Richard McDonald Woods

Tuning to distress frequency over remote areas

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In a comment on my Tutorial Part 2. Flight preparation, Chris Smart has asked whether pilots flying over remote areas tune a comms radio to the distress frequency 121.5 as a matter of procedure. I do not know the answer to this.

If you feel that you can help Chris, you can add your comment to the Comments section below the YouTube video.

Many thanks.

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Richard,

I replied there and will do the same here. 121.5 tuning/monitoring on the second VHF in the sim world will make no difference.

For online networks, Vatsim at least, if no ATC you monitor and transmit to UNICOM 122.80 or 123.45 depending the part of the world you are flying. Using 121.5 nobody will hear you.

Of course flying in the real world over the Atlantic or Africa or other parts where there is no ATC available over the VHF you tune and monitor 121.5 usually on the second VHF so you can transmit Mayday or pan or receive such calls.

 

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IRL it is a requirement to monitor 121.5 at all times, whether in a remote area or not. Thus the usual setup is to have ATC on box 1 and 121.5 on box 2, listening to both simultaneously. This is why the Guard Police get aeriated when some unfortunate soul accidentally transmits his PA over 121.5.

On VATSIM you are actually already monitoring 121.5: any message transmitted on 121.5 goes to every aircraft (or ATC station) within text frequency range. This is why the Code of Conduct has rules about the use of Guard.

For VATSIM purposes you can monitor Unicom on box 2 as guard is already taken care of.

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1 hour ago, Olympic260 said:

For online networks, Vatsim at least, if no ATC you monitor and transmit to UNICOM 122.80

 

1 hour ago, skelsey said:

On VATSIM you are actually already monitoring 121.5: any message transmitted on 121.5 goes to every aircraft (or ATC station) within text frequency range

Same on IVAO, you need to set 122.800 on the active VHF to get the messages on that frequency, but any message sent on 121.500 is received no matter which frequency you set on you side.

But since you can actually listen to both VHF on PMDG's, I usually set the captain's one on 122.800 or the ATC online and the FO's one on 122.000/122.025 which are the frequencies of the METAR of Active Sky.

Pressing on the right VHF receiver button of the captain's ACP allows me to listen both the active ATC frequency and the METAR from AS.

Otherwise, to reflect the reality, I keep 121.500 either on the right VHF or on the center one if not using datalink.

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3 hours ago, skelsey said:

IRL it is a requirement to monitor 121.5 at all times, whether in a remote area or not.

This is not a requirement in the States (in a regulatory sense), unless a specific operator requires it. It's recommended, but not required across the board. It's pretty common that you'll find people who will monitor regardless, however. I usually turn it off at times when someone screws up and leaves the mic sel on that radio and broadcasts unintentionally on the freq and the Guard of Guard come out of the woodwork to add in their comments.

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4 minutes ago, scandinavian13 said:

This is not a requirement in the States (in a regulatory sense), unless a specific operator requires it. It's recommended, but not required across the board. It's pretty common that you'll find people who will monitor regardless, however. I usually turn it off at times when someone screws up and leaves the mic sel on that radio and broadcasts unintentionally on the freq and the Guard of Guard come out of the woodwork to add in their comments.

Never a dull moment here in the SFRA on guard!

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4 hours ago, scandinavian13 said:

I usually turn it off at times when someone screws up and leaves the mic sel on that radio and broadcasts unintentionally on the freq and the Guard of Guard come out of the woodwork to add in their comments.

I've not heard this on guard but I've have on more than one occasion hear a couple of good ole boys talking fat with each other on a center frequency when they obviously thought they were on UNICOM.  Unprofessional is only one word that comes to mind.  Stuck mics happen occasionally but it seems much less often.  By the way, this is the reason comm radios are AM.  If FM then the receiver will only capture one signal among many but AM receivers receive all on that frequency.

In the simulator, because I don't use the radio, I always have COM1 set to 121.5 so I don't start getting some random simulation of an ATIS.  Unlike the real world, it is always quiet in the simulation.

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7 minutes ago, downscc said:

I always have COM1 set to 121.5 so I don't start getting some random simulation of an ATIS.

In P3Dv4 I disabled the ATC and the voice since I exclusively fly online and never use the default ATC.

I know that 122.800 corresponds to at least an ATIS frequency somewhere over the United Kingdom since I regularly caught it when flying across the Pond before.

Now I don't have that issue anymore.

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Just now, Budbud said:

In P3Dv4 I disabled the ATC and the voice since I exclusively fly online and never use the default ATC.

Interesting, I don't have any ATC options enabled but the built in ATIS will still make noise.  122.8 is the original unicom... and automated ATIS should not be on it but who knows... any error in an AFCAD file can create that problem.  Someone who doesn't know the difference between a local FBO monitoring and providing advisories and the ATC provided ATIS.

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With only the ATC disabled I still had the noise coming but that's why I had to set the voice slide fully to the left. Cannot remember which was the station broadcasting the ATIS since I have used the same trick since FSX. But it was an ATIS with the runways and approaches in use.

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7 hours ago, scandinavian13 said:

This is not a requirement in the States (in a regulatory sense), unless a specific operator requires it. It's recommended, but not required across the board. It's pretty common that you'll find people who will monitor regardless, however. I usually turn it off at times when someone screws up and leaves the mic sel on that radio and broadcasts unintentionally on the freq and the Guard of Guard come out of the woodwork to add in their comments.

"ON GUARD!!!" - David Lee

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