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PilotsPPGclubUK

Radios and Communications

There are several main forms of communications available to PPG pilots, some good, some bad some downright illegal.

Usually works OK but may be some problems, if used while high the phone can sometimes access several cells at the same time. Your contract with the phone company may prohibit such use but usually a warning letter is all you will get. Generally ok with hands free kits and very few motor interference problems. Texts work well but remember to keep a good lookout if texting, most useful if you can use preprogrammed messages such as  “home in 10 minutes , put the kettle on.”

MOBILE PHONE

PMR UK units, Private Mobile Radio.

Not sure about the legalities of using in the air.

Generally sound OK but engine interference not unusual. Extra screening of PPG electrics can help as well as easing back on the throttle. Remember to check your flying situation before easing back on the throttle. Interface lead with some headset / units can be a problem. Cheap units may not have all channels. Replaceable, rechargeable batteries are a good option for longer flights but batteries usually last from 4 to 20 hours. Remember to switch off when not in use.

Ground to ground 1 to 4 miles, Ground to air 4 to 10 miles, Air to air and air to ground 4 - 40 miles.

Channel often used 17.7, local groups often use different frequencies. Sometimes channels are blocked by small minded idiots so best to have a backup channel agreed on before the flight.

PMR USA units.

Often sold on EBAY as having a 10 mile transmission distance.

Not a good idea as their use is totally illegal and these units often work on UK ambulance and other service frequencies.

Please don’t bother because if you are caught using these you might get the book thrown at you. OFCOM will be very unhappy.

AIRBAND

2 Metre - 144Mhz

Illegal to use in the air. Illegal to use without the appropriate Radio Ham Licence. Legal frequencies are jealously guarded my the radio hams so often used illegally outside the approved legal frequencies.

Generally sound OK but engine interference possible. Extra screening of PPG electrics can help as well as easing back on the throttle. Remember to check your flying situation before easing back on the throttle. Interface lead with some headset / units can be a problem. Cheap units may not broadcast cleanly and can cause interference on other frequencies. Emergency services sometimes broadcast on one frequency and listen on another so just because you can`t hear anything doesn’t`t mean the frequency is not in use.

Replaceable, rechargeable batteries are a good option for longer flights but batteries can last from 4 to 20 hours some even longer. Remember to switch off when not in use.

Ground to ground 2 to 10 miles, Ground to air 5 to 15 miles, Air to air and air to ground 20 - 100 miles.

Channels are sometimes blocked by small minded idiots so best to have a backup channel agreed on before the flight.


Do NOT use any "official" frequency between 144.00 and 146.00 in the 2-metre band - these belong to the radio amateurs, who will shop you in

an instant. Also, NEVER use anything above 146.00 Mhz - these are used on a split-frequency basis by ambulance, police, fire, etc, and although the channel may SEEM to be empty, you can get into a repeater and cause havoc over half the country from 2 grand! The same goes for anything under 143.750 Mhz.


Please do not break the law and use the following frequencies

143.950 calling, and 143.750 through 143.925 for private use like XC, Training etc

2 metre frequencies not used, calling on channel 143.950

Others not for "private" use, like XC, training, etc:

143.925, 143.900, 143.875, 143.850, 143.825, 143.800, 143.775, 143.750

However 143.0 - 144.0 MHz is officially reserved for private mobile radio use in the uk, so if you find yourself talking to a Tesco security

guard, be ready to change channel. 5 Watts at 2,000 ft will go an awfully long way.

Complicated licensing and usage.
For full usage you will need an "Aircraft Transportable Radio Licence", at £15 per year. You have to give model/serial number of radio, so make sure you get a CAA approved one. You also need the Flight Radio Telephony Operators Licence. To get this you really need to have a few lessons from an approved instructor. Radio courses often run at local flying schools and an exam with a practical at the end of it. If you are flying from airfields regularly it`s well worth thinking about. The test consists of a 45min written/multiple choice. The answers for which can be gleamed from CAP413, a free download from the CAA website. You then have a 45min practical which is basically a simulated flight in a light aircraft, taking of, crossing zones, obtaining flight information, Pan Pan, May Day, aerodrome arrival and landing.
If used incorrectly chaos can be caused, imagine interfering with the communications of a commercial jet coming in to land. Frequencies have to be carefully checked before use.
Frequencies allocated by the CAA.

If flying as a non-licenced frequency you must only use the following 6 frequencies (which must not be changeable in flight)
118.675 MHz
This is a dedicated paragliding & hang gliding frequency which can be used anywhere in the UK FIR, up to and including 5000ft AMSL (Not sure if this is true but If you use a non licence frequency i.e.; 118.675 you may not need an RT licence BUT you have to register with the CAA for the use and a callsign).
122.475 MHz
This is the primary frequency for balloons. Many balloon pilots are happy to have other aircraft fly-by close but must be asked first. (it gives the passengers something to look at)
129.900 MHz
Ground to ground and retrieve recovery only.
129.975 MHz
To be used only as a gliding airfield local control frequency within 10 nm radius and below 3000 ft. This frequency may be used by power aircraft requiring clearance through a gliding airfield circuit.
130.100 MHz
Primary Use: Competition start and finish lines; local flying.
Secondary Use: Training (lead and follow).
130.125 MHz
Primary Use: Training (lead and follow) and cross-country location messages.
Secondary Use: Local flying; competition start and finish lines.
130.400 MHz
This is to be used for cloud flying and relaying cross-country location messages only.
135.475
Safetycom 135.475 can be used to pass information to aircraft but cannot be used to pass any form of instructions to pilots. The  phraseology used is narrowly defined and operators limited in their ability to help. This frequency 135.475 known as SAFETYCOM has been introduced for use at or in the vicinity of aerodromes, airstrips and Helicopter Sites where no specific radio frequency is notified. Procedures for the use of the frequency are published  in the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 103/2004 (Yellow 153)


Most hand held units have internal rechargable batteries and can last from 4 to 100 hours. Remember to switch off when not in use.
Ground to air 1 to 10 miles on hand held units, 10 to 60 miles on base stations, air to ground 5 - 20 miles on hand held units and air to air not allowed..   

HEADSETS etc.

For basic ear protection...http://www.ultimateear.com/

For ear defenders, paramotoring radio headsets,  and suitable helmets with the cutaways, speak to James Davies, GOLD*STAR Products, on 01509 233399, he also repairs propellors!

James Davies <james.goldstar@virgin.net>


For safety helmets must conform to EN966.

CB Radio, 27Mhz FM

Don`t know anybody in the UK using it for PPG.

See http://www.ukcbradio.org.uk/

No licence needed, Maximum of 4 Watts, Probably not legal to use in air, not many frequencies available and easily jammed.

Check with OFCOM for legalities.