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Listening to Aircraft using ICOM IC-R5 or IC-R6

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Ridgh

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Hello all,
I am new to this forum, and need your assistance please. I live in the Northern part of Israel, in Haifa.
I have several scanners, two of them are ICOM IC-R5 and R6. I am using them in my business, mostly for fixed frequencies on the 433MHz (ISM) band, and not using them as "scanners", i.e not using most of the scanners features.
Lately, I decided to try to listen to aircraft communications, just for fun. As far as I know, they use AM and the frequencies are within 118 - 137MHz. I live approx. 5km from Haifa airport. I've connected an external vertical antenna, outside my 3 story house.
I've tried to do a band scan on AM Air-band, ( Squelch =1) and got some results, mainly from a small airport, located approx. 30km Northern of my position. Very high quality. However, no signal from the closest one, and I actually can see from time to time the aircraft in landing position. Nothing but silence...
Just for fun, I tried to change to WFM and make a manual scan. For my surprise, I received the main airport located approx. 130km from my house(BG, Tel - Aviv Airport, and on a real WIDE band, almost 3 MHz ) with a lot of humming when NOT in transmission mode (static + ~400-500Hz), but again, no transmissions from the nearer one.
I've tried to scan MANUALLY on AM the frequencies (5 kHz steps) - no way to receive, even with squelch = 0...
What am I doing wrong?
I'll be very thankful for any assistance.
Thanks in advance.
 

KI4VBR

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Mil-Air Air Field?

Is the local airport Military? I know in the US, most Mil-Air comms are on the UHF aero band with very little going over the commercial/general aviation band.

As far as wide FM, could it be that your receiver is off a little and the wider tolerance of WFM might help get you closer to your AM target.....just a far out thought.

The 400 hz is a common interference tone on the aviation band as the aircraft have electronic & electrical gear that run on a frequency of 400hz.....we all hear it and most of us have gotten so used to it we dont even know it is there. Just for reference, 440hz is the middle A on a piano, so that will give you a bit of how high or low 400 hz. is.....:)

If you can give us a little more detail, we might be able to narrow it down a bit more.

Good luck,

Vince
 

Ridgh

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Sep 15, 2011
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Thank you very much for your fast reply, KI4VBR.
The local airport is not military (even that from time to time there I can see some military helicopters activity there). I've tried to find the "tower to aircraft" frequencies, and they were supposed to be on 133MHz for this particular near airport...
I brought my receivers from Germany 3 days ago, they are new, and "behave" the same.
The ~400Hz tone is "ON" only when there are no transmissions - again, mostly on WFM.
What is unclear to me is that I could listen to a relative far airport (WFM) and I cannot listen to one relative near to my place. By the way, the frequency I receive is not even near the ones mentioned on the lists.
APP: 120.5 MHz (Ben Gurion Approach)
ATIS: 132.5 MHz
CLD: 119.35 MHz (CLNC DEL)
GND: 118.05 MHz (GND WEST)
GND: 129.2 MHz (GND EAST)
MISC: 126.8 MHz (VOLMET)
TMA: 119.5 MHz (Ben Gurion TMA)
TWR: 132.1 MHz (Ben Gurion Tower)

I receive this far airport better within 120.200 to 122.000Mhz - WFM. I've tried on AM with a lot of patience, and again, squelch = 0 all over the band, 5k steps, and got only static noise.
As I couldn't understand the manual properly (it is much more complicated than I could imagine), I had to do the search manual, approx. 2 seconds between steps. If there was any transmission, even not modulated, I could see it on the receiver's display. There were some strong "tones", on different frequencies. I suppose that they are used for flight navigation - but no communication. Usually, there is a lot of traffic on the nearer airport, so it is not logic I cannot listen to any communication.
I didn't know that there are other VHF and UHF bands for aviation, maybe you know, are they on FM or AM? I haven't tried to listen to mil-air, as I was convinced that they are encrypted or digital...
Thank you!
 

Comint

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Location
Queensland, Australia
I didn't know that there are other VHF and UHF bands for aviation, maybe you know, are they on FM or AM? I haven't tried to listen to mil-air, as I was convinced that they are encrypted or digital...
Don't bother with 5 kHz steps - Most aviation is still 25 kHz, with 8.33 kHz in use in some areas (mainly Europe). Both Civilian and Military aeronautical Bands are AM.

Technically, the Military Aeronautical Band is 225 to 400 MHz, although now-a-days you are more likely to only find AM between 225 to 380 MHz, with the 380 to 400 MHz segment being used for Military FM/Digital etc, or Public Safety (TETRA in Europe).

A lot of airfield transmitters are low power (only 10 watts), but you should still hear aircraft calling the Tower, etc.

--
Comint
 
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