8.33kHz confusion reigns in Germany too

It’s not just the UK which is changing over to 8.33kHz radio frequencies in a confusing manner. Germany, normally a bastion of order, is going down the same route.

A German correspondent writes: “Our German authorities screwed it up. Big time. All the clubs and small airfields have been assigned a 8.33 but instead of requiring them to change their frequency at a certain date (like when the new printed charts come out), they can do the transition whenever they like.

“Of course they have to report the change, but not to the DFS (our ATC organisation). Instead various agencies are playing chinese whispers.

“What could have been painless, was made into a major screw-up. When you fly in Germany this year, don’t rely on the printed charts for frequencies/channels. I can’t point you to an official data source yet (unless you want to follow all our NOTAMS manually), but we doing our best to keep the data on http://www.openaip.net/ up to date.

“You might also want to call or email the places you want to visit and ask them directly before you go there.”


  1. I understand the need for extra frequencies but can anybody explain why existing frequencies have to change? This is bound to cause confusion as airfield frequencies change in the months ahead. We have tripled the number of available frequencies so why can’t existing users keep the frequencies they already have and new users get the new frequencies? Why are the smaller airfields being forced financially to change to 8.33 presumably to free up the 25K frequencies for the big players? Is there a good reason for this or is it just the normal SNAFU when it comes to change? Does anybody actually know why???

    1. Most of the frequencies aren’t changing… but the channels are. 118.000 is an 25khz channel, but 118.005 is a 8.33khz channel that also uses 118.000mhz. An 8.33 capable radio knows how much bandwidth it can use, depending on the channel selected. If you select 118.000, then the radio will know it can use 25khz. If you select 118.005, then it will only use 8.33khz. Thus, unless everyone changes their “frequencies” to 8.33, none of the extra bandwidth actually becomes available, because everyone would still be using 25khz channels.
      There have been a few excellent articles explaining all of this in Flyer and LAA mags over the last couple of years.

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