Phoenix and Tucson

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Ken_Allen

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Is there a reason why in Phoenix and Tucson, I can't for the life of me pick up anything but broken up transmissions and heavily static transmissions even when I'm less than 1/2 mile away? I can pick up local transmissions for MILES and MILES in Sierra Vista, but once I start getting up to Tucson, distance of the signals I can pick up starts dropping to less than 1/2 mile.

I've heard that Tucson is on an old volcano and that prevents signals from traveling far, but what's the reason for Phoenix? Especially Sky Harbor.
 

JPSan

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Is there a reason why in Phoenix and Tucson, I can't for the life of me pick up anything but broken up transmissions and heavily static transmissions even when I'm less than 1/2 mile away? I can pick up local transmissions for MILES and MILES in Sierra Vista, but once I start getting up to Tucson, distance of the signals I can pick up starts dropping to less than 1/2 mile.

I've heard that Tucson is on an old volcano and that prevents signals from traveling far, but what's the reason for Phoenix? Especially Sky Harbor.

I live in Tucson, the Santa Catalina Foothills using 2 Uniden BC-780's and a HT that has MilAir and some General Aviation programmed and I experience NO interference, drop outs or static issues. As a matter of fact I have NO outside antennas other than what is attached to the radios and I can hear the activity at the Goldwater Range and at times hear the F-16's talking to Luke, refueling tracks and high altitude stuff.
I don't know about no ancient volcano causing Rf interference, that is a first for me. I would look for some other interference issues...What type of equipt are you using?
 

JPSan

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Replying to MY reply...Currently (4-13-10) there is a large training exercise going on out of Davis Monthan AFB and the Mil Air airwaves are busy.. I have NO issues with any radio traffic on VHF / UHF freq's...One thing you want to check is your SQUELCH setting..That setting , especially on receiving AM mode is a lot different setting wise than on FM reception. Hope this helps your issues...Your Mileage May Vary
 

cipher66

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One thing you want to check is your SQUELCH setting..That setting , especially on receiving AM mode is a lot different setting wise than on FM reception.
Hi JPSan,

You might want to explain this since alot of new people to airband listening may not completely understand the difference... This might have alot to do with many peoples reception issues...
 

JPSan

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Hi JPSan,

You might want to explain this since alot of new people to airband listening may not completely understand the difference... This might have alot to do with many peoples reception issues...

Okay, got ya... Setting your SQUELCH is basically like this. On a NON active freq for example, ADJUST your SQUELCH control till you hear "noise, static" whatever you want to call it and then turn the SQUELCH up till you effectively JUST STOP hearing the CONTINUOUS "noise, static rush" That will be the "threshold setting" you won't have the constant "noise" and your radio will scan...Setting the THRESHOLD may and will be different if you are setting it for AM reception verses FM reception, as you will find if trying to listen to Mil Air, Civil Aviation or CB freq's which pretty much transmit in the AM mode (Amplitude Modulation ) . The THRESHOLD may need fine tuning depending on local noise level,atmospheric interference, etc.It CAN and MAY vary from frequency to frequency!!

Now on ANALOG FM transmissions you can use the same procedure. Level setting USUALLY will be different. You will definitely notice sound level difference ( LOUDNESS of "static noise") between AM and FM. Setting your SQUELCH level to HIGH in EITHER mode can seriously affect the quality of your received signal, especially if it is weak to begin with...Causing the signal to be intermittent,motorboat sound ( hearing every other word effect) or just nothing. You MAY see signal is there via your s-meter or signal strength indicator and be missing it due to TOO HIGH SQUELCH setting , effectively MUTING the audio.Also on FM mode a TOO LOW setting may cause a more annoying SQUELCH tail or noise burst at the end of a FM transmission.

This is something you will have to experiment with, ESPECIALLY when trying to monitor signals in the AM (Amplitude Modulation ) Aviation,CB freq's and with FM signals ( Frequency Modulation)

I hope I explained this easy enough and was somewhat helpful... Your Mileage May Vary.
 
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Ken_Allen

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I used to live in Tucson and I couldn't pick up anything even not a mile from the airport. Multiple receivers, diamond RH77CA antenna, air band antennas, etc. It's like both airports have very weak signals.
 

JPSan

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I used to live in Tucson and I couldn't pick up anything even not a mile from the airport. Multiple receivers, diamond RH77CA antenna, air band antennas, etc. It's like both airports have very weak signals.
Again, I don't know what to tell you. I say again, I have NO problems receiving ATC or Ground Control from Tucson International or Davis Monthan AFB. and more often than not I can also hear the traffic from the aircraft on the ground itself That is using my home set up is nothing special at all, WITH INSIDE antennas and with my portable, which is a amateur radio HT programmed with MilAir / Civil in Tucson..
And I don't hear any of the aircraft complaining about communications issues with either DM AFB or TIA. And if there were equipment issues with either the FAA would most definitely address it quickly.
So I don't know what your specific problem is. I am quite a distance from both airfields here in Tucson. Sorry, it appears to be an issue with your setup and how you are monitoring. If it was such an issue other aviation monitoring enthusiasts here in Tucson would be complaining and I don't hear it from them at all, so it is just a problem you are having. Check out your equipt , again.

Good Luck.
 

Ken_Allen

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Maybe you're at a higher elevation. I think I read you live in the foothills. I think both Tucson and Phoenix have highly directional antennas that only transmit their best strength signal at the glidepath. I've tried Yaesu VX-6R's, radioshack scanners, old radioshack realistic scanners. I can't get tower or approach.
 

JPSan

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Maybe you're at a higher elevation. I think I read you live in the foothills. I think both Tucson and Phoenix have highly directional antennas that only transmit their best strength signal at the glidepath. I've tried Yaesu VX-6R's, radioshack scanners, old radioshack realistic scanners. I can't get tower or approach.
I am DEFINITELY NOT in the glide slope or pattern of either airfields and I have a large hill totally shadowing me from DM. Using 2 Uniden BC-780's plain jane with plain BNC mounted antennas, Yaesu FT-60 stock antenna. Uniden's out perform the HT.

TIA UNICOM............122.950
GROUND..........124.400 MIL...348.600
TOWER............118.300 MIL... 257.800
APPROACH......119.400..125.100..128.500

DM TOWER.....121.800 MIL..253.500
GROUND...118.250 MIL..275.800

Again you are the only person I know who is complaining of "issues" with such difficulty in monitoring aviation traffic in Tucson AND Phoenix. Whatever your problem may be, you'll have to figure that one out. I notice on these forums ( Aircraft monitoring OR Arizona) HAVING not seen anyone from EITHER city complaining of the problems you are experiencing ..I figure if there is a problem someone else would be complaining or asking for help. I don't see it, I don't know.....No one I have talked to the past 2 days have EVER even heard of any " ancient volcano" causing RF interference of any type in Tucson Valley and a Avionics Tech said all FAA voice system communications have NO reported issues.. No aircraft / aircrew complaints. No NOTAM's issued about comm issues at TIA...

Oh well..I explained it in a previous posting AM is quieter and NOT as loud as FM that most people are used listening to and that confuses one when trying to monitor. I am at a loss.

I tried.. sorry I can't be of any assistance.....Good Luck... over and out...
 
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Ken_Allen

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I have actually heard many people complain about tucson not carrying a signal very well. I drive NEXT to the airport on I10 and I can't get tower or ground. SOME approach, but it's dropping in and out. Phoenix is even more of a challenge. So maybe something is working for you, but it's not working for me in Tucson.

Down in Sierra Vista I get Libby Army Airfields (KFHU) AWOS from 25 miles away. Their lowest power signal I can determine, yet I can't get tower less than a mile away in Tucson.
 

JPSan

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Ken,

All I know is IT WORKS FOR ME and a number of friends who monitor these freq's. Complaints? where? I ain't seeing em and I have no knowledge of such other than yours..I can not help you. Don't know how.. I am not going to follow up on this thread any further..Aviation monitoring is probably not your thing.. Good Luck...I is out of here...



"The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself."
 
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