Moncton Centre sectors, simulcasts, and cross coupling

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novascotian

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I have moved over to a new thread as this is no longer about changes in signal strength.

This morning I was and am listening to Moncton Ctr low level... I am hearing the controller on the Halifax PAL 135.3. and as usual it is obviously simulcasting with other Moncton sites. As stated in the other thread there is no retransmission of the aircraft side of things. I am also scannning the other Moncton low sites/frequencies and of course can hear traffic on some of them depending on the altitude of the aircraft.. I just realized that contrary to what I think has been stated ,there is a simulcast reaching across the boundary between the West and East parts of Moncton's area, as I just heard the controller talking to an aircraft in W. New Brunswick and telling them to switch to Boston on 124.25, and now that I think of it I have heard this many many times. I am not sure what Moncton low level frequency they would be on prior to the switch but possibly 124.3. I am not hearing them as they are too low combined with distance.
 

AirScan

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I just realized that contrary to what I think has been stated ,there is a simulcast reaching across the boundary between the West and East parts of Moncton's area, as I just heard the controller talking to an aircraft in W. New Brunswick and telling them to switch to Boston on 124.25
This is the same thing I observed from listening to Moncton on 124.40.

As I posted in the other thread ....

"During periods of light traffic volume during the day and the overnight shift Area 1 and Area 2 are combined and worked by 1 controller."

"All frequencies in Area 1 are cross-coupled while none of the frequencies in Area 2 are. This does not change when Area 1 and 2 are combined."

What is contrary to what has been stated about simulcasting reaching across the boundary ?
 

novascotian

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I mis-read the earlier post... I think it is the high level areas that are never combined. I have never heard the 133.95 site carrying traffic for the 135.2, 128.375 or 132.975 Yarmouth frequencies or for 127.125 or 132.7....for most of New Brunswick..
 

ATCTech

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I'll rephrase my post from a couple of days ago. In Toronto we never combine east/west or low/high - the controllers are not trained to operate each others airspace because of complexity. It may be in Moncton that a high level airspace controller can work east and west and low the same, or east means trained on east high and low and west the same, that I don't know, but I can find out easily enough.

I have never conducted a tour of our facility where the folks seeing the operation didn't at some point say the way the airspace works is far more complicated and the procedures being followed far more detailed than they ever imagined. I have no doubt Moncton has similar subtleties that aren't "seen" by listening. A tour inevitably ends with "How does everyone remember all of this??"

Frequency cross-coupling is a function that came out of our Quebec region when we were still part of the Federal Government. It was added to the other centers in the early 1990s. ATC acceptance of the technology was shall we say 'mixed', with some saying "the is great" and others saying "completely unnecessary". It has become a permanent feature, but I don't believe there's anything in ATC MANOPS that say's it must be used in any particular situation. To that end, Moncton may use it in limited scenarios and only when they have their airspace configured in certain patterns.

Don't over-analyze what you hear and when you hear it. Things in the ATC world can be very fluid for reasons like upper wind patterns, weather, changes to preferred routes, equipment problems, problems in adjacenet airspace causing reroutes and additional traffic... it goes on and on. There may be two dozen predefined ACC configurations for Moncton ACC and you'll not likely ever know that exact configuration of the airspace and hence the sectors sectors at any given time of day or day of the week without being on the 'inside'. It's over the top to try to get into more detail than that here other than to say that the main function of my job is to keep things operationally available, minimize impact of an equipment fault to ATC and aircraft operators while dealing with outages, scheduled maintenance and any other number of planned or unforeseen events. Rarely would you be able to tell from listening on the air we have anything going on unless it cause diversions or significant delays. In reality however things are never completely static.

Bob
 
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ATCTech

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A little more on Moncton for you. The high specialty is just that. There are east and west sectors but the controllers are trained on all 5 of them. Even on midnights they have an east and a west open so the controller doesn't have to had traffic off between his own frequencies. The low is also one big specialty divided east/west. The only TCU airspace is for Halifax. All of terminal traffic (Moncton, Fredricton, Sydney etc.) switches to the corresponding tower from and departs right into the low specialty sectors.

Nothing more on 133.950 yet but I suspect we'll have an answer for you shortly....

Bob
 

AirScan

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The database lists the Sectors and Frequencies ...

Moncton (CZQM) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Its seems to be mostly up to date although it is missing the low frequencies of 134.35 and 132.50.

134.35 covers the Cape Breton Sector (according to an older sector chart) and 132.50 appears to cover the Digby Sector.

After further monitoring of the LiveATC radio in Moncton it appears to be scanning another Center frequency in addition to 124.40, but they don't list what it is ?

Presumably it's 132.20 which would correspond with the database. This frequency is cross-coupled with the western sectors but they never seem to put any aircraft on it. Another mystery like 133.95.

I put together a low altitude sector map that might make things a little clearer. It's based on older data but from what I've been hearing appears to be fairly close. Still trying to track down a current one.

Today the Moncton Sector was simulcasting with the Cape Breton Sector. While all the others were combined in the west.
 
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hfxChris

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Just wanted to chime in and say this thread, and the previous one, are both fantastic... I've always been interested in this but I admit I've always struggled with trying to figure out sector frequencies and simulcasting. I'm the sort of person that needs to know how something works
And like marscan, I also live in the Halifax area and that 133.95 PAL at YHZ is great :)

Regarding the database, if there's any specific suggestions, additions or corrections, let me know and I'll see what I can do. You're saying 132.50 is Digby sector low level?
 

novascotian

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Thanks, AirScan, for the chart. As was stated in an earlier post, things are more complicated than what listening might indicate, but that is true for a chart as well. It is great to have this, but it certainly brings up again the things that don't happen like the chart might suggest. I"have to make myself think "this is what is available" rather than "this is what always happens". I am thinking immediately of the typical progression of an aircraft from Halifax heading to Montreal or Toronto.. Usually it will be 119.2 Terminal, then 124.3, then 127.125 High Level, then 128.05 Boston High level... whereas the chart, and I am not doubting its accuracy, might suggest that one of other Digby sector frequencies would be the handoff from 119.2. I think the term used in the earlier post was "dynamic" and that there are so many different scenarios that it is hard to really understand unless you are inside, at least that is how I as an outsider feels. I for one have no idea of what circumstances bring about the actual use of 135.5, 132.2 and 132.5.
I am putting up a new thread about another situation along those lines here in the Halifax area, if you are interested.

I would be interested in using this chart on my website, if I can figure out who to actually ask and credit. I will PM you. One thing that might be good to add, even though it is not a Nav Canada frequency, is the YZX terminal frequency 120.6, seeing as how 119.2 and the terminal area are shown for YHZ.

Which brings up something else I am unclear on... is there a part-time TCU for Moncton using 124.4 or is there no TCU and that frequency is just another CZQM sector frequency?
 
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novascotian

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Just as a sidebar re the sectors, AirScan's chart also clearly shows the lingering incursion of Boston Ctr into Canadian airspace in the far northwest of New Brunswick where the semicircle crosses well over the border. This is a holdover from the Cold War really, when the huge Loring AFB was in operation and had a terminal area necessarily extending into Canada and I guess therefore Boston ARTCC also had the same boundary in that area. I would have thought they might have changed this when Loring shut down in 1994 but so far nothing has happened. I know there are lots of place where the US and Cdn centres cross over where the international border is intricately squggly but I think this is one of the biggest crossovers.
 

AirScan

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(WARNING: over-analyzing follows ....)

hfxChris,

Regarding the database, if there's any specific suggestions, additions or corrections, let me know and I'll see what I can do. You're saying 132.50 is Digby sector low level?
I'm not sure officially what sector 132.500 is ? From what I've seen and heard it appears to cover the same area as the Digby Sector. I think it is relatively new frequency so they may have tweeked the boundaries ? I'd hold off updating the database until more up to date info. can be obtained. The other low frequency that is missing is the Grindstone one on 134.350, I can confirm the frequency and location but again not 100% sure what sector it's in, most likely Cape Breton.

Novascotian,

I am thinking immediately of the typical progression of an aircraft from Halifax heading to Montreal or Toronto.. Usually it will be 119.2 Terminal, then 124.3 ...
From the few times I have been in the area I noticed the same thing as well. Sometimes terminal will handoff to 124.30 and sometimes 132.50. And as I mentioned earlier as well with the arrivals from the same direction, sometimes on 124.30 and sometimes on 123.90.

It might, I'm just guessing here, have something to do with how they have the sectors configured. From the few times I have monitored that area in YHZ it seemed they used 132.50 during busier times ? Maybe they use 132.50 when the Digby sector is split from Fredericton sector ?

When you are monitoring 135.30 are you able to tell what other sectors it's combined with. Maybe you will notice a pattern ? Having the Moncton LiveATC radio is a big help here.

is there a part-time TCU for Moncton using 124.4 or is there no TCU and that frequency is just another CZQM sector frequency?
From what I've been able to determine from monitoring 124.40 on the LiveATC radio at Moncton so far is that this sector (actually called Moncton Radar according to the database) is usually combined with another sector or all sectors when it's slow. Yesterday afternoon it was clearly combined with the Cape Breton sector and split from the other western sectors. At the time 124.40 was cross-coupled with 135.65, but only simulcasting with 135.30 and 118.60.

I suspect, given the training traffic at the Moncton Flight College, that there are times when it's split off and separated from the other sectors. More listening required.

Now back to high altitude Re: 133.950

I was in the area recently (Sydney) and had a brief time to monitor the high altitude sectors. My reception of the controllers was good but aircraft reception was poor.

I heard the controller on 125.25 respond to 2 flights as they intially checked on (I could not hear the aircraft - see flightaware links below). The controller acknowledged the initial call then told the first flight to "switch to my frequency 125.25" right away, the second flight a short time later was similar but the controller instructed the flight "call my frequency 125.25 over CARAC".

Both these flights were routing out of New York Oceanic airspace via airway M201 (over NOVOK). NOVOK is on the New York/Moncton border.

Back in the "old days" before CPDLC, it was standard to hear aircraft on that route (M201, although it was called something different back then) on New York HF be instructed to call Moncton Center on 133.95 over NOVOK (or whatever it was called back then). I suspect that this is still the case, though hard to confirm now as it's so rare to hear a "voice" handoff from HF on that route.

If you look at a chart you will see there is a small section of Moncton airspace in the southwest corner of the southern most eastern sector, in the area of NOVOK, that is closer to Halifax than Sydney. I suspect that this, aircraft on M201 over NOVOK, is one of the uses for 133.95 ? I couldn't confirm it from Syndey at the time because I could not hear the aircraft that far away.

Watch for traffic routing via M201 (mostly Florida to Europe stuff) and I suspect you will hear them briefly on 133.95 from Halifax (if your reception is good enough).

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/VIR28/history/20150802/2215Z/KMCO/EGKK

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/TCX325/history/20150802/2057Z/MMUN/EGCC

.
 
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novascotian

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I will try to do a better job of figuring what other frequencies 135.3 gets linked with... It changes as the day goes on. so a little hard to really figure it. I need to just listen to that one frequency and the other low ones, and turn off the high and local ones... Same with 133.95.. I need to just park on there and wait for something to come up on there on the air side. I do have very good reception, and while I don't want to say that it is like they get out at the 133.95 receiving site, I ought to get what they get, maybe not quite as good. I am sure you are right, that there are some very particular circumstances when neither the Sydney or Yarmouth sites quite do it adequately that brings 133.95 into action...
 

AirScan

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I will try to do a better job of figuring what other frequencies 135.3 gets linked with... It changes as the day goes on. so a little hard to really figure it. I need to just listen to that one frequency and the other low ones, and turn off the high and local ones.
I can't imagine there are more than a few possible low configurations. Listening now on the Moncton LiveATC radio the airspace is divided into 2 areas, Charlo/Fredricton/Digby (west) and Monton Radar/Cape Breton (east). The other configuration I've heard so far is all sectors combined. The only other configuration I can see is maybe Moncton Radar sector being split off on it's own ?

Another thing that might help you is to listen to the Moncton LiveATC radio at the same time you are listening to 135.30 (you will hear the cross-coupling on that radio).

Airport Detail: YQM | LiveATC.net

Please let us know what you find out.
 

AirScan

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A quick update, listening now at 15:00 UTC (12:00 ADT), it does appear that the Moncton Radar sector is split off on it's own, so that would leave the Cape Breton sector (with 135.30) on it's own as well.
 

ATCTech

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If it hasn't started already, you should be hearing other cross-coupled frequencies on 133.950 shortly. Just got off the phone with ZQM - it's been enabled just in the last few hours.

I guess the cheque will be in the mail from you guys? <GRIN>

Oh, and FYI, the frequency is used exclusively for high level eastbound traffic coming out of the NY/BOS area. Only eastbound - that was emphasized in the conversation I just had.

Bob
 

hfxChris

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If it hasn't started already, you should be hearing other cross-coupled frequencies on 133.950 shortly. Just got off the phone with ZQM - it's been enabled just in the last few hours.

I guess the cheque will be in the mail from you guys? <GRIN>

Oh, and FYI, the frequency is used exclusively for high level eastbound traffic coming out of the NY/BOS area. Only eastbound - that was emphasized in the conversation I just had.

Bob

Well I'll be. I've been monitoring 133.95 for the past hour or so, and I can definitely confirm I'm hearing the air side of a couple of the Cape Breton frequencies, 125.25 and 133.30 for sure.
I've got two scanners going, one has 133.95 held, the other has it locked out, and I'm just waiting to hear the same plane on both.


I don't think you guys could have a better source than Mr ATCTech!
I think I'm going to agree with that :)
 

AirScan

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Just got off the phone with ZQM - it's been enabled just in the last few hours.
That is good service !

Now if just one of the Halifax guys could stream it on Broadcastify or LiveATC (I would pay for that).
 

hfxChris

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That is good service !

Now if just one of the Halifax guys could stream it on Broadcastify or LiveATC (I would pay for that).
133.95? I could probably put up a stream...

Also I believe somebody mentioned, possibly in the other thread, that you can tell when they're coupled... so I'm guessing there's a discernible audio difference. And the more I listen to it, is it just me or does the aircraft side sound a bit tinny.
 

AirScan

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Also I believe somebody mentioned, possibly in the other thread, that you can tell when they're coupled... so I'm guessing there's a discernible audio difference. And the more I listen to it, is it just me or does the aircraft side sound a bit tinny.
Yes it's a tinny sort of muffled sound, varies depending on how good your reception of the ground station is. Once you hear it enough compared to receiving the aircraft directly it becomes pretty easy to differentiate betwen the two.

133.95? I could probably put up a stream...
I would find that interesting. The more feeds we can get the better your picture of the airspace becomes. There is a broadcastify feed already in Halifax covering Tower and Approach but reception range is pretty poor. There used to be a LiveATC feed covering the high altitude frequencies from Moncton, but that has been down for a few years now.
 
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