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8.33kHz Airband Channel Spacing Changes. Where are we now?

8.33kHz Airband Channel Spacing Changes.  Where are we now?

On 1st January 2018, the law changed and the move over to 8.33kHz channel spacing came into force. The reason for the change is because of the increasing demand for VHF aviation frequencies across Europe. Thus, the radio spectrum has been reorganized by reducing the channel width from 25kHz to 8.33 kHz so that more channels will be available. Our aviation team are still getting a lot of questions about the changes, so we thought we would put together a summary of the current situation.

• From 1 January 2018 if you need to communicate on an 8.33 kHz channel you will need to use an 8.33 kHz capable radio.
• From 1 January 2019 if you use a radio onboard, then it must be 8.33 kHz capable.
• Ground stations will convert through the course of 2018. If a ground station is still using a 25 kHz frequency, then you can still communicate with it using a new 8.33 kHz radio. Once a ground station has converted, an 8.33 kHz radio must be used (you cannot tune a 25kHz radio to an 8.33kHz channel)
• In theory, you can only continue to fly with just a 25 kHz radio if throughout your entire flight you only need to communicate on 25 kHz frequencies. Note, you must regularly check to confirm that your ground services have not converted. The CAA expects that most ground stations will have converted well before the end of 2018.
• After 1 January 2019, use of a 25 kHz radio will be very restricted, principally to only the emergency frequency of 121.5 MHz.

There are a few exemptions for a limited duration, as laid out in CAP1606. It is worth double checking the CAA’s dedicated webpage as this is an excellent source of information.

If you have any questions about any of Icom’s airband radio solutions and where to buy them either visit the airband section of our website or contact our team on 01227 741741 or via email at

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