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Listening to Air Traffic Control (ATC) with my phone

  1. Jun 21, 2017 #1
    As an airplane lover, I would like to know if a normal mobile phone (in my case a Galaxy S3 ) could recive the frequency that ATC uses, I think that is called VHF.
    Note: I'm sure that it isn't illegal
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2017 #2

    scottdave

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    Your phone is designed to communicate in the Gigahertz range (~1 or more billion cycles per second). Airbands are around 1/10 that (100 to 150 megahertz, on the order of 100 million cycles per sec.). You would need a tuner that can pick up the desired frequencies, and most likely an antenna to help pick up the signal. Cell phones only have to transmit/receive to the nearest tower, while aircraft radios will transmit for much longer distances, so a larger antenna is needed to help "capture" the small signal strength.
    Some phones have a built in FM radio tuner, which operates at around 100 megahertz, but usually requires you to use your headphones - it uses the wiring in your headphones as an antenna.
    http://www.smeter.net/spectrum/aviation.php
     
  4. Jun 21, 2017 #3

    berkeman

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    There are cellphone apps for listening to many public safety channels (like to police dispatch channels). Have you tried looking in the App Store?
     
  5. Jun 21, 2017 #4

    berkeman

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  6. Jun 21, 2017 #5
    Can I use normal headphones to listen that frequencies or I need some special hardware?
    And do you know any way (an App or something) to tune it?
     
  7. Jun 21, 2017 #6
    I´ve seen this web before but I didn´t use it because it uses internet (and I don't have a very fast conexion) and mainly because I live in a town with a small airport and it isn´t in this page
     
  8. Jun 21, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    Headphones are just headphones - they aren't the issue. You need a radio receiver that can receive the appropriate frequencies. A cell phone does not have one.
     
  9. Jun 21, 2017 #8
  10. Jun 21, 2017 #9

    davenn

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    that's designed for a laptop or desktop PC ... as you can see it is a full sized USB
    the unit gets it 5V power from the computer .... most fones that I am aware of will not supply power out of their USB port
    and they are also a "dumb" port primarily for data transfer and not for controlling USB devices

    You would have to check to find out if you S3 can overcome both those issues before proceeding further


    Dave
     
  11. Jun 22, 2017 #10
    Hi Dave
    In a web page they recommend this antena with a usb adapter connected to a battery
     
  12. Jun 22, 2017 #11

    sophiecentaur

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    That is the main issue here. Buy a scanner off eBay if you want to listen to the Analogue radio communications. Since the 'really interesting' services went digital, there is less of the important information obtainable for the casual rubber-necker.
     
  13. Jun 22, 2017 #12
    So i need to modify a normal radio?
     
  14. Jun 22, 2017 #13

    sophiecentaur

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    If you have to ask that question, I'd say "No chance". There is no limit to what a determined electronics project enthusiast can achieve but there is no convenient way to modify a 'normal radio' to receive signals on a different band and with possibly a different modulation system. I was looking on eBay and you can buy a s/h radio scanner for $40. That's the way to go if you want a result.
    PS this is no insult to you. Many brain surgeons and rocket scientists struggle with amateur radio projects. :wink:
     
  15. Jun 23, 2017 #14

    CWatters

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  16. Jun 23, 2017 #15

    CWatters

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    In some countries like the UK it's illegal to listen to ATC.

    http://nats.aero/blog/2015/04/atc-misconceptions/

    PS: I don't think anyone has ever been prosecuted in the UK for doing so.
     
  17. Jun 23, 2017 #16

    berkeman

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    Huh, weird. I wonder what the reason for that is. AFAIK, it's fine to listen to voice transmissions that aren't encrypted in the US. Certainly unlicensed folks are able to listen to HAM radio traffic -- you just need the license to be able to transmit.

    I imagine that the trunced and digital transmissions may have some rules about listening, that the Scanner manufacturers have to deal with (or skirt around)...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trunked_radio_system
     
  18. Jun 23, 2017 #17
    What is soposed to be "general reception transmisions"? Because in my opinion, a radio signal that is not encrypted or protected by any security is a general reception transmision hahahaha
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  19. Jun 23, 2017 #18

    sophiecentaur

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    The terms of the UK Broadcast Radio Licence (free for the last few decades, I think) was always that it allowed you to listen to 'Broadcast Radio Transmissions', (BBC and independent radio broadcasters) which didn't include Point to Point Communications transmissions. It has changed over the years but the only way you could be held to account if you were to 'take action' as a result of information received on the communications channels. Since the police and security services started using digitally encrypted channels, no one would be at all interested in people listening to what's available on analogue channels.
     
  20. Jun 23, 2017 #19
    Uhh. Anyway, I don't live in UK
     
  21. Jun 23, 2017 #20
     
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