This is a bible for DXers and anyone who less intensively listens in to aviation radio traffic. As such, the book has to fit into a jacket pocket, be extensive and authoritative, and is priced aggressively.
NAME: Air Traffic Control Handbook
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: David Smith
BINDING: Hard back
PRICE: GB £16.99
SUBJECT: Air Band Radio, ATC, DX, tower chatter, radar, airports, airfields, approach, ground services, control tower, frequencies, scanner, VHF receiver, scanning computer
DESCRIPTION: This is a bible for DXers and anyone who less intensively listens in to aviation radio traffic. As such, the book has to fit into a jacket pocket, be extensive and authoritative, and is priced aggressively. This inevitably means that single colour printing is used to keep costs down, with the exception of full colour covers. The first Air Band Handbook was published well over twenty years ago and was primarily an additional tool for the aircraft spotter. Over the years since then both the subject and the enthusiast has become more complex. There are those who travel the world and at airports, military airfields and during air displays watch aircraft through binoculars, photograph them and listen in to tower chatter. These are the descendents of the original aircraft spotters. Low cost air travel and a greater willingness of airport operators and air forces to accommodate the travelling aircraft spotter and the growth in the number of large air shows has transformed the hobby. Some enthusiasts are almost fanatical and their hobby is all absorbing but a large number are more occasional, some perhaps attending one or two air shows a year and travelling relatively short distances. All members of this group primarily listen to air radio to increase their enjoyment of an event. Many will purchase only the most basic portable air band radio but the development of radio receiver technology provides very portable and sophisticated receivers. The DXers are often in a very different category from the aircraft spotters. Some will have started as aircraft spotters and become totally absorbed in the air band listening. Many will have started as radio enthusiasts. Where the aircraft spotter mainly uses readily portable hand held receivers, the DXer may rarely travel, rarely visit an airfield or air show, but have an extensive collection of equipment that enables the enthusiast to listen to aircraft at considerable distance using HF receivers. Today the DXer will depend on computers to enable very wide listening watches on available frequencies and will probably be a member of an Internet fraternity who exchange information and alert each other to particular transmissions. This book caters for all of these enthusiasts and also to those who want to understand how modern aviation communications equipment works and what it does. As technology changes listening opportunities change. The Datalink reduces opportunities and encryption is now denying enthusiasts the ability to listen in to military and public service aircraft. It is however creating a new enthusiast who hacks into aviation computers and attempts to decrypt encrypted traffic. Where the aircraft spotter and the DXer operated legally, the hacker does not. David Smith has produced a very comprehensive book for those who want to operate in the legal areas and provides so much information on related topics including hijacking, ATC and UFOs that this is not just a book for air band radio enthusiasts and aviation enthusiasts, but also readers who have interests that touch on the borders of the topics he has covered so well. The only warning is that this book could trigger an addiction. For those embarking on an aviation career or flying privately, this book is an invaluable reference source