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Handheld Radios


Witch
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I got me an airband tranceiver some time back, mainly to listen to the Alaska pilots debating whether to cross vance at 12,000 or 14,000, and a friend was telling me that in order to transmit on the handheld one has to be in physical contact with an aircraft. I'm thinking that might not be completely true because my instructor talked to me on a handheld during the solo. He didn't give me any reference, so I thought I'd ask ya'll.

 

Must one be in physical contact with an aircraft? Can you provide a reference?

 

Later

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Hey Witch,

 

interested in the answers you might get, but also wonder if everyone could suggest which hand held to buy... i've been looking at a few for a while and it's time to pick one.

 

thanks,

 

dp

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I doubt you'll find any instruction manual that says "Turn POWER knob to ON, then lean up against the body of the aircraft."

 

He meant visual, I'm sure. Which isn't entirely accurate, either, since most good handhelds can make contact BVR.

 

ICOM has always been good to me.

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There is no law that requires you to be in an aircraft or near one, or anything else. If you want to transmit, go a head. I gave my handheld to one of my friends once so he could talk me into a locaton. He's not a pilot even, but he drove into an area where we were going to be camping and then I came up a day later in the chopper, so he talked me in to where he was at. As long as your nice and not cussing, or disrupting controlled areas, it doesn't matter.

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Technically (I don't have a CFR reference) you need to have a radio station license if you want to transmit with an airband radio. In an aircraft your certificate suffices as the license, but if you are on the ground (i.e. not in an aircraft) then technically you need a license and station ID issued by the FCC. In a practical sense, are you going to get in trouble? No. Handhelds are very low power (5 watts or less) and the odds of somebody actually locating you are very small. However, legally you are in the wrong. My answer is go ahead and use it, but don't do/say anything you wouldn't do/say in an aircraft and you will be fine.

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Icom & Vertex are both good with reasonable prices, the hand held will work better out of the aircraft, think about it, an aerial in a tin box is not good, anything around the radiating antenna will reduce its efficiency. even your head. :ph34r:

Most hand sets allow removal of the helical antenna and connection to a more efficient radiator.

Aircraft frequencies work best line of site, skip and propagation are a rarer occurrence.

If you are interested in propagation the link is a good one

http://ecjones.org/propag.html

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You know whats great??

 

I read the title to the post, and I did NOT need to see who wrote it...I just knew it was Witch !!

 

I like ICOM, enough said.

 

Goldy

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Thanx for the input guys. I'll look into an FCC license and what that entails.

 

As for the radio, I have a Vertex VXA-710. Reason?

1) Cheaper than Sporty's

2) It has that VOR-CDI thingy

3)It has that Business Radio service thingy, but I can't figure it out

4)It picks up FM radio, 105.5 BOB FM

5) Cheaper than Sporty's

 

One night I left the radio on and it didn't run out of power until the next evening, a good 20 hours. Suprised me I tell you what.

 

Have you ever noticed that Dr.Phil whines when he talks?

 

Later

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"Back in the Day" the mnemonic to remember required aircraft paperwork was ARROW : Airworthiness, Registration, Radio license, Operating handbook, Weight & balance. Nowadays it's AROW, not because 21st century Americans can't spell, (although there's a lot of that going around) but because about 12 years ago the FCC changed the rules. This is from the FCC website: http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm...rcraft_stations

 

 

On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82 (text) eliminating the individual licensing requirement for all aircraft, including scheduled air carriers, air taxis and general aviation aircraft operating domestically. This means that you do not need a license to operate a two-way VHF radio, radar, or emergency locator transmitter (ELT) aboard aircraft operating domestically. All other aircraft radio stations must be licensed by the FCC either individually or by fleet.

 

 

Prior to this change, not only did the aircraft have to carry a station license, but a pilot also had to have a radio operator's license to legally communicate on the radio. (I still have one in the archives with my old paper pilot's certificate.) I think what your friend is alluding to , Witch, is that the rule says you don't need a license to operate a radio "ABOARD an aircraft operating domestically", but technically I would say you not only need to be "touching" an aircraft, you need to be "aboard" an aircraft to transmit on a handheld transceiver. I'm no lawyer, however, so that's just my $.02 worth. There are plenty of exceptions to the FCC license requirements for low-power transmitters (think citizen's band or FRS walkie-talkies) but in a quick look at the FCC website I didn't run across any reference to VHF airband handhelds. Note the last sentence in the above snippet, however - "All other aircraft radio stations must be licensed by the FCC..." Interestingly enough, the owner's handbook for my Vertex VXA-210 says absolutely nothing about license requirements. zip. zero. nada. Seems like the manufacturers may be flying under the radar on this - "Of Course we only expect pilots to use our product on board an aircraft in the event of an emergency"...

 

I think Photoflyer has the best advice- don't do anything you wouldn't do in an aircraft and you'll probably stay under the radar. Calling up Delta flight 427 on ORD approach frequency for a friendly chat might not be such a good idea... Joining the AOPA and signing up for their legal services insurance WOULD be a good idea.

 

And for RockyMtnHi: speaking of the Vertex Standard VXA-210, I've had it for about 3 years now and I've NEVER transmitted on it. I use it to get ATIS and listen to BJC tower to see if the @#%*& guy ahead of me on the schedule is on his way back with the helicopter I'm waiting to fly. It's always worked fine, but it has a TON of features I never use and that makes it a bit less intuitive to operate than would be ideal. If I ever have to fire it in anger, so to speak, it won't be at a time when I'll be able to leaf through the owner's manual to figure out how to make it do what I need it to, so more obvious operation would be nice. I have no idea how the competitive units are in this respect, but if I ever buy another handheld, simplicity of operation will be an important consideration for me.

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Here is the link for anypne wanting to obtain an FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. Not hard to do if you really want one. You can read through the website for more information. There is information specifically relating to handheld radios and obtaining a license for communicating with one on FCC Form 605c.

 

http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/rp.html

 

FCC Form 605c

 

I am a Yaesu/Vertex kind of guy for many years (HAM and Commercial Radio's), so I have the VXA-300 portable unit. I have not played with many other units, but I enjoy it and its pretty easy to use. I wouldn't even think to try and using it or programming it trying to fly something with spinning wings, but for a plank driver it wouldn't be too hard. The 710 is another nice unit, but I think they missed the mark on the small buttons and complexity of the unit.

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Thanks for all your help on the radios.. i'll let you know what i pick out if i remember.

 

Thought you might like a shot or two of Helicodger in action! :-) caught him on departure the other day!! (now they all know how good looking you are!)

 

aloha,

 

dp

 

ps Witch.. you crack me up!

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  • 3 years later...

[disclaimer] sorry for digging this old post up, but I would like to ask you about hand held radios, and I thought that commenting on this thread would be better than opening a new one.[/disclaimer]

 

I am a student pilot, and I hope that at this point of my pilot progress it is expected for me to find radio communications quite challenging. Therefore I am looking into getting one transceiver, so I can get more exposure to radio, especially when I am close at the airport. (at home I just listen to internet feed, although that poses its own difficulties).

 

Do you have any suggestions on what I should get? There were a few models mentioned above, but since these were a few years ago, I was wondering if something else is out in the market.

 

As I said, the primary use that I would have for it would be to be able to listen to ATC radio when being at/close to an airport.

 

thanks!

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thanks Pohi for taking the time to reply, and for the recommendation, as well. Usually on the web I use the liveatc.net, which is for free. But the thing is that is not very convenient when I do not have internet access (and when I am at the airport usually I don't). Another thing is that the airport that I am at doesn't have a live feed, so when I listen to atc feed, I don't get to see what is really happening (although it is still helpful to get exposed to the communications).

 

That's why I want the transceiver. Because I think it will be better to be at the airport (maybe even while having breakfast at the cafe there) and being able to listen to the comm, and also be able to see out the window what is happening (like crosschecking yourself if you got the message right).

 

I think that there are some scanners available, that you can only listen to, but since I will make the expense to get something, I thought that I should go for a transceiver, which will probably prove itself to be more useful down the road.

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