RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Topic Specific Forums > Aircraft Monitoring Forum

Aircraft Monitoring Forum This is the place to discuss monitoring civilian aircraft communications.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 4:24 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default best receiver for airband?

any advice as to the best receiver specifically for airband? it dosent need to do any other band, it can be a tranceiver if nessicary... im looking for sensitivity, so I'm guessing most scanners are out... looking for something <$1000
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 5:26 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Tasmania - Australia
Posts: 392
Default

Maybe an air band transceiver???

I think your aerial and coax will be the main thing to improve to get more signals.

I have the Icom RX7 and I am very impressed with that on the air band so far.

Paul
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 6:01 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default

coax is 7/8" rigid hardline so i think im ok with the coax

antenna is a DB-224E, so its a bit out of band but it still performs well...

i was looking at the icom IC-A110 but not sure how its going to perform for $800 kind of a big gamble
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 7:40 PM
Completely Banned for the Greater Good
   
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Orange City, Fl.
Posts: 673
Default Best airband radio

I used to monitor civilian aviation with an Icom IC-A6 & an Icom IC-110, the problem I found using these rather expensive commercial grade transceivers is that they scan very slowly, also the A110 can only program 20 channels & the A6 can only program 200 channels, the civilian airband has 760 channels allocated to it, these transceivers can scan the entire civilian airband in their respective VFO modes, the only problem is there is no lockout feature in the VFO mode. Big problem when you encounter interference or a nearby airports continuous ATIS transmission, the only way around this is to keep hitting the scan button, very annoying to say the least. I finally purchased an Icom IC-R8500 with an LMR-400 fed Larson VHF airband ground plane antenna mounted on the roof of my residence, for portable work I purchased an Alinco DJX2000 scanner & replaced the stock rubber duck antenna with a stubby mount UHF antenna. So far that works for me.
FLRAILMAN
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 10:59 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default

well the radio will not be scanning so thats not a concern... im mostly concerned about sensitivity/selectivity... im trying to pick up some far away airports to stream them online....

setup is going to be like this

antenna > coax > air band pass filter can > preamplifier > receiver multicoupler > radios > PC > internet
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 5:35 PM
Completely Banned for the Greater Good
   
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Orange City, Fl.
Posts: 673
Default Monitoring airband

If scanning is not an issue, then the IC-A110 is the best way to go for the money you want to spend.
Good luck.
FLRAILMAN
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2009, 9:58 PM
Member
   
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,685
Default

If you'd like to have a transceiver do rx-only duty for VHF-AIR, perhaps an Icom 746-Pro would fit the bill for sensitivity and filtering if needed.

Last edited by hertzian; 06-30-2009 at 10:01 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2009, 11:32 AM
JMM-BDA's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Bermuda
Posts: 38
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flecom View Post
well the radio will not be scanning so thats not a concern... im mostly concerned about sensitivity/selectivity... im trying to pick up some far away airports to stream them online....

setup is going to be like this

antenna > coax > air band pass filter can > preamplifier > receiver multicoupler > radios > PC > internet
Hi flecom, what distances are you looking at?

That's exactly my setup, and what I use them for.

I believe that one of the transceivers people are talking about would be better than a scanner, but I only have a couple of Uniden BCT-15s, so can't compare them.

I can tell you though, that I can hear aircraft very strong & clear out to 200 NM from me. I know this, because all aircraft arriving, departing and even transiting within 180 NM are required to check in with New York Oceanic here in Bermuda (one of my Internet feeds), and the aircraft for example are advised "radar identified 20 miles east of BALOO", which itself is 180 NM from me. Actually, it's 180 miles from the VOR, so tack on another 6 miles or so. But, I digress.

Again, the reception often (depending on aircraft) is mostly pretty strong & crystal-clear. Even the weak ones are still readable.

My antennas are what makes the difference, though. I've tried a few, inluding an LP (log periodic), but the best one I've come across is my current 12' vertical, which is a professional antenna from a company called Procom in Denmark. The model is their CXL 3-3C. It wasn't cheap (cost me almost $1000 for the antenna, plus shipping from the UK and duty when it arrived here). But reception-wise I feel it's worth it.

Again, not having a dedicated airband-only receiver/scanner to compare my setup against, I can't comment much more. When you say "far away airports" stations, how far from you are those stations? Your mileage, as they say, will vary, as except for a few hills around here (on land), the signals that I'm receiving are traveling over at least 175 NM of ocean, with no obstructions.

Here's my equipment, including the filters & preamps, etc.

BikiniWings/FusionWings/GenealogyWings - My Toys: Radio Equipment

The lower (LP) antenna in the top pic is disconnected, and not in use. Don't know if it's interefering with the top one's reception.

Sorry I can't be of more help, with any definitive answers for you. All that I can do is offer my results that I'm having with my equipment for also picking up distant communications.

Have a great weekend. Happy 4th.

P.S. The reason why I went with a couple of BCT15 scanners (and their expense), was that I wanted to make use of their audio Line-Out capability, fed into a couple of PC's audio Line-In inputs. I do notice a distinct difference between using the simpler (plug-in-and-forget) Line-Out outputs (rather than Speaker-Out outputs). Likewise, I only use Line-In inputs, rather than Mic-In, as I notice a difference there too.
__________________
Uniden BCT15
Procom CXL3-3C

Bermuda (TXKF) Airport
http://www.liveatc.net/flisten.php?mount=txkf

New York Oceanic (ZNY) Bermuda Sectors
http://www.liveatc.net/flisten.php?mount=txkf_zny

Last edited by JMM-BDA; 07-04-2009 at 11:37 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2009, 12:10 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,385
Default

The Signal Communications R-535 or R-532 are supposed to be really good aircraft receivers. My favorite is the Motorola URC-101 or URC-110 surplus military manpack/mobile/base transceivers. They are fantastic, especially on UHF mil air.
prcguy
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 07-06-2009, 10:46 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMM-BDA View Post
Hi flecom, what distances are you looking at?

That's exactly my setup, and what I use them for.

I believe that one of the transceivers people are talking about would be better than a scanner, but I only have a couple of Uniden BCT-15s, so can't compare them.

I can tell you though, that I can hear aircraft very strong & clear out to 200 NM from me. I know this, because all aircraft arriving, departing and even transiting within 180 NM are required to check in with New York Oceanic here in Bermuda (one of my Internet feeds), and the aircraft for example are advised "radar identified 20 miles east of BALOO", which itself is 180 NM from me. Actually, it's 180 miles from the VOR, so tack on another 6 miles or so. But, I digress.

Again, the reception often (depending on aircraft) is mostly pretty strong & crystal-clear. Even the weak ones are still readable.

My antennas are what makes the difference, though. I've tried a few, inluding an LP (log periodic), but the best one I've come across is my current 12' vertical, which is a professional antenna from a company called Procom in Denmark. The model is their CXL 3-3C. It wasn't cheap (cost me almost $1000 for the antenna, plus shipping from the UK and duty when it arrived here). But reception-wise I feel it's worth it.

Again, not having a dedicated airband-only receiver/scanner to compare my setup against, I can't comment much more. When you say "far away airports" stations, how far from you are those stations? Your mileage, as they say, will vary, as except for a few hills around here (on land), the signals that I'm receiving are traveling over at least 175 NM of ocean, with no obstructions.

Here's my equipment, including the filters & preamps, etc.

BikiniWings/FusionWings/GenealogyWings - My Toys: Radio Equipment

The lower (LP) antenna in the top pic is disconnected, and not in use. Don't know if it's interefering with the top one's reception.

Sorry I can't be of more help, with any definitive answers for you. All that I can do is offer my results that I'm having with my equipment for also picking up distant communications.

Have a great weekend. Happy 4th.

P.S. The reason why I went with a couple of BCT15 scanners (and their expense), was that I wanted to make use of their audio Line-Out capability, fed into a couple of PC's audio Line-In inputs. I do notice a distinct difference between using the simpler (plug-in-and-forget) Line-Out outputs (rather than Speaker-Out outputs). Likewise, I only use Line-In inputs, rather than Mic-In, as I notice a difference there too.
thats a nice setup, the airports im trying to listen to are about 12~13 mi away line of sight, but the noise floor is pretty bad, and theres a lot of buildings and other obsticles... im up about 75 feet with a DB-224-E (which is 136-150 but its the best i could get)

im not having a problem with the airplanes, just getting the tower clearly... im using a kenwood D700a right now, with not much sucess... so im guessing its the radio more than anything, i am in miami also, so elevation changes are minimal (no hills etc)

i was looking at the ramsey AR2 receiver...

AR2 - Synthesized Aircraft Receiver Kit - Ramsey Electronics

anyone used one of these before? could get a lot more rx'ers if they dont suck hehe
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-2009, 8:25 AM
w0fg's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 443
Default

The D700 is actually a pretty decent aircraft receiver. I think you'd be a lot further ahead spending that $1000 on a tower and antenna. You problem isn't receiver sensitivity, it's physics. Aircraft transmissions are basically line-of-sight, and if your antenna is so low that you're below that line, you're SOL. Get that aluminum up in the air!
__________________
Rick

"The King has note of all that they intend, by interception which they dream not of. "

Henry V, Act ll, Scene 2.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-2009, 8:57 PM
FrankJ's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Euclid, Ohio
Posts: 487
Default

Any votes for the Realistic PRO-43?

Frank
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2009, 2:50 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by w0fg View Post
The D700 is actually a pretty decent aircraft receiver. I think you'd be a lot further ahead spending that $1000 on a tower and antenna. You problem isn't receiver sensitivity, it's physics. Aircraft transmissions are basically line-of-sight, and if your antenna is so low that you're below that line, you're SOL. Get that aluminum up in the air!
i am on top of a 5 story building and the antenna itself is 23' tall... think it would be pretty hard for us to put a tower on the building...
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2009, 3:20 PM
gewecke's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northwest Illinois
Posts: 5,756
Post

I have an old BC 780 which has pretty decent sensitivity at air band freqs. both mil. and civ.
never tried a preamp though.
N9ZAS.
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2009, 4:20 PM
w0fg's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 443
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flecom View Post
i am on top of a 5 story building and the antenna itself is 23' tall... think it would be pretty hard for us to put a tower on the building...
Hate to say it, but in that case you may just be screwed. There really isn't that much difference in sensitivity between a dedicated airband transceiver and a good scanner. Sometime terrain wins. Can you change the antenna to a beam pointed at the airport you're trying to receive? You can almost always get more gain from a directional antenna than from replacing the radio itself.

(As an example...I have next to no reception of the P25 digital signal from the neighboring county from my QTH, even when using the 5db gain antenna on the top of my 65' tower, but I'm in a hole. I can drive about 8-10 blocks to the community high school and pick the signal up on the rubber duck on a handheld, standing in the parking lot of the football field. I can't begin to hear any of the tower communications from the airport 35 miles south of me, even with the antenna at the top of my ''65 Rohn tower, but I can drive about 7-8 miles south and pick them up fine on my D-700 mobile.)
__________________
Rick

"The King has note of all that they intend, by interception which they dream not of. "

Henry V, Act ll, Scene 2.

Last edited by w0fg; 07-08-2009 at 4:27 PM..
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2009, 4:26 PM
gewecke's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northwest Illinois
Posts: 5,756
Post

I'm pretty close(within 5 miles) of the BMI airport here,so I wouldn't need a beam but yeah in the past I've used one for mil air. Actually,I'm in the flight pattern of one of the main runways.
N9ZAS.
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2009, 11:50 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 184
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by w0fg View Post
Hate to say it, but in that case you may just be screwed. There really isn't that much difference in sensitivity between a dedicated airband transceiver and a good scanner.
wow really? your telling me a scanner with no front end letting in all sorts of crap from DC to light is going to be just as sensitive as a commercial airband receiver with a real front end?

i guess everything ive ever known about RF is incorrect
__________________
/R
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2009, 4:14 PM
N9JIG's Avatar
Master of my domain
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 2,118
Default

Scanners are often more sensitive than transceivers for most frequencies. The transceivers usually win however on the Selectivity front, so real-world range (which is apparently the OP's ultimate goal) could be a wash.

The antenna and feed is usually much more important than the actual receiver unless you are in a high-noise area when a more selective receiver will then be more important than raw sensitivity.

I have had very good luck with the Uniden BC780/785/796/BC15 and BC996 receivers over the years on airband, they seem to have a great mix of sensitivity and selectivity on both UHF and VHF air. My R8500 and R7000's work about as well, sometimes a little better on VHF. Of my various HF rigs over the years, only my 746's and my 706MKII had airband on them and I was not real impressed with the performance on any of them. My Kenwood D700 has airband as well, and while sensitive and selective, it has poor audio on AM.

A band-pass filter will help scanners overcome much of the problems caused by the wide-open front ends common on them, it would help on the high-end stuff like the 8500's as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flecom View Post
wow really? your telling me a scanner with no front end letting in all sorts of crap from DC to light is going to be just as sensitive as a commercial airband receiver with a real front end?

i guess everything ive ever known about RF is incorrect
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2009, 4:38 PM
zguy1243's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Calhoun Georgia
Posts: 877
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by N9JIG View Post
I have had very good luck with the Uniden BC780/785/796/BC15 and BC996 receivers over the years on airband, they seem to have a great mix of sensitivity and selectivity on both UHF and VHF air. My R8500 and R7000's work about as well, sometimes a little better on VHF.

I don't really see too many scanners comparing that closely to the Icom 8500, especially the ones you have listed. Of them the 780 has closest shot. The Icom 8500 easily out performs those radios in every aspect of receiver performance.

In regard to the best radio for airband reception there are alot of factors that can come into play.

I live somewhat in the country and this allows me to use higher gain preamps with radios that would not handle a preamp at all in a high RF area. In a clean RF area or with bandpass filtering the Pro-2045 is the best base model scanner available for UHF 225-400Mhz reception. I have owned I think every scanner ever made, thats no joke, and the 2045 is the only scanner that use for 225-400Mhz reception. Depending on your RF surrounds you may not be able to repeat my results. My exact setup moved to your QTH my become overloaded or de-sensed by nearby transmitters and become almost unusable. To avoid all variables in RF population of your QTH I would say by using a bandpass filter with a Pro-2045 and a 10-20db gain preamp for the 225-400Mhz band combined with a outdoor antenna as high as practical with low loss feedline you could not go wrong and it would cost lots and lots of money to outperform a setup like this.

Jody
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2009, 6:14 PM
N9JIG's Avatar
Master of my domain
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 2,118
Default

The 2045 is one of the few scanners that I don't or haven't owned. I have heard from some of my best friends that it is indeed fantastic on MilAir.

As for the 8500 comparisons with consumer scanners the scanners often beat it for raw sensitivity but due to the lack of selectivity the actual reception quality lacks. The 8500 can often pull weaker signals due to better noise floor characteristics and selectivity, you can reduce the squelch down more and dig out those weaker signals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zguy1243 View Post
I don't really see too many scanners comparing that closely to the Icom 8500, especially the ones you have listed. Of them the 780 has closest shot. The Icom 8500 easily out performs those radios in every aspect of receiver performance.

In regard to the best radio for airband reception there are alot of factors that can come into play.

I live somewhat in the country and this allows me to use higher gain preamps with radios that would not handle a preamp at all in a high RF area. In a clean RF area or with bandpass filtering the Pro-2045 is the best base model scanner available for UHF 225-400Mhz reception. I have owned I think every scanner ever made, thats no joke, and the 2045 is the only scanner that use for 225-400Mhz reception. Depending on your RF surrounds you may not be able to repeat my results. My exact setup moved to your QTH my become overloaded or de-sensed by nearby transmitters and become almost unusable. To avoid all variables in RF population of your QTH I would say by using a bandpass filter with a Pro-2045 and a 10-20db gain preamp for the 225-400Mhz band combined with a outdoor antenna as high as practical with low loss feedline you could not go wrong and it would cost lots and lots of money to outperform a setup like this.

Jody
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2011 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions