Handheld Transceiver questions

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
Hey guys,

I’ve decided to buy a handheld transceiver for 2 reasons:

1. Backup in case of electrical failure
2. so I can listen in on traffic when I go plane watching from the designated areas at larger airports.

Does anybody know the useful range of these things in case of an electrical failure? Are they good enough to actually be able to reach ATC, or are they only really useful for checking ATIS before departure? Also, I’m thinking of getting one that can pick up VOR frequencies. Does anybody know if it will perform reasonably well in case I need to use it to get home one day?

The second set of questions is about using it while I’m planespotting. I’ve owned a receiver before, but is it legal for me to own a transceiver? Do I need any sort of FCC permit to use it outside of an aircraft (obviously just to listen)? Does it make a difference that I’m a pilot?

Finally, I’m looking at the following models. Does anybody have any experience with them, or other models that can be recommended?

Icom IC-A24 NAV/COM Transceiver

Vertex Standard VXA-710 Spirit Transceiver

Vertex Standard VXA-300 Pilot III Transceiver

Thanks
 

JoelT

Well-Known Member
They work just fine and their range is pretty good. About as good as a panel mount. And no, you do not need a FCC permit. Ever since the FCC deregulated in the mid nineties no one needs a permit to broadcast (VHF, UHF, commercial radio, tv, air-to-air, etc.). FCC permits are only for flying international.
 

Stomp16

You mean Shennanigans?!?!
Vertex Standard VXA-300 Pilot III Transceiver

Thanks
I have the above mentioned. It works great and I have talked to ATC from the air. I see it as more of a toy than a need though. If you're strapped for cash, I don't see it as a necessity.
 

Bandit_Driver

Gold Member
They are definately not a necessity. I only used my ICOM for airshows and when in long delay program at airports when I was flying a C310 and E110. It was good for saving the aircraft batts and fuel.

If you want it as a serious back in an aircraft. Consider installing a coupler to an outside antenna. It will greatly improve its range in.

I was very happy with the Quality and Durability of my ICOM.
 

JoelT

Well-Known Member
Are GPS/comms still made? If so, that is probably the way to go. Otherwise, I think just a GPS would be far more handy than a nav/com. If I had a total electrical failure (which I have had) a GPS would be much more handy since in an emergency I could care less what ATC says.
 

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
Seems that people are split between "waste of money" and "can save your butt". I think I'll go ahead.

Capt, a GPS/Com would indeed be even more useful. I didn't know such things existed. I'll certainly look into it.
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
I am in the "save your butt", crowd.
I have this http://www.sportys.com/acb/showdetl.cfm?DID=19&Product_ID=9425
ever since I found myself over the mountains above MEA but below ORCA in solid IMC.
i have never felt so helpless sitting there in a plane without enough juice to even talk through the headset to the guy I was giving instruction to.

You may never need it, you might not always take it with you but if you do need it, it makes $300.00 look like the best investment you ever made. Also being able to track a VOR with this unit is a great feature.
 

ETAV8R

Well-Known Member
I have the Vertex 710. At first there were some troubles with it not working correctly. Fortunately the repair center is local so they fixed it. It is a capable unit. Great to have at airshows, spotting, and as a backup.
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Bill still has his old Bendix from when he was an instructor. He'd use it so he could sit outside and listen to/talk to (if necessary) his students on their solos. I take it to the airport when my dad flies in to listen for him.
 

Holocene

Well-Known Member
The question is, if you had a total electrical failure at night in solid IMC, along with a vacuum pump and pitot/static system failure, would you attempt to shoot a localizer approach down to MDA using the handhanld nav/comm to track the localizer and a Casio wristwatch altimeter to determine MDA?
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
If that all happened, you would be inverted before you even had a chance to turn the dang thing on.
 
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