Monitoring Airlines in SSB

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CapnJ

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Hi everybody-new to the Forum. I live on the central coast of California, around 200 miles from San Francisco. Many years ago when I got my first shortwave radio, I happened upon quite frequent transmissions very late at night & into the early AM on 5.547 (SSB) that sound like air traffic controllers from SFO speaking to the airlines from other countries coming into the area to land, probably still far out over the ocean & at an altitude of 30,000+ feet. Sometimes I hear the navigators (?) of these planes request for a change of altitude, etc, and they often have a foreign accent. The SFO (and/or Oakland ?) tower usually informs them of a "secondary" frequency & then talks about a "cell phone" call, or something. I have found this frequency so interesting, that I've kept it on all thru the night for all these years while in bed, just so I don't miss anything (or much-when I'm asleep), as sometimes I've heard some very interesting stuff on here.
The question is, just exactly what am I listening to ? Does anyone else in CA within earshot of this on their radios know more about this, and could they please fill me in on ALL the details & more ? I'd really like to know where I could find the other SSB frequencies they use & also wish to learn how to get their "secondary" frequencies & learn when do they use them, etc. Some help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
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jvdkieft

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HF Oceanic

You're hearing oceanic controllers. In the Atlantic and Pacific there are specific tracks that aircraft fly on and they check in with oceanic controllers via HF radio.

http://www.dxworld.com/hfaero.html has a pretty good overview, as well as listing the frequency you are hearing as Central Eastern Pacific.

The "cell" you heard was probably SELCAL, selective calling. Most commercial aircraft have a SELCAL code, a four letter code like AB-CD. Controllers can send a signal over HF that makes a bell go off in the cockpit when they want to talk to a specific aircraft, since the codes are unique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SELCAL
 

DPD1

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That's the aeronautical air traffic control for the guys going overseas. I assume you're hearing the San Francisco center, which handles most of the Pacific traffic. There's a good coverage map floating around out there. I don't have it handy, but I can send it to you later. But other freqs would be:

3413
5574
8843
13354
17904

2869
5547
11282
13288
21964

3452
6673
10057
13288


Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

reconrider8

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You're hearing oceanic controllers. In the Atlantic and Pacific there are specific tracks that aircraft fly on and they check in with oceanic controllers via HF radio.

http://www.dxworld.com/hfaero.html has a pretty good overview, as well as listing the frequency you are hearing as Central Eastern Pacific.

The "cell" you heard was probably SELCAL, selective calling. Most commercial aircraft have a SELCAL code, a four letter code like AB-CD. Controllers can send a signal over HF that makes a bell go off in the cockpit when they want to talk to a specific aircraft, since the codes are unique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SELCAL
on that first link how do you put those frequencies in a scanner?
 

chrismol1

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Mostly the shortwave frequencies will be in KHz not MHz
You will see something like 4688 and 4 digit numbers
the HF band for stuff like that is 3000-30000KHz same as MHz just a few decimals
 

CapnJ

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Thank you

Hey, thanks everybody for the welcome and all the great & helpful info on this subject. This will surely help to enhance my enjoyment of listening to these type of frequencies. I have to laugh at myself though, for thinking all these years that "SELCAL" meant a "Cell-Call" !! I always thought the tower was having the Navigators pull their cell-phones out of their pockets to give them a "secondary" contact ! LOL
 
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poltergeisty

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RLG, Fly heading 053, intercept 315 DVV
Hey, thanks everybody for the welcome and all the great & helpful info on this subject. This will surely help to enhance my enjoyment of listening to these type of frequencies. I have to laugh at myself though, for thinking all these years that "SELCAL" meant a "Cell-Call" !! I always thought the tower was having the Navigators pull their cell-phones out of their pockets to give them a "secondary" contact ! LOL
Did you also think after all these years that there were cell towers thought the Pacific as well? :eek: :lol:

:wink: Welcome to RadioReference. Where you can learn more about RF than you can chew on! :lol:
 

CapnJ

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Did you also think after all these years that there were cell towers thought the Pacific as well? :eek: :lol:

:wink: Welcome to RadioReference. Where you can learn more about RF than you can chew on! :lol:
Well.....I guess I thought they were bouncin' their RF offa all them OIL RIGS way out there, or something-LOL !
By the way-am I hearing the planes as they're going OUT overseas as well as coming IN from overseas ?
 

gcgrotz

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Welcome CapnJ, you have been listening to one of my favorite things! I listen often to the Atlantic air routes. I recently flew to Europe and was wondering (and wishing I could listen) which frequency they were using. Not long after 9-11, I heard Air Force 2 checking in on 5616 heading east. Made me wish my radio had a Tivo-like feature!
 
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