TN00040A.gif (1635 bytes)  Frequencies for General Aircraft Listening

Air-to-Air:  Legal air/air frequencies between private aircraft are 122.75 (fixed wing) and 123.025 (helicopters). Bootlegging is common, with 123.400, 123.425, 123.450 and 123.475 being the most famous examples. 122.9, 122.85 and 122.775 are also heavily bootlegged. Listen to them in resort towns where planes drag signs up and down the beach. Air Force fighters have been heard using 125.125 and 127.275. (note the cute repetitive number patterns)

Multicom: Intended to coordinate ground activities from the air, or air activities from the ground. In other words, intende for air/ground communications not air/air. Allocated frequencies are 122.900, 122.850 and 122.925 (environmental/governmental). Lots of unofficial air/air use.

Instructional:  Used for flight instruction, ballooning and gliding. Allocated frequencies are 123.300, 123.500 and 121.950 (secondary use). I know of a couple of gliderports that use 123.300 as their CTAF.

Aeronautical Utility: These are for ground-based stations, but the FCC is pretty hazy on who can use them. 122.775 is the primary allocation with 122.85 and 121.95 available on a secondary basis.

Flight Testing: For testing aircraft. The band 123.125-123.575 (excluding 123.3 and 123.5) is allocated for this purpose. Lots of bootleg air/air and airshow comm's.

Distress/Search & Rescue: With the possible exception of railroad police, these are the most overrated frequencies in all of scannerdom. All control towers and flight service stations monitor 121.500, but most distressed aircraft are already in contact with controllers and never need to use this frequency. Aircraft don't monitor this frequency. Practice Search & Rescue (SAR) operations may use 122.900, and actual SAR's can use 123.100. 121.500 is primarily used by Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT's) which begin transmission whenever a plane crashes (or lands too hard).

Back to Air Monitoring Page     Back to N4JRI Scanner Page    Home     Email N4JRI