New frequency for Cape Town airport
Cape Town - The radio frequency for Cape Town International Airport has changed from 126.5 MHz to 131.125 MHz to minimise technical issues and free up airspace, the Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) said on Thursday.
"The airport's Flight Information Services west frequency change [on the VHF band] was done for technical reasons," Sacaa communications, navigation and surveillance manager Koos Pretorius said.
"Where a large number of operational frequencies are concentrated on a major airport, such as Cape Town, the simultaneous use of two frequencies causes a third frequency, which will interfere if that third frequency is in use."
Pretorius said another technical issue was where multiple frequencies used a common antenna, limiting the number of suitable frequencies available.
Limited airspace was another issued factored into the change.
Over time it became virtually impossible to allocate frequencies for all services, and at the same time accommodate the limited frequency coverage of certain aircraft, said Pretorius.
He said the VHF band was not limitless, with all African countries on 25 KHz channel spacing in the aeronautical band.
The band was controlled by an International Civil Aviation Organisation regional band plan for Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
The plan sub-divided the band between 118 MHz and 136.975 MHz into many allotments, each with a dedicated purpose.
Pretorius said the frequency change was published in an Aeronautical Information Circular in 2002.
"We wanted the aviation community to have adequate time to prepare for envisaged changes such as this one. We understand that there will be teething problems at the beginning."
Most aircraft would be compliant as they had the radio communication equipment capable of operating within the required frequencies, he said.