Aero Any activity on oceanic frequencies?

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GB46

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With all those flight cancellations due to the pandemic, has anyone heard any activity on the oceanic HF frequencies? I haven't been able to hear either San Francisco or Gander for quite some time now. Usually I'll hear some traffic (mostly selcal checks) from San Francisco on 5547, 5574, 8843, 10057 or 11282 kHz, depending on the time of day. Gander can usually be heard near my local sunset on 8891, I have even more of those aeronautical frequencies programmed in the memory slots of my receivers, but now they seem to be just a waste of space -- the frequencies, that is, not the receivers. :)
 

gcopter1

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Funny you asked, for the last two nights, I've been monitoring HF aero.

Heard a brief exchange. Definitely, not like before the pandemic.

So, I'm blaming the lack of traffic due to that.

I think traffic has a bit more longer to build up, before things return to "normal".
 

GB46

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Funny you asked, for the last two nights, I've been monitoring HF aero.

Heard a brief exchange. Definitely, not like before the pandemic.

So, I'm blaming the lack of traffic due to that.

I think traffic has a bit more longer to build up, before things return to "normal".
Well, my current location must also be a factor, as I'm in the interior of BC, where the terrain is mountainous and SW reception is not as good as on the coast. Even if I hear those aero communications they're much weaker than they were when I lived in Vancouver. The flat terrain of the prairies was ideal. When I lived there I could hear the ground stations on both coasts, plus the flights themselves. I even used to hear phone patches between pilots and MedLink physicians on the ground when there were medical issues aboard the planes. But that was more than 20 years ago.
 

GB46

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I recall someone saying a lot of that activity is using satellites now.
True, and pilots now have CPDLC (Controller Pilot Data Link Communications) at their disposal. Even so, there was still quite a bit of activity on HF until the airline industry took a big hit from the pandemic.
 

GB46

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Well, Gander Radio just made a liar out of me this evening and came in stronger than I've ever heard them at my location, S9+ on 8891 kHz! They weren't on there very long, however, as they told the pilot to try calling them on a different frequency. That one happened to be in the VHF range, so the pilot must have been approaching Gander.
 

majoco

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Even though many aircraft are using CPDLC of one variety or another, they still have to carry out a selcal check when they transit from one oceanic area to another - but they are so brief that you may miss them if you are scanning many HF frequencies and squelch on HF is unreliable.
 

K6PCW

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The official source, updated several times a day. Seems they've cut back on amount of freqs (and probably operators).

Most often used these days for Central Eastern Pacific: 5547, 5574, 8843, & 11282, plus LDOC 6640 & 8933 (most frequently used).
 

GB46

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Even though many aircraft are using CPDLC of one variety or another, they still have to carry out a selcal check when they transit from one oceanic area to another - but they are so brief that you may miss them if you are scanning many HF frequencies and squelch on HF is unreliable.
True, but I never use the squelch on my R75, anyway. In fact, I'm one of those people who dislike the way the RF gain and squelch controls are combined on the R75. A separate squelch control would have made more sense.

My ATS-909x has a separate squelch, but I don't use that, either.

Nowadays I only have 6 aero frequencies programmed in the R75, 5 for the Central East Pacific and one for the North Atlantic (Gander). The ATS-909x has more memories available, so during some optimism on my part I programmed a whole bunch of aero frequencies into 5 "pages" of 9 memory slots each. So I wound up with 45 aero frequencies, but only hear signals on the 6 mentioned above.
 

GB46

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Most often used these days for Central Eastern Pacific: 5547, 5574, 8843, & 11282, plus LDOC 6640 & 8933 (most frequently used).
Those are the CEP frequencies I usually monitor. I haven't been able to hear any LDOC communications since 2002, when I was in a better location for radio reception and heard them every night.
 

majoco

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The frequencies shown on that "Pacific HF Assignments" missed out 13261kHz in the SP2 region which is used during the day by Nadi, Auckland and occasionally Brisbane - they drop down to the lower frequencies in the later afternoon. SFO on Hawaii often starts coming in then here in NZ and later on a lot of the northern Pacific routes. If I can hear Gander and NY volmet then it's going to be an interesting evening!
 

K6PCW

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Majoco,
You probably know this, but others might not. San Francisco Radio isn't responsible for communications beyond their area of operations. Accordingly, their website (above) contains only their assigned frequencies for the given time period. At some point aircraft are handed off to the control of other areas, such as your neck of the woods. Are there similar websites for the stations at Nadi or Brisbane?
 

majoco

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San Francisco Radio isn't responsible for communications beyond their area of operations.
Of course - I didn't mean to imply otherwise. The "border" is mainly along 5degrees South and there is a reporting point along that latitude for each route that crosses it. Every aircraft will have been instructed to call the next control station at that reporting point. The fact that I can receive SFO doesn't mean anything.
This snippet of the Pacific route planner chart shows the 'border' at 05S 170W and the reporting points along 05S.
SoPac chart snip.jpg
 
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