Programming own radios

Hi all,

Our sqn has about 5 handsets and often run small sqn radio exercises, however sometimes 5 handsets is not enough for us however I have my own radio for HAM use. Am I allowed to tune it to ATC frequencies and use it? Are there any specs a radio must/musn’t have before use on ATC frequencies? CTCSS, DCS, Squelch tone?

I’m aware there may be information about this in ACP 44 but I’m waiting on access.

I don’t see why not. It’s ACTO 73 that has info on what you can/can’t use.

Yes there is. On my phone at the moment but can try and find it for you in a bit of you like. Do you have SharePoint access as it wouldn’t be able to be shared public facing.

I have access to ACTO73, however that only states frequencies (and when you can/can’t use them), and other information about the training syllabus.

I have access to a bit of SharePoint but not some stuff (I.E ACP44)

Try this. 73-F-2 is what you’re looking for. Key point is don’t start transmitting over 25w on UHF/VHF.

“Sorry you don’t have access”.

I’m aware of the power limitation, our sqn has a base station that transmits at or below that power limit however we’ve had it for years and its only just left the box.

Can’t really share radio frequencies without using SharePoint I’m afraid. Ask your OC if they’ll get them for you then you can program away!

Wilco, doubt there’s much I would even need to change - the handset I’ve got is max 10w, seen on another post that squelch tones aren’t completely necessary too (unsure of how up-to-date that info is).

You probably don’t need squelch if the signals are fairly clear and you’re working at short ranges.

However with some of the more recent/cheaper Far Eastern radios their tuning can be a bit ‘off’ so it can be worth setting up CTCSS to keep the channels from drifting out of the band (sorry that’s not a probably an accurate technical explanation).
If you have the older Motorola/Vertex/Yaesu radios they’re likely to be fine without it.

Programme the frequencies in to channels so the cadets can’t see the actual frequencies on the display.

I really would avoid it. Unless it’s consistent across all your radios, it’s useless. Also if you go to use your kit at a wing event it can become useless.

One thing I would add is make sure you’re using narrow band too. Had issues in the past mixing narrow and wide band :man_facepalming::man_facepalming::man_facepalming:

This is a necessity though. At least while they’re doing basic comms; keep it to U1 V3 etc etc.

(Also just thinking about it, don’t program the repeater channels unless you know if you have a local repeater. This is the only time you should really use CTCSS too.)

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The radios we have on sqn don’t have a display, they’re vertex standard, quite robust and all that, but I’m talking about programming my own radio (usually for HAM) to operate on ATC frequencies (would set it to display channel names rather than frequencies anyways just incase a cadet somehow picks it up).

Apparently it is only needed on tango project frequencies. Doubt I’ll be using them anytime soon though.

That’s what I was thinking. I don’t think our sqn radios have a CTCSS set (par tango freq)

Will check if that’s something I can set on my radio, have heard some bleeding over before when using wing radios.

Yeah, our sqn radios already have a tango channel programmed I believe. Wishful thinking on the person who programmed them’s part.

Yeah. At the end of the day it’ll only work if you know what your repeater’s CTCSS is to ‘open’ it up.

Yeah, not aware of any tango repeaters in the area, one day maybe, one day.

Ok that makes sense, I wasn’t sure whether you planned to retune all the radios.

If it’s just yours then yes only CTCSS if the Squadron radios already have it set.

Your own radio might not cover the entirety of the RAFAC frequencies but depending on the model you might be able modify to extend it. Only for RAFAC use of course.

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We’ve been advised to set it on certain brands because of the tuning issues. But yes it only works if they are only used with each other, like on a course.


Yeah it can’t get some frequencies, but I know which frequencies are what channel on the sqn radios and already have that ready. The only problem I can see potentially happening is on any wing activities.

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Even if I wanted to I probably couldn’t, the radios were programmed before we received them so we don’t have the programming cable.

Surprisingly cheap to buy a reprogramming cable on eBay with all the different adapters on the end :wink:

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