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Author Topic: Console of the tower  (Read 2877 times)
masterkeymaster
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« on: February 01, 2014, 07:59:06 PM »

In the console of the air traffic control is there any other frequencies that the staffing monitor(s) or operate that we as pilots don’t hear, and/or non published? Or is it strictly aviation?
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StuSEL
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 06:37:37 PM »

Usually just aviation radios are monitored. They could technically tune to the ARFF (fire fighting) and airport ops radios if they wanted to, but ARFF and ops always use the phone or published frequencies to get ahold of the tower.

One set of frequencies that you can't hear are the military UHF radios. Each tower typically has one or two UHF frequencies they can use to talk to military operators. The GUARD frequency 243.0 is also monitored. Where I operate, it seems more common to hear military operators talking to FAA controllers on VHF radios these days, though.
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CFI ASEL
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spades
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 01:11:36 AM »

In the console of the air traffic control is there any other frequencies that the staffing monitor(s) or operate that we as pilots don’t hear, and/or non published? Or is it strictly aviation?

The only thing that are constantly being used are shout lines and green lights which pilots would never hear.  That is how we talk to other controllers for coordination.  It's often why you guys will say something and we'll come back a few seconds later and say, "offline, say again" because we were talking to another controller.  Sometimes I can still understand what you're saying while listening to the other guy and then you'll just have a delayed response but if I can't then you'll get the 'say again'.
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 02:21:30 PM »

Speaking of multi-tasking, I remember an NYC WCBS traffic copter pilot who used to occasionally sandwich in an acknowledgement to ATC right in the middle of a traffic report, right in the middle of a sentence and without missing a syllable.
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RonR
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 09:15:40 PM »

Yes i remember hearing that.  Wasn't that Neal Busch? Unlike the traffic guys flying today who have a pilot that flies for them (as far as I know anyway, I know Tom Kaminski has a pilot), Neal Busch piloted the helicopter and handed out traffic reports at the same time.  On occasion I heard him explaining to the listeners that he had to check in with ATC in the middle of his report.

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jermscentral
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 09:11:41 PM »

The part about "that we as pilots don't hear" can be thought of two different ways - one being what was mentioned already, and the other being that while you're tuned to one frequency, I'm usually monitoring 7 when I'm working the Tower position (we call it Local Control), and when I key up, I transmit on 6 of those. We have a frequency called DECF that is used for emergency aircraft that are able to switch to it, as it is also monitored by our ground operations and emergency/ARFF vehicles. Otherwise, the other six are three UHF and three VHF frequencies, and depending on which runway you're using, you could be on any of those three. You may hear me talk to someone but never hear a response; that's why-- they're on a different frequency.

As spades mentioned, we have a system called TEDS that lets us key up all of our facility's frequencies, and occasionally, we'll turn on the emergency backup transceivers, mainly to test them as part of a weekly equipment checklist, but we also occasionally tune in a satellite airport, particularly if we had a Class B airspace violator. We know they'll key up to announce their presence to the satellite airport even if they didn't talk to us.

As for the guard frequency (121.5/243.0), we just have it monitored on loudspeaker at a station in the back of the tower cab. It's amazing the number of pilots that don't realize they're transmitting on guard.

I added the UHF frequencies to my STL feed so you could hear the Boeing fighter jets that depart (their callsigns are preceded with "MAC"), and they're also the frequencies used by military aircraft in general.
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StuSEL
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 02:07:22 AM »

... but we also occasionally tune in a satellite airport, particularly if we had a Class B airspace violator. We know they'll key up to announce their presence to the satellite airport even if they didn't talk to us.
I wouldn't count on that. If they're busting the Bravo they probably don't give a care about CTAF either.
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