Avionics News May 2020 - 21

SO FAR, RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT AIRCRAFT WITH
TRANSPONDER ANTENNAE ONLY ON THEIR BELLY SUFFER
FROM SIGNAL-STRENGTH ISSUES THAT IMPACT THE
RELIABILITY OF THE SATELLITES' RECEPTION. THE KNOWN
SOLUTION: TRANSPONDER-ANTENNA DIVERSITY-
A SECOND TRANSPONDER ANTENNA MOUNTED ON TOP
OF THE FUSELAGE.

U

nless you lived in an abandoned hangar on a
deserted ghost-town airport, you know that the
Federal Aviation Administration's 2010 rule
mandating automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast went
into effect when the clocked ticked off the final second of
2019 and the opening moment of 2020. That rule applies
in the United States in all the same airspace where the
FAA long required altitude-encoding Mode C or Mode S
transponders.
Outside the United States, the ADS-B rule's applicability
still varies, widely. Countries in line to switch to satelliteinformed ADS-B air-traffic surveillance from groundbased radar acknowledged that their progress - or lack
of it, actually - prompted some nations to delay their
implementation of the changeover.
Their reasons vary, but in general, the logic of these
authorities stems from local issues - not with the accuracy,
function or reliability of the ADS-B system. Consider these
variations when advising aircraft owners on the form and
function of international operators getting, planning or
already using ADS-B.
First, some good news
For U.S.-registered aircraft operating in U.S. airspace,
meeting the FAA's compliance requirement sets them in
good stead for international flying. The requirements match
U.S. requirements in the majority of nations planning or
about to start implementing ADS-B.
But the U.S. set up its ADS-B network to function in one
of two ways - and only one of them meets international
requirements, even as it meets all the requirements in all

U.S. airspace. For U.S. operators flying no higher than Flight
Level 180 - 18,000 feet above mean sea level - operators
may opt for a system broadcasting and receiving on 978
MHz: the universal access transceiver, or UAT.
The attraction of this option arises out of the UAT's ability
to work with many later-model Mode C transponders. The
full-function UAT also sports a receiver, again working in
the 978 MHz spectrum, that can deliver live traffic depictions
on a color display screen using the traffic information
system-broadcast, or TIS-B. That same full-function UAT
can also receive weather products via the FAA's flight
information system-broadcast, or FIS-B.
Again, the UAT and its 978 MHz variations are usable
only in the U.S. - no other country invested in a similar
system. And in U.S. rule airspace, use of UATs is also
limited to altitudes at or below FL180. Above FL180,
the FAA requires the international ADS-B standard: A
transponder broadcasting on 1090 MHz with extended
squitter, or ES.
The international standard is what all other ADS-Busing nations adopted for their satellite-based air-trafficsurveillance system. That means U.S. operators flying with
an approved 1090ES ADS-B Out system - one that meets the
standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization
- meets the standards required by the other nations investing
in an ADS-B air-traffic-surveillance system.
The U.S. ADS-B network broadcasts traffic on both 1090
MHz and 978 MHz. Weather, however, is available only via
the 978 MHz system and only in U.S. airspace served by
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Avionics News May 2020

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