Author Topic: Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm  (Read 5080 times)

Offline mamontb

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Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm
« on: August 25, 2015, 05:46:50 PM »
I would like to program my cell phone with ATC numbers for an IFR lost (radio) comms emergency.  Ideally, I'd use a Bluetooth interface between my iPhone and headset, with the ATC numbers in my Contact list.  I'd like to have numbers for local TRACON, my home field tower, and be able to add ARTCC centers for long XC.  I have numbers now that I pulled from the A/FD, but I imagine that there could be "you want to do what?  Let me see if I can transfer you" delays while I was flying in the clouds.  Any suggestions?



Offline martyj19

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Re: Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2015, 07:11:09 PM »
How can this possibly be preferable to a handheld nav/com?
Maybe as a third backup.

Offline dave

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Re: Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2015, 10:33:49 PM »
Trust me when I tell you that this is a flawed secondary plan.  Above 2-3,000 ft AGL and at 100+ knots it's likely to just not work - and you will be distracted trying to figure out why, instead of flying the plane.  Get a backup transceiver and a way to connect it into your plane's VHF antenna(s).

Aviate.  Navigate.  Communicate.

And review those lost comm procedures periodically.

Offline tyketto

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Re: Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 01:47:14 PM »
Trust me when I tell you that this is a flawed secondary plan.  Above 2-3,000 ft AGL and at 100+ knots it's likely to just not work - and you will be distracted trying to figure out why, instead of flying the plane.  Get a backup transceiver and a way to connect it into your plane's VHF antenna(s).

Aviate.  Navigate.  Communicate.

And review those lost comm procedures periodically.


What Dave said.

Anyway, part of the technical reason why this wouldn't work is inherently how cell phone antennas work (this could also apply to WiFi routers, and TV station transmitters).

To put it in simple terms, think of a tent, or better yet, a teepee. From the highest point of the teepee, the further down you go, the further out it goes. That applies to the range of a cell phone tower; from its highest point, the further down in altitude you go, the further out the range of the signal expands.. That's why you'll normally find those type of towers (especially TV transmitters) in the highest point of the area you're in, but they are always posted pretty high.

Since you're flying, you'd be above the antenna and its range, so you'd lose signal very fast, if you get one at all.

Coincidentally, VORs work the exact opposite. They are closer to the ground, but they are set up more like an upside down teepee: its range goes up and out, which is why you can pick up a VOR's signal from a good 100nm distance, if not longer.

TL;DR: you won't carry that long of a signal to even use a cell phone for lost comms. Better to have a backup radio or handheld, and concentrate on flying the plane, and lost comms procedures.

BL.

Offline Brad G.

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Re: Using a Cell Phone if Lost Comm
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 03:43:37 PM »
And besides... the flashing "RF"/"RDOF" on ATC's scope(s) will do a good portion of the communication for you. :)