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Thread: Radio range?

  1. #1
    Flyjeep's Avatar
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    Default Radio range?

    On average what kind of range should a radio get? I have a klx 135 and can receive awos about 10 miles out and not much more even with squelch off. After that it fades quick. I suspect the wire or antena but not sure. Antena is on right wing fuel tank cover, GPS is on other wing.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Can you hear airborne aircraft from a greater distance? I never paid close attention to the distance but I know I frequently pick up radio calls from aircraft in the traffic pattern at airports more than 50 miles away but never seem to hear calls from the ground unless I am reasonably close to the airport they are being made from.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement." - Fred Brooks

  3. #3
    6PapaWhiskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyjeep View Post
    On average what kind of range should a radio get? I have a klx 135 and can receive awos about 10 miles out and not much more even with squelch off. After that it fades quick. I suspect the wire or antena but not sure. Antena is on right wing fuel tank cover, GPS is on other wing.
    AWOS and ASOS transmitters are very low power (2.5 watts max) to prevent interference between airports as the frequencies are reused with rather close spacing (distance). As Jeff pointed out, CTAF or control tower frequencies are a better measurement of receiver performance. You should have no problem hearing those 30 miles or more away, depending on altitude.

    If you have an antenna or cable issue, it would likely have a greater effect on your transmitter performance and distance. If you do suspect an antenna / cable issue, I would check to see what type cable you have. If it is RG58 (black, about 3/16" diameter), I would recommend replacing it with RG400. RG400 is about the same diameter as RG58, but has a clear outer insulation that appears to be gold or tan in color.

    Tom P.
    Wagabond @ 08A
    Last edited by 6PapaWhiskey; 05-15-2019 at 02:18 PM.

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    Flyjeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Planes in the pattern seemed to be about the same at both airport I was at. I don't seem to hear traffic until around 10 miles from airport. I knew it seemed weak but didn't think about it until I read the notam for osh that said to get info 15 miles out, I can't.
    When I flew the plane I trained in I got weather up to 20 miles but different plane and new radio.

  5. #5
    6PapaWhiskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Here's what the FAA's Spectrum Management Regulations and Procedures Manual says about AWOS/ASOS reception:

    "Service volume of an AWOS/ASOS operating on a discrete VHF shall not be less than 15 nmi and 5,000 feet AGL and is normally limited to 25 nmi and 10,000 feet AGL."

    So it does sound like you have an issue. Perhaps you could do an airborne test with a handheld connected to your plane's antenna to help isolate the issue?

    Tom P.
    Wagabond @ 08A

  6. #6
    tnowak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    I have recently upgraded the radio in my Vagabond to a new Trig TY91 8.33 Khz model (European requirement) and I had to do an air test.

    I had no trouble hearing my local airfield from 25 NM away at 2000 ft. They heard me okay 5/5.
    TonyN

  7. #7
    Old3pacer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Terrain is also a factor -- flatlanders will enjoy better reception at lower atitudes. Mountains tend to obstruct signal...obvious, I know

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    Flyjeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Terrain is about as flat as it gets, was at 3000 agl and descending. Looks like I have a problem. It has been like this since I bought it. I dont have a handheld. Is there else anything I can do or check?

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Radio range?

    You are pretty limited if you can’t swap some parts to help isolate the problem. Replacing cable is probably the cheapest starting point. The last radio I sent in for repairs was a Val and only cost me $125 twenty years ago. The problem could also be the antenna. However, if the problem is reception only, I lean towards the radio being the problem because I think cable and antenna would affect both directions. Could be as simple as some corrosion on the connections.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement." - Fred Brooks

  10. #10
    Flyjeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio range?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff J View Post
    The problem could also be the antenna. However, if the problem is reception only, I lean towards the radio being the problem because I think cable and antenna would affect both directions. Could be as simple as some corrosion on the connections.
    I don't know if the problem is reception only, just know that it is my first symptom. Just assumed if i wasn't receiving I wasnt sending. Will check next flight, I can text 25m out and try to transmit.

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