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Feature Article: Introduction to The Radio
I introduce the ATIS frequency, 124.7, the alphabetical sequencing,
order of information during the day, and how to use this information.
Most important I show how the data may be written for maximum
usefulness by entering the data in the four quadrants of a + chart.
I give the phone number to use for home use and practice 685-4567.
To avoid mixing one ATIS with another it is best to use Post It
Stickers with one to every ATIS
I then take the student through what to say to Ground Control
and to the Tower. If no headset: I always make the student initially
practice what to say while holding the microphone to his lips
with his left hand. Held too far from the mouth, the microphone
admits engine and propeller noise. It is surprising how difficult
some find it to talk into a microphone with their left hand. All
ground radio operations with the microphone should be taught and
done with the left hand. For flight operations the right hand
should be used. It only takes a one time experience with ATC and
having the mike in the wrong hand to make this way of training
relevant. A yoke switch and headset eliminates the problem but
the training technique and skill is still worthwhile. Learn to
keep the mike in your hand if only by the cord. Don't start the
engine until you have practiced the radio work.
Before you enter the plane you should have noted the active runway,
the wind, and the direction you will be departing. By guessing
at wind direction and velocity the student can gain ability to
second guess the ATIS and interpret windsocks at airports. The
preflight consists of a complete tape-recorded walk around from
which the student will make a scratch checklist. The 'why' of
each item will be discussed with cautionary notes. It usually
takes at least five revisions of the checklist before an acceptable
one is achieved. Every pilot should develop his personal checklist
for each aircraft.
I have made it a practice to make each departure from the airport
in a different direction using differing departure procedures.
The most complex of these departures is the 270-degree overhead.
This 270 departure will allow many cross country trips to be initiated
on the course line. Likewise, arrivals are planned to give a variety
of checkpoints and pattern entries. This departure/arrival study
is followed by a complete oral radio review of what will be said
with anticipated response from ATC. The student must be taught
how anticipation allows him to PLAN where to say what. Always
practice communicating the correct words without pause. The student
uses the radio from the very beginning. You must learn to talk
After you have received the ATIS, you want to position the aircraft
so as to be over a well-known geographic point commonly used as
a reporting point but at an uncommon altitude. The selection of
this point should be far enough away so as to allow you to plan
your arrival and prepare what to say on the radio. These points
usually allow you to select the best one of the several five-mile
points for entry into the ATA. The knowledge of these five mile
points and their associated two mile points helps you, the pilot,
plan what to say on the radio. This can be studied but will still
require actual performance to develop skill. You have done the
callup correctly when the tower says, "Approved as requested".
You will never stop learning how to make arrivals.
After a couple of flights the student should begin to see how
a given two-mile point may serve both as a two-mile final reporting
point and as a 45 entry for another runway. Concord, due to its
parallel runways, has a relatively complex arrival/departure system.
One reporting point may serve as a two-mile base reporting point
for different runways. It will take many flights and much instruction
to master its multiple options.
I follow the same discussion and analysis for our arrival and
departure at neighboring airports. Fortunately, these airports
are in different quadrants and vary from having a Class C airspace
underlying a Class B airspace to uncontrolled. For years I have
made a practice of using these airports for pre-solo landing instruction
and practice. This has meant that the student gets the practical
experience of departures and arrivals. He develops familiarity
with procedures, airports, and landmarks in a 25 mile radius surrounding
his home field. I can only guess the comfort such knowledge provides
the student on solo cross-country flights.
Aircraft radios are usually divided into two separate parts: Communications
and Navigation. For now we will deal only with the COM side. The
on/off switch works for both sides. As with most radios, the on/off
switch is also the volume control. There is a 'squelch' control
that is adjusted to just below the level of hearing a hiss or
buzz. Where reception is poor, the squelch would need to be full
right. More Initially you will need to know only four frequencies.
ATIS on 124.7,
Concord Ground on 121.9
Concord Tower on 119.7
At this point I show how the frequency range and selection is
controlled by the knobs. I suggest that the sequence of frequencies
at our home field can be very quickly and efficiently selected
by counting the clicks. I explain the used of the squelch control
and how a volume selected for taxi may not be sufficient for takeoff.
There are two COM frequency control knobs. The large knob controls
the numbers to the left of the decimal point and the small one
those to the right. The large knob can be turned completely through
the numbers right or left from 118 to 135. Turn right to get larger
numbers; left for smaller.
How the numbers appear when turning the small knob will vary but,
it is usually from .0 through .95. An additional switch can allow
an additional place value that gives up to 720 radio frequencies.
The numerical values can be changed continuously in either direction.
I would suggest that you practice turning in sequence
from 124.7 to 121.9;
from 121.9 to 119.7
from 124.7 to 119.7
from 119.7 to 121.9
from 121.9 to 121.5
These changes are those used for normal leaving and ending at
CCR (Concord) Practice in counting the clicks as you go left or
right from one frequency to another. You should do this so that
you can reduce the amount of attention (distraction) needed for
changing frequencies. Try it; you'll like it. Where an aircraft
has dual radios, the operation and understanding of the control
panel will be explained.
You should note that the frequencies for both sides Com and Nav,
of the radio go from 108.0 to 117.95 on the Nav side and from
118.0 to 135.95 on the Com side. These are the aircraft VHF FM,
(Very High Frequency, Frequency Modulation) frequencies, limited
to line of sight reception and transmission.
An ADF can be used for reception only on four AM (Amplitude Modulation)
radio bands and is not restricted to line of sight. The frequencies
are shown in magenta. One of the four bands is the standard commercial
broadcast band. The ADF needle will point to the selected station
only on the ADF setting. On REC the best reception of music is
possible. Military radios use UHF (Ultra High Frequency).
Last Modified March 31, ©2023 TAGE.COM