Tag Archives: Aeronautical HF

Video: Air traffic on the HF bands

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

Air traffic bands on VHF is well-known.

Not so well-known are the shortwave (HF) communications networks that must be operated by transoceanic flights.

This is an ARINC station for San Francisco, California. I am located about 70 miles inland from this station. I assume ARINC is using a directional antenna system beamed westward toward the Pacific Ocean.

I recorded this video of an ARINC station late last night for my YouTube channel.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks, Dan!

I enjoy monitoring air traffic on VHF and often forget that when I’m outside the range of an airport’s tower, I can still hop on HF and often hear international traffic. Thanks again!

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Project Amelia Earhart: work an air mobile station as it travels the world

Here’s an opportunity for both ham radio operators and SWLs to log this special event air mobile station throughout June and July. Based on WB6RQN’s flight path, almost everyone should have an opportunity to put WB6RQN in the logs!

The following excerpt has been copied from the Project Amelia Earhart website:

About Ham Radio on the Spirit

Brian Lloyd has a powerful radio system aboard the Spirit. The radio communicates on High Frequency (HF) shortwave using Single Sideband (SSB), and anyone can tune in to these transmissions who has the proper type of radio receiver. Listen for WB6RQN, that’s Brian’s Ham radio callsign. Ham radio operators around the world are invited to communicate with Brian while he is on the air in international airspace using the Ham bands. HF radio is dependent on ionospheric conditions to be heard over long distances, and it may change rapidly with the space weather or other factors.

Ham Radio Technical Information

Ham Radio Callsign: WB6RQN
Operator Name: Brian
QSL Via: eqsl.cc Electronic QSL system
HF Radio: Mobat model Micom 3, commercial HF transceiver
HF Power: Maximum power 125 Watts, 2-30 MHz
HF Antenna: Tapered Towel Rack type Belly Wire, with Automatic Tuning Unit (ATU)
HF Modes of Operation: SSB Voice or ALE
Ham Callsign Phonetics: Whisky Bravo Six Romeo Quebec November , Listen:

Click here to download.

Schedule of Possible Upcoming HF Radio Operation in 2017

31 May: Texas to Miami
01 June: Depart Miami. Embark on Round-the-World flight
02 June: Caribbean Sea area
03 June: South America area, Atlantic Ocean
05-06 June: South America, Atlantic Ocean, Brazilian Coast
07 June: Atlantic Ocean
08-09 June: Western Africa area
10 June: Eastern Africa area, Red Sea
11 June: Arabian Peninsula, Arabian Sea
12-15 June: South Asia, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean
16-18 June: SouthEast Asia, Adaman Sea, Indian Ocean
19-23 June: SouthEast Asia, Gulf of Thailand, Java Sea
24 June: Timor Sea area to Australia area
30 June – 4 July: Australia area, Tasman Sea, to New Zealand
14 July: New Zealand to Fiji, South Pacific Ocean
15 July: Fiji to Howland Island overflight, Pacific Ocean
16 July: Hawaii, Pacific Ocean
17-18 July: Hawaii to California, Pacific Ocean
19-21 July: California area
22-23 July: Western USA to Kansas area
24-28 July: Oshkosh Wisconsin USA for AirVenture
29 July: Oshkosh to Texas

Note: All dates and flight locations are approximate and tentative. Please see the Live Tracking Map for actual locations and flight movements.

Ham Radio Frequencies of Operation for Spirit Flights

HF Frequencies for Ham Radio SSB Voice QSOs and DX: 

  • Ham QSO activity may occur at any time while the airplane is in International airspace, USA, or some other areas.
  • Ham operation may happen while Brian is not busy with flight operations
  • There may be unexpected interruptions during a QSO
  • Please be especially courteous and patient, because his first priority is to pilot the plane.

Simplex or Split? Most of the time, WB6RQN will use simplex, listening and transmitting on the same HF frequency. But, sometimes Brian may ask calling stations to transmit “UP 5” split. When using UP 5 split, your transmit frequency must be exactly 5 kHz above WB6RQN. The plane’s HF radio is channelized, and it does not have an S-meter.

Click here for WB6RQN DX cluster spots.

Brian said, “During the actual flight I can talk on ham radio when I’m not using the HF radio to make position and status reports to Air Traffic Control. I will probably get 10 to 15 minute windows when I will be able to work ham stations on the HF bands occasionally. I have never been a contester, so my QSO rate will probably be lower than most ham operators would like.”

HF Channel Frequencies for Ham Radio ALE Activity: 

  • Activity using common Amateur Radio standard 2G-ALE Automatic Link Establishment may occur on the following scanned channels when Brian is not busy with flight operations.
  • ALE activity may occur at any time while the airplane is in International airspace, USA, or some other areas.
  • Whenever the ALE soundings of WB6RQN are heard, operators are invited to call on any one of these channels using an ALE Individual Call and link with WB6RQN.
  • When linked on an ALE Voice channel, the preferred QSO method is Upper Sideband Voice.
  • If a text is to be sent, use AMD and include the AMD text within the initial Individual Call.
  • Do not expect a wordy text reply, because there is usually no QWERTY keyboard connected to the ALE radio in the cockpit.
  • Anyone copying soundings, calling, or other types of reports is encouraged to post ALE reception logs on the HFLINK.NET website.

SWL and UTE Monitoring of HF Aero Frequencies

For SWLs (Shortwave Listeners) or UTEs (Utility Monitors), it is possible to listen to Spirit on the Air Traffic Control (ATC) HF Aeronautical frequencies with an SSB (Single Sideband) receiver. More information about listening to Spirit on HF Aero, click here.

Tour of the HF Radio System in Spirit  

For more information, click here to view the Project Amelia Earhart website.

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New book: History of the Birdlip Aeronautical HF Communications Complex

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader and author, Colin McKeeman, who shares the following announcement:

As a mature aviation historian and keen HF monitor since the mid-1960’s, as you will note from my blog this has prompted me to produce this detailed record of the [Birdlip Aeronautical HF Communications Complex, U.K.] stations activities.

[…]The activities of this station are currently handled by ‘Shanwick’ (Shannon and Prestwick) for air traffic on the North Atlantic.

I attach a summary of its content which may help to clarify the scope and nature of this publication.

Click here to download the full press release (PDF).

Fascinating, Colin! I think you’ll find a number of our community members love reading about the history of HF stations.  Thank you for sharing your press release!

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Aeronautical HF Radio Map


Many thanks to Craig Fuller who shared this excellent Aeronautical HF radio map on the Shortwave Listeners Global Facebook page.

Click here or here to download the map as a large graphic.

Note that this map is 13 years old and somewhat out-of-date.  Paul Jones kindly posted some frequency updates to the Shortwave Listeners Global Facebook page:

Confirmed SHANWICK QRG’s.
(Shanwick = Shannon/Prestwick)
Clearance Delivery

Southern Routes
3016 HF
5598 HF
8906 HF
13306 HF
17946 HF

Family ‘B’Central & Northern Routes
2899 HF
5616 HF
8864 HF
11279 HF
13291 HF
17946 HF

Family ‘C’ Central & Northern Routes
2872 HF
5649 HF
8879 HF
11336 HF
13306 HF
17946 HF

Family ‘D’ Central & Northern Routes
2971 HF
4675 HF
8891 HF
11279 HF
13291 HF
17946 HF

Family ‘F’ Central & Northern Routes
3476 HF
6622 HF
8831 HF
13291 HF
17946 HF

Shanwick VHF 127.900 Mhz


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