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Unable to contact ATC over Africa

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Unable to contact ATC over Africa

Old 2nd Mar 2007, 07:43
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Unable to contact ATC over Africa

Just operated from South Africa to LHR and had no contact with any ATC unit from Gabarone to N'Djamena - a distance of 1300nm

Not for the lack of trying. Used every VHF and HF frequency I know (vielen Dank Gerd) Could hear Kinshasa but they never answered. The result was I was stuck at FL310 for longer than necessary which made the fuel remaining look a little thin for a while

Due to tech problems, I was about 2 hours behind schedule and just wondered if that was a factor. There was very little other traffic around - which was apparent from the IFBP freq. Is 3am bedtime for Brazzaville? Is it cocoa time in Kinshasa?

PS Thanks to VS for the relay attempt.........
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 08:11
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Question

Did you have satcom? If you talk to Joburg they can set up a CPDLC link and relay your position reports to the ground controllers in central Africa...
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 08:28
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Ah the controllers from central africa.....
Doesn't surprise me at all. Sleep, coffee breaks etc was most probably
on top of their agendas , as opposed to
doing their actual jobs and controlling the air traffic.
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 08:51
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JNB Oceanic on HF has always been my last port of call. it has always worked. To date....

l337
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 09:02
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So what.... lights on, TCAS on, 126.9 on, R1 offset on; their ATC is little more than a Flight Information Service anyway...flight safety is, in reality, not affected at all by not speaking to them over the middle part of Africa.
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 09:31
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Controllers were probably all outside loading baggage; they get more money for that; (thats what a controller at Banjul told me anyway)
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 09:55
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Squawk 7600
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 10:16
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It's a bit worrying when you think that they are talking about introducing RVSM in Africa. It's a shame that all that money paid in overflight charges doesn't reflect itself in more noticeable improvement in ATC across the continent; there are small advances such as Khartoum's increased VHF coverage but the huge voids as experienced by ETOPS are all too common. Does anyone know why we have several different control centres fighting for space on a handful of HF frequencies when individual airlines seem to be able to pick up a handful for their own use?
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 10:49
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CPDLC link
Not fitted to the jet - sorry.
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 10:57
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Plus ca change!
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 11:45
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Wait 'till you have to divert around thunderstorms in that situation - gets pretty spooky....
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 12:37
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Thats why you broadcast position reports on VHF!! So the people you might bump into know where you are!! The guys on the ground will be asleep or somebody has nicked their aerial again!!

You could also fly a greater offset for added security!! Its been that way for years and is never going to get any better. Just part of the fun in flying over Africa!
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 12:50
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dontdoit:""lights on, 126.9 on""

You are right.
Same procedure as we used in the late 70's and 80's, however we had no TCAS and the R1 was not used then.

any problem?

B
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 13:14
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I just want to know why the controllers there all talk into the wrong side of their microphones......
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 14:48
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First time over Africa? And 3 hours NO comm? Tried Dakar, Bamako, Brazza? Hard to believe .
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 15:42
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First time over Africa?
Hardly - been at this game 32 years. At least not long to go now

My point (made badly) is that when operating to schedule I normally do get some response but on this occasion I was over 2 hours late. It just seemed so odd to get zero response from ATC and the thought crossed my mind that as it was so quiet they had nipped out for some "R & R" .........
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 15:46
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Put on more fuel, flight plan for a lower altitude, and let the low fuel guys duke it out for the cruise altitudes desired.
Works for me...
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 16:50
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last time i was down that general direction tcas didnt help us detect a kenyan airways twin passing us two thousand below as he was not squawking. (or else his box wasnt working, but unlikely) either way SLOP would have saved us should anything have gone wrong. A good listen out on 126.9 also helps. For what its worth our route cairo - dar es salaam had good VHF all the way down.
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 18:54
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Africa

I dont believe that Africa exists!
They have no ATC, coz everyone is out of the office fixing cars!
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Old 2nd Mar 2007, 23:23
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From IFixPlanes, above: "Squawk 7600."

I hope your joking pal - vast swathes of Africa don't have radar cover so squawking 7600 would achieve absolutely nothing. Zip. Nada.
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