cheap scanner or radio for CTAF

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by alanbreck, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. alanbreck

    alanbreck Pre-Flight

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    I'd like to have some sort of radio/scanner set up in my hangar, with a speaker, so that I can monitor CTAF while I'm hanging out there.
    What ideas do people have to accomplish this as budget-friendly as possible? Any homebuilt or kitbash ideas? Or are there cheapo radios out there that can pick up VHF?

    Thanks.
     
  2. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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  3. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Check craigslist for a scanner, make sure it works before you trade cash. If it’s inside a metal hangar, highly suggest you get a external antenna. The siding acts as a faraday cage.
     
  4. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Pretty much any scanner sold for decades now has air band, just want to make sure you can program it to monitor the specific frequencies you want to hear. It will work best if you can mount an antenna outside, especially if you are in a metal hangar like most of us.
     
  5. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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  6. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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  7. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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  8. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    If you don’t need a scanner, just a receiver. Find and old radio someone pulled from their airplane and wire it up in a box. Just need a 12 volt power source and a speaker.

    Brian
     
  9. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    This
     
  10. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    I have a little mancave at the airport. I thought this Sporty's scanner would be nice to have in there. It was absolutely horrible!
    It was so much static you couldn't understand anything. My Yaesu handheld works fine in the same room. I sent the scanner back to Sporty's. It is basically cheap junk...
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I bought a Cheapo UNIDEN scanner off ebay. It went for $10 or something because the guy said it wouldn't scan. I didn't care because it was going to permanently set at 122.9 (it feeds the speakers on the party deck). It turns out the seller just was an idiot because the unit works fine in all its features. Just make sure you get a model with the airband. Not all have them.
     
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  12. PW_Plack

    PW_Plack Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've never seen a "police" scanner made since 1990 that didn't cover aircraft band. These things have to be $5 at yard sales by now. I have a couple I picked up that way, and they work great.

    Note, however, that using the included telescopic whip antenna in a metal hangar will offer disappointing performance, and leaving it connected to a rooftop ground plane works great, but only till the first thunderstorm.
     
  13. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    For really home 'built'(ok, assembled), take a Raspberry Pi, hook up an RTL-SDR stick to it and use RTLSDR-Airband as a scanner. Of course, then you still have to figure out a way to output the noise. For extra points figure out how to feed LiveATC if you have an internet connection and your area doesn't have a feed.

    The one on the end of my house with the big-ass marine antenna to receive AIS also receives the local airport through multiple USB sticks.
     
  14. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    I have a Sporty’s airscan that I am not using. It works.
     
  15. buzzard86

    buzzard86 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m glad you posted this. I too have the Sporty’s scanner and it’s awful. It never worked well at home but I figured I was just too far away. I took it to Oshkosh and couldn’t pick up any transmissions on the field. Junk. Unfortunately returning is not an option. Yaesu handheld works perfectly for me too.
     
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  16. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Describes a good portion of Sporty’s products.

    Overpriced. Junk.
     
  17. CJones

    CJones En-Route

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    My freshman or sophomore year of college, I bought a "diy assembly" kit for an air band receiver from Radio Shack. It came with a circuit board, a few components that you had to solder onto the board, and a really 'tinny' built-in speaker. I think it had a headphone-sized output jack, though. Ran off of 9v battery. I got extra credit in my Physics class for building it on a whim and being able to somewhat explain how the rheostat changed the reception frequency. That was only 20(ish) years ago. I wonder where that thing is now...
     
  18. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Quite a few older ones do not. You need to be careful. It's not that they couldn't cover the frequency, but they didn't have an AM demodulator in them. These days you get a whizbang AM/FM/WFM demod in the thing so you can listen to Airband, regular FM, etc...
     
  19. KRyan

    KRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm looking into this. There was a group of Ham radio guys that were building small aircraft radio receivers at Kidventure at OSH this year. It was very small, like business card size. I found another on line - might be the same thing, but the schematic is pretty hard to read:

    https://aircraftreceiver.blogspot.com/
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019