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Thread: What Type Of Radio Do You Need To Listen To ATC to Pilot Audio While Inflight

  1. #1
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    What Type Of Radio Do You Need To Listen To ATC to Pilot Audio While Inflight

    Hello

    Thank You for taking the time to help me out.

    I see and Youtube videos with ATC audio to Pilot(plane you are on) while in-flight. I want to get a radio to listen while on my trip from KOKC to KPHL in Nov.

    Thanks For all the help

    Craig

  2. #2
    Senior Member Fighting_falcon_51's Avatar
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    If the plane is WiFi enabled you can use http://www.liveatc.net with your laptop,tablet or smartphone.
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    Senior Member Mateo's Avatar
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    You don't. You don't use radios while inflight because the radio itself puts out a weak signal that can screw with the aircraft's systems. And even if you did, the fuselage of the plane blocks line-of-sight VHF communication. That's why antennas are mounted externally or behind a surface that's porous to radio waves.

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    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Listen to Mateo It is useless inside the plane.. well, I should say, you [do] hear something... ONLY your own plane. Believe me, I have tried while parked right under JFK TWR with KLM, Virgin America and close by on Delta and jetBlue and you get ZILCH! A320, B747 and B737 so far, perfect Faraday Cages.

    As for screwing with aircraft systems, it is a fact that the signals do interfere somewhat, not nearly to the degree that it would cause a catastrophic failure. Aircraft systems are very well shielded and lately take into consideration practically every sort of possible interference. Given that you can watch Hawaii Five-O through descent, landing and all the way up to the gate, live from space, believe me, your lowly cell/scanner is a wimp compared to the amplifiers on the DirectTV system, the screens and don;t even get me started with the fluorescent lighting...

    I do comply with the rules but not because I believe in the scare tactics
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    Thanks for all the Help

    Craig

  6. #6
    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    The ATC on those videos is usually retrieved from liveatc.net after the flight... that's what I did with this one:

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

  7. #7
    Some of the videos you are watching may also be of United flights with channel 9.

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    Craig take the advice of everyone here......

    If you have a scanner in your hand - the Flight attendants will surely ask "What is that, sir?" to which you will reply the truth, presumably, and the Flight Attendant will immediately cite some sort of off-the-cuff FAR reg and site security (ahh yes, that word again) and ask that you switch it off. You are now "yellow-carded" the rest of the flight!!!!!

    I have tried, like the rest in this thread, to listen to it with it buried next to me, next to my hip, at the armrest, away from the flight attendant's view....BUT...you still need the earpiece going into your ear from down there, and again, the flight attendant will see it (if on take-off or landing) and assume it's your EarBuds for your iPhone or Ipad or some "common" electronic device, and still ask to switch it off for take-off and/or landing. At cruise, it's useless, as the others have suggested. You only hear your airplanes' pilots communicating.......and you would have to be lucky enough to hear what frequency to switch to.......if you heard your pilot, lazily say to Denver Center....."Roger, switching, Good day" than all bets are off - hehehe!! It happened to me!

    All in all not worth it, in my opinion, for lack of any real "coolness" factor and also for the "extra" attention it draws to you (us) spotters/enthusiasts!
    Jeff
    Chicago, IL

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    Has anybody ever used one of these for listening while inside the airplane? Seems like it would solve the whole frequency change problem since it supposedly picks up "all transmissions".

    http://www.airbandonline.co.uk/scan_blackbox.htm

    I've seen them online a couple of times and read about them. Do they actually work? Would hate to spend $100 bucks to find out its garbage.
    Last edited by steve1840; 10-13-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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    "It will suit many users I'm sure, including existing scanner owners as a supplementary piece of kit, but remember it does not provide the accepted facilities, features and reception range you'll get from a scanner."

    Why not just get a scanner then?

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    The advantage of that "Blackbox" is it scans anything in range and remembers freq used, no programming is required.

    I've listened to the ATC of my own flight departing before. It was highly enjoyable to listen to the busy office up front. This was with the approval of the KLM cabin crew. Not sure I'd bother in future however.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Steve, the device you mention is basically a reaction-tune type of device. Similar to a frequency tuner or near-field receiver. It simply listens or is sensitive to the strongest signal and it will then decode that signal instantly. It will tune the receiver to that signal and decode.

    I can say it is very much close to useless :-( You can't cheat the laws of physics. The airplane is a natural aluminum can, a Faraday Cage of sorts. The signals will simply NOT BE in the plane for this thing to tune to it... Regardless of how it tunes, it still has to receive an electrical signal at the proper frequency and demodulate the AM... I would not throw any money into it.

    That is has no local oscillator? Hahahaha... who in the world you know that knows anything abotu radio? OK, now, do you expect a flight attendant to know that? And then, you expect to prove it to them? I tried to tell a flight attendant that a pair of earbuds, DISCONNECTED from my radio were just as safe in my ears than in my bag/pocket. She was stern and said THEY MUST COME OFF YOUR EARS FOR THIS PLANE TO TAKE OFF! ... Laughable at best, but hey, we all wanted to get to our destination at a reasonable time.

    On the other hand, I was allowed to leave my Sony noise cancelling headphones on as long as they were turned off :-) Nice thing that electricity still produces pressure waves in the earpiece and they still work (albeit without the magic of noise cancellation). Since, I have painted over the little tell-tale sign of them being on (the red LED) with a black marker...

    Bottom line, don't waste time trying to listen to ATC... only thing you will hear is your own pilot guaranteed, but only if you know what freq he / she is on! If you do, it is fun to hear them get vectored into St. Martin... some of the waypoints have really funny names I have a Uniden scanner capable of 80 channels per second. I was scanning the entire set of freqs from EWR, JFK, LGA and my others programmed into my scanner. A lot of them repeat :-)
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  13. #13
    Senior Member seahawks7757's Avatar
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    I know you can ask the captain if it is ok to use a scanner on board since it is his shop afterall, my friend has done that and gotten approval, the captain even gave him a copy of all the frequency's that were going to be used between the destinations.
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    Thanks for all the info Jeff

    Craig

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