I first discovered an aircraft transmission by accident when I was just 11 years old. An airliner was flying nearby and transmitted. Although I only had a standard FM radio like the one in the photo below, I happened to receive the transmission.

Discovering a new world of radio

I remember my Dad telling me that you don’t usually hear aircraft transmissions on the FM radio part of the spectrum, but he explained that aircraft have an entire chunk of spectrum for talking to Air Traffic Controllers.

I was completely intrigued, and wanted to know more, so within a few weeks, Dad helped me source a cheap airband radio.

It wasn’t a particularly high quality piece of equipment, but it received 118-136 MHz which was enough to let me hear the aircraft communicating with ATC. I was thrilled.

Over the years I have continued to monitor lots of aviation signals, and that is what this series is about. Aircraft transmit a serious amount of voice and data traffic, and now it is possible to receive and decode these transmissions with some frugal hardware.

old airband radio

This intro video talks about the various aspects of Monitoring Aviation Communications that will be forthcoming in the series. I hope you decide to follow along!

Product Links

There were a number of products linked in the video. If you choose to purchase any of them, then by clicking the Amazon links below you’ll be able to help out the Frugal Radio channel as we’ll get a small affiliate commission on the Amazon sales.

Uniden BC125AT (US) : https://amzn.to/3aYQNno
Uniden UBC125XLT (UK) : https://amzn.to/3uDNYzP but may be cheaper at https://frugalradio.com/yourls/125

Uniden BCT15X (US) : https://amzn.to/31Y2F4F
Uniden BCT15X (UK) : https://frugalradio.com/yourls/bct15x

RTL-SDR v3 (US) : https://amzn.to/2NIGGGZ
RTL-SDR v3 (rest of world) : https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/

Nooelec NESDR SMArtee (US) : https://amzn.to/3kuY6q9
Nooelec NESDR SMArtee (UK) : https://amzn.to/3dVxYn2

SDRPlay RSP1A (US) : https://frugalradio.com/yourls/1
SDRPlay RSP1A (UK) : https://frugalradio.com/yourls/2

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Stay safe out there.
This is Frugal Radio, over & out.