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Aircraft use Airband as their primary means of voice communication. In North America, the spectrum from 118.000 to 136.975 MHz is used with 25 kHz spacing and AM. As of 2010 aeronautical enroute and flight test stations may use 8.33 kHz spaced channels in the 121.4-123.6, 128.825-132.0 and 136.5-136.875 MHz ranges.
- 1 VHF Allocation - 118-137 MHz
- 2 Common Civilian Frequencies
- 3 Common Military Frequencies
- 4 ARINC En Route Service
- 5 Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS)
- 6 Balloon Operations
- 7 Airline Operations
- 8 Conventions for Abbreviating Frequencies
- 9 See Also
- 10 External Links
- 11 Files
- 12 References
VHF Allocation - 118-137 MHz
|Lower Frequency||Upper Frequency||Allocation|
|121.475||Band Protection for 121.500|
|121.500||Emergency Frequency (Guard)|
|121.525||Band Protection for 121.500|
|121.600||121.925||ATC (Old Ground Control Frequency Band)|
|121.775||SAR ELT Location Training|
|121.975||FSS Private Aircraft Advisory|
|122.000||122.050||EFAS (Callsign "Flightwatch" terminated 10/1/2015 and merged with FSS)|
|122.075||122.675||FSS Private Aircraft Advisory|
|122.700||122.725||UNICOM - Uncontrolled Airports|
|122.750||Fixed Wing Aircraft - Air to Air|
|122.800||UNICOM - Uncontrolled Airports|
|122.875||UNICOM - Domestic VHF|
|122.900||MULTICOM - SAR Training|
|122.925||MULTICOM - Special Use/ National Response Management|
|122.950||UNICOM - Full Time ATCT, FSS|
|122.975||123.000||UNICOM - Uncontrolled Airports|
|123.025||123.075||UNICOM - Uncontrolled Airports|
|123.100||SAR; Temp. ATCTs and Fly-ins with SAR Coordination|
|123.325||123.475||Flight Test (123.450 Used for Air-to-Air Communications Over Remote and Oceanic Areas Out of Range of VHF Ground Stations)|
|123.600||123.650||ATC (Formerly Air Carrier Advisory. FSS Uses Phased Out)|
|126.200||Military Common (Advisory)|
|128.825||132.000||Operational Control. Coordinated by ARINC (See Airline Operations Below)|
|134.100||Military Common (Advisory)|
|135.850||FAA Flight Inspection|
|135.950||FAA Flight Inspection|
|136.425||136.475||Old FIS. (Now Unallocated)|
|136.900||136.975||International and Domestic VHF|
Common Civilian Frequencies
|121.50000||M||CSQ||VHF Guard||Aircraft Emergency and Distress (VHF Guard)||AM||Aircraft|
|121.95000||M||CSQ||AvSup 121.95||Aviation Support||AM||Business|
|122.75000||M||CSQ||Air-Air 122.750||Aircraft air-to-air||AM||Aircraft|
|122.77500||M||CSQ||AvSup 122.775||Aviation Support||AM||Business|
|122.85000||M||CSQ||Multi 122.85||Multicom, Aviation Support||AM||Aircraft|
|122.90000||M||CSQ||Multi 122.9||Multicom, Search and Rescue Training||AM||Aircraft|
|122.92500||M||CSQ||Multi 122.925||Multicom - Special Use, Natural resource management||AM||Aircraft|
|123.02500||M||CSQ||Helo Air-Air||Helicopter Air-to-Air||AM||Aircraft|
|123.10000||M||CSQ||SAR Primary||Search and Rescue primary, ATC for special events secondary||AM||Aircraft|
|123.12500||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.12||Flight Test itinerant||AM||Business|
|123.15000||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.15||Flight Test itinerant||AM||Business|
|123.17500||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.17||Flight Test itinerant||AM||Business|
|123.30000||M||CSQ||AvSup 123.3||Aviation Support||AM||Business|
|123.40000||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.4||Flight Test itinerant||AM||Business|
|123.42500||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.42||Flight Test itinerant||AM||Business|
|123.45000||M||CSQ||FlightTest123.45||Flight Test/Unofficial Air-to-Air||AM||Business|
|123.50000||M||CSQ||AvSup 123.5||Aviation Support||AM||Business|
|126.20000||M||CSQ||MilCom 126.2||Military Common (advisory)||AM||Aircraft|
|134.10000||M||CSQ||MilCom 134.1||Military Common (advisory)||AM||Aircraft|
|135.85000||M||CSQ||FltIns135.85||FAA Flight Inspection||AM||Federal|
|135.95000||M||CSQ||FltIns135.95||FAA Flight Inspection||AM||Federal|
|122.20000||M||CSQ||Flt Watch Wx||Flight Watch Weather||AM||Aircraft|
|129.52500||M||CSQ||Deicing Comm||Deicing Common||AM||Business|
|121.77500||M||CSQ||ELT Training||Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Training Beacons||AM||Aircraft|
|122.95000||BM||CSQ||Unicom 122.95||Unicom - Controlled Airports||AM||Aircraft|
Common Military Frequencies
In recent years many PMSV stations have moved off of the four older nationwide common frequencies.
243.0000 Aircraft Emergency and Distress (Military Guard) 257.8000 Air Traffic Control (Military Common) 282.8000 Search and Rescue 255.4000 FAA Flight Service Stations 296.7000 FAA Flight Service Stations 239.8000 PMSV (Pilot to Metro Service - weather advisory) 342.5000 PMSV 344.6000 PMSV 375.2000 PMSV 303.0000 Air-to-air "Winchester" 311.0000 USAF ACC Command Posts Pimary 321.0000 USAF ACC Command Posts Secondary 381.3000 USAF ACC Command Posts 319.4000 USAF AMC Command Posts 349.4000 USAF AMC Command Posts 252.1000 USAF Reserve Command Posts 351.2000 USAF Reserve Command Posts 364.2000 USAF NORAD AICC Primary 380.0000 FAA Flight Inspection/ SMO Ground Personnel 380.1000 FAA Flight Inspection/ SMO Ground Personnel
ARINC En Route Service
ARINC operates a wide area radio network, primarily to enable airline customers to create voice patches. It is available above 20,000 feet and on the ground at select airports. Use examples include pilot to dispatch, maintenance control, or medical advisors. This is usually used to supplement ACARS or in lieu of ACARS if it is inoperative on an aircraft. This way airline dispatchers can maintain operational control of their aircraft in flight. Delta Air Lines maintains a similar but separate network called "Atlanta Radio".
In the contiguous US, the base station callsign is "San Francisco Radio" except on Gulf Net, Maritime Net and Mex Net which are "New York Radio."
VHF en route frequencies changed effective 04 Apr 2012:
128.9000 Southwest USA 129.4000 Northeast USA / Great Lakes Area / Canada West Coast and Anchorage 129.4500 East Central USA 131.8000 Northwest USA 129.9000 Maritime Net (Northeast Coast USA) 130.7000 Mexico / Caribbean 131.1750 Southeast USA 130.4000 West Central USA 131.9500 Pacific Net (West Coast USA and Hawaii)
Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS)
ACARS data is used to send messages to and from commercial airlines' aircraft.
|131.72500||BM||ACARS SITA Base||Base Frequency||Telm||Data|
|129.35000||BM||SITA 129.35||En Route||Telm||Data|
|128.97500||BM||SITA 128.975||Terminal - Spare||Telm||Data|
|131.00000||BM||SITA 131.000||Terminal - Spare||Telm||Data|
|131.47500||BM||SITA 131.475||DataPlus (Air Canada) En Route||Telm||Data|
123.3000 Common air-to-ground (pilot-to-chase crew), shared with glider ops. 123.5000 Common air-to-ground (pilot-to-chase crew), shared with glider ops. 122.7500 Common air-to-air 122.0000 AFSS Weather requests
The frequencies between 128.825-132.000 and 136.500-136.975 MHz are managed and coordinated by Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc (ASRI). ASRI was spun off from Aeronautical Radio, INC (ARINC) in 2010. ARINC is now owned by Collins Aerospace and ASRI is owned by a consortium of U.S. airlines. Operations such as pilot to FBO, pilot to airline ground operation station, pilot to dispatch via a radio network such as San Francisco Radio, and deice trucks are found almost exclusively between 128.825-132.000. Coordinating and FCC licensing is handled by ASRI. The licensee in FCC licenses is almost always ASRI, thus obfuscating the license's user. Source
At large airports (DFW, DEN, DTW, ORD, LAX, among many others), the ramps are controlled by the airlines, not the FAA air traffic control. The ramp controllers provide permission for aircraft to enter and park at their gates, push back from the gate and start, and maintain the flow of traffic in their alleyways. Most ramp frequencies are found in the 128.825-132.000 range. These ramp frequencies are seldom published by the FAA.
Airline deice trucks at small and midsized stations often use the corresponding operations frequency. At hub airports, deice trucks often (not always) have dedicated frequencies; these dedicated frequencies often do not have a corresponding FCC license because its mobile to mobile and coordinated by ASRI.
Conventions for Abbreviating Frequencies
In the VHF band, frequency designations read over the radio are often abbreviated. Sometimes for brevity, sometimes as another way to read back a frequency assignment to make sure it was received correctly, and occasionally out of laziness. The following conventions have varying degrees of acceptance in the US.
- Ground frequencies: previously ground frequencies were assigned frequencies beginning in 121. So in reading back ground frequencies, the "121" may be assumed. So if the ground frequency is 121.600, it may be shorted to ".6" ("point six").
- Omitting the last digit in a frequency ending in 5: because ATC frequencies are spaced at 0.025 MHz (example, 132.000, 132.025, 132.050, 132.075) when the third decimal place is a 5 it may be omitted. So if the assigned frequency is 132.225, it may be read back as "132.22" ("one-three-two point two-two). This is perfectly acceptable by all controllers and users, many aircraft radios even omit the third decimal point.
- Omitting the leading one: since VHF ATC frequencies begin with a 1, the 1 may be assumed. Not proper but still common. 123.050 can be shorted to "23.05" ("two-three point zero-five").
- Middle four digits: combining the last two conventions and sometimes omitting the "point". 118.675 may be shorted to "1867" ("one-eight-six-seven" or "eighteen-sixty seven").
- ARINC Frequencies in the NE US
- Air Route Traffic Control Center
- Federal Aviation Administration
- Finding Air Traffic Frequencies
- Heavy Lift Helicopters
- Navigation Aids including ILS, DME, VOR, TACAN, Marker Beacons, and NDB
- Safety of Flight
Federal Aviation Administration
- Federal Aviation Administration Home Page
- Aeronautical Data - Download the 28 Day NASR Subscription Data and other data.
- Aeronautical Information Services - View and download maps of Class Airspace, ARTCC Boundary, etc.
- Air Traffic Plans and Publications - Download the Aeronautical Information Manual and Pilot/Controller Glossary.
- Airport Diagrams - Search for and download airport diagrams.
- Digital Products - Download various charts and supplements.
- Flight Service
- Handbooks and Manuals
- N-Number Inquiry - Look up aircraft registration numbers.
- PilotWeb - Search for NOTAMS.
- Special Use Airspace (SUA)
- Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR)
Aeronautical Data and Aircraft Tracking
- AirNav.com - Online airport and navaid info.
- FlightAware - Real time flight tracking
- FlightRadar24 - Real time flight tracking
- LiveATC.net - Live air traffic control radio feeds
- planefinder.net - Real time flight tracking (ADS-B) + 5 min delay (FAA Data)
- SkyVector.com - Online aeronautical charts.
- VFRMAP.com - Online aeronautical charts.
- Canadian Aeronautical Communications (Archive) - Unmaintained since 2019 (Live URL has been taken over by malicious actor).
- The Fed Files Nationwide Military Frequencies
- ASRI_VHF_2022.zip - Contains a Google Earth .kml map of ASRI VHF (128.825-136.975) ground stations.
- FAA.zip - Contains a Google Earth .kml map of ARTCCs, ARTCC boundaries, ARTCC RCAG sites, Partial list of ARTCC radar sites, AFSS Hubs, AFSS RCO sites, and Navaids.
- 47 CFR 87.173 Frequencies
- FCC Aviation Radio Service
- Southwest Region Spectrum Management Handbook SW 6050.12A December 12, 2001
- Spectrum Management Regulations and Procedures Manual JO 6050.32B November 17, 2005
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