Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quebec Airshow 2008 Report - Another New TBird VHF Freq Uncovered

Normand Fortin, an airshow and scanner freak, attended the Quebec Airshow this last weekend and passes along this very important airshow field report. Thanks Normand for sharing your experience and frequency report with my Milcom Monitoring Post readers.

The following flight demo teams were on the line: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, British Red Arrows and Snowbirds as this event was included in the 400th anniversary of the City.

The teams arrived on last monday for a week of practice before the Saturday and Sunday events.

The Red Arrows used 243.450 MHz AM for all their inflight and flight to ground comm through a simple radio patch to PA system. The commentator overrides on the PA for description but you can always hear the cues from team leader when no comments. Very very colorful calls, lots of shouting for the cues. Very flexible airshow as they changed from flat to low to high show during the performance as weather was improving.

The Blue Angels did 3 practices and recce flights during the week. They used 237.8 AM as their primary (diamond) and solos were heard on 237.8 AM as well as 284.25 AM. The saturday show exibited the same freqs. Nothing else has been noted and they don't seem to have the type of commcart that the Tbirds uses. Sunday perfomance was cancelled due to weather that was just a tad under their minimum during their slot.

The Snowbirds were heard on 236.6, no suprises there.

Finally, The Tbirds used a much more evolved pattern mainly due to their commcart.

A NEW TBIRD FREQUENCY WAS DISCOVERED THIS WEEKEND: 140.700 MHz AM (lots of pagers in Canada in the 140-143 area so this new one may be because of that), which was dubbed V-01 all week, 235.25 AM was used alternatively by the solos (dubbed U-01).

The Saturday show suffered a rain shower during their perfomance so on Sunday, the Snowbirds changed their (last of the show protocol slot) with the Tbirds which enjoyed a high show weather. I was situated about 20 ft from the commcart with all the ground personnel nearby so I witnessed all the mirror and gun light alignment cues from them to the team during the show.

216.7275 MHz FM was the narrator/music and 216.9800 MHz FM was the team comms retransmission to the ground cart. About 10 min in the show, TBird No 5 (Maj. Samantha Weeks had an issue with her jet, the show was suspended and she used 235.250 MHz AM to talk to maintenance or ground coordinator. The problem was hydraulic.

The Blue Angels guys came to the cart at the beginning of the show to monitor from the commcart (in a friendly visit, normally they do not perform together because US gov wants to maximize exposure but Québec was authorized as a TEAM show stunt)

Thats it, its been a great week, lots of low flying and noise. I used all the frequencies available on the net to monitor this plus range searching. I have no freq counter nor close call functions but i think pretty much all the action went through these freqs. My rigs are Icom IC-R20 (100 f/sec search , 30-40 f/sec in memory scan) so the refresh was very rapid. Also my IC-R10 was completing the monitoring for airboss served as dual-receive.