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HF ATC stations

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KL7AJ, Dec 8, 2019.

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  1. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Minor point - it has been many decades since a "tower" has had HF radios. This is a "Center" that does the parts of the flight not near the airport. I have done some long range flights without HF and it was a pain relaying clearances through a plane or two both directions. Aviation Radio Relay League :D
    KA0HCP likes this.
  2. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like to monitor the HF-GCS sometimes on 11.175 USB "Mainsail, Mainsail, Do Not Answer..."

    Do you all ever use ADS-B on 1090 mHz (1.090 gHz) in conjunction with the Flight Aware Map, to see the air traffic around your shack?

    I like to to use that from time to time also.
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    I have a navy RBM HF receiver that has "San Francisco Tower" HF frequency scrawled on the rolling notepad. Towers haven't used HF radio since the late 1950's when VHF was introduced.

    I too used to work oceanic radio back and forth across the Atlantic as a patrol plane navigator. The slower pace was enjoyable, and gave me plenty of time to ensure accurate navigation. I had a few trips where winter ice and p-static cut off both HF and VHF relay comms for lengthy periods.

    I might note that our HF radios had no filters, 6-10kc wide, no squelch, no Selcall, no RF Gain, no AGC. Transmit power was 400W into fixed wire antennas above the fuselage, using an auto-coupler. Just 10 hours of listening to raw static and storms and occasional p-static. sigh. The Irish lilt of Shan-wick (Shannon-Gatwick) controllers was always a pleasure. The tone of exchanges was always polite, gentlemanly and succinct.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  4. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Towers" rapidly abandoned HF as soon as the early 50s in many countries. The remnants of HF for domestic ATC were area control stations, which had to cater for non-VHF equipped A/C for some more time.

    A former colleague was involved in decommissioning
    the area control HF stations around 1957-58, after which all airliners were required to use VHF in Swedish airspace.

    Some smaller operations such as air taxi and newspaper distribution hung on to HF to the "bitter end", but the Air Navigation Services decided to speed up the transition to VHF mostly due to price/performance considerations.

    The Wilcox Electric 96 and 99 Morse/AM HF transmitters that were used also showed some maintenance issues.

    HF then was laying dormant for about 10 years, when SAS and the charter airline Transair approached the Royal Board of Telecommunications with a request to operate one each of own Long Distance Operational Control stations to handle company traffic.

    After analysing the traffic volumes anticipated, and noting that both airlines wanted their own set of HF frequencies, the Board denied the applications on the grounds of spectrum efficiency, but instead offered to run LDOC services using disused high-performance point-to-point HF resources, and also offered the services to other airlines.

    This was started in 1967 as "Enköping Radio SAZ", and is still
    going strong, albeit with a new name and with an operational centre that has moved several times.

    Stockholm Radio is to my knowledge the sole surviving non-airline LDOC station in Europe.

    The list of casualties include Portishead Radio, St. Lys Radio, Scheveningen Radio and Berna Radio.

  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I fondly remember Sky King, Sky King, do not answer. I was often sorely tempted to answer.....which certainly would have brought the Men in Black to my door. :)
  6. KK5JY

    KK5JY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    No, they would have just made a movie about you:

  7. K9ASE

    K9ASE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I listen to O'hare sometimes on my scanner and those planes come in nose to tail.
  8. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    SFO Center lady is a Chinese-American sounding lady. She really has a long shift, too!
  9. KE0GXN

    KE0GXN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here is a very cool aircraft mapping site I found, to go along with HF or VHF/UHF AM monitoring. I am currently tracking a USAF C-17 that departed El Paso to an unknown destination. Plenty of commercial and civilian aircraft you can monitor too.
    1 person likes this.
  10. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I do a little FlightRadar24 "DXing" when I see a plane or vapor trails crossing the sky in an odd direction and I'm close to the computer. My best catch recently was a flight from La Habana, Cuba to Luanda, Angola!
    KE0GXN, WW2PT and (deleted member) like this.

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