Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Sean Harrison 870618
#523020 Do many tracon controllers monitor Unicom when there is no enroute service above/around them?

I always have 122.800 monitored when controlling, unless the traffic gets too heavy (in which case there is usually enroute above me). Reason being that how else do you gain situational awareness of the surrounding airspace. I guess one could take the view that I only worry about what is inside my area, but I’ve found that by monitoring 122.800 I can get an idea of what those about to enter are planning/expecting.

Reason for posting: to gauge whether there is any monitoring of 122.800 by controllers. :D
By Joshua Black 988581
#523021 I personally don’t, but I can see why it might be helpful if you’re controlling an area that has multiple major airports around it... New York and London comes to mind.
By Bradley Grafelman 1242018
#523023 I usually did when working LA Center with little to no bordering ARTCCs online. If it was slow, I'd use UNICOM in lieu of .contactme's (which I practically never used). Relevant VRC alias:

Code: Select all.uc $radioname() calling on UNICOM, change to my frequency $freq()
By Johnny Coughlan 861497
#523090 Controllers should be allowed to broadcast on UNICOM a simple message like **NOTAM** XXXX_CTR Online 131.150** when they go active to alert monitoring pilots they're online.

Controllers have it to advise each other with /XXXX_CTR online

Why can't there be a system(or just be allowed to broadcast a msg on 122.800) to allow controllers advise pilots they're online.

Pilots sometimes do not 'monitor there pilot clients' to see if ATC is online and fly blindly into controlled airspace without knowing.

Could help cutdown the use of .contactme

Though I suspect the VATSIM bureaucracy will come down hard on that suggestion.
By Tomas Hansson 840812
#523092
Johnny Coughlan 861497 wrote:Controllers should be allowed to broadcast on UNICOM a simple message like **NOTAM** XXXX_CTR Online 131.150** when they go active to alert monitoring pilots they're online.


Hmmm, I am not sure why you would think that it is not allowed. This is exactly what I do when I come on-line as a Controller. As an Instructor, this is what I encourage my students to do as well. Since all pilots are supposed to monitor Unicom in uncontrolled airspace, broadcasting on Unicom that you are on-line definitely cuts down on the "contact-me" messages that I have to send out. After the initial broadcast however, I do not keep Unicom active.
By Johnny Coughlan 861497
#523093
Tomas Hansson 840812 wrote:
Johnny Coughlan 861497 wrote:Controllers should be allowed to broadcast on UNICOM a simple message like **NOTAM** XXXX_CTR Online 131.150** when they go active to alert monitoring pilots they're online.


Hmmm, I am not sure why you would think that it is not allowed. This is exactly what I do when I come on-line as a Controller. As an Instructor, this is what I encourage my students to do as well. Since all pilots are supposed to monitor Unicom in uncontrolled airspace, broadcasting on Unicom that you are on-line definitely cuts down on the "contact-me" messages that I have to send out. After the initial broadcast however, I do not keep Unicom active.


Hmm I was under the impression we weren't allowed as is was deemed to be some form of 'abuse' and I believe it was then referred to the CoC section that deals with pilot responsibility on checking that ATC is online.

Had a chat with a SUP a long time ago on this subject and that was the jist of the response I got.
By Sean Harrison 870618
#523101 Tomas,

I do the same. Get myself setup, and then do an all stations broadcast saying Xxxx is now open, covering xxxxxx. I have found that it helps pilots work out what you are doing. Of course it doesn’t always work, still get people who refuse to contact in any case.
By Don Desfosse 1035677
#523108 Too funny; reading this thread caused me to go back and do a search of something I wrote on the topic 4 years ago. In part, here it is.
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One thing that I generally do, when I log on and see that there are people in my airspace that may not be aware that I just logged on, is send a text message on unicom that says something to the effect of: "XXX_CTR is now online, 1xx.xxx" This gets, on average, about 65% of the pilots out there who are dutifully monitoring unicom to call me. The others, I generally send another message, on unicom, directed at their callsign, that says Contact XXX_CTR on 1xx.xxx For those controllers/Facility Engineers that choose to add it to their facility's standard alias file, it could look like
Code: Select all.cme Contact $callsign on $com1

I use the .contactme as a last resort. It it the least realistic (the hailing attempts on unicom mirror what the RW would do on guard), but sends a clear message.
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Hope this helps.
By Morten Jelle 1012739
#523126
Nick Warren 813047 wrote:I barely monitor it when I fly; why would I subject myself to the torture when I control?


Code of Conduct B7.
"Pilots flying through uncontrolled airspace should set their VHF radio frequency to 122.80 or other designated "Unicom" frequency and monitor until they come under air traffic control coverage."

You should monitor it while flying.

That said, I'd say if you want to monitor UNICOM while controlling, go for it - if not, well then don't. I don't monitor UNICOM while controlling, as I don't find it relevant for the area I am controlling.
By Daniel Hawton 876594
#523153
Nick Warren 813047 wrote:At risk of deviating from the original post, "Should" doesn't equate to "Shall" or "Must" no matter how it gets spun, nor should it be required outside of what traditional CTAF operation dictates. :D


Generally yes, but VATSIM CoC has areas where "should" is enforced as shall (ie, the transponder requirement).
By Nick Warren 813047
#523154
Daniel Hawton 876594 wrote:Generally yes, but VATSIM CoC has areas where "should" is enforced as shall (ie, the transponder requirement).


It has long been a contentious play on words, and probably a discussion for another thread (although plenty of them already exist). Safe to say though, respectfully of course, positions won't be changed in this discussion.