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Posted: 7/8/2012 8:59:44 AM EST
As a newly minted private pilot, and a long time radio nerd, one thing I’ve always had my eye on (even before I started flying) is a portable aviation radio. As somebody who only rents I’ve thought it would be a nice thing to throw in the bag as a backup. The FBO I rent from has some very decent airplanes, but you never know when that 1979 vintage radio is going to call it quits, right?

Aside from my “need it” justification, I also have my “want it” justification. Living in Wisconsin I’m only about an hour drive from EAA and make the trip every year. I thought a portable would be a fun toy to bring along to the airshow for listening to all the radio traffic. I'm also a full time ARFF firefighter at MSN so it would probably be a "toy" at work to listen to what's going on everything other than ground, which is all we typically listen to.

So, as infinitely more experienced aviators than me, is my justification way off base? Are there other items I may not have which are far wiser investments? I’m really thinking used since I don't want to spend $400 on a new one, but I don’t want to be taken for a clunker on eBay, so where might I go to find one? As a radio guy I know and trust iCom, but are there other good brands out there? What models are good?

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 9:21:13 AM EST
Radio shack has a trunked radio scanner that scans aviation as well as ems, fire, police, ect. I think it was 150$ When i picked mine up. I can listen in on the local airport traffic as well as any birds in the area. Great if you don't need to talk.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 9:48:14 AM EST
You should post this question in the HAM forum, some of those guys are insane smart when it comes to the different hand held scanners and options and who has the best deal on sale right now.
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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 10:50:39 AM EST
As far as 2-way radios, I have seen ones by ICOM and Vertex Standard listed around the $200 range. I can't speak from experience about using them, since most of my flying has been on military aircraft (which usually use UHF).

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 11:31:53 AM EST
Mine has come in very handy about half a dozen times. I don't consider them to be a luxury item, every pilot should have one in their airplane.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 4:14:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By esa17:
Mine has come in very handy about half a dozen times. I don't consider them to be a luxury item, every pilot should have one in their airplane.


This is the kind of answer I'm looking for. During training I heard some people say that getting a backup portable was a good idea, but they only had anecdotal evidence to support why. What brands do you guys carry in your bags?

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 4:43:47 PM EST
I bought mine from Sportys. It works as well as anything else and these days it gets used as a scanner more than anything else.

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 7:35:17 PM EST
I have a vertex 220 iv used it for my solo student when I sit out on the ramp, to flying the plane with one radio as my ATIS getter.
Mine was bought the day I went IMC and had a radio failure right after

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Link Posted: 7/8/2012 10:47:37 PM EST
I have a Yaesu (now Vertex) handheld comm that has been invaluable on numerous occasions.

With it and a handheld GPS, NORDO becomes old school.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2012 4:49:27 AM EST
I have Vertex Standard and won't fly without it. Be sure to get the headset plug adapter.They can be hard to use with cabin noise without the adapter if you are trying to listen, talk and operate the aircraft at the same time under stress.
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Link Posted: 7/9/2012 4:22:29 PM EST
I picked up an ICOM IC-A6 off ebay a while back. love it.

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Link Posted: 7/10/2012 11:01:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By danpass:
I picked up an ICOM IC-A6 off ebay a while back. love it.


That's kind of what I'm keeping an eye out for. Nothing fancy, just a decent back up and a toy for on the ground.

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Link Posted: 7/11/2012 3:28:45 AM EST
I picked up an old Icom at a local airport from a retiring pilot for $50. Looks/works practically like new. I periodically see them advertised on the bulletin boards in various FBOs. There's a ton of older guys leaving flying right now and very few new people coming in. Used (and still in good shape) equipment can be had for dirt cheap if you have a little patience and look around. This coming from a guy that usually buys new, but I just couldn't justify it given how readily available (and cheap) lightly used aviation stuff is right now!

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Link Posted: 7/12/2012 5:57:14 AM EST
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.

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Link Posted: 7/12/2012 3:42:10 PM EST
I personally think so, back up handheld radio beats no radio even if they suck.

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Link Posted: 7/12/2012 5:39:45 PM EST
I bought an Icom A5 many years ago. Very nice quality and still performs like new. The only radio failure I've experienced was in a '76 Warrior.
I have a color "deficiency" and failed my first daytime soda test, so radio failure meant finding a non-towered airport, which is why I purchased it. Now I just use it while working around the hanger, just listening in on my neighbors.

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Link Posted: 7/13/2012 11:21:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/13/2012 11:22:13 AM EST by danpass]
Originally Posted By 911brad:
Originally Posted By danpass:
I picked up an ICOM IC-A6 off ebay a while back. love it.


That's kind of what I'm keeping an eye out for. Nothing fancy, just a decent back up and a toy for on the ground.

I do ham radio as well and sometimes plug the A6 into the VHF/UHF antenna I've set up on the roof to listen in lol.

In hamspeak a perfect signal is clear, 5 and very strong, 9

So with the duckie its 3/6 and with the rooftop its 5/7. (slight signal strength improvement despite being a zero gain antenna)

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 7:34:16 AM EST
Got a radio shack handheld scanner and use it mostly for listening to police and as a weather radio when camping. Got tired of just hearing the pilots side of the conversation so I usually listen to the local airport on liveatc.net instead.

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 7:51:30 AM EST
Honestly i don't see the reason.

They have shitty range, cost a bit, and just sit in your bag unused.

Everyone wants one at first, but soon enough they realise the 200 bucks could have been better spent elsewhere.

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 7:55:21 AM EST
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much more.

We have ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 8:43:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much more.

We have ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.
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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 8:55:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 10:02:40 AM EST
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

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Lol.

The Beechjet had a Airphone. I lost comms one time, and called ZKC's front desk. My radio worked, but there was no range. So I could hear them calling me, but I couldn't return the call. So I had the front desk number and gave them a call. The mananger on duty was actually pretty cool.

The others had datalink via ACARS. I had better connectivity there than by radio, sometimes.
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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 10:18:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

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Squak 7600, if your in a total electrical failure, anywhere you need a transponder (sfra/adiz.....) believe me, your cute little sporties handheld won't keep you from getting a blackhawk escort.

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 1:44:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Squak 7600, if your in a total electrical failure, anywhere you need a transponder (sfra/adiz.....) believe me, your cute little sporties handheld won't keep you from getting a blackhawk escort.


One would think an F-16 or F-15 would put on a better airshow!

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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 2:03:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Lol.

The Beechjet had a Airphone. I lost comms one time, and called ZKC's front desk. My radio worked, but there was no range. So I could hear them calling me, but I couldn't return the call. So I had the front desk number and gave them a call. The mananger on duty was actually pretty cool.

The others had datalink via ACARS. I had better connectivity there than by radio, sometimes.


Better than nothing.

After those guys argued past DTW the thresholds for reporting nordos dropped dramatically and how fast they escalate up the ranks went up.

It filters down to GA guys as well.


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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 3:08:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Lol.

The Beechjet had a Airphone. I lost comms one time, and called ZKC's front desk. My radio worked, but there was no range. So I could hear them calling me, but I couldn't return the call. So I had the front desk number and gave them a call. The mananger on duty was actually pretty cool.

The others had datalink via ACARS. I had better connectivity there than by radio, sometimes.


Better than nothing.

After those guys argued past DTW the thresholds for reporting nordos dropped dramatically and how fast they escalate up the ranks went up.

It filters down to GA guys as well.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


It should have been after FDX and ABX almost played bumper-cars over Denver
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Link Posted: 7/16/2012 3:31:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By regalrocket:
Originally Posted By FlyingDog_14:
Knowing people that have had a total electrical failure in IMC, it'll make you want one.

I ended up getting the one that everyone jokes about, the Sportys brand with the full VOR, LOC with Glideslope. It works. Transmitting is notoriously bad on handhelds from inside an aircraft without an external antenna, but reception is good. If you get one, make sure it has some NAV capabilty so you know where you are.


A hand held GPS would do much m"ave ways to deal with lost commo in IMC without a handheld. Fiddle fucking around trying to dig a hand held radio out might just induce spacial D bad enough to kill you.


Going NORDO is awesome. Just do your thing. Once you're not talking to anyone, it's going to get noticed. Follow the procedure.


Ohh yeah, NORDO gets all sorts of love these days mostly from people you want to avoid

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Lol.

The Beechjet had a Airphone. I lost comms one time, and called ZKC's front desk. My radio worked, but there was no range. So I could hear them calling me, but I couldn't return the call. So I had the front desk number and gave them a call. The mananger on duty was actually pretty cool.

The others had datalink via ACARS. I had better connectivity there than by radio, sometimes.


Better than nothing.

After those guys argued past DTW the thresholds for reporting nordos dropped dramatically and how fast they escalate up the ranks went up.

It filters down to GA guys as well.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


It should have been after FDX and ABX almost played bumper-cars over Denver


I agree. This time the media put more pressure on the higher ups.




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