ATC question

ngel

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Jan 19, 2010
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SW Pasco County
Can anyone give a little explanation of how monitoring ATC’s work, more specifically what are the high versus low designations in the database? What should be monitored VHF air or the UHF air frequency listings what’s the difference is it just military vs commercial or civilian traffic?

I’m monitoring this ATC the Lowell site is what I hear near me Jacksonville (ZJX) Air Route Traffic Control Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Is there any better way to hear the air traffic controller too and not just the planes?
 

GlobalNorth

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High is 24,000 AGL and Low is < than 24,000 AGL.

VHF is most civilian air traffic, UHF is used in and around military airstrips and may have military TRACON controllers calling out control on both bands.

If you are not near an airport with an active tower, TRACON facility, ARTCC, etc. you may need to get a Yagi [directional] antenna on an elevated mast/tower to get a line of sight path to the facility.
 

GlobalNorth

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This is a basic and easy to understand website about how it functions:

 

ngel

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SW Pasco County

AI7PM

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Stratification can be a number of combinations. Surface and above, surface to ten or eleven thousand, surface to twenty three or twenty six thousand, and more combinations. The antennas for ATC aren't generally very high, as the intended audience is up high. I've been to remote sites with antennas 5 feet off the ground on a pole, to 30 feet up a tower. Hearing them requires being close, or otherwise generally line of site. (Mountain top sites) You're lucky in being able to hear the ATC side.
 

Rozie45

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High is 24,000 AGL and Low is < than 24,000 AGL.

VHF is most civilian air traffic, UHF is used in and around military airstrips and may have military TRACON controllers calling out control on both bands.

If you are not near an airport with an active tower, TRACON facility, ARTCC, etc. you may need to get a Yagi [directional] antenna on an elevated mast/tower to get a line of sight path to the facility.
I've been retired from flying for a few years now, but for those years I did fly, the high enroute charts began at FL180 (18,00 MSL). This is called positive controlled airspace. The enroute high charts will show the jet airways, high VOR's, RNAV routes, freqs for ARTCC's, etc. The low IFR's show the Victor airways, VOR's (high and low), limits of controlled airspace and several other things. Both high and low IFR charts expire every 56 days.

Generally the handoff between controllers from local to ARTCC (for those aircraft headed towards high altitudes) is done somewhere before passing 10,000'. When the aircraft gets its clearance (prior to launch) they sometimes get an EFC (Expect further clearance). This may mean that the rest of the clearance will come from center (not the local controller). Another important item is that the aircraft's altimeter is set from the local pressure setting to 29.92 inches. This make vertical separation easier and safer for fast moving aircraft at those altitudes.

In some metro areas southern California for example, you may hear an additional level of control, such as SOCAL. This is generally due to the high volume of traffic.

In the old days, all these charts (enroutes and approach...including freqs) were all done on paper. It was a pain staking process to do the updates. Now everything is electronic, much easier. better, more efficient.

Hope his helps.

Best.
 

MiCon

Mike
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Feb 9, 2006
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central AZ
Look up past posts in the RR Forums for monitoring both civilian and military aircraft. You're not the first member to ask these questions, and there are numerous forum posts that will be helpful to you.
 

billpritjr

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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
254
Location
Dallas, TX
Can anyone give a little explanation of how monitoring ATC’s work, more specifically what are the high versus low designations in the database? What should be monitored VHF air or the UHF air frequency listings what’s the difference is it just military vs commercial or civilian traffic?

I’m monitoring this ATC the Lowell site is what I hear near me Jacksonville (ZJX) Air Route Traffic Control Center Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Is there any better way to hear the air traffic controller too and not just the planes?

Some references:



SkyVector: Flight Planning / Aeronautical Charts <--- input your closest airport into the box in the upper left of the screen

1. Generally speaking (real world, operationally, ATC may vary from the script), high altitude is stuff ABOVE 24,000, and low altitude is stuff BELOW 24,000.

2. Generally speaking, VHF is ALL NON-military aircraft, while indeed SOME military aircraft will be on VHF. Some examples are military aircraft that frequently operate at civilian fields, such as VIP aircraft, cargo aircraft, and even military helicopters. UHF is exclusively military aircraft or government/military related ops, such as contractors supporting military ops.

3. Unless you are line of sight (almost literally, if you can see the Control Tower with your eyeballs...), you will have a hard time picking up ATC transmissions. An antenna tuned for 118.000 mhz (or just a plain 2-Meter Ham rubber duckie) attached to a non-trunking, non-digital scanner, will perform best. The digital P25 trunking scanners are optimized for trunk monitoring and do a lesser quality job on VHF-AM air band.

My observations as a licensed Ham, ATP rated Pilot, and commercial airline pilot.
 

tvengr

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Baltimore County, MD
Here is a list of ATC frequencies for Jacksonville Airport (KJAX):

Jacksonville
118.300KJAX Tower VHF
317.700KJAX Tower UHF
121.900KJAX Ground VHF
348.600KJAX Ground UHF
119.500KJAX Clear VHF
290.275KJAX Clear UHF
122.950KJAX Unicom
125.850KJAX ATIS
119.000KJAX App/Dep VHF
121.300KJAX App/Dep VHF
124.900KJAX App/Dep VHF
127.000KJAX App/Dep VHF
127.775KJAX App/Dep VHF
132.775KJAX App/Dep VHF
269.900KJAX App/Dep UHF
284.600KJAX App/Dep UHF
292.150KJAX App/Dep UHF
308.400KJAX App/Dep UHF
377.075KJAX App/Dep UHF
121.500Aero Emerg VHF
243.000Aero Emerg UHF
 

ngel

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Jan 19, 2010
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Location
SW Pasco County
Ngel, what airport is close to you, and what is your position relative to the field? (North of it, etc etc).
TPA , PIE and McDill AFB, I am North and West of all airports. TPA is actually showing as Miami ARTCC I guess but I am hearing a lot of traffic on Jacksonville ARTCC frequencies probably because I am closer to the coast and further north ?
 

billpritjr

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Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
254
Location
Dallas, TX
For North and West of those airports, I would monitor:

(Bold are the frequencies with probable best reception)

118.5 - TPA Approach
119.5 - TPA Tower
118.8 , 119.65 - TPA Approach, IFR arrivals from NW

124.95 and 354.0 - Tampa Approach handling MacDill
120.175 and 294.7 - MacDill Tower

125.3 - Tampa Approach handling Brooksville and PIE
118.5 - Brooksville Tower

118.3 - PIE Tower

132.35 - Miami Center (Sarasota sector) - Low Altitude

in very simple terms, the "Control Tower" handles aircraft from airport runway surface, to 2500 feet above ground, with a radius of 5 miles around that airport.

Approach (and Departure) will handle traffic prior to, and after exiting, tower "zone" but PRIOR to "Center" or ARTCC. Center begins (again, usually) at 30 to 50 miles from the airport.

For a rubber duck scanner antenna, Approach/Departure is the best reception in most cases
 

ngel

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
337
Location
SW Pasco County
For North and West of those airports, I would monitor:

(Bold are the frequencies with probable best reception)

118.5 - TPA Approach
119.5 - TPA Tower
118.8 , 119.65 - TPA Approach, IFR arrivals from NW

124.95 and 354.0 - Tampa Approach handling MacDill
120.175 and 294.7 - MacDill Tower

125.3 - Tampa Approach handling Brooksville and PIE
118.5 - Brooksville Tower

118.3 - PIE Tower

132.35 - Miami Center (Sarasota sector) - Low Altitude

in very simple terms, the "Control Tower" handles aircraft from airport runway surface, to 2500 feet above ground, with a radius of 5 miles around that airport.

Approach (and Departure) will handle traffic prior to, and after exiting, tower "zone" but PRIOR to "Center" or ARTCC. Center begins (again, usually) at 30 to 50 miles from the airport.

For a rubber duck scanner antenna, Approach/Departure is the best reception in most cases
Thank you for that info , we have a lot of airport traffic around here and there is a lot of frequencies. I have the 118.8 and 118.5 in my scanner I believe depending on where I am in the house I can hear 118.8 tower as well as the planes. I am mostly using my SDS100 but I also have a TRX-1 and BCT15X. Best reception is on the BCT15X when I use it. But I also have a ton of Digital stuff around me to monitor so I use the SDS more often.
 
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