Aircraft Frequencies To Monitor

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JASII

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I really haven't listened to aviation frequencies very much for a long time. I want to keep at least a minimal amount in the scan lists for in-flight emergencies and so forth. I am considering the following:

121.500

243.000

Also, possibly 123.450

Would those be reasonable choices these days? Does 123.450 still get some occasional chit chat? With regard to in-flight emergencies, do they usually switch to 121.500 or do they sometimes use a different frequency?
 

mass-man

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A pilot will declare an emergency on 121.5...once they have established contact with a controller, they are often moved to another freq! Depends on the severity of the emergency...if the controller thinks changing freq might be a bit much for what the pilot is handling, they will leave them there. I have heard a couple of interesting things on 121.5 thru the years, but you really gotta be listening.

123.45 is often aircraft to aircraft...then again you have to be there. In some big cities the traffic spotter planes/helos will exchange info on that freq!!!

If you're travelling, then the UNICOM freq are a good bet...at least something to break the squelch!!!
 

slayer816

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Also, if ATC "loses" an aircraft on comms. They will often try to call the aircraft on 121.5 since the majority of civ aircraft monitor it anyway. "American ####, this is Memphis Center on guard, contact Memphis Center 132.5"

Hear that more than actual emergencies.
 

mass-man

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thanks slayer816. I had 121.5 locked out as I have heard nothing for a couple of years...albeit I have limited scanning time. Might unlock it now!!!

But its always on when I am mobile....
 

slayer816

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thanks slayer816. I had 121.5 locked out as I have heard nothing for a couple of years...albeit I have limited scanning time. Might unlock it now!!!

But its always on when I am mobile....
I personally would always have it scanning. ELT's sometimes transmit on 121.5. And accidental transmissions happen on it all the time. And like I said, if they lost someone in the frequency change; they'll attempt to raise them or have a closer aircraft relay on guard. Just one of those you may go awhile before you hear it, but if you do....it's probably worth listening.
 

KB7MIB

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In some areas, there will be a frequency set aside for helicopter pilots to announce their movements to each other. (In Phoenix, it's 123.025, but other areas may use other channels.) There may also be a "company" channel used by police air support units for extended chit-chat between pilots when they have two or more choppers up at the same time. (123.650 in Phoenix.)

If there is a practice area for pilots, try 122.750 and 122.850.

Hot air balloons and gliders/sailplanes may use 123.300 and 123.500 for air-ground communications between the pilots and chase crews. (Many balloon crews use various low power and itinerant VHF and UHF business channels, or FRS/GMRS channels for this as well. Some channels, such as the MURS channels, are actually prohibited from being used onboard aircraft by FCC rules, but are used anyway.) These will be most active early in the morning, in the few hours after sunrise, on weekends. I have seen them during the week, and in the hour or two prior to sunset as well.

John
Peoria, AZ
 
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alcahuete

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With regard to in-flight emergencies, do they usually switch to 121.500 or do they sometimes use a different frequency?
If an aircraft is in contact with ATC, they are going to use whatever ATC frequency they are on. They aren't going to switch to 121.5. The only time you will ever hear an emergency declared on Guard if a VFR aircraft not receiving flight following.
 

zz0468

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In Southern California, 121.5 is almost mandatory for listening fun. Scarcely a week goes by where I hear a pilot give the welcome aboard announcement on the guard channel, and the catcalls that come from other pilots are hilarious. I've even heard So Cal Approach get in on the act.
 

Sconnick

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You've got a pretty good start now.

We use 23.45, 23.02, and 23.82 for ship to ship comms when needed...

21.5 ("Guard") will see some chatter, but rarely of an emergent nature.

Most emergencies will be on approach and tower frequencies.
 

slayer816

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Also to add to your original post. The national UNICOM/MULTICOM and local FSS frequencies are good to have scanning. Even if you are not near the actual airport you will hear lots of traffic such as the bushiness jet needing lav service and meals when they land; weather PIREPS, and all kinds of stuff.

The air band is only limited to your interest and scanner capabilities. If all you want to hear is normal ATC, then only program Enroute/Tracon/Local airport freqs. If you wanna hear more "non-typical" aircraft communication, add in the FSS and Multicom freqs. Put em in different banks if you want so you can turn them off an on. This is why I have a scanner dedicated to aircraft only. It's never a dull moment. Even in rural Louisiana with an old BCT15 / extender antenna on top of my desk.
 

n4jri

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You can get a ton of utility freqs including Unicoms. Multicoms, air/air, Flight Service Stations, etc. by searching the range 121.5 to 123.6. There's a little bit of ATC between 121.5 and 122.0, but that single range of just over 2 MHz will uncover the vast majority of what the puddle-jumpers are doing. It's also helpful as a starting point for larger airports. For example, most controlled airports use 121.9 (or something nearby) for ground control. Once you find that, you'll hear other frequencies mentioned and can start building a collection.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

immelmen

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If an aircraft is in contact with ATC, they are going to use whatever ATC frequency they are on. They aren't going to switch to 121.5. The only time you will ever hear an emergency declared on Guard if a VFR aircraft not receiving flight following.
^^This

I have declared three times in my career, never once was on 121.5. we are supposed to monitor it on com 2 but I cant any more because of all the BullS**t from people screwing around on it which is invariably followed by some Delta hump that chastises them for it and then makes his PA on guard because he forgot to go back to com 1 after he was radio police.

do a search for the closest TRACON and listen to that or if you are close to a major hub company ops can sometimes be entertaining but catching a legit inflight emergency will mostly be random right freq at the right/wrong time.
 
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