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Feature request: mute primary frequency


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One more feature request: a mute button for the primary frequency. 'My' VACC uses Teamspeak for coordination between controllers, and this coordination usually has priority over controller-pilot communication, for example during a go-around situation, slow versus fast plane on the same SID etc. Obviously, pilots cannot hear these (brief) conversations, and happily start transmitting. This often results in two misunderstood messages. Being able to (briefly) mute the primary frequency would enable me to coordinate first, and continue to communicate with the pilots next.

 

Kind regards,

 

Martijn

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Martijn I know exactly where you are coming from, in the UK we also tend to use Teamspeak for coordination between ATC units and we have the same issue with pilots transmitting when I am trying to coordinate, which does sometimes cause confusion.

 

Might seem a little simple but have you tried asking pilots to standby while you coordinate ("all stations standby coordination in progress" or asking individual pilots) I have found that this has worked in the past for me - or having the Teamspeak volume set higher to that of Euroscope, so when coordinating the coordination will be of higher priority.

 

A mute button I could personally see the benefit of, but in that brief period you could miss important information from a pilot.

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Andy,

 

I understand the disadvantages of muting your frequency. For me it would be a 'last resort' in case of high priority & time-sensitive coordination. From my perspective as a - rather inexperienced - TWR controller I would use it only once/twice per peak-hour or so, and not at all during quiet hours...

 

I will experiment with your suggestions, thanks!

 

Martijn

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A solution I use is to have one channel on my headset and the other through the PC Speakers. Yes, you can still get simultaneous transmissions but they are easier to distinguish - and the headset naturally takes precedence.

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CZYZ FIR/VATCAN4 - VATCAN DCRM/CZYZ FIR Chief (Retd)/ZLA Pilot Rating I9/CVA1409/RW Private Pilot

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If you muted your primary frequency, how are the pilots supposed to know you're not listening? There's no feature in the pilot clients to say a frequency has been turned off, albeit momentarily, so I wouldn't see any benefit really in muting a frequency on the controller's side - pilots would start to think they're talking to a brick wall when they get no response!

 

In real world, there are often transmissions like "sorry, I was on the landline, last station say again", or "sorry, last station, just missed that - say again". I tend to say the same things when I'm controlling, as it's (in my opinion) just a waste of time to tell everyone to "standby, just coordinating" - pilots really don't need to know that.

 

Hope you find a technique that works for you!

ATC Examiner, VATSIM UK

No nonsense controlling Twitch - HazControl ✈️

@HVatsim

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@Harry,

 

Of course muting the primary frequency should be used with caution, and only for brief moments. Indeed, pilots have no way to know that they are talking to a wall . On the other hand, they also have no way to know that I am not listening to them on an un-muted freq as well, when I am trying to coordinate with a fellow controller. However, the result of the latter often would be TWO misunderstood communications, instead of one successful and one (partially) unheard message.

 

From my perspective as a TWR controller, only one scenario would justify muting: a go-around during peak hours. The coordination only takes a few seconds IF uninterrupted. In my opinion pilots would hardly notice this, if at all.

 

I have no intention at all to turn this into a big debate at all, just having the option would be great, to be used with sound judgment.

 

@Bradley,

 

I wish I could

 

Martijn

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  • 1 month later...
A solution I use is to have one channel on my headset and the other through the PC Speakers. Yes, you can still get simultaneous transmissions but they are easier to distinguish - and the headset naturally takes precedence.

This. This fixes the entire problem, especially when you have access to a physical volume controller for the speakers (the headset you can just slide away from your ears if you need to listen to the freq more than TS/Skype).

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  • 2 years later...
Have you tried a tool called Virtual Audio Cable? Me and a few others have it in use and have configured it so that we hear ATC in the left ear and Teamspeak in the right ear. Works like a charm.

 

Yes, after two years I did . I am using Voicemeeter and it works like a charm. A nice button (or key combo) to mute my primary frequency whenever I want.

 

I still think this should be a ES feature though...

 

Martijn

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Another option would be to try getting TS and frequency on different channels (right/left) so that you would hear the frequency one side and the TS on the other. This would probably make it easier to "mute" the one or the other.

 

However, in real life, the frequency is usually not something you can mute. And it's often transmitted simultaneously via speakers as well. But, headsets are often one-sided only. Because you need the other ear for the telephone. Peeking a bit to the latest developments of ES where you can se an entire communications platform built up, picking up coordinations when you have time will probably be soon possible also with ES.

 

In the meantime, I suggest the procedure we are using in our TS active ATC channels. Whenever you wish to start a coordination, you make an "initial call" like "tower from arrival". Then you wait for the answer. If you get none, he is probably too busy to even answer something like "standby". So you better wait because it would just be time waste. When your desired coordination partner is ready, he gives you a "go" and you can start with the coordination content. This way of dealing with it has been proven to be very restistant, also in very busy situations during high workload and stress levels. It is worth a try.

Jonas Kuster Leader Operation - vACC Switzerland | www.vacc.ch

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Hi Jonas,

 

I am well aware of the risks of muting your frequency as well as normal coordination procedures. Speaking of the latter: especially during high workload situations (say: Cross the Pond inbound), I want to (have the choice to) listen to incoming coordination NOW, instead of making my partner wait.

 

Anyway, the (military, both air traffic control and fighter control) VCSs I work with, have many 'fancy' features for splitting/combining audio streams, including muting. And they are there for a reason.

 

All in all, my request still stands, but in the meantime my 'need' is fulfilled through additional software. BTW: voicemeeter also gives me the option to tunnel sounc sources to the left/right ear, as well as seperate (hardware) outputs, like headphone and speaker. Unfortunately, the latter is no option in my household, hence the desire for an alternative solution.

 

Cheers,

 

Martijn

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Another option would be to try getting TS and frequency on different channels (right/left) so that you would hear the frequency one side and the TS on the other. This would probably make it easier to "mute" the one or the other.

 

However, in real life, the frequency is usually not something you can mute. And it's often transmitted simultaneously via speakers as well. But, headsets are often one-sided only. Because you need the other ear for the telephone. Peeking a bit to the latest developments of ES where you can se an entire communications platform built up, picking up coordinations when you have time will probably be soon possible also with ES.

 

In the meantime, I suggest the procedure we are using in our TS active ATC channels. Whenever you wish to start a coordination, you make an "initial call" like "tower from arrival". Then you wait for the answer. If you get none, he is probably too busy to even answer something like "standby". So you better wait because it would just be time waste. When your desired coordination partner is ready, he gives you a "go" and you can start with the coordination content. This way of dealing with it has been proven to be very restistant, also in very busy situations during high workload and stress levels. It is worth a try.

 

That's what we do as well. If I'm Tower and I need the Ground controller, I say "Tower, Ground."

 

I can't completely agree with the waiting if the other controller does not reply. As a Tower controller, we need to coordinate with Approach asap when there's a go-around for example. These coordination calls are higher priority than most frequency calls, especially on certain runway configurations we have. Some coordination calls (traffic departing from a non-primary/secundary runway needs coordination with Approach before take-off clearance) are of lower priority and those calls can wait, but some calls are very important and shouldn't really be on a standby.

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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