The Air Band Scanner: Unlocking the Secrets of Air Traffic Control

Key Takeaways:

  • An air band scanner allows aviation enthusiasts to listen to the communications between pilots and air traffic controllers.
  • The Uniden Bearcat BCT75XLT and Uniden Bearcat BCT125AT are two highly recommended airband scanners.
  • Consider factors such as mobility, one-way versus two-way communication, budget, power source, and controls when choosing an airband scanner.
  • Accessories like spare batteries, earphones, and a strap or belt clip can enhance your airband scanning experience.
  • There are two ways to listen to air traffic control: using an airband scanner or utilizing LiveATC, a website and app with live feeds from various airports.
  • Airband scanners offer advantages such as real-time listening, independence from internet connectivity, and the ability to switch frequencies easily.
  • While listening to air traffic control is legal in some countries, it may be illegal in others, so it’s important to research local regulations.


If you’ve ever been to a favorite spotting location near a major airport, you’ve likely seen aviation enthusiasts listening to the communications between pilots and air traffic controllers. This fascinating activity allows individuals to gain insight into the world of aviation and experience the intricate coordination that takes place in the skies. In this article, we will explore the world of airband scanners, the best options available, and everything you need to know about listening to air traffic control. Whether you’re a passionate aviation enthusiast or simply curious about the behind-the-scenes action in the sky, this article will provide valuable information to enhance your understanding.

Two Best Airband Scanners to Get in 2019

If you’re considering purchasing an airband scanner, two highly recommended options are the Uniden Bearcat BCT75XLT and Uniden Bearcat BCT125AT. These handheld scanners offer excellent performance and functionality, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts.

Uniden Bearcat BCT75XLT: Best Budget Airband Scanner

The Uniden Bearcat BCT75XLT is an ideal choice for those who have recently started plane spotting or are looking for an affordable entry-level airband scanner. Powered by a pair of AA batteries, this scanner provides a cost-effective solution. While the device does not come with batteries, it includes essential accessories such as an antenna, belt clip, strap, and USB cable.

The BCT75XLT can receive civil air frequencies and has the capacity to store up to 300 channels across 10 banks. This allows you to program different frequencies for specific airports or areas of interest. However, it is important to note that you cannot assign names to the banks and channels, requiring you to keep separate documentation for reference.

Some users have reported a relatively short battery life, which may be a concern if you plan to spend extended periods at airports. Additionally, the default antenna may not provide sufficient reception in certain locations. To overcome these limitations, consider purchasing an extra set of rechargeable AA batteries and a better replacement antenna, which are cost-effective solutions.

Check the price of the Uniden Bearcat BCT75XLT on Amazon.

Uniden Bearcat BCT125AT: Best Mid-Range Airband Scanner

The Uniden Bearcat BCT125AT is a slightly more expensive model that offers additional features compared to the BCT75XLT. While it shares many similarities with its budget counterpart, the BCT125AT boasts some key advantages that make it worth considering.

With the ability to store up to 500 channels in 10 banks, this scanner offers increased capacity for storing frequencies. Moreover, it allows you


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