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Can't hear Indianapolis Center.........

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302HO

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Question about center. And yes, i am a newby using and Icom R20 with a Maldol AL 500H.

I listen to the Indianapolis center. Around 133Mhz. I can hear the planes but cant hear center. Is it just because center is to far away or are they talking to the planes on a different frequency. I am atleast 100 miles do south from indianapolis. Does indianapolis center transmit using repeaters?

Thanks........
 

ka3jjz

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You can't expect to hear the Center 100 miles away with just a handheld antenna as Bucko has suggested. Airplanes, possibly, but not the Center. However, a simple solution is often the best - build a simple ground plane antenna - several plans are in the Scanner Antennas Wiki, just use the supplied formulas to retune the antenna from 2 meters to your desired freq - and put it up nice and high. Feed it with a good grade RG6 or similar, and your range will increase quite a bit. Depending on the terrain, you might get your 100 miles (kinda doubtful, but it's worth a try...). Building one is a cinch with fairly simple tools and a good soldering iron.

73s Mike
 

KCChiefs9690

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You hear the planes loud and clear because they are so high in the air. An airliner at 30,000 feet can transmit and receive more than 300 miles. In comparison, a ARTCC (center) station at grpund level has a much lesser range.
 

302HO

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Would a preamp help my situation? I live in the country. Well 5 miles out of town. I have read that preamps can help in certain situations. I have read that alot of people say that if you are near alot of traffic, preamps will overload your radio. Where i live, there isnt a whole lot of traffic.

Which preamp would you recommend?
 

adkad

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hi: I live 50 miles from Denver International and could never pick up the ground controllers with my handheld and base radio shack radios even with a preamp. I put up a 30 foot dedicated airband antenna and still could not get it on my radios. I then purchased a arc5000 and now get all but a few of the ground controllers. So it depends on antenna and the quality of the radio as well as distance. In my experience preamps did not help much. A good antenna is most important but it can overwhelm handhelds so the quality of the radio counts too. Adkad
 

ka3jjz

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Personally I'd be rather reluctant to put a preamp on a handheld - they're simply not built to handle high signal levels that a preamp would supply. Improve your antenna situation first (rather inexpensively, actually...) then consider the preamp afterward. 73s Mike
 

302HO

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I am also tossing around the idea of putting an antenna in the attic and pulling the coax to a wall plate in the wall. Then come from the wall with a BNC connector at both ends and connect the other end to the icom.
 

timmer

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Really, to give yourself the best shot at recieving a center or airport controller ground transmission from 50-100 miles away, you are going to have to spend some $$. I have toyed around with this for several years. You have to first have a radio that can handle the strong signals that a good outside antenna brings in. Second, you should put up a beam antenna with a rotor so you can point the antenna right at the signal source you want to recieve. I have a ar3000 and use a couple of diffrent antennas with it (beam and discone) mounted 48 feet above ground. You're best antenna in my opinion for long range aircraft comm's is a Create log periodic, ($400.00). Then you need a aor3000 or better reciever. The old Icom r-8500 is a good one if you can find one on ebay, (they are no longer made). A handheld is only going to recieve signals in the local area, and outdoor atnenns usually overload them. Maybe a Ar 8200 might be able to handle an outdoor antenna, not sure though. Hope this helps, good luck.
 

ka3jjz

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While I would agree that a better receiver/antenna combo will improve your chances, a USD400 antenna isn't really necessary. There's lots of other log periodics (Grove, Antenna Warehouse, DPD, ect.) on the market. Putting a good antenna nice and high, away from obstacles, is the way to get distance - quite apart from getting a preamp, which should only be done once the receiver and antenna situation is as good as you can make it.

Putting an antenna in the attic will not help that situation very much - depending on the construction, if there's metal flashing, sheet metal, ect. up there you are going to have some signal loss. Get the antenna outside and high ; that's your best ticket, antenna wise. 73s Mike
 

KR4BD

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The ground stations transmit at VERY LOW power and their antennas are aimed upward, toward aircraft...not along the ground. You hear the planes because they are high and you are in a "line-of-sight" relationship with them. I live about 20 miles west of the Indianapolis Center's Winchester, KY ground transmittetrs and even with high gain beams up 50 feet, I RARELY hear them, but I know the planes hear it, because I hear the planes just fine. I also live about 3-4 air miles from the Lexington, KY airport and even at this short distance, I have problems hearing the Lexington tower on a handheld scanner. If I go park next to the airport, however, I hear everything fine. You just have to remember that the ground stations run low power and their signals are aimed upward.
 

302HO

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Well, i am new at this and am not sure on what i want to do. I thought i started off good with getting this Icom R20 last week. It is a nice radio and am happy so far with it. I really dont wanna get into buying a tower and hang an antenna on it. I figured the attic option would be nice. Not as good as outside, but better than what i have. Plus, no tower or antenna out in the open.

Of course, if i were to do the attic antenna thing, i really dont know what antenna to get. I am mainly interested in airbands, but will listen to anything interesting. I have a pretty big attic i can easily stand up in it. In fact when i built this house two years ago, i could have added a finished room in it. Roofing is just standard. Plywood and dimensional shingles. I would say from the ground, an antenna in the attic would be about 25 to 30 feet in the air. I have a really tall roof. It has a 10/12 pitch.

I was really into getting a preamp. I will hold off and listen to you all about a better antenna, coax and that sort of thing.

thanks for the help guys!

steve
 

wa8vzq

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Tom,

Most air traffic control transmitters at airports run 10 watts output regardless of function i.e local control, ground control, ATIS, etc.

Most air traffic control uses separate crystal controlled transmitters and receivers. Typcial units are the AN/GRT-21 & 22 transmitters and the AN/GRR-23 and 24 receivers. The 21's & 23's are VHF and the 22's & 24's are UHF.

Usually ATCT's use a separate radio transmitting site called an RTR. The antennas are typically mounted on a 40 foot tower. Contrary to popular belief, the signal is not modified to transmit straight up. You will also usually see antennas on top of the ATCT roof. About 75% of those are receive antennas. A few of them are used for standby transmitters.

ATCT's also have one or more synthesized transceivers used for emergency communications. These usually run about 5 watts output power.

This webpage will give you an idea of a typical comm antenna used for air traffic control purposes. This is one of the common brands of antennas used

http://www.wade-antenna.com/TACO/faa.htm

Dan
Apple Valley, MN
 

DickH

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302HO said:
I listen to the Indianapolis center. Around 133Mhz. I can hear the planes but cant hear center. ... I am atleast 100 miles do south from indianapolis. QUOTE]

There is a simple, sure-fire solution to your problem. - M O V E !
 

wa8vzq

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As far as hearing the ARTCC, your best bet is to see if any of the ARTCC remote comm sites, known as an RCAG - remote center air to ground - are nearer to you. These may use either 10 watts or 50 watts. Same as far as towers although you may find some in the 50 foot category. FAA uses lower towers as a compromise between line of sight distance and Fresnel null zones ( cancellations in the signal at the aircraft caused by both receiving a direct wave and a ground reflected wave)

As others have indicated, you could try a vertical polarized beam of some type or possibly a preamp. As far as an antenna is concerned, I think I'd try making a Moxon rectangle. There are multiple web sites with calculators that will help with the dimensions and construction details. They're very easy and inexpensive to make.

You may or may not experience overload issues at your location caused by the preamp. As an low cost test, try an inexpensive TV preamp. These aren't ideal in any way shape or form but you can get one for under $20. You can get the type F to BNC adapters at Radio Shack. No it won't have the best noise figure and it may cause some overload of your scanner. An then again it may not and it's less than $20 so you're not out much. If it helps then perhaps you might spend a little more for a much better one. This company makes some nice ones. They're not extremely expensive.

http://www.advancedreceiver.com/

Dan
Apple Valley, MN
 

302HO

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Being new to this, i am reluctant to spend alot of money at once. It took me a month of reading to decide to go with my icom (a wideband receiver instead of a scanner). I had a communications class when i was in tech school. Some of it is coming back to me now. But not enough. I really dont mind spending some money on something as long as i am happy with it.

Ocassionally, i can hear my squelch break on 119.100 which is the tower at bluegrass airport. Sometimes i can hear voice. It is around 35 to 40 miles from me.

I have been monitoring 133.050 which is a henryville repeater (dont know where henryville is). There is alot of traffic on it. Sometimes my squelch breaks and hear a little noise. This happens after a plane talks to center.

Now i am also trying to find a CI-V cable so i can get the computer to talk to my radio.

Preamp - Antenna..........dont know which to go with. Preamp is cheaper, but will it work? GRE has a handheld amp for around $50. Advanced receiver has one (P30-1000/11VD) which is a wideband 30Mhz to 1Ghz. There was one made by J.i.M. or something. Gotta look that one up again. Of course we know an antenna is almost a sure thing.

??
 

wa8vzq

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Just to clear up something, there are no repeaters involved. In ATC, planes and controllers
both transmit and receive on the same frequency.
 

Yokoshibu

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Feb 8, 2005
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362
I am 500 miles away from minneapolis center and I hear them great! ... oh yeah I live 10 miles from an rcag! (remote site with TX/RX radios connected to a dedicated phoneline (now fiber) that is a simplex path) - thats the best bet you will have find the closest remote location and try all the high and low freq's ... usually low altitude freqs for the area you live in are comming from an rcag near you, thats ur best bet
 

mass-man

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Big D, little a, double l, a s
I still have to vote antenna!!! And go with the attic install. Yea, it may not be quite as good,but the hassles are less. Best antenna and coax you can afford. There are lots of comments about both in the forums.

As others have pointed out, it is very possible, that the remote sites for the CENTER are not near your house. You may never hear them. But go thru the listings and give them all a try...
 
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