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Comms poll ~ what's in your pocket?


norman
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Which if any radio do you regularly take into the air with you?  

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  1. 1. Which if any radio do you regularly take into the air with you?

    • VHF Airband
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    • 2M
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I'm working on something with a radio manufacturer at the moment, here are a few possible aerial locations. There is a potential problem with feedback if you install an aerial too close to the Tx/Rx unit. Position 2 is a flexi aerial with a sprung base.

20080823-tqbiqm3in6m1w37e29q1j2nau2.jpg

20080823-bj2t4ic37cf87ks17ix13b5bx9.jpg

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Up the lines is good but one problem we have found in PG is in deflation; the ariial can snag and prevent clean reinflation - so needs to be very light and flexible and sleeved to the line snugly.

on the plus side you can fit a full wavelength if you want.

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Just to be clear the following is my understanding of the law. It requires the set to be"type approved" and the set be licensed. The operator does NOT need to have an operators license as well, when using the specific frequencies listed below.

This means you can buy a type approved set and get it licensed (simple form filling exercise and pay the fee) and use it on the frequencies below without any need for a course or an operators license. With sets going for as little as £60 it seems pointless using PMR or 2 metre?

For a pilot legally to operate a radio from a hang glider or paraglider, he

must comply with the law in three areas:

• The radio transmitter must be of a type approved by the CM.

• The glider operator or owner must have a station licence for that

radio. These can be obtained by writing to: WT Radio licensing,

Directorate of Airspace Policy, K6 Gate 6, CAA House, 45 -

Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE, bytelephoning: 0207453 6555, by

e-mailing: radio.licensing@dap.caa.co.uk, or from their web site at

www.caa.co.uk (search for ‘hang glider’).

• The pilot must either possess a Flight Radiotelephony

Operator’s (BiT) licence or must only use the following

frequencies:

— 118.675 MHz. This is a dedicated paragliding and hang-

gliding frequency which can be used anywhere in the UK

FIR, up to and including 5000 ft AMSL.

— 129.9 MHz, 129.95 MHz, 130.1 MHz, 130.125 MHz and

130.4 MHz. These are sport_aviation frequencies, and their

users include parachutists, balloon pilots and sailplane pilots.

— The International Distress Frequency, 121.5 MHz. This

frequency can be used to alert the emergency services.

Among the station licence conditions is the requirement that operato’

must exercise strict radio discipline and that the procedures must I

based on those set out in the CM publication CAP 413

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Just to be clear the following is my understanding of the law. It requires the set to be"type approved" and the set be licensed. The operator does NOT need to have an operators license as well, when using the specific frequencies listed below.

This means you can buy a type approved set and get it licensed (simple form filling exercise and pay the fee) and use it on the frequencies below without any need for a course or an operators license. With sets going for as little as £60 it seems pointless using PMR or 2 metre?

Trouble is there are very few handheld airband sets, and as far as I know, NO current ones, that meet type approval for aircraft instalation. That includes current ICOM IC A4 & A24. Therefore it is technically impossible to have a fully legitimate airborne installation with a modern handheld.

In order for a glider set to NOT need a FRTL, it must not be capable of transmitting on any frequency other than the specified glider ones.

From my point of view, I would think that it behoves people to obtain their FRTL and not worry too much about the technicalities of the installation licence, I doubt very much whether the CAA will come chasing you over the installation ticket, but they may well do over your own personal licence.

Apart from anything else, if you do your FRTL course, you will learn good radio procedure for dealing with the various agencies.

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Totally agree with you that it would be better to get your operators license, but in the meantime you can buy your handheld (which should be type approved in either case) and lock it to your permitted frequency that is allocated for our "exclusive" use and be confident that no-one will come looking for you, to check if you have the set licensed or if it is type approved or locked to frequency. unlike if you are transmitting on 2 metre or 72cm in the wrong frequency where I have seen them "come looking".

I need to be careful not to appear to condone any unlawful use as my recent postings explaining how you can make your 13 litre tank "legal" were construed as encouragement to break the law by some poor deluded individual who then complained about me to my association! (who treated their complaint with the appropiate helping of contempt I understand).

The BGA have this whole area weighed off as they have been doing it a while. I will try and find out what handhelds they use. I know they use 129.9 mhz withoutr operator licenese as a general sports channel, along with the parachutists.

Norman, is this something you can help with? getting type approval for a cheap £100 ish handheld for use on 118.675 MHz without operators license? I suspect the sticking point is the lockability to permitted frequencies? A concession towards "lockable to memory channels on the ground" would encourage greater use of this dedicated frequency and less use of 2 metre. At present most PG and many PPG see no gain in availing themeselves of a "legal" frequency that cannot be accessed legally with a cheap handheld and on 1930s technology (AM) so why not stick to 2 metre 143 or 149 which has been effectively appropriated form the HAM allocation right across Europe and beyond?

Its a matter of "the footpath goes where the peopple walk"?

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Francis,

We are in accord here, I am talking to a manufacturer who produces a certified unit (CAA, FAA and all the rest) for use aboard a variety of aircraft. This device is meant for panel installation but its very small size and weight lends itself very well to be 'turned into' a PM installation. It would take its supply from the PM and use an aerial rig such as the ones we have been discussing.

The question of Installation licenses, frequency pre-selects and other issues can be dealt with later but the proposal is to produce a powerful unit that provides crystal clear comms and will complement the new range of high performance headsets available to PPG pilots.

As for licensing, I am looking into that with a CAA contact at the moment. The license syllabus/content is inflexible due to the nature of the broad coverage of the license privileges, but an examiner that understands the end user and can place the right emphasis producing a well informed PPG pilot into the air is going to meet broader airspace objectives. For that reason I think they may smile on our objectives and help out a little.

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Really interesting conversation gents.

I am wondering if we are going to see a drift towards the use of airband after appropriate licensing? It has a lot to offer and any serious cross country flyer would be well advised to be so equipped. Or are people just not fussed either way?

Am I seeing some subtle threads in your questions.

There are two (at least) modes of operation in my own enjoyment of xc. One is to be able to sneak about amongst and between the airspaces compeletly undetected by radar and remaining silent and invisible. always remaining legal and within the right class of space but knowing precisely where I am and my proximity, yet knowing I am unseen.

The other "game" is being a "proper pilot" with all the licenses and certificates and equipment that permit Class D entry and transit and allow you to be part of a fairly elite group, yet all the time being in the most minimal of aircraft.

In the first mode I "allow" other air users to have their regulated space to keep them out of my way and choose not to enter the controlled space 'cos thats where the heavily laden go, weighed down by their beaurocracy. So its is an additional thrill to swap personas and also be laden, controlled, part of the leviathon that is Official Aviation since I can shed it at will.

All of this is delusion of course because I am as controlled and regulated as any, but it amuses me.

In answer to the second.

I want a portable radio that receives and transmits in the ranges 118 to 150 Mhz AM and FM and also 446.0 to 446.1 with a 6.25 Khz step, and be crystal clear in all modes. And I dont want to plug its arial in every time I clip in so it needs to have a rubber duck. For this radio I would pay up to £350.

:roll:

:roll::wink:

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Francis,

As for licensing, I am looking into that with a CAA contact at the moment. The license syllabus/content is inflexible due to the nature of the broad coverage of the license privileges, but an examiner that understands the end user and can place the right emphasis producing a well informed PPG pilot into the air is going to meet broader airspace objectives. For that reason I think they may smile on our objectives and help out a little.

I find the dedicated frequency 118.675 particularly interesting as I dont need either a airbourne or a ground station license to use it so can use it as a training frequency as an instructor on the ground. At present PMR is legal for this as the transmitter is on the ground and the receiver (student) is in the air.

If I moved to other airband frequencies for this purpose I would need a ground station license and also an airbourne license for the same set and for the same usage.

I can legally use 118.675 without an operators license (ground or air) at present for this purpose except that I cannot because there are no approved sets!

I might say "If I cant be legal using the legal dedicated hang gliding frequency either from the ground or in the air what is my incentive to move away from being illegal on 2 metre? (if indeed I was doing such a thing).

It was great to have the frequency allocated but no-one thought through the implications of footdragging on the type approval front so it just never got taken up. Many PPGers dont even know they have their own frequency which does not require an operators license. You would get immediate and widespread takeup by most of us if that frequency had an approved modern set that could be "ground locked" to the frequency. Then some, even many, of these would move forward to the next step of getting their operators license and "unlocking" their frequency once qualified. It would get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet ; a massive cultural change simply by type approving a set or two for use on 118.675 and require no change in the law (slight change of emphasis on the meaning of "locked to a frequency").

Then your market would be HUGE as it would include all paragliders, hang-gliders, and SPHG across Europe.

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The Icom IC-A6SPORT is about the only CAA approved set I have found. It retails at around £170. You can get a "long range arial" for it if you buy it at http://www.ballooning.fsnet.co.uk/icom/icom.htm it seems the balloonists already invented this wheel. (looks like a 1/2 wave line)

How about "offer of the week" Simon? How many pilots would buy this radio, bearing in mind we can use the allocated hangglider frequency perfectly legally without an operators license. You merely have to get a set license for theis "approved" radio from the CAA. GHow much is this per year?

You can use the same set on all other airband channels from the air if you go on to get an operators license. And from the ground if you get a ground operators license.

Does anyone know if this radio has good quality audio performance in a paramotor setting?

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The Icom IC-A6SPORT is about the only CAA approved set I have found. It retails at around £170. You can get a "long range arial" for it if you buy it at http://www.ballooning.fsnet.co.uk/icom/icom.htm it seems the balloonists already invented this wheel. (looks like a 1/2 wave line)

How about "offer of the week" Simon? How many pilots would buy this radio, bearing in mind we can use the allocated hangglider frequency perfectly legally without an operators license. You merely have to get a set license for theis "approved" radio from the CAA. GHow much is this per year?

You can use the same set on all other airband channels from the air if you go on to get an operators license. And from the ground if you get a ground operators license.

Does anyone know if this radio has good quality audio performance in a paramotor setting?

Francis, can you point me at your source that tell you the IC A6 has type approval for airborne use? I spoke to the MD of ICOM UK a couple of months ago, and he gave me the impression that ICOM would not be seeking type approval for airborne use on any further handhelds until such time as the ridiculously onerous UK test procedures were modified.

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Francis, can you point me at your source that tell you the IC A6 has type approval for airborne use?.

Waters and Stanton claim it is. I have not verified this with the CAA. I assumed (naively ?) that they were sufficiently reputable to get this correct.

I have trawled the CAA approval site and cannot find any approval. So thanks for picking me up on that one.

I now see why no-one in our world bothers with the antiquated AM equipment system.

Sorry Norman. Seems like its the rules not the equipment that is the stumbling block.

re the A6, I understand what most sports pilots do is simply disregard the need to license the set and use it anyway. This appears to include many professional pilots who carry a (unapproved) portable in their flight case as a backup. To be honest it makes a complete mockery of any attempt by us to comply. I return to mode A operations (see previous posts) and leave it to the lawgivers to sort their underwear from their socks.

Edit: OMG apparently the A6 is a "direct successor" to the A3 which is approved so you register your set license putting A3 on the form? Can this be true. I think I will stop digging now, I thought my ethics were dodgey.

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that is correct, I made a mistake, the A6 has no approval. (but quite a big market)

Well I shall have no hesitation using either my A6 or A24 airborne (as and when my feet actually leave the ground that is).

To be quite honest, controllers and other services would rather be speaking to you than not, as they have at least half an idea what your next move might be, and that can only improve safety for all.

I think it would take an extremely officious CAA rep to pull you up for not using a type approved set, and as long as you are using the radio in the manner intended, I can't see them coming chasing you. I think if a whole load of paramotor pilots suddenly started coming up on airband, then they might conceivably question whether or not you had you FRTL.

A question for the Tip-2-Tippers is whether they showed up on radar when they were talking to LARS? This one bothers me a bit, and is the reason I'm still looking at transponders. I had wondered about dangling the sort of radar reflector that small boats use, just under the seat, lightweight enough that it'd crumple in an impact. Or maybe just some loosely scrunched up tin foil chucked into the back of a couple of wing cells. Almost zero weight, hopefully wouldn't affect wing dynamics, and I know from testing done by some of my scuba mates that it's a very good radar reflector.

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I am right in believing no FRTL required when using 118.675 though arent I?

The radar question is an interesting one though. There is a new fabric Aeroix that is aluminium threads woven into the nylon. The new Skywalk gliders use it. I expext that is very radar visible as the whole wing is made of it.

I dont think we showed up on Plymouth's radar but because we (whitters) had asked to cross the centre line they knew we were there and could see (and count) us from the tower; we flew around the edge of the ATZ so were 2.5 km from the tower.

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The gliding frequencies are exempt from FRTL but 118.675 is not one of them. It is the agreed microlight frequency and I am not sure if they have the same arrangement. The legal sets that I have seen in use in gliders are not handhelds (but then I have been out of that sport for some years now) but panel mounted sets with a rotary knob to select fixed crystals for the precise freqs allowed.

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...we flew around the edge of the ATZ so were 2.5 km from the tower.

I consider this post is like an original Persian rug where they would always include a deliberate mistake as only their god could achieve perfection! I'm sure that was a typo and you missed it by 2.5nm from the center of the longest runway. :wink:

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The British ARMY have Radar Reflecting Paint. So we must be able to get it too.

(It is based on a alloy pigment and as such can be used in almost any application. (you can add Pigment to Coloured Die even!!!)

I think that Radar Reflecting stuff is the way to go for PPG, (as apposed to Transponders that is)

Off to the field again.

SW :D

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The gliding frequencies are exempt from FRTL but 118.675 is not one of them. It is the agreed microlight frequency and I am not sure if they have the same arrangement.

We need to check this! It is a very widespread beleif that 118.675 has been designated by ofcom as a Hang-gliding allocated frequency that can be used without FRTL on a licensed set. Not a "gliding frequency" but specifically hang gliding (i.e HG, PPG and SPHG).

If you are right then there is even less point in improper pilots such as I in bothering with the wretched airband system, it is irrelevant to my operations.

2M remains the simplest and most effective solution and the situation is similar in Europe. I do not personally condone the use of 2M in the following channel plan of course but others say..............

The following was loosely agreed between Rod Buck (the BHPA's Radio Officer) and the Radio Agency in the UK a while back. Whilst not strictly legal, the RA agreed to 'leave us alone' if we stick to the below;

143.950 Main calling channel

143.925

143.900

143.875

143.850 Alternative calling channel in busy areas

143.825

143.800

143.775

143.750

143.725

143.700 Also used as calling channel by PG's in some areas

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Actually I might be wrong about my reference to microlights and 118.675 although I know they do use it quite a bit.

Just found this list on another website:

120.900, 130.100, 130.125 and 130.400 Gliders

129.975 Gliders (to mobile field units)

122.475 Hot Air Balloons

130.525 and 129.900 Parachutes

129.825 Microlights

118.675 Hang/Paragliders

It is well worth be aware that if you use 118.675 on a standard 25kHz spacing radio that you are just one click of the tuning knob away from Heathrow Tower on 118.7 :shock:

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Actually I might be wrong about my reference to microlights and 118.675 although I know they do use it quite a bit.

Well they would! it is a vacant frequency.....completely unused by hang glider pilots who are using Rod's channel plan on 2M! :lol::lol::lol:

Just found this list on another website:

120.900, 130.100, 130.125 and 130.400 Gliders

129.975 Gliders (to mobile field units)

122.475 Hot Air Balloons

130.525 and 129.900 Parachutes

129.825 Microlights

118.675 Hang/Paragliders

Yes that is what I thought. The above frequencies are the "sports" frequencies and can be used without FRTL on a licensed (therefore "approved") set. The license costs £15 and it is my understanding that you get a license speciofying an Icom A3E and use whatever you like. Which I, of course, do not condone.

Incidentally I saw an advert for a Icom A6E yesterday???? and the picture of the radio had A6E on the front case. Does the E definitely mean "CAA approved" or Europe approved (but not UK)?

It is well worth be aware that if you use 118.675 on a standard 25kHz spacing radio that you are just

one click of the tuning knob away from Heathrow Tower on 118.7 :shock:

Its as well to let them know when you are crossing their centre line....especially if you are only 2.5km from the centre of their longest runway??? ...... :oops::oops::oops: No??

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OK found it!

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/20031902.htm

Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 1902

The Wireless Telegraphy (Limitation of Number of Licences) Order 2003

the allocations are in

PART 1

FREQUENCIES ALLOCATED TO AERONAUTICAL USE

Aeronautical Ground Station (General Aviation)

129.900 MHz, 130.100 MHz, 130.125 MHz, 130.400 MHz (Glider Ground Station (Standard))

129.975 (Glider Ground Station (Common Field Frequency))

122.475 MHz (Balloon Ground Station)

130.525 MHz, 129.900 MHz (Parachute Ground Station)

129.825 MHz (Microlight Ground Station)

118.675 MHz (Hang Gliders/Paragliders)

121.600 MHz (Fire Service)

and the exemption from FRTL is in PART 2

CRITERIA RELATING TO PERSONS TO WHOM WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY LICENCES MAY BE GRANTED

Aircraft Licence (including Aircraft (Transportable))

1. An applicant must undertake to use the radio equipment in an aircraft or similar airborne apparatus.

2. An applicant must possess a Flight Radiotelephony Operators Certificate of Competence issued by the Secretary of State under Article 21 of the Air Navigation Order 2000[20]. This is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)[21] on behalf of the Secretary of State.

3. An applicant who is a glider pilot and who undertakes to operate only on the nominated glider frequencies is exempt from the requirement in paragraph 2 of Part 2 of this Schedule.

SPHG is a category of glider so microlighters are using 118.675 "illegally". However they probably have approved and licensed sets??

Anyway, seems like I can legally use airband as a PPG training radio without FRTL if I use 118.675 below 5000ft and within 10 nm of the field. And I can make an official complaint to DTI if I get interference from a microlight pilot on MY frequency. grrrrrrr heh heh. So £1500 worth of 2m kit goes in the bin and £3000 of new AM(pah) radios get bought and installed and licensed at £15 each a year. :idea::idea::idea::idea::idea: if only I could do da math.

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