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UK Implementation of 8.33 kHz

The Law is changing on 1 January 2018 for aircraft owners/operator’s equipage of 8.33 kHz capable radios continues to rise, assisted by the European funding.

There are delays obtaining certain radios and in getting radios fitted in aircraft by the engineers, with reports of several months’ delay.

Ground stations will be converting radios to 8.33 kHz during 2018.

The CAA has listened to the community and is invoking a number of 12-month exemptions to provide flexibility for users and to assist with the capacity issues identified. They are only issuing exemptions for ground stations and the geographic areas that the assignment covers.

The CAA continues to support the carriage of radio by UK airspace users, for situational awareness and other safety aspects. It will be possible to use a 25-kHz radio on board an aircraft after 31 December 2017 for a ground service that remains on the 25-kHz spacing. When the ground service transfers to an 8.33 kHz channel then the aircraft must also communicate with it on 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio. As the UK look to use more available frequencies in the 8.33 kHz band it will become increasingly more restrictive where it is possible for 25 kHz equipped aircraft to fly. For the sporting frequencies, the CAA will review exemptions in conjunction with user organisations.

8.33 kHz Voice Channel Spacing

25 kHz frequencies will be listed with x00, x25, x50 or x75 after the decimal e.g. 124.375 MHz, whilst 8.33 kHz spacing employs a ‘frequency like channel number’ with different coding’s - 8.33 kHz radios are backwards compatible, meaning that they can communicate on both 8.33 and 25kHz channels. If a radio is unable to display or tune to the assignment listed, then the radio must not be used to try and communicate with a facility.

The European Commission recently expressed concern over a ‘fragmented’ approach to exemption plans and concern over the safety aspects of mixed 25 kHz and 8.33 kHz operations and reiterated the spectrum efficiency requirements to address growth in airline traffic and SESAR deployment. The commission also recognised the difficulties for GA users in the conversion to 8.33 kHz VCS.

The Eligibility Criteria for a refund in the UK have NOT changed.

  • Eligible (back dated) from 16Feb2016 through to 31Dec2017 20% per claim with maximum cost threshold of £20k (=£4k rebate) Get the funds to the end user; refund only, no pre-funding COMM’s, Nav/COMM’s and Handhelds are all included.
  • Hardware costs only (labour costs were just too difficult to include)
  • All UK registered aircraft with MTOM 13,999kg or less, including Annex II gliders and handheld users (UK transportable radio licence)

Third tranche – closes 31 December 2017

Invoice / order must show that purchase was initiated on/before 31 December 2017 and it must show that the funding influenced the purchase.

Installation of the equipment can be after the invoice / order and Claim forms can be submitted up to 28 February 2018.

Keep watching this website and/or the CAA Website for any further updates.

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