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Radioscan Scanning Information

Airband Scanners Introductory Guide

An airband scanner is a radio scanner whose specifications indicate that it is best suited to monitoring those frequencies used by commercial or military aircraft. Therefore decent airband scanners have good VHF coverage, and ideally UHF coverage as well. The VHF band is widely used for commercial flight communications, whereas military broadcasts are more commonly found in the UHF range.


If you are looking to buy a scanner solely because you wish to listen to communications involving aircrafts then it is advisable to buy a dedicated airband scanner. A wideband scanner will allow you to listen to a more extensive range of communications, however as a result you will end up spending more money.

Maycom, who specialise in handheld airband scanners, currently have two models on the market, the AR-108 and the FR-100. The AR-108 has just VHF coverage and so is designed for commercial/civil aircraft, whereas the FR-100 has both VHF and UHF coverage. Both of these airband scanners can be picked up for under £80.

Other scanners you might want to consider if you're interested in both civil/commercial and military aircraft are the Alinco DJ-X3, Icom IC-R5, Yaesu VR-120d and the Yaesu VR-500.

In the past, the spacing between airband frequencies has been 25kHz, however recently 8.33kHz spacing has been introduced in order to increase the number of frequencies available. Many new scanners are equipped to deal with this step. It should be noted that whereas commercial aircraft use the new 8.33kHz spacing, the military have so far stuck with the old 25kHz steps.

Some short wave frequencies are used for the long-range communications that occur during international flights. These frequencies are typically found within the ranges 2.85 - 18MHz and 118 - 137MHz.

It is important to point out that whereas buying and using a scanner is perfectly legal, it is actually illegal to use it for listening to aircraft frequencies. If you would like more information about how to abide by the law when using your airband scanner please visit the Ofcom website by following the link on the 'related sites' page.

Scanning Guide
By Martin Peters
scanning guide


The Essential Guide to Scanning. Suitable for both beginners and more advanced scanner users.
Yaesu VR-120D
Handheld Scanner
Yaesu VR-120D


A compact durable scanner.
Alinco DJ-X3
Handheld Scanner
Alinco DJ-X3


Includes stereo FM transmission.
Icom IC-R5
Handheld Scanner
Icom ICR5


Compact wideband handheld receiver.
Would you like to find out more about airband scanners and UK frequencies? If so use google, the worlds most powerful search engine, to find the most informative sites.

At Radioscan we urge the responsible use of scanning receivers that remains within the confines of the law. For more information regarding the legal use of scanners please visit the Ofcom website.
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