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Multicom vs area frequency

Old 4th Feb 2014, 00:28
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Multicom vs area frequency

So this is something noted by my instructors recently (see my bolding):

CAAP 166-1 (Dec 2013): "At aerodromes where the carriage of radio is not mandatory, pilots of radio-equipped aircraft should monitor the CTAF and, at a minimum, broadcast their intentions in accordance with the minimum calls set-out in Section 7.3 of this CAAP. Good airmanship also implies that pilots should monitor and broadcast their intentions on the relevant Area Frequency when operating at aerodromes not in ESRA or marked on charts."

It then goes onto say explicitly:

"Note: Feedback from the industry suggests there is some confusion about this procedure, and many pilots are using the Multicom frequency, 126.7 MHz, at aerodromes without a CTAF. Pilots should use the relevant Area Frequency as described above, unless they are in the vicinity of a CTAF aerodrome or in a Broadcast Area."

- We tried this on a navex, got told to bugger off by the area controller.

So the CAAP is telling me to use the area frequency when there is not a CTAF specified. Now if you go to the AIP (GEN) you find the definition of Multicom (126.7) as "Multicom: The frequency (126.7MHZ) used for broadcasts while operating to or from a non--towered aerodrome that does not have a discrete CTAF assigned." With a bit more in GEN 4.5.1.

So, my question is: You're operating at an aerodrome with no designated CTAF and a single radio, what frequency are you on?

There are two conflicting official guidelines here (obviously AIP trumps CAAP from a [technical] legal perspective) which is a detriment to safety.

Gareth.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 01:05
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On a divergent track:

Surely there's enough frequencies available for EVERY airstrip to have a CTAF frequency to get rid of this multicom rubbish (is that scratchy sound I hear someone actually trying to communicate with me from a gyrocopter or is it someone 100NM away?).
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 01:20
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You're operating at an aerodrome with no designated CTAF and a single radio, what frequency are you on?

There are two conflicting official guidelines here (obviously AIP trumps CAAP from a [technical] legal perspective) which is a detriment to safety.
Before you pointed out that CAAP, I would have said the Multicom, being 126.7.

Now I'm confused!

On a divergent track:
Stay on target, you dirty little Fokker!
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 01:37
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Doesn't ERSA specify Multicom 126.7 specifically as the CTAF for smaller fields?
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 01:43
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Shouldn't be too hard to clear up - even for you bloggs :-)

CTAFs are established wherever shown in AIP - ERSA, maps etc. When operating in a CTAF, monitor and transmit on the CTAF.

When no CTAF is established by AIP, monitor and transmit on 126.7 (as required by AIP). Good airmanship - as per CAAP is also to listen in and transmit intentions on area (in case Joe Bloggs (captains mate...) is flying past.

I suspect your confusion comes from the missing word 'frequency'

"Multicom: The frequency (126.7MHZ) used for broadcasts while operating to or from a non--towered aerodrome that does not have a discrete CTAF assigned."
An aerodrome can have a CTAF without having a discrete CTAF frequency assigned. In this case - the Multicom and the CTAF are the same.

So, for your examples
- operating to a non-towered, non-CTAF airport with one radio - 126.7.
- operating to a non-towered, CTAF airport without a discrete CTAF (frequency) - 126.7
- operating to a non-towered, non-CTAF airport with two radios - 126.7 and Area

As for being told to bugger off - good airmanship also includes not clogging up airwaves when ATC needs them..... I would think that the CAAP is telling you to make a general broadcast on area when taxing or when 15nm (or so) out. Not to broadcast every leg.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 04:33
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Originally Posted by Peter
Doesn't ERSA specify Multicom 126.7 specifically as the CTAF for smaller fields?
It may do. That's gfunc's point; the CAAP clearly says to use the Area freq when there's no assigned CTAF (by that I assume CASA means "at smaller fields").

Originally Posted by UTR
- operating to a non-towered, CTAF airport without a discrete CTAF (frequency) - 126.7
Still confused. Is there such an animal? Example?
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 05:05
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A quick look thru ERSA showed every airport entry listed a CTAF frequency, and that the smaller ones all used Multicom 126.7

If that's the CTAF, that's the CTAF.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 05:07
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operating to a non-towered, CTAF airport without a discrete CTAF (frequency) - 126.7
Still confused. Is there such an animal? Example?
An airport without it's OWN discrete frequency (eg 124.6), therefore 126.7. He means if it doesn't have a frequency listed other than 126.7, then use 126.7.

Bairnsdale and Yarram in Vic would be examples as they don't have their own discreet frequency, so use 126.7.

Unless I am mistaken, I think that's what was intended!
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 05:41
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Surely the "good airmanship" comment relates to an area broadcast a la an IFR flight departing an aerodrome outside VHF coverage who is either holding a departure SAR or communicating via HF.

But that would be a best practise assumption...
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 09:42
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I want my CTAF discrete frequency and I want it now.

Apart form the Air Services frequency allocation fee, why not?
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 12:48
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Originally Posted by XXX
Bairnsdale and Yarram in Vic would be examples as they don't have their own discreet frequency, so use 126.7.
They both do have a discrete CTAF published in ERSA: 126.7.

Without going through every airport in ERSA to find one that doesn't have a discrete CTAF (which may well be 126.7), the original question stands:

If there's no CTAF published (eg farmer Brown's strip), do you use the Multicom or Area? My money would be on the Multicom.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 19:12
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I would agree with Underneath The Radar. 126.7 for all airstrips without a published CTAF frequency.

Although they really need to give each aerodrome a discrete frequency, it gets stupidly busy at times to the point that someone in the circuit you are joining can't be heard, only because other traffic miles away are transmitting.

The calls certainly should be made no matter how small the strip. All too often I go into smaller strips only to find an aircraft in the circuit not making a single call. Or even better, a glider who ignored my inbound call recently and he was climbing in a thermal ON my inbound track and didn't respond or make a single call after I made 3 inbound calls- and I had to turn to avoid ... Turns out he had a serviceable radio, heard my calls but just didn't know where he was.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 20:04
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Y'all a bit slow... This AIP amendment was put in 30th May.
Confusions-Maximus now reigns. Been a moot point with CASA ever since, however it is a VERY slow process getting anyone to understand there is a serious contradiction in AIP. However it is being worked on...hopefully...
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 21:06
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I was asking exactly the same question when CTAFs were first invented in 1989 or so!
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 21:26
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They both do have a discrete CTAF published in ERSA: 126.7.
I'm struggling with the use of the work "discrete" in this context as I would consider 126.7 to not be discrete....

Last edited by VH-XXX; 5th Feb 2014 at 07:15.
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 23:03
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Agree with XXX - "discrete" = not 126.7
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Old 4th Feb 2014, 23:52
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I was asking exactly the same question when CTAFs were first invented in 1989 or so!
Who else remembers 119.9 from the sixties / seventies? Its an old concept, just a new acronym to give the appearance of action by CASA
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Old 5th Feb 2014, 00:02
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just a new acronym to give the appearance of action by CASA
Rubbish Akro. Not CASA's fault at all. All this radio nonsense was caused by he who cannot be named. AFIZ>MTAF>CTAF (R)/Multicom>CTAF... Fortunately someone in CASA finally had the balls to say enough is enough, mandatory radio is the go, and now we might have a stable system for a few years.

CASA, AsA and industry jumping through political hoops for over two decades chasing the septic tank dream. For what? Probably thousands driven out of the industry by continually changing rules and procedures, or driven "underground" where it's taken years and years to get people talking again. Disgraceful.
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Old 5th Feb 2014, 05:16
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I forgot MBZs.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 03:23
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This subject was discussed at length by all the RAPACs in the late 90's.

There was a choice - At airfields / landing grounds / Farmer Joe's paddock etc that DO NOT have a promulgated CTAF with an associated frequency - ie: Not in ERSA;

Either you publish a frequency for use at such locations,
or
Use the area frequency.

The former was decided upon and in line with our comrades in North America it was called "MULTICOM" - In all cases the MULTICOM is 126.7.

Good airmanship suggests that the area frequency be monitored if you have two comms, but broadcasts should be made on the MULTICOM, unless there is a need to resolve a conflict (or whatever) on the area frequency. IFR ops would use those procedures common with any published CTAFs.

My guess is that the confusion in the CASA document relates to a lack of corporate history and/or understanding of the subject by the writer.
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