Kind of dumb question for a controller

jak378

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A friend, Private Pilot, with whom I fly on occasion and I were talking about the NWA overflight. He wondered why the Minneappolis controller didn't call the aircraft on the last frequency they had been given by Denver. When I told him that each ATC facility has only its own frequencies he was somewhat incredulous. He believes, and claims that every facility has tranceivers similar to those in the aircraft that can transmit and receive on the entire aviation spectrum. Unless things have changed in the last several years, I am pretty sure that this is incorrect. Is it?
 

J.Otto

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I'm pretty sure an attempt was made to contact them on the last known freq.
 

Lrjtcaptain

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Well, he is right. We have orange portables called PET2000's which can transmit and receive on any frequency. Plane goes NORDO he goes NORDO. There are procedures we follow as do the flight crew. Plane isn't responding to controllers on a specific freq earlier, then we are to assume they aren't going to be responding to them in the future. I work tower, so can't assume I know all ARTCC procedures, but I'm sure numerous attempts were made to contact the flight crew. Reminds me of the incident years ago. Don't remember the specifics but two aircraft went NORDO, missed the freq change and almost had a mid air. Anyone remember the specifics of that one?
 

Flyin2low

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Yeah the controllers use an old vacuum tube type radio, like the ones at the FBO, to conduct their daily business. These radios are normally tuned to 123.45 to conduct surveillance on clueless pilots.
 

AKAAB

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Addionally, the Airbus doesn't have an adjustable squelch. In my opinion, the autosquelch contributes to more communications problems as the Airbus gets near the outer range of radio reception and essentially blocks weaker transmissions. Not a cause, but certainly another link in the chain...
 

jak378

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Well, he is right. We have orange portables called PET2000's which can transmit and receive on any frequency. Plane goes NORDO he goes NORDO. There are procedures we follow as do the flight crew. Plane isn't responding to controllers on a specific freq earlier, then we are to assume they aren't going to be responding to them in the future. I work tower, so can't assume I know all ARTCC procedures, but I'm sure numerous attempts were made to contact the flight crew. Reminds me of the incident years ago. Don't remember the specifics but two aircraft went NORDO, missed the freq change and almost had a mid air. Anyone remember the specifics of that one?
With all due respect, I believe that most of you misunderstood my question. What I am asking is do the ARTCC facilities have the capability of transmitting and receiving on frequencies other than those which are assigned to them and listed in various publications. When the NWA flight failed to contact Minneapolis after being handed off, and failing to respond to calls by Minneapoliw on the new frequency, and assuming they were out of range of Denver, could Minneapolis have switched to used the last assigned frequency, Denver's, to try to reach them?

OUr little airport here, with a city owned tower apparently also has a couple of portables also. I don't believe that portables would work at the center facilities unless someone took them outside and perhaps used a booster antenna. I suspect that the same would be true of most tracon facilities.

Anybody from any of those facilities around?
 

BillJBrake

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No, the ARTCC facilities do not have that ability.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that the frequencies for artcc's are located at sites all over their airspace (geographically) so the only option would be to send a tech out to the site, get the freq adjusted, etc. That plane would be well out of fuel and on the ground by then!
 

flyguy_022

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With all due respect, I believe that most of you misunderstood my question. What I am asking is do the ARTCC facilities have the capability of transmitting and receiving on frequencies other than those which are assigned to them and listed in various publications. When the NWA flight failed to contact Minneapolis after being handed off, and failing to respond to calls by Minneapoliw on the new frequency, and assuming they were out of range of Denver, could Minneapolis have switched to used the last assigned frequency, Denver's, to try to reach them?
First question, no they do not have that capability.

Second question, once minneapolis could not reach them on their freq, they tagged that flight as "NORDO" which means no radio. Usually its just because the pilot missed the frequency or copied the wrong one. So Minn will call up the denver sector controller on the interphone, that the pilot was last with and will ask them if that flight is still on their freq and try to get them on the right one. If they cant then controllers can try other means like ARINC or the airline company calls up the pilots on the cockpit phone. If they still cant get a hold of them and are not seeing a 7600 squawk, then they will probably issue an ALTNO which they were probably getting ready for a hijack situation. There is other proceedures controllers will follow depending on the facility, but they usually follow whats in the 7110.65(atc handbook)

The centers will coordinate with each other very well. So Minn will talk to denver center sector controller on a interphone network. Minn cannot use the denver freq to try to get a hold of the plane.
 
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stupidpilot

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Radio calls don't help if you're fast asleep!
 
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