Monday, April 09, 2007

Re: Readers Airband Radios

Thanks to Matt Harvey who has posted the following regarding his current airband equipment:

Hi, I have the following airband radios.
Top 3 are1960's Nova Tech Pilot II - analogue, great squelch control and lovely audio.1990's Radio Shack Pro-2036 (made by Uniden), very sensitive, fast scan and good clear audio. Connected to Howes Active Aerial.1990's Yupiteru MVT-7100, very sensitive, audio is not bad. Let down by internal noise appearing in129 - 131MHz range,this makes any stations in this range hard to hear clearly. All the Yupiteru models I've tried seem to have this weakness.Bottom of my list are :1990's Win 108 it is quite hissy once the squelch is open, it gets tedious listening on this set.2006 Uniden UBC 92 XLT I find the squelch is too coarse. The audio is very noisy, similar to the Win 108. Audio power output is too low and cannot drive external speakers very well. I think it would have been better if it had been designed with 4 AA's instead of 2 to provide more useable power.For the future I'm thinking of the Uniden BCT15 which they don't seem to have any EU release plans for.I also need to get my 1960's Shorrock and Gauer's sets working again.Should also mention the best advance I have is not another scanner but my Kinetic SBS-1 Virtual Radar. It has transformed my aviation hobby....Hope this is of interest. Matt.

Thanks for that Matt! always good to hear from readers, I certainly remember having a WIN 108 myself many years ago and more recently, a Yupi 7100. I haven't heard of the Nova Tech Pilot 11? maybe we could coerce you into sending a picture I could post here?

I'm definately interested in knowing more about your SBS-1. I have looked at the maunufacturers website a number of times but not committed to purchasing one yet.

Regards, Mark.

1 comment:

Matt Harvey said...

Hello again, when I started aircraft spotting around 1960, it was possible to use binoculars and telescopes(anyone remember the Hilkinson Pancratic ?)to read off registrations. Most civil and a lots of military aircraft had giant registrations and the civil ones all flew below about FL150. A few years later I got my first airband radio - a Shorrock, cost £36 = a whole summer's work for me.
Interestingly if you index the inflation since then this would be about £470 in today's money. This is almost the price of the Kinetic SBS-1 so not much has changed.
In those early days only BOAC and a few American airlines used Flight Numbers and with Procedural air traffic control it was easy to get the registration and position just by listening. Of course all that's changed and the modern tool has to be the SBS-1 from Kinetic Avionics. At the moment mine is displaying the radar positions of
120 aircraft over southern England together with their registrations, callsigns and loads of other data.
All of this is possible thanks to some very talented folks in the Kinetic Users Forum who have created lots of useful add-on programs that seriously enhance the SBS-1. As a general comment Mode S is now compulsory for IFR flights in UK controlled airspace and starting 2008-2010 other flights are expected to comply which should embrace most GA operations. Not all aircraft provide positional information, a big example are Military Flights. This is allowed but increasingly amongst Civil Aircraft positional data is being provided.

For me, the SBS-1 has created a massive awareness of just how much traffic is around and that I was not noticing inspite of monitoring lots of the frequencies. In a way it takes me back to the 1960's type of spotting when you knew what was coming/and when by using the radio. Paired with an airband radio you really can get on top of the hobby.

To any readers wondering about the SBS-1 I'd say visit a dealer and try it out. Make the investment and watch you own radar screen !

Yes its not cheap, you also need to have a PC and depending where you live you may need to spend quite a bit extra to get a good aerial up outside and possibly even a preamp.

Try these links to Kinetics and also their Forum where lots of newcomers find out details before parting with their cash:

http://www.kinetic-avionics.co.uk/index.php

http://www.kinetic-avionics.co.uk/forums/

I'm happy to answer any queries about SBS-1 if this will help you decide.

When I get a moment I'll sort out something on the Nova Tech...

Have fun

Matt