What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio?

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

This has become a popular question with our new CC Skywave™.

According to Wikipedia, Airband, also referred to as Aircraft or Aviation band, is a group of frequencies in the VHF radio spectrum that are allocated to civil aviation radio communications. VHF is a short range, line of site transmission. Our radio covers 118 – 137MHz for Airband. In most countries a license is required to operate airband equipment but that appears to apply only to transceivers, not receivers. In some countries it is illegal to listen to or monitor the Airband without authorization (even in the UK).

The language that is used to communicate on this band can be a challenge to follow. Ken Hoke’s article on Stuff Pilots Say, gives some great insight into the meaning of the seemingly cryptic language used on Airband.

The primary purpose of Air traffic control worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots. It was difficult to find any “history” of airband but it appears that it was first used extensively after World War I and after 1921 at Croydon airport in London. Navigation and air traffic control have changed over time and many areas use higher frequencies and RADAR and other more sophisticated systems. The Airband radio frequencies still continue to play a part though, especially in ground communication with pilots. It is used almost exclusively in small airports that don’t have control towers. We have one customer who plans to use the CC Skywave for monitoring the ground to pilot communication at the local air races.

As to why we decided to include Airband in our radio? Here is Bob’s answer:

“When you are in a big airport you are sometimes subject to the whims of security and circumstance. TSA does a great job but when the process gets a little tense I yearn for more information. I want to know everything that will affect my tiny domain. When you listen to aviation band you can usually figure out more by reading between the lines on what pilots and the control tower are talking about. Sometimes you gain a sense of power and wisdom as you do with any knowledge.”

For more information on what you might hear or how to listen, visit the links below.

http://radio-scanner-guide.com/radioscannerguidepart3c-civilaircraft.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Listen-to-Your-Local-Air-Traffic-Control

 

Best AM Reception Tips

Best AM Tips - blog-ed2

Summer time in all its fabulousness leaves much to be desired when it comes to AM Reception. We’ve put together the best tips we’ve found for improving AM Reception and reducing interference, especially reception on portable radios.

First, if you’re having trouble receiving your favorite talk radio program – determine if you get the signal at all. If the station is a 500 Watt station across the country, no amount of reception tips will help you receive this signal. That said, if the station streams, an internet radio or combining your smartphone and a portable Bluetooth speaker may be a viable solution.

If you get the signal but it is weak, try moving near a window or outside wall. If your reception improves, then you know that the signal is having a hard time reaching where you prefer to listen or there may be some interference. You have a couple of options – you can run an antenna over to the window (or maybe even outside). Another thing we’ve learned recently is that some stations are being rebroadcast on sister stations either AM or FM so if you go to Radio Locator and look up the station call letters you’re trying to receive; you might see another station listed as “also broadcasts from” with a different frequency so you may be able to find a closer station that is stronger that is rebroadcasting the same content.

If the problem is noise, try the radio on batteries and walk around your home and see if the static or buzzing gets worse or better. If the noise gets worse, odds are good the offending device (or electrical component) is located here and you may be able to turn it off. Rotating your radio when you get near the buzzing can help you determine exactly where the noise is coming from. If it’s the same throughout the house, try going outside. Is it better? If it is, then an antenna may help or you may end up needing to do a more thorough investigation in your home. We’ve talked to people who end up turning off all the breakers to find out they have some electrical wiring issues that are producing noise in their entire house!

If you’re on an analog radio, slowly turn the dial and consider using a piece of tape to mark where you find the station. Also, keep in mind that there are times where a signal will not broadcast exactly on frequency or a radio’s tuning isn’t completely accurate so tuning a little off frequency may get you a stronger signal.

Don’t want to buy an antenna or a new radio – no problem, we have instructions on how to make your own AM Antenna.

Many people don’t know (or forget) that stations may be required to power down, change direction or in some cases power up at night so differing signal during day and night may not be limited to summer, solar flares and the atmosphere, it may be that your 10,000 Watt daytime station switches to a 5,000 watt station at night that broadcasts in the opposite direction. Again, radio locator is a great source of information about your favorite station.

Have a tip to share? Enter it in the comments below!

Common causes for interference, buzz and hum on AM radio

Easily determined and turned off:

Incandescent Lights
Fluorescent Lights
Lights that are about to burn out
Touch lamps (must unplug turning off may not be enough)
Christmas Lights or other blinking bulbs
Televisions
Computers and Monitors
Electric Motors
Vacuum Cleaners
Microwave Ovens
Bug Zappers
Electric blanket
120V AC smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
Air purifiers
Motion detectors
Cell phone chargers
Even your own radio adapter may be the culprit

More Difficult to Determine:

Neighbor’s using fluorescent lights
Faulty electrical switch
Neighbor’s dimmer switch
Scanners
Dirty insulators on a nearby power pole

Additional Sources of AM Reception Information

http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

https://news.ccrane.com/?s=AM+reception

https://radiojayallen.com/combatting-am-and-sw-interference/

http://radiosausalito.org/listen/AM-reception-tips/

http://www.radionz.co.nz/listen/AMhelp

The Importance of Radio When the Weather Turns

fortunaflooding

Fortuna Blvd. Flooding February 6th 2015

As we were all sitting around at lunch chatting, listening to the scanners go off and occasionally tuning into the weather channel on a radio, we realized again how important radio is. Facebook is great for seeing the pictures, but the scanner told us ahead of time which roads to avoid today because they were closed due to flooding, accidents, downed power lines and more. The local radio has been great about keeping people updated as well. And when push comes to shove, it’s consistently local radio that is there to help organize relief efforts. There is no question that the internet can be a powerful vehicle for community support, action and fundraising but when everything is down the one thing that continues to work is radio. We’d love to sell you a radio, especially one with the weather band, but even if you don’t buy one from us, make sure you have a radio and batteries. If you have an emergency radio, especially one with rechargeable batteries, make sure you charge it up at least every 6 months to keep everything in proper working order. If you have one that only works with alkaline batteries, be sure to change those batteries at least once per year. Also necessary are LED flashlights. We’ve written quite a few blog posts about preparedness but with all the recent storms, snow, flooding and don’t forget fires and earthquakes – we’re continually reminded to make this a priority.

Here’s our lovely town today

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153617999356982

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/feb/6/chaos-roadways-slippery-friday-morning-roundup/

Nearby in Ferndale where some of our employees live

ferndalflodded

Fire on Main Street in Fortuna, California

Early this morning a fire broke out on Main st. resulting in several businesses losing their buildings. Fortunately it was early, so no one was injured. We are a small community of about 10,000 and something like this affects everyone. It is truly devastating and heartbreaking. These are our friends that own these businesses and they employ other friends and even family members. One of our own staff is a volunteer firefighter and another’s husband is as well so this really hits home. Our shipping parking lot is blocked off to allow access for the fire trucks and we sent our shipping department home just because the air quality isn’t that great. Below are some pictures from nearby.

fire5ss

Photo by Sean Sullivan

Main St Fire 6AM

Photo Jessyca Martinez

Main Street Fire 6AM

Photo Jessyca Martinez

Smoke from the highway

Smoke from the Highway – Photo by Lisa Wilson

More images in this article http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/jan/28/major-fire-downtown-fortuna-departments-all-over-h/

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/jan/28/photos-demolition-fortuna-main-streets-star-hotel/