Air monitoring experience

tweiss3

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I'll admit it, I don't usually listen to air traffic, and I'm not sure what I was doing is correct, but I was stuck stationary in my car for 5+ hours, and after scanning the local repeaters for 30 minutes with zero traffic or responses, I needed something to listen to. I remembered my FTM400 had an extended receive, sitting 3+/- miles from CLE airport I turned to the database and started listening to tower to runway traffic. That was extremely slow and not very active. I then turned to Cleveland TRACON, and listened to Final Approach and Approach frequencies from the database. Traffic was pretty consistent and pleasant to listen to, however, I was only hearing one side (ground) of the conversations/directions. I thought with the airplane in the air, I would hear both sides, but no. Is this normal?

I have since read the sticky of this section, and stumbled across the AirNAV website with more frequencies to try, I'll be in the same situation next week.

Also, on the way home, Final Approach & Approach didn't drop out until just past 12 miles away from the center of the airport, so its not something I can listen to all the time.
 

popnokick

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Did you hear ANY aircraft in flight at all on any frequency you tried? Can't tell from your post. And you are correct... it is NOT normal to be unable to hear at least some aircraft inflight. Some sort of attenuation (poor receiver, attenuator on, bad antenna, bad coax) may be occurring. Aircraft in flight normally boom in when they are nearby, but you experienced just the opposite.
I considered that CLE might have some sort of simulcast for APP and / or DEP control.... with ground based stations only on the primary freq. But looking at the freqs listed here in the RR db for CLE no such setup is shown. ALSO: the CLE listing shows an Approach Control and a Departure Control freq; where did you come up with a "Final Approach" freq? Normally, aircraft on "final approach" remain on the Approach freq until switching directly to Tower, or sometimes Ground Control after landing.
 

tweiss3

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I listened to tower 1 (120.9) and tower 2 (124.5), but that makes sense since those were all runway taxi directions. I also listened to TRACON Cleveland Final (119.625) and Cleveland Approach (126.55), which is what surprised me that I didn't hear any aircraft's transmissions. This is all from the RR database. I heard clear questions from ATC, but no answers from the aircraft.

Based on the AirNav website, I should probably try the following:

CLEVELAND APPROACH:​
124.0
CLEVELAND DEPARTURE:​
128.25 135.875

I was using a decent antenna on the roof of my car, gets great operation out of the radio, and what I did hear was very very clear from ATC. I just did not hear a single aircraft, but I could see them up in the air very clearly.
 

popnokick

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As with many high traffic airports CLE has sectorized APP / DEP frequencies. You should load up the radio memories with all of the OH TRACON freqs listed for CLE here in the RR db.
 

Icanhearit

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What time of day or anytime?

I can say for my case, the closest airport KOAK Nocal departure, during the daytime, use separate frequencies for SW and NE depatures, you can hear ground and pilot on both freqs.

Into night with less traffic (just relatively speaking as KOAK ATC also takes care of SFO right-after taking off departure, still quite some), they turns into sort of consolidation. The NE frequency turns into NE ground command only (and stronger signal) and SW freq is for both ground command and pilot channel for both NE and SW. If at this time listening to NE freq, I hear ground communication only.

YMMV, also understand your are talking about approaching.

For the record for KOAK, communication to pilot on approaching happens when the aircraft is still far away (with weak pilot voice), the ATC let the pilot to concentrate without further communication. Not the case for SFO, due to parallel landing runway, approaching talk keeps going to almost landing to let pilots watchout each other.
 

majoco

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What 'icanhearit' said. Often my little nearby airport when it's quiet in the evening will parallel up approach and ground transmitters and just have one controller. If he's working an aircraft on approach and you are listening to ground you won't hear any replies from the aircraft that you can see coming over the fence......
 
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