ATC communications question

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poltergeisty

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When I fly around in Flight Simulator in some very remote parts of the world like the islands of Alaska or in the middle east of Afghanistan, I often wonder how my radio signal gets sent all the way to center. I know this to be true for the real world. I don't think there are interlinked repeaters for ATC communications, so I was thinking dedicated phone lines are used. Is that true?

When I fly around the islands of Alaska I'm usually in touch with Anchorage. So I can only imagine there is a dedicated phone line that goes all the way from these islands to Anchorage. Same must be true crossing the desert from Denver all the way to Vegas. I often make that trip in the Sim. In fact, when you get outside of Vegas about 10 miles or so you are in contact with Los Angeles.

Thanks for your reply.
 

Lynch_Christopher

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When I fly around in Flight Simulator in some very remote parts of the world like the islands of Alaska or in the middle east of Afghanistan, I often wonder how my radio signal gets sent all the way to center. I know this to be true for the real world. I don't think there are interlinked repeaters for ATC communications, so I was thinking dedicated phone lines are used. Is that true?

When I fly around the islands of Alaska I'm usually in touch with Anchorage. So I can only imagine there is a dedicated phone line that goes all the way from these islands to Anchorage. Same must be true crossing the desert from Denver all the way to Vegas. I often make that trip in the Sim. In fact, when you get outside of Vegas about 10 miles or so you are in contact with Los Angeles.

Thanks for your reply.
Since these ARTCCs cover such a large area they have numerous RCAG sites (Remote Communication Air-Ground) that are connected back to the center via either phone line or microwave links.
 

poltergeisty

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Thanks for your answer. I figured phone lines were used. Never thought about microwave though. Pretty amazing when you think that the voice comes across sounding pretty normal since it went through a 2200 KHz? phone line. But I guess you probably can't detect that much of a difference since it's AM.

Is there any future planning on making ATC all satellite based? I know airlines are bringing in Sat tracking for aircraft, but not sure about voice communications. That would be great for ETOPS.
 

majoco

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Is there any future planning on making ATC all satellite based? I know airlines are bringing in Sat tracking for aircraft, but not sure about voice communications. That would be great for ETOPS.
Google for CPDLC or search the Wiki here and you'll finds that satellite comms has been around for a while for long over-water flights - but it lacks the immediacy of AM VHF voice for close-in communication - you wouldn't want to waste time typing out a message to tell an aircraft to carry out an immediate right-turn which would then goes to the satellite ground station then up-and-down to the aircraft and hope the co-pilot reads it while he's busy doing the pre-landing checklist items.....
 

ATCTech

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In northern Canada we have numerous remote communications sites (we call them PALS, same as RCAG in FAA jargon) that use two-way satellite links due to the absolute impossibility of landlines ever being run to such locations. More populated areas use terrestrial landlines. We've upgraded pretty much everything to redundant digital links (still using landline for the most part) from the host site to the remote locations over the past few years. Analog landline is pretty much a dead issue here.

As for satellite voice comm, yes, it will happen as part of next generation services in the years to come. CPDLC is data, not voice, and can be delivered by satellite, VHF and if need be, HF.
 
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