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For the most part I'm happy about the change to realistic audio ranges, but one of the issues I've been running into with this new audio is talking with Center controllers when no other positions are on particularly with larger CTRs. When someone on the ground is trying to get a clearance or someone four states away is trying to make a position report they can't hear the other person talking and they end up blocking the transmission. At least in my experience since this new change blocked transmissions and people stepping on each other have become far more frequent and it can be frustrating, especially in when the CTR is busy.

As much as I am a fan of realism due to the limitations of VATSIM I think audio range should be increased. In real life most pilots are calling a local controller for their clearance and CTRs are covered by several controllers split into sectors, unfortunately these things are not always so in VATSIM and so we have to make adjustments and have certain "VATSIM-isms".

What is everyone else's thoughts on this? Has anyone else noticed the increase in blocked transmissions or is it just me?

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Agree with Nestor. If your FE has configured the facility/frequency properly, it's possible to use a single frequency, across an entire ARTCC, and allow a pilot on the ground at one side of the airspace to hear a pilot on the ground 500nm away. That's how we operate 134.70 in ZBW.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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  • 3 months later...

I deliberately run with XC OFF so that airborne aircraft get the full immersion of AFV’s range degradation. Honestly it doesn’t bother me if you step on someone. I’ll sort it out on the frequency. The biggest thing you can do from a pilot standpoint to mitigate stepping on someone that you can’t hear is if you hear the controller give a clearance that you know requires a readback, don’t jump in and key up as soon as he’s done issuing it. Wait however long you think a readback might take (perhaps even read back the instruction to yourself to mentally time it).

Dhruv Kalra

VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/17/2020 at 10:23 AM, Dhruv Kalra said:

I deliberately run with XC OFF so that airborne aircraft get the full immersion of AFV’s range degradation. Honestly it doesn’t bother me if you step on someone. I’ll sort it out on the frequency. The biggest thing you can do from a pilot standpoint to mitigate stepping on someone that you can’t hear is if you hear the controller give a clearance that you know requires a readback, don’t jump in and key up as soon as he’s done issuing it. Wait however long you think a readback might take (perhaps even read back the instruction to yourself to mentally time it).

I understand and I do pay attention to what is happening on frequency before I key up. Like you suggested I do listen to what the controller is saying to other aircraft and give some time for readbacks, however it still frustrates me when I step on someone or I get stepped on. Alaska is one of the worst about this which is unfortunate because it is one of my favorite places to fly. If I'm on the ground at Anchorage and CTR is online I can't hear anyone else who isn't also at ANC and many times it results in me stepping on someone that I didn't even know was talking, I just have to guess when the frequency is clear.

Like I said in my original post I am overall very happy with the changes to the VATSIM audio and love the additional realism, I just think in a few cases there are limitations to how much realism we can implement.

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Realistic radio ranges is a double-edged sword.  It's more realistic that VHF radios have line-of-sight ranges, but, it's NOT realistic to control an entire ARTCC area on a single frequency, including top-down service at smaller, out-of-the-way airports, like we do on VATSIM.  This is a problem for the ARTCC Facility Engineers to fix, as they have to add more transceivers to cover their whole area.  They may have to get creative, because as I alluded to above, limiting themselves to real-world ones might not be ideal for top-down ATC service like we see on VATSIM.

Cheers,

-R.

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I agree 100% Rob, it isn't realistic to have an entire ARTCC on a single frequency, but unfortunately that is how we have to operate on VATSIM. I guess I just have a different opinion on how much we balance realism versus adjusting for the limitations on VATSIM.

At the end of the day the FEs are the ones doing the work so I'm not going to complain too much, but it does get frustrating sometimes with all the blocked transmissions, most of which aren't the fault of either party since they can't hear each other.

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