Aeronautical Radio

As it Pertains to Listening to Aircraft in the Maritimes Area of Canada

Last updated in January 2017.  Frequency list not as current.

Aero Radio Basics  

Aeronautical Radio is divided into several parts of the radio spectrum.  At the low end there remain radio beacons in the low and medium frequencies (200 to 400 kHz) and as well some navigation aids operating at or above 900 MHz.  In both cases these are of no direct importance to someone listening to aircraft and therefore will not be described below.   Here are the three bands of most importance:

VHF:  This is the big one, at least as far as what I am talking about here. Over land or within a few hundred kilometres, civilian aircraft will normally use VHF.  This is on the band between 108 and 137 MHz.  The section between 108 and 118 MHz is principally for the navigation aids but some of these do have voice broadcasts, but you will not hear two-way communications in that section.  The section between 136 and 137 is a relatively recent addition and you will find very little activity locally in this range.   In North America there is currently a 25 kHz spacing between channels and therefore there are 760 distinct frequencies in the range 118.0 to 136.975 kHz.   Note that in Europe all aircraft are required to have radios capable of 8.33 kHz spacing and therefore three times as many channels!  This may come to North America someday, but that day is not yet in sight. 

Note also that the band is divided into segments differentiated between two usage categories.  One is what might be termed commercial business use.  The other is air traffic control and similar usage.  Within the overall 118 to 137 band these sections are allocated frequency by frequency to private entitities:   128.825 to 132.000 MHz   plus the recently added 136 to 136.975 segment.   These entities include airlines, FBO's, special usage organizations, and AIRINC.  AIRINC is the American company that operates radio communications jointly for many of the airlines.     The remainder of the spectrum is used by (or allocated by) the various national air control agencies for such uses as tower, ground, emergency communications, SAR coordination, Unicoms, area control centres, etc.   

While I will be saying more on the topic within specific pages, it is useful to mention now that reception of VHF ground stations is normally quite limited, depending on relative elevation and antenna, but 50 km would be excellent or even exceptional.    Reception of aircraft depends principally on the altitude of the aircraft.  I can only occasionally hear aircraft on the ground at Halifax Airport, about 20 km from me, but I can regularly hear airliners over the Gulf of Maine, and that with an external antenna that is not cut for the band.   Note that this band is also used far away from land by pilots simply wishing to talk to one another.  The range between two high-flying aircraft may be very long due to the line-of-sight factor.    While this is a civilian band, you will find that in our area at least, military aircraft also use it as they fly like civilian aircraft along the recognized air routes and land and depart at civil airports.

 

UHF:  This band, between 225 and 400 MHz, is reserved for military use around the world, and hence is commonly referred to as the “milair band”.  In this band today you can hear not only aircraft but also terrestrial military trunk systems (though none around this region), and a lingering use by naval ships for intership communications.   This band is not one I regularly monitor, but I do have many frequencies programmed in, and on occasion will listen.  Note that this band is not even in a lot of scanners.   If you intend to monitor the two military airfields in this region, you should include “milair”.   You will also hear this band come alive during exercises that are occasionally held in the coastal areas.    I would say that the most interesting and consistent use of the band is in relation to air-to-air refueling that takes place regularly above Nova Scotia.    During these procedures by USAF units the aircraft will be in communication with the civil air traffic controllers on the VHF band, but will speak among themselves on UHF.   I do have a specific page on refueling here on this site, but I am no expert on the topic.    Within that page I do direct you to an active forum on radioreference where you can keep up to date and learn from the experts.

 

HF: The high frequency aero bands are discontinuous sections of the overall HF band between 3 and 30 MHz.  In fact there are a few frequencies just below 3 MHz that technically therefore are in the very high end of the MF band.  I am not intending in this website to cover the HF bands.  These are not receivable on a scanner but rather require a communications receiver capable of USB detection.   Aeronautical HF is commonly used for long distance communications once an aircraft is beyond the range of VHF and UHF ground stations.   These communications are generally of two types.  One is to remain in contact with controllers as they cross oceanic areas, and the other is to be in contact with their company for operational reasons such as maintenance issues.   HF is to some extent being supplanted gradually by satellite communications but is far from dead.   Each part of the world has specific frequencies assigned for communications with ground controllers, and which ones are actually in use depends on propagation conditions, with the main factor being time of day.    Also in this band are continuously operating VOLMET or weather broadcast stations located around the world. 
These are an enjoyable way to check propagation conditions or to log unusual countries.   In our area it is most common to hear New York, Gander and Shannon Radios, but you might be lucky enough to hear places like Dakar or Hong Kong.   There are also military counterparts to these, such as Trenton in Ontario.   One of my best catches in my earlier days of radio listening was Wake Radio from the middle of the Pacific, a station that does not even exist any longer.   I will leave you, if you are interested, to go on your own to research and get involved in HF, and will say little more about it here.

VHF Frequency Usage

The following is a frequency table for the Maritimes and New England area, with some standard national and international uses also included.  It is intended to be a VHF table but some UHF is included.   At this point it is somewhat out of date, but little changes over time, so will remain useful.   

Terminology:

VOR = vertical omnirange - A VHF nav beacon indicating direction

ILS = instrument landing system

Terminal = arrival and departure control vicinity of airport.   Often referred to as "Arrival" or "Departure" depending on what the aircraft is doing.  In the Maritimes only Halifax, Greenwood and Moncton have terminal control units, and these do not operate during the quiet overnight hours.

Traffic = aircraft announces intentions to others. No controller. May or may not be a ground station that can give non-controlling info.

Unicom = Usually there is a private ground station that may give advice or info but not control of aircraft.  Aircraft may be required to announce intentions on this freq. Aircraft doing so will use the term "Traffic".   In some areas the ATF frequency is referred to as a unicom. 

MF (Mandatory freq) = official term for "traffic" where there is a ground station

ATF (Airfield Traffic Freq) = official term for "traffic" where no ground station. 

Ramp Advisory Frequency:  A frequency used by pilots to coordinate movements on the ramp. These were present at Halifax and Moncton in this region but have been discontinued.  Similar to an ATF as there is no controller, but may not be absolutely mandatory to announce intentions.

ATIS (Automated Terminal Info System) = Taped message loop, updated as conditions warrant.

HIPAL = Peripheral (Remote) transceiver serving high altitude aircraft.  For example, Moncton Centre has a peripheral transmitter near Halifax on 133.95 MHz.

LOPAL = Peripheral (Remote) transceiver serving low altitude aircraft.

Centre =  An Area Control Centre that controls flights in a large area, other than actually at the controlled airports or in Terminal Areas.  The centre for the Maritimes is Moncton Centre located in Riverview, New Brunswick.   Adjacent centres are Boston, Montreal and Gander.  Note that in the USA the word is spelled "center" and instead of being called an ACC, they are called Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC).

 

FREQ Location USE IN MARITIMES AREA
109.100 Halifax Rwy 14 ILS or Localizer
109.300 Moncton Rwy 29 ILS or Localizer
109.500 Sydney Rwy 19 ILS or Localizer
109.500 Charlo Rwy 13 ILS or Localizer
109.700 Yarmouth Rwy 24 ILS or Localizer
109.700 Moncton Rwy 06 ILS or Localizer
109.900 Halifax Rwy 23, LOC Rwy 05
109.900 Fredericton Rwy 15 ILS or Localizer
110.300 Sydney Rwy 07 ILS or Localizer
110.500 Saint John Rwy 23 ILS or Localizer
110.900 Charlottetown ILS??
111.300 Fredericton ILS??
113.300 Yarmouth VOR
113.500 Saint John VOR
113.800 Charlottetown VOR
114.900 Sydney VOR
115.100 Halifax VOR
117.300 Moncton VOR
118.000 Maritimes Charlottetown Radio.  Also listed at most major airports in Maritimes, but unknown use.
118.100 Greenwood Precision Approach Radar (PAR) (controller talks aircraft in)
118.150 Brunswick NAS, ME Terminal  (might be obsolete due to closing of base)
118.250 Atlantic offshore Hibernia Platform
118.400 Halifax Tower
118.500 Saint John Radio
118.600 Sydney Moncton Ctr LOPAL
118.700 Halifax Terminal VFR
119.000 Fredericton Tower (part-time) otherwise is Traffic
119.200 Halifax Terminal
119.425 Sydney Gander Oceanic Clearance Delivery
119.500 Greenwood Tower
119.600 Brunswick, ME NAS Tower OBSOLETE
119.750 Portland, ME Terminal
120.200 Gagetown Tower secondary (might not exist now)
120.525 Sydney unknown use. 
120.600 Greenwood Terminal
120.700 Bangor, ME Tower
120.800 Moncton Tower
120.900 Portland, ME Tower
121.000 Halifax ATIS
121.025 unknown possibly used within region
121.500 Intl Emergency Calling (all a/c and official ground stns) (also on all Cdn CG ships)
121.600 Intl Ground Control #4
121.700 Intl Ground Control #3, (in use at Shearwater and Fredericton)
121.800 Intl Ground Control #2 (in use at Moncton)
121.900 Intl Ground Control #1 (in use at Halifax, Bangor and Portland)
122.000 USA Std enroute advisory ("Flightwatch")
122.000 Sydney Radio & MF
122.075 Moncton Airport Authority
122.100 USA FSS rcv freq assoc with voice on VOR freq
122.100 Charlottetown Radio & MF
122.125 Halifax Ramp Advisory OBSOLETE
122.150 Moncton Shell Private Advisory
122.200 USA FSS routine communications
122.200 Charlo Radio & Traffic
122.200 Grindstone Radio (may be obsolete..see 123.15)
122.200 Fox Harbour Airport Owner
122.200 Charlo Radio??
122.300 Yarmouth Radio & MF
122.350 Halifax GlobeGround  obsolete
122.400 New Brunswick Forest Protection
122.425 unknown possibly used within region
122.500 Halifax?? Radio  (poss at Moncton)
122.550 Summerside Traffic?
122.550 Florenceville McCain Foods
122.600 Maritimes listed at most major airports. Possible official use
122.650 Saint John SJ Airport Authority
122.700 Atlantic offshore All CCG ships, plus offshore drill platforms
122.700 Miramichi Traffic
122.700 Edmundston Traffic??
122.700 St. Leonard Traffic
122.725 Moncton Bulmer Aircraft Services
122.775 Halifax Air Georgian (AC feeder airline)  OBSOLETE
122.800 Stanley, NS Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Trenton, NS Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Edmundston Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 St. Stephen Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Port Hawkesbury Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Greenfield (Liverpool) Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Digby (Clementsport) Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Waterville Unicom (Private advisory)/Traffic when station is closed
122.800 Bristol, NB Traffic
122.800 Summerside Traffic?
122.800 Florenceville Traffic?
122.800 Thorburn, NS Traffic
122.800 Halifax South Battery (downtown) ARCAL
122.850 Edmundston Edmundston Airport Commission & Fraser Paper
122.850 Halifax Servisair De-Icing   ex Worldwide Flt Services
122.875 Fredericton Diamond Aviation
122.900 Atlantic offshore Drill Rigs… Also Encana ground stn at Halifax
122.900 USA Common CTAF (airfields with no ground radio)
122.925 Halifax Canjet Airlines/IMP Group  MIGHT BE OBSOLETE
122.975 Trenton Trenton Airport Commission
122.975 Sydney Nav Canada
123.000 Debert Traffic, including glider ops  Truro Flying Club
123.000 Summerside ?
123.000 Edmundston ?
123.000 Blanchard Sett. NB ?
123.000 Grand Falls, NB Traffic
123.000 Yarmouth ?
123.050 Elgin, NB Bridges Blueberries
123.100 Intl Search/Rescue (on all official a/c & CCG ships, also at several major a/p)
123.150 Grindstone Radio
123.200 St. Stephen Unicom?
123.200 Havelock, NB Traffic??
123.200 New Brunswick Forest Protection
123.200 Canada Standard ATF ("Traffic") where there is no ground station
123.200 Mount Pleasant, PEI Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 St-Quentin, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Salisbury, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Amherst, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Antigonish (Hospital) Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Apple River, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Arichat, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Edmundston (Hospital) Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Brockway, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Grand River, PEI Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Juniper, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Serogle, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Grand Manan, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Middle Stewiacke Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Tatamagouche Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Margaree, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Porters Lake, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Boston Brk, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Scottsfield, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Digby (Hospital) Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Bridgewater (Hospital) Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Cable Head, PEI Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Chipman, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Clearwater, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Rogersville, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Shelburne, NS (Hospital) Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Upper Kent, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Valley, NS Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Weyman Airpark, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.200 Woodstock, NB Traffic (no ground station, a/c announce intentions to others)
123.300 Maritimes CASARA (Civil Air Search & Rescue Assoc)
123.350 New Brunswick Forest Protection
123.400 Halifax Shell Aerocentre/IMP Group
123.450 Intl Air to Air on North Atlantic routes
123.450 Bathurst RCO for Charlo Radio
123.450 Moncton ??
123.450 Pokemouche DRCO for ?? Radio
123.475 unknown possibly used within region
123.500 Moncton Moncton Flight College
123.550 Yarmouth Halifax Radio DRCO
123.550 New Brunswick Forest Protection
123.600 USA Std Self-Announce Frequency at fields with FSS but no tower
123.700 Miramichi LOPAL for Moncton Centre
123.850 New Brunswick Forest Protection
123.900 Yarmouth Moncton Ctr LOPAL
123.950 Halifax Clearance Delivery
124.050 Allen's Island, NF Gander Ctr HIPAL
124.250 Brunswick, ME NAS Terminal  obsolete
124.300 Clarendon, NB Moncton Centre LOPAL
124.400 Moncton Terminal at peak times.   Otherwise Moncton Centre LOPAL
124.500 Bangor, ME Terminal
125.250 Sydney Moncton Centre HIPAL
125.300 Bangor, ME Terminal
125.500 Portland, ME Terminal
126.200 Shearwater Tower and MF
126.400 Gagetown Tower primary (helicopter traffic only)
126.700 Canada Flight Service Stns (Nav Canada) and also on some offshore platforms
126.900 Mont Joli air/ground station Nav Canada
126.900 St. John's, NF air/ground station Nav Canada
126.900 Gander air/ground station Nav Canada
127.125 Moncton Moncton Centre High Level
127.750 Bangor, ME ATIS
128.025 Greenwood Clearance Delivery
128.050 Millinocket Boston Center HIPAL Northeast Maine
128.100 Halifax Shearwater Radar (PAR) #2
128.200   Boston Center HIPAL
128.375 Yarmouth Moncton Centre HIPAL (VITOL sector - far offshore)
128.450 Allen's Island, NF Gander Centre Oceanic Clearance??
128.550 Halifax Terminal (Arrivals in peak periods)  rarely used
128.650 Moncton ATIS
128.900 Halifax Jazz Air
128.900 Sydney Jazz Air
128.900 Bathurst Jazz Air
128.900 St. Leonard Jazz Air
128.950 Halifax Kelowna Flightcraft (Purolator) OBSOLETE
128.950 Moncton Kelowna Flightcraft (Purolator)  OBSOLETE
128.975 Halifax Worldwide Ft Srv  MAY BE OBSOLETE
129.075 Moncton Transport Canada Air Services
129.175 Halifax Shearwater ATIS
129.250 Halifax De-Icing Coordination JAZZ. for Air Canada family
129.300 Halifax Esso Avitat & Provincial Airlines
129.375 Halifax Jazz Maintenance
129.450 Halifax Air Canada
129.500 atlantic offshore Global Santa Fe Drilling
129.575 Halifax CanJet Airlines/IMP Group  possibly obsolete
129.575 Florenceville McCain Foods
129.650 Halifax Jazz Air
129.775 Greenwood Tusker Ops
129.825 atlantic offshore Sable Offshore/CHC and ExxonMobil
129.900 Sydney ARINC air/ground station
129.900 New York ARINC air/ground station
130.000 atlantic offshore former designated frequency for contact with Soviet aircraft
130.075 Halifax Air St. Pierre Ops
130.125   ARINC
130.175 Halifax Air Canada STOC
130.275 atlantic offshore Sable Offshore
130.375 Halifax Air Canada Load, also at Moncton, Charlottetown,SJ,Fred
130.475 Halifax Jazz Air Load
130.500 Halifax formerly used by defunct Canada 3000
130.575 Halifax Jazz Air
130.600 Halifax former use by defunct Shearwater Flight Centre
130.650 Halifax Globeground: use for Jetsgo and Zoom
130.800 Halifax Air Canada; also at Moncton
130.950 Halifax Worldwide Ft Srv
131.075 Moncton Jetsgo  OBSOLETE 
131.100 Maritimes Air Canada Disp??
131.200 Halifax formerly used by defunct Canada 3000  OSOLETE
131.275 Halifax WestJet; also at Moncton
131.375 Halifax former use by Business Express  OBSOLETE
131.475 Halifax Air Canada ACARS
131.550 Halifax ARINC  acars? Also at Fred, Syd, Moncton, SJ, Charlottetown
131.675 Maritimes Sable Offshore
131.750 Moncton Bulmer Aircraft Services
131.750 Charlottetown Bulmer Aircraft Services
131.775 Halifax Canjet Airlines/IMP Group  POSS OBSOLETE
131.800 Intl Official air to air frequency for North Atlantic   but they use 123.45 most often
131.875 Halifax Cargojet Airlines
131.925 Moncton Federal Express
131.925 Halifax Federal Express
131.950 Maritimes American Eagle  OBSOLETE
132.150 Sept Iles, QUE Moncton Centre HIPAL
132.200 Moncton Moncton Centre
132.450 Yarmouth Moncton Centre HIPAL (WHALE KANNI sector)
132.500 Caledonia Mtn, NB Moncton Centre
132.550 Sherbrooke, QUE Montreal Centre HIPAL
132.700 Moncton Moncton Centre High Level
132.725 USA High Altitude Enroute Flight Advisory
132.750 Sydney Moncton Centre
132.800 Grindstone Moncton Centre HIPAL
132.975 Yarmouth Moncton Centre HIPAL
133.300 Sydney Moncton Centre HIPAL (offshore)
133.450 Bucks Hbr, ME Boston Center HIPAL Gulf of Maine
133.550 Stephenville, NF Gander Centre HIPAL
133.675 USA High Altitude Enroute Flight Advisory
133.700 Sydney Moncton Centre HIPAL (offshore)
133.750 Greenwood Ground Control
133.950 Halifax Moncton Centre HIPAL (extreme offshore)
134.100 Halifax Shearwater Radar (PAR) #1
134.175 USA High Altitude Enroute Flight Advisory
134.250 Dalhousie, NB Moncton Centre LOPAL
134.350 Grindstone Moncton Centre LOPAL
134.525 USA High Altitude Enroute Flight Advisory
134.800 Charlo, NB Moncton Centre HIPAL?? Might be obsolete
134.900 Allen's Island, NF Gander Centre HIPAL
134.950 Augusta, ME Boston Center HIPAL Central Maine
135.025 Quebec City Montreal Centre HIPAL
135.050 Stephenville, NF Gander Centre HIPAL
135.200 Yarmouth Moncton Centre HIPAL (TUSKY BRADD sector)
135.300 Halifax Moncton Centre LOPAL
135.475 USA High Altitude Enroute Flight Advisory
135.500 Clarendon, NB Moncton Centre LOPAL serving Fred/SJ area
135.650 Charlottetown Moncton Ctr LOPAL
135.775 Stephenville, NF Gander Centre HIPAL
135.850 Moncton Nav Canada use unknown
135.950 Moncton Nav Canada use unknown
135.950 Halifax Nav Canada use unknown
135.950 Sydney Nav Canada use unknown
135.975 Charlottetown Nav Canada use unknown
136.575 Maritimes Cdn Helicopters Corp
136.850 Moncton Sitacom Canada
136.850 Halifax Sitacom Canada
137.000 Intl High End of Civil Aero Band (136 - 137 is a recent addition)
225.000 Intl Low End of Military UHF Band
225.200 Halifax Moncton Centre
226.000 Sherbrooke, QUE Montreal Centre HIPAL
227.200 Mont Joli Montreal Centre LOPAL
229.100 Halifax ATIS
236.600 Moncton Tower
236.600 Halifax Tower
243.000 Intl UHF Calling & Emergency Frequency
244.300 Greenwood ATIS
246.500 North America reportedly used by Snowbirds
247.000   possibly used within region
250.100 Halifax Shearwater Ground Control
258.600 Greenwood Radar (PAR)
266.300 Sydney Moncton Centre LOPAL
269.300 Bucks Hbr, ME Boston Center HIPAL with 133.45
270.800 Fredericton Moncton Centre LOPAL
272.100 North America reportedly used by Snowbirds
275.800 Halifax Ground Control
278.000   possibly used within region
283.900 Greenwood Clearance Delivery/Terminal
284.900 North America reportedly used by Snowbirds
290.600   Moncton Centre High Level
294.500 Charlottetown Moncton Centre LOPAL
295.800 Yarmouth Radio & Traffic
299.500 North America reportedly used by Snowbirds
307.000 Augusta, ME Boston Center HIPAL, with 134.95
308.600 Greenwood Greenwood Ops
308.800 Halifax Shearwater Ops
311.000 North America US SAC Assistance Frequency
319.100 Houlton Boston Center HIPAL Northeast Maine
321.800 Gagetown 403 Sqdn Ops ("ZERO")
324.300 Greenwood Tower
329.300 Intl Low end of Glide Path Beacon frequency band
335.000 intl High end of Glide Path Beacon frequency band
335.900 Greenwood Terminal & Clnc Delivery
337.400 Maritimes USAF Air-Air Refuel over our region
339.400 unknown possibly used within region
340.200 Halifax Shearwater Tower
344.600 Greenwood Greenwood PMSV (pilot/weather)
349.300 Greenwood Schooner Ops Gre
360.200 Halifax Shearwater TWR
363.800 Halifax Halifax Terminal
364.200 North America NORAD Sector Assistance
368.500 Yarmouth Moncton Centre HIPAL
378.500 Greenwood Radar (PAR)
381.300 North America USAF Air Combat Command Assistance freq
381.800 North America Search/Rescue
383.700 Greenwood Tusker Ops
384.800 Moncton Terminal
     

 

760 channel chart will go here, but not yet!