HF Aeronautical Communications

From The RadioReference Wiki

Description and Links

Aircraft utilize HF communications when VHF (Line of Sight) communications is not sufficient. The primary usage of HF is for Trans-oceanic flights. Trans-oceanic flights communicate with ground stations via HF for position reports and other purposes.

Digital and Other Modes

HFDL, otherwise known as High Frequency Data Link, or HF ACARS, is now used extensively by many commercial airlines. There is a whole sub-culture of people that use various software packages to copy this mode and track flights which can be found on the Utility DXers Forum group. This is also the place to be for logs of stations calling MWARA stations. Also see the ACARS VDL2 reflector on, which covers HFDL as a sub-group


Where to Find Activity?

The spectrum for HF Aero communications is very wide. Unlike VHF/UHF scanning, it's challenging to automatically scan a segment of the band because HF noise will always be present. While some aero stations are on a fixed schedule (like VOLMETs), others (such as HFDL) are much more difficult to detect due to their transient nature; thus, listening for Aero comms can be a game of patience. The more time passes, the harder it is to hear again. Mailing lists are one of the best ways to keep ahead of what is being heard, as traffic can be passed relatively quickly. See the Utility Related Clubs, Mailing lists and Publications of the Utility_Monitoring article for some suggested resources