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121.5 Emergency Frequency Misuse

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121.5 Emergency Frequency Misuse

Old 16th Jul 2003, 20:23
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Exclamation 121.5 Emergency Frequency Misuse

Last night an easyjet pilot used the guard frequency 4 times in an hour to contact to his collegues on other easy flights about the weather .
Come on guys keep the emergency frequency for emergencies and use 123.45 or co. frequencies for the long winded weather reports
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 03:25
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121.5 sounds more like a "fencing school", these days. Someone transmits on it, in error; someone else replies "On Guard".

I hear where you are coming from, tourbus.

But, at least it kept you awake on your night ALC.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 06:07
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Be careful using 123.45 outside UK airspace -- Dutch Rescue unit use it for one and maintain a listening watch - Get their knickers in a twist if you start yapping to yer mates !
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 17:11
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Isn't there a current NOTAM that 123.45 shouldn't be used for air-to-air comms within UK airspace!
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 17:51
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OK, but what about ''practice pan-practice pan etc....'' ?

My opinion is, thatīs also a kind of misuse of 121.5, because everytime I hear this irritating blabla, I turn the volume of the second VHF down to nothing and often, it stays there until I have to get the ATIS on destination.
-And I know Iīm not the only one!

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Old 18th Jul 2003, 04:33
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It would be great if the authorities could agree on one air2air freq. It is needed!
How daft isn't it to use 123.45 as a Rescue unit freq? Bound to get others sending on it.
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 05:01
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Stateside, there are two frequencies available for fixed-wing air-to-air use and a third frequency if you are flying rotary wing.

122.75, 122.85: Fixed wing/private airports
123.025: Rotary wing
(from our domestic AIP: the "AIM," paragraph 4-1-11)

Often hear pilots flying formation "X flight, go 123.45," even though that frequency is not approved domestically for that use. I hardly ever hear chatter on the approved air-to-air frequency.

I suppose that when the oceanic area controls agreed upon 123.45 for the Caribbean, North Atlantic... that it brushed onto pilots as the common air-to-air frequency. Hence it is simple enough to remember.

As for you guys who fly across FIR boundaries every 15 minutes on a short sector, the frequency for air-to-air is probably buried deep inside multiple AIPs.

With 8.33 spacing, there ought to be a frequency like 136.992 that is not being used somewhere within an entire continent.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 03:10
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But I think you miss the point Knold, if 123.45 is not assigned for, say, air-to-air use, then it shouldn't be used for that. If the SAR service is assigned the frequency they can use it and are entitled to expect that they will not suffer interference from people abusing the frequency spectrum.

And just to confirm, it' not allowed to be used in the UK - see the NOTAM below

OTH : FROM 03/01/17 15:17 TO PERM B0148/03
Old 19th Jul 2003, 04:34
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In Germany the official air-to-air frequency is 122,800 but the 123,45 is constantly being (mis)used. I think most pilots think it's not being used for anything so why not. I can't imagine using the official emergency 121.50 for any other communications except emergencies!!

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Old 19th Jul 2003, 14:04
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I know it's been discussed on Pprune before, but I have to agree with pete zahut regarding "Practice Pan". Unbelievable that the Brits don't have a second, discrete frequency for these practice emergency calls which result in my turning 121.5 off damn near every summer Saturday or Sunday I fly into the very busy UK airspace.

They defeat the purpose of 121.5 as a guard frequency for the great majority.

Standing by for incoming....
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 19:05
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ATC instructions via 121.50 ??

Yes Sir, the other day whilst on the afternoon ORY-FSC run, talking to Marseille, on course to AJO at FL310, we were stunned by Climb Clearances,Radar heading Vectors etc. in Italian on 121.50.I switched around to confirm it was indeed on 121.5, all I can imagine is that I had missed the initial broadcast; maybe a the other freqs. were down ???Marseille was fine.
On a normal day, nonetheless, the italians are very frequently on the 121.5 for private b.s. sessions.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 19:15
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This thread is about mis-use of 121.5 , the practice of using it for practice is not mis-use is is an officialy alowed practice.

I do however agree with you in an ideal world that this would be better done on another channel but then you run into the problems of duplicating equipment.

When ever I have had to use 121.5 for real in the UK all the "practice calls" have disapeared instantly.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 19:38
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Although not a D&D person, the other reason I suspect 121.5 practice pans are permitted in the UK is that it will 'exercise' the D&D DF system of recievers and transmitters on 121.5. D&D will also call on other stations for DF info off 121.5 transmissions if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 20:23
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Having been fortunate enought to visit D&D, I can confirm that they certainly encourage private pilots to make Practice Pan and Training Fix calls for all the obvious reasons.

Whether they should have a dedicated frequency for this purpose, is, of course, another matter entirely...
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Old 19th Jul 2003, 21:37
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I know Spitoon. What I mean is that it would be great if all countries could agree on one freq. Radio signals carry across the border you know...
Since 123.45 is used by most already and the fact that it's official over the atlantic, it would seem the best choise.

It is daft to designate 123.45 as a rescue freq. They have the right to do it but it's still stupid. Like I said, radio signals don't care about borders. If I transmit close to their border I would still occupy their freq without being in their country.
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Old 20th Jul 2003, 03:24
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Knold, you are quite right that radio signals don't care about borders. That will be why the UK NOTAM says 123.45 must not be used for A to A comms within range of a UK ground station.

I think 123.45 has been used for ground stations in the past - don't know if it is at present - but, I presume, the frequency co-ordination process has ensured that it will not normally interfere with use by Dutch SAR activities. I presume also that the process ensures that the legitimate use of the frequency in other countries is similarly protected.

If you tx on 123.45 near to the Dutch borders you'll cause interference - I'm guessing that the frequency is not assigned to A to A.

Radio signals don't care about borders and nor does (in this sense) the frequency assignment and co-ordination process. At least, it's not supposed to!
Old 20th Jul 2003, 12:30
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'no sig', I am aware of the excellent service D&D provides in triangulating transmissions from lost aircraft, and I understand that exercising that function is good for both the controllers on the ground and trainee pilots alike.

And 'A and C', with the greatest respect, I think the current usage of 121.5 for practice pans, legal or not, is a misuse of the frequency, as it clutters up a frequency that (hopefully) everyone is listening out on.

The military use 243mhz as the 121.5 equivalent in their UHF radios, but they have a second frequency (was it 282.8??) on their emergency equipment for practice situations like the practice pans we hear so frequently every weekend during summer in the UK.

My point is that, as valuable as it may be to the D&D people and the small number of people availing themselves of the service on 121.5, it does a grave disservice to the 'big picture', for want of a better term, in that it causes people to switch off or turn down a channel that should be in place for (a) a genuine emergencies, and (b) damn near instant communication with every aircraft in British airspace.

For example, if every aircraft is listening out on 121.5, it can allow controllers to get things back on the rails in seconds when a pilot makes an incorrect frequency change in busy airspace. If the offending aircraft isnít listening out on 121.5, the situation can cause major inconvenience to all.

For these reasons, I believe itís time a discrete frequency was allocated for these practice pans.

As for the 'professionals' who use the frequency as a chatter / weather appreciation frequency, thatís another story altogether.
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Old 20th Jul 2003, 12:46
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Since the airlines have started monitoring Guard (emergency frequency) we have been able to track down some pilots who have wondered off into frequency never never land. In this respect the requirement to monitor Guard has been helpful to us, but we would still like to see the ability for controllers to transmit messages to flight crews via the ACARS be developed.

The down side is that we hear way to many airlines accidentally calling their companies or calling within range on the emergency frequency.

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Old 20th Jul 2003, 13:42
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Ooooooooh......so 121.5 and 243.0 are GUARD frequencies!!! Always thought they were USN formation primary operating freqs!
(Oops - better duck!)
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Old 20th Jul 2003, 15:37
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There is no requirement to monitor guard. Most do if we have a third comm but not because of regulation. In addition to ATC we are required to monitor company freq unless equipped with ACARS, which is almost all of the time. Some ships only have two radios and to comply requires both of them.
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