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Thread: VIP Movements Question

  1. #1
    Senior Member NickPeterman's Avatar
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    VIP Movements Question

    Hey Guys,

    Seeing as you guys put Vip aircraft movements on the map with UN General Assembly week every year, I was curious if you could share any insight on the tendencies of VIPS with regard to how early (or late) they tend to arrive for such events. In two weeks, the G8+5 and a few others will be having their annual summit on the 18th and 19th at Camp David. I was curious if they would try to arrive the 17th for the start on the 18th. I would love to try and get a few pics of some of the more exotic visitors we might get down here at IAD (Andrews AFB is having their airshow that weekend).
    Any experience y'all have had would help greatly.



    Nick

  2. #2
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Nick..........last year I took a week off from work just to shoot the UN General Assembly (GA). Some arrived a couple or so days earlier to the GA. It's like fishing........you sit and wait. Last year some visitors to GA arrived in the late evening hours as well. Aside from catching arrivals don't forget the departures as well. After the summit some might decide to depart right away. Not sure of your situation, but I would try to take off a few days to catch these rare visitors. I know some of us during the GA started from sunrise till the light of day was virtually gone. Having a scanner helps as well, listen for those strange call signs........Good luck!
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

  3. #3
    Senior Member NickPeterman's Avatar
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    Thanks Mark, I may end up doing just that. Depends on whether they are using Dulles or BWI however. While we wont get all the interesting GA traffic y'all get, sounds like we'll get some unusual VIPs. Hopefully I can pull something off.


    Nick

  4. #4
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Nick, Mark covered it pretty well... here are some more tips...

    --Get set up for ACARS ... this way you can get whatever transmits on arrival and you'll know for sure it is on the ground. This can work if you're not planning on being [there] from morning til night... and if you really want to maximize what you get, plan on being there from sunrise to sundown.

    --Some VIPs have other business they can attend to while in the US so don;t be surprised if some arrive a week before. For UNGA this happens and then ramps up tremendously two days or three days before the event. Remember, no one wants to be stuck in line waiting for customs or other security sweeps the day of the event! And I mean the attendees, not you.

    --Other airports will see action as well. Keep your eyes peeled on the forums for such info if you care about a particular visitor and they are inbound to DCA or Andrews... or BWI!
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  5. #5
    Senior Member NickPeterman's Avatar
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    Manny, I may need to tap into your knowledge on how to set up for ACARS...

  6. #6
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    So simple, really although you should be near the airport you want to monitor... you can use feeds from existing receivers connected to the acarsd network. But anyway...

    go to acarsd.org and download their software
    using a scanner connected to your computer's line in, tune into one of the three primary ACARS ARINC frequencies and let the software DECODE the transmissions... that's as simple as it gets. From there, you could get more serious and add frequencies and radios and computers for more coverage. It decodes what it can hear. IF you do not hear transmissions, you;re either too far from the airport or not in a path of any serious commercial traffic.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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    Manny, what kind of cable do I require from my scanner to my laptop? Also where would I hook the cable up to on my scanner (Radio Shack scanner)? Thanks for your help.

    Matt

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    I have used acarsd in the past. I got a male/male cable from radio shack and plugged one end in the headphone jack on the scanner and plugged the other end in the microphone jack on the Laptop.

    It wasn't too interesting in Albany.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Matt, you use the headphone jack output which is OK but not as good as DISCRIMINATOR OUT if you have it ... Most radios do not so just use the headphone out. Discriminator out takes the audio right from the discriminator circuit on the radio which is the cleanest form of the signal as the discriminator is used to clip most unwanted noise or clipping of the signal. The cleaner the audio decoded, the better it is for the ACARS software to properly and effectively decoding the data. With audio from the headphone jack, it is more difficult because of amplification induced noise and all the extra circuitry the audio must pass. For audible transmissions it isn't so bad because we humans are so good at discriminating voice and known sounds from noise. But for a computer, the data pulse and noise are very similar and takes far more compute power to discern a clean data pulse from plain noise.

    Even if your radio does not have the output, it is relatively easy to make up your own by tapping the right diodes If interested in tinkering, let me know and I will try to dig up some schematics for your particular radio if it exists... I have a few books on old radio shack scanners that may help.

    As far as interesting, yeah, I would imagine Albany could be really bad for ACARS.... HOWEVER, if you had a nice J-Pole tuned antenna up in the roof, you may find it far more rewarding. I had a J-pole capable of receiving ACARS from many many miles away... since it is data, it carries a bit further than AM voice transmissions... they also use a few more watts of power if I recall but I could be wrong on that!
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  10. #10
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Gotta love the web. In the past, if you needed to do this, you would buy a book... like I had to !!

    http://www.discriminator.nl/index-en.html

    Find your radio on the left and then follow the easy instructions
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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    Manny, Thanks for the info, I will look into the website and decide from there.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Iberia A340-600's Avatar
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    Because of the air show this weekend at AFW, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the a/c go to IAD? I departed from the airport earlier this evening and there was a private A319 and the French A310 parked on the staging area. The A310 arrived while I was in the terminal as did a Luftwaffe A310 but I imagine it's not related. There was also an IL-76 parked at the far end of the cargo apron.

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