Airports

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BakeryBoy

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I'm starting to get into listening to aircraft radio. Most airports have frequencies for Approach, Departure, Tower, and Ground. I understand the first two. What is tower and ground for? Should I try to monitor those frequencies if I'm not close to the airport?

I live in southeast Alabama, and I'm hoping to hear some Air Force (Maxwell AFB) and Army (Ft. Rucker) aviation traffic as well. Anyone have some suggestions on frequencies?
 

ka4gfy

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Frequencies for the tower are for aircraft to communicate with the tower within about 5 miles or so of the airport. It depends on the facility, weather conditions, etc.

When the aircraft gets to a particular point, the approach controller tells the pilot to contact the tower on the tower frequency. The tower controller is waiting for that aircraft to call. When they do, the tower controller acknowledges the aircraft and provides the pilot with further instructions for approach to the airport and landing.

Once the airplane lands and clears the runway, the tower controller will tell the pilot to contact ground on the assigned ground frequency, usually 121.6, 121.7, 121.8 or 121.9. The ground controller's job is to direct the aircraft to the parking area or assigned gate.

When an aircraft takes off, the process is reversed, ground, tower and departure.

Rich, KA4GFY
 

airwolfbell222

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Check out this nice presentation from NASA

Introduction

The control tower is responsible for coordinating landings and takeoffs at the airport., they own the airspace 4 nautical mile radius around the airport typically up to 2,500 ft.

The ground controller who also sits in the control tower is responsible for coordinating aircraft taxing on the taxiways which are used so the aircraft have a safe route to get from parking area to the runway and vice versa...

also, it helps sometimes to see what your hearing, most small airports have a restaurant or an observation area to help put the pieces together.

Remember everything is line of sight, so if your to far from the transmitter such as the tower, you won't be able to hear the controller, but in almost all cases, you will be able to hear the aircraft due to their altitude.

As for military aircraft, They usually operate on different frequencies then civilian aircraft. They operate on UHF 225-380 MHz, so if your radio doesn't receive this range, then you won't catch much military traffic.

Here is the RR page on Montgomery County:

All Identified Frequencies in Montgomery County, Alabama (AL)
 

kcoleman

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As others have suggested take a look at AirNav to get the frequencies for Ft. Rucker and Maxwell.

What radio(s) do you have and what county in Alabama do you live? Since you said you are in the southeastern part of the state don't forget all the bases in the Florida panhandle; Eglin AFB, Duke Field, Hurlburt AFB, Pensacola NAS, North & South Whiting NAS.

Good Luck,
Keith
 

W8RMH

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kcoleman

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If you have a digital capable scanner you might be able to monitor the P25 system at Ft. Rucker;

Fort Rucker Trunking System, Various, Alabama - Scanner Frequencies

Along with Ft. Rucker, here is a list of Heliports from AirNav.com that are associated with Ft. Rucker. Check each of them out through airnav's site, some of these have seperate control tower frequencies. You may be close enough to catch some of these comms

KOZR Fort Rucker
KLOR Lowe Army Heliport
KHEY Hanchey Army Heliport
KFHK Knox Army Heliport
11AL ECH Stagefield Army Heliport
13AL Hatch Stagefield Army Heliport
19AL Molinelli Stagefield Army Heliport
16AL Hooper Stagefield Army Heliport
23AL Tabernacle Stagefield Army Heliport

Also keep 288.300 plugged into your radio; this is Rose Hill MOA, you will hear fighters playing around here.

God Luck,
Keith
 
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