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TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Leading Digital TV Industry Publication

— 01-02/2015

better. Aircraft communica-

tions are of very short du-

ration with minimal words

exchanged, so you have to

be very quick and move the

frequency cursor selector

around the band quite fre-

quently. Pilot and ground sta-

tion traffic will be found in the

118 – 137 MHz portion of the

band so keep that in mind.

With experience you’ll even-

tually find commonly-used

frequencies where you can

sit back and wait patiently for

the next radio transmission

from a pilot or air traffic con-

trol tower. An outside antenna

mounted well above ground is

almost mandatory to enjoy

this portion of the band with

any success.

Global warming, whether

man-made or not has re-

sulted in an uptick of Mother

Nature’s wrath in all portions

of the globe. Not a day goes

by without media reports of

some area of the world un-

der siege from catastrophic



or oceanographic events. To

stay informed, especially dur-

ing emergencies such as fire,

floods, mudslides, tornadoes,

ice storms, tsunamis, earth-

quakes, and hurricanes the

dongle radio is your pipeline

to important information as

it is happening. During emer-

gencies the public service

sector shifts into high gear,

responding to flooded ar-

eas, downed power lines and

trees, attending and rescuing

that the software provides.

HDSDR is another of the

popular software application

programs available from the

Internet and presents quite a

different appearing operating

screen but has many com-

monalities with SDR# such

mode (AM, FM, USB, LSB,

CW etc.), bandwidth, vol-

ume, noise reduction, AFC,

squelch level, noise blanker,

soundcard selection, and slid-

ers for adjusting the spec-

tral/waterfall displays. One

conspicuous difference is

the large S (Signal Strength)

meter which comes with a

calibration protocol for those

analytical types. Whether you

choose SDR# or HDSDR is a

personal preference but why

not utilize both as I do? They

are both excellent performers

but you still may prefer one

over the other. Note that both

programs have a Frequency

Manager option which allows

the user to store an unlimited

amount of memories and re-

cording options for playback

at a later date.

Once you’ve become com-

fortable using the DVB-T don-

gle on the FM broadcast band

you can now navigate the oth-

er thousand or so megahertz

of the VHF/UHF band to satis-

fy your curiosity. Perhaps the

VHF aeronautical band is of

interest to you so let’s ride the

magic carpet a few megahertz

up to the 108 - 137 MHz por-

tion of the radio spectrum and

see what’s happening in the

skies above. Be sure to select

the AM mode as all voice com-

munications between pilots

and ground stations commu-

nicate via Amplitude Modula-

tion. Best time to listen to air

traffic is during rush hour and

the closer you are to a main

air traffic route or airport the

9. Activity abounds in the public

service portion of the VHF band

with signals from police, fire,

emergency medical services,

and pagers.

10. Adding a Ham It Up RF

upconverter in line with dongle

expands frequency range down

to 150 KHz.