as the tower or planes but you would soon be getting a knock on the door,
I know you clearly state you have no intention of transmitting but thought I would add this  out of interest.  Smiley
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

What range do these handheld scanners have? Or what range do planes transmit their broadcastings?
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

This forum may help <or confuse you>: http://community.vatsim-uk.co.uk/topic/13460-airband-scanner-range/
How long is a piece of string comes to mind.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

Quote

What range do these handheld scanners have? Or what range do planes transmit their broadcastings?


Airband, is in the VHF band range of frequencies...... Generally speaking, this means " line of sight " communication is possible... If there are "solid" objects in the way, hills, buildings, then reception is severely restricted.... because aircraft are "in the air". The "line of sight"  depending  on their height, will govern the distance from the receiving station ( you  with your handheld ).  that you can receive transmissions..
I.E.  An aircraft at 36,000 feet may also be 10 miles away... and you will (probably) be able to hear them.... the ATC ground transmitter could be 1 mile away, on the other side of a hill, and you will not hear them.
Also, some frequencies "carry" better than others, so you "may" be able to hear both sides of the traffic......
bear in mind that most transmissions, on both sides ( air and ground) will take less time "on air" than it has taken for you to read this....
usually about 5 to10 seconds !....
NorthEasterner
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

I live a few miles from the airport around 5 miles from the Newcastle airport tower.
However there is houses around my as I live on a estate in a suburb, will I still be able to receive a signal?  I can fit an aerial to receive the signal if possible.
One of my friend who is a pilot for Thomson has a airband scanner but its top end professional and can send and receive transmission from the aircraft and talk to it if necessary.  However he is only aloud to use the talk function when he is on airport grounds and only at Newcastle and the destination airport.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

You can make a "simple" VHF antenna from this design
http://www.hamuniverse.com/2metergp.html
However it is designed to work on 146MHZ (2 mtr ham band)... so you will have to re-configure the maths for ( say 125 MHZ ).. which should cover most of the Airband you are likely hear...
Change the 146 in the Freq (MHZ)
use this page for your calculations....
http://www.onlineconversion.com/frequency_wavelength.htm
bear in mind you will be working on a "Quarter Wavelength" antenna..... so 125MHZ would give a length for the vertical A about 24 inches
I have made one of these and hauled it up to the rain guttering on a two story house... it works reasonably well, but would be a lot better if it were in the middle of the garden at the top of a 30 foot pole.  i.e. clear of obstacles in all directions... even so...in my location near Portsmouth....  I can still hear London ATC ( probably a repeater ) and aircraft as far away as the channel islands in incoming flight paths.... However... I do use a dedicated VHF receiver on mains power.... not a hand held scanner.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

I have a magnetic mount (useful for car) centre coil loaded airband twig (remember that from your CB days) because its coil loaded its much shorter than this one http://www.cbradioshop.co.uk/air-band-mag-mount-aerial-210-p.asp
I also fortuitously have a shed with a steel roof, which forms a wonderful ground-plane, extending the range by many miles. But I did find it worked even better when I bent the upper half of aerial above the coil to allow for the slope of the roof.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Airband for receiving ATC (plane talk)

What about radar scanning?
Has anyone tried something like this - http://www.rtl-sdr.com/adsb-aircraft-radar-with-rtl-sdr/ ?