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Jeff

On the Fence

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Hi all,I was probably one of the first to purchase Radar Contact when it was first released many years ago. I bought it coming from BAO Flightshop. Yeah I know I'm going way back. I liked the way it was designed but couldn't get past the robotic voices. I ended up buying Pro Flight and used that. The Pro Flight did not work with Fs2004 (before emulator) I used default MsFS ATC then with the Edit Voice pack mods. I was chosen for the Pro Flight Emulator beta team but didn't have the time back then to do it. I ended up buying the program and using it for a little while. I liked the flow of the voices. The problem was some bugs and the lack of ai interaction. I have UT along with almost every WOAI and Alpha India ai plan. I won't ai interaction. I'm still using Fs2004 but have FSX on my system. Too many add ons and FSX still isn't fluid enough for me with a high end system.Now knowing some of my expectations would I be happy in buying Radar Contact 4.3? I'm still on the fence with the robotic voices when I bought the first version ever released. The lack of ground handling I've read about is a concern too. My main concern is that I don't want to spend the money then version 5 coming out and feel I wasted the money on 4.3 and have to buy the new version. I bought the first version and ended up not using it since it wasn't what I expected then. Back then JD provided exceptional service and following the forums from time to time the entire RC team has continued that tradition. Will I be happy if I purchase it today?Thanks for your time.

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Of course there is a new version on the way, but that said, I don't think you'd be disappointed with Radar Contact in its present state, the voices are pretty good in my opinion, and look at it this way, you'd still be in the same dilemma even if V5 was out, which it ain't.Perhaps more importantly, Radar Contact runs flawlessly, with quite a low system overhead too, which is good. Of note too is the support, which I've never had cause to complain about, since it has always been speedy and friendly. Since we all tend to have stacks of things running to supplement FS, for me, the low system demands of it mean Radar Contact is certainly one of the better options for ATC even before you look at the features it offers. I've run Radar Contact with FS Passengers, Air Hauler and MCE amongst other things, and it never has trouble with any of those.But on the subject of features, that's great too, particularly if you fly airliners and want regional control differences and a multitude of options to descend later or earlier and that kind of thing, so it is a flexible choice. With regard to the voices, of course there are limitations in some areas, such as flying over China and hearing what is clearly not a Chinese controller, but even so, it is still a vast improvement over the voices on the default ATC and not in the least robotic.I recall using Pro Flight years ago and I was a big fan of it and like many, was disappointed for a long time when there was nothing like it available for later versions of FS. Thus I've occasionally been tempted to check out PFE, but to be honest, the combined advantages of Radar Contact and Multi Crew Experience with some Cepstral voices, has meant I never really felt I needed PFE.Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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Al,Thanks for the fast response. I appreciate your insight. When RC first came out and I'm talking the very first version, the concept was great. The support and service was exceptional and still years later still are.Does RC give you speed restrictions on approach to control flow? With the meat water pack I'm confident the voices will be less robotic after looking at some you tube videos. Another question is that I used Pro Flight Emulator and became discouraged with key strokes being ignored and lock ups. I went back to default ATC. Could I expect seemless integration between ASE, RC and FDC? With RC5 in the works am I just better off waiting? I have shelled out a lot of money for third party ATC over the years and so far have gone back to the modified default ATC for the ground control, voices and dependability. Thanks again,Jeff

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You've got options for speed restrictions, incidentally you can turn that off if you like. RC's controllers will get quite stroppy with you if you don't comply with requests and restrictions, which can be quite funny. It sometimes places other restrictions on your too, for example you can get told to be down at such and such a level in ten miles or whatever for a crossing restriction, but you thankfully can say you are unable if that is the case, which it sometimes will be, things like that.I use ASE with it with no issues, don't have FDC so I wouldn't know about that, but I'm guessing it would work okay. When I bought RC, V5 was in the works, and it still is, and we don't know how far off it is yet, so the question is, do you want to wait? That's up to you.On a kind of related subject, if you really like ATC and are interested in it from the controller's point of view, but not in FS, check out a bit of software called London Control, which is really something. There's a demo of it available - prepare to be impressed, especially if you like voice control.Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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I suggest going to jdtllc.com and the documentation page. Download the manual for RC4 or just the tutorials. Your procedural questions will be answered in there.Regarding ASE in FSX there are some issues for any ATC program as far as I know in that in DWC mode where it does not use FSUIPC the wind at destination will not be what it will be when you get there and when RC assigns a runway during the approach phase at 40 nm out AI (which it now looks at first) may not be flying the same pattern as when you get there. There are other options and a search of the ASE threads here will give you an idea. ASE has been updated quite a few times to provide solutions.RC5 is probably a long time off. Base your decision on the current version.With RC4.3 combining audio phrases in to complete responses before playing helped with the smoother flow. They are real recording of voices treated as appropriate to sound 'radioized' for ATC and AI. AI communications are what is present within the FSUIPC range around your aircraft on the same frequency.RC4 can handle uncontrolled (non-towered and non-radar) airports following IFR rules regarding using them. With the proper options RC can freeze ground AI as you are in the last three miles or so of approach to reduce runway encroachment and go-arounds.The green bar advdisp stripe for ATC responses and solid menu in-flight window are no longer used. FSUIPC directly now supplies the in-flight window in a classic transparent 'box' divided into a menu and status section. RC uses regular FS9 and FSX flightplan files. The adventure type file is no longer used. That was dropped in version 3 (which was my first version). Unfortunately the manual shows the old style menu.Enroute RC can at times redirect you or AI for separation.Look at the features table in the documentation section to see what is going on with the newer version compared to your old one.


Ron Ginsberg
KMSP Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Puddles
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Ronzie and Al,Thanks for the responses and reading I bought it and am downloading it now. Is there any suggestions ir tips for setup with FS2004, ASE and FSbuild?Jeff

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FSBuild I'm using version 2.4.17, a free upgrade for 2.3 users. It now uses NAVDATA from Navigraph so you can synchronize waypoints with your FMC if you use that service. It does include a 1013 AIRAC cycle in the upgrade. I got it from the support forum. At the end I'll paste in a 'hints' document for FSBuild.After you install RC get the latest FSUIPC and makerwys from the links at the forum top. After the the newest makerys is installed in your FS folder(s) rerun the RC scenery rebuild.If you are on VISTA or Win 7, I recommend RC not be installed in a program files folder. RC will need to be installed with a right click on it and set it to run as an admin. After the install set up a shortcut to it with a property set to run it as an admin. This is necessary so it can access FS (via FSUIPC) and to create data via makerwys and then copy/process that data into its own data folder.Look at the ASE threads here and be sure you get the latest update. If you run ASE for FS9, it uses FSUIPC for weather smoothing. If you run it for FSX by default it will not use FSUIPC and directly via DWC access FSX. If done that way it will use Global mode for the weather environment the difficulties I described previously. Try to use it via FSUIPC4 to avoid Global mode. The latest ASE version contains more options for FSX.You can install RC4 for both FSX and FS9. It will create two folders, one for each. Be sure you have a unique named shortcut to it for each folder indicating the FS vesion in the name. When you do a scenery rebuild it will ask for the full path to FS. Be sure you put in the correct FS version path for the instance of FS version you are rebuilding the scenery database. You don't FSX data in your RC4 folder and you don't want FS9 data in your RC4X folder.Read the pinned threads about the error codes at the forum head. Some are due to security add-ons and some are due to VISTA and Win 7 access codes. Check out also the FAQ section of jdtllc.com.Following is the FSBuild hints document pasted below:------------------------FSB tips:1. Include this line in FSbuild.cfg:NAVCHKDUPDIST=100This decreases the chance of using the wrong duplicate named local (to the airport) waypiont from a nearby airport. Local waypoint names are not exclusive. It decreases the database search when it is named in the route to within a 100 nm radius of your airport. You will find these in terminal procedures such as "D" number something within a SID or STAR to define a merge or turning point.2. When doing a Auto Generate (Route) be sure the SR (Stored Route) button next to it is "up" that is not highlighted. Auto Generate will use a stored route if found by default and most are out of date with old waypoints and terminal procedures. Having Stored Routes off forces it to search a path with fresh data. (Now off by default in version 2.4.)**REVISED 12/31/10** 3. Starting soon in 2011 FS Build database updates will be exclusively released through navigraph.com. It should be part of the FMC data line. For those not familiar with Navigraph each subscription term (cycle) includes multiple format downloads at no additional cost. This is very convenient for aligning FMC/navigation equipment databases with the flightplanner so among other things ATC data and your nav equipment data should match as you send a plan to ATC and then load it including terminal procedures into your FMC. The 2.4 upgrade includes the thirteenth cycle of 2010.4. Where an airport uses specific runways for different terminal procedures select the runway using an estimate based on weather and if the runway fits your aircraft requirements before doing the Auto Generate. This helps select the correct SID and STAR for the runway and direction of departure and arrival.5. After the Auto Generate and/or first build look at the map created to spot any obvious errors. In the route grid look for any sudden non-sensible changes in direction or extremely long legs not in the correct direction creating a zig-zag in the map. (See item 6 following to correct).6. Be aware there is an option you can set for each session titled "Build Route from Grid Table". It does not stick between sessions. This lets you build from an edited route grid that you may have modified without recreating the table with the same error on your next build/export. For example you might wish to drop an errant waypoint when proofing the map and rebuilding.7. Sometimes the name of a procedure (SID/STAR) does not match the name exactly in a published route and the procedure will not expand into its plan waypoints in the grid table. You can click on the arrow in the SID/STAR box to see what close name is in the FSB database. (Another reason to keep up with AIRACS.) For example KMSP has a current real such as this one:http://flightaware.com/resources/airport/KMSP/DP/WAUKON+TWObut the FSB database only has UKN2. (It does have UKN3 now with the latest available AIRAC update). If so in the route line just change UKN3 to UKN2 so it will expand. Here's a real route from flightaware.com for KMSP to KMDW:KMSP UKN3 DBQ CVA MOTIF3 KMDWthat can be pasted into the FSB route line. If UKN3 or MOTIF3 does not expand in the route grid to individual way points look in the upper part of FSB in the airport section dropping down the SID or STAR box to get the available version and substitute that label in the route line and rebuild. Note that the SID and STAR dropdowns may follow the chosen runway in certain areas.8. Sometimes it takes a second build to get the map to move and/or magnify. The mouse scroll wheel lets you magnify. Just click on the portion of the map you want to center on and scroll to magnify.9. If you click on a line in the route grid table to highlight it, the waypoint on the map will turn red. This is useful for finding errant waypoints that cause an error in the path. That line can then be edited or deleted and a rebuild accomplished with the build option to build from the route grid table.10. If you are running a weather program such as active sky, first build the route in FSB exporting to FS9 using an anticipated cruise altitude and specify the nearest aircraft profile. In AS get the weather you wish to use. (I always get the weather for the zulu time of the departure in FS since time of day affects weather characteristics). Import the plan into AS via the new route button, check the altitude and choose an appropriate true airspeed in knots (this is your no wind ground speed). Process the route. When it is finished click the button to print a hard copy of all. Use this AS navlog for METAR data at both ends and winds aloft and temperature aloft that can be used for FMC data. (You'll also get your estimated average wind at your specified altitude - handy for FMC data.) Leave AS running. Now go back to FSB and your chosen aircraft profile. Enter the surface temperature from your departure METAR, then estimated total taxi time, hold time, and extra time (sometimes called discretionary fuel). Now turn on again your FS9 export along with any FMC export you might use. Rebuild and you'll see the messages regarding the export completion. On the route selection on the left which brings up your route window select the navlog tab and click the .pdf to save the navlog in a file or the print button to get a hard copy so you can easily reference the estimated fuel and other data. This estimated fuel has now taken into account your winds aloft data - no need to enter it in FSB. Now that you have the hard copy and exported your route, you can first optionally save the plan by selecting flightplan window, then clicking the category tab, then select user category. Now click file, save from the menu bar. The name you might want to embellish. Click Save Route To User Flight Plans. For another session, you can recall this working plan and just build.11. If you are using an aircraft with nav equipment that has its own terminal data procedures in its nav equipment (think FMC) you might wish to use step 6 above to take out the waypoints of the terminal procedures keeping just the transition points and build and export with just them. This easily in most cases lets you select the SID and STAR assigned by ATC on your nav equipment by providing a clean legs list in your nav equipment. If you need ATC to monitor the waypoints of the terminal procedure than just export all. To keep ATC and you nav equipment in sync, you might consider importing the full plan into your nav equipment and not using your nav equipment procedure database.This is kind of long but through experience I've described some tricks I've used watching out for any pitfalls.Be sure to check the FSBuild forum for updates.


Ron Ginsberg
KMSP Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Puddles
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Ronzie,Thanks for the help. Flew one flight last night. Version 4.3 is well above the first version I bought when RC first came out. I had no issues what so ever. I added the meat water voice pack. I'm going to play around with things this weekend. I enabled ai chatter but for a flight out of KPHL with 100% ai during "rush hour" I heard very little ai chatter. I'm going to try to figure out what I missed.Jeff

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You will only hear AI chatter on your current frequency. In addition arrival chatter is filtered a bit to keep RC performance up regarding audio processing.


Ron Ginsberg
KMSP Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Puddles
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Support Team

 

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