Avalon Airshow 2017

Once again the skies over Victoria are about to come alive and get a little bit louder as we experience the excitement of Avalon 2017. The Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition are two concurrent events; an exhibition and trade show followed by a public airshow.

The events run from the 28th February through to the 5th March, 2017, with the final three days from the 3rd March to the 5th March, 2017 being open to the public.

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An RAAF F/A-18A Hornet pilot selects gear up as he rapidly climbs in to the sky above Avalon in 2009. Image courtesy of Chris Maxwell.

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An RAAF SECPOL MWD Team provide security to a USAF F-22 Raptor during a previous Avalon Airshow. Image courtesy of Chris Maxwell.

Now obviously with all this equipment and aircraft comes a lot of opportunities to monitor some rare and exciting aircraft and hardware so do your homework and program up those scanners so you’re somewhat on the front foot. Don’t just think about the obvious, that being the aircraft, think about all those services and support functions it takes to make such an event possible.

You’ll have the likes of the Aviation Fire Fighting Rescue Service, Country Fire Authority, security, traffic control, caterers, Ambulance Victoria, St John Ambulance, Vicroads, Australian Border Force, Victoria Police to name but a few. Expect some of the obvious ones to be running encrypted radio systems as will certain elements of the Australian Defence Forces such as SECFOR Squadrons (SECPOL, ADG, MWD teams etc).

As with previous years Avalon 2017 will include a secondary airfield for those wishing to fly in and out of the event, this will be known as Avalon East. A rough overview of ASA frequencies in use would be;

Avalon Frequency Avalon East Frequency
Tower 120.1000 AM Tower 125.4000 AM
314.2000 AM Director  129.2000 AM
Ground (Unicom) 129.3000 AM ATIS 122.5500 AM
Approach 133.5500 AM Departures* 135.7000 AM
Departures* 135.7000 AM
Choppers 127.9000 AM
AWIS 116.1000 AM
ATIS 118.2000 AM  *Depratures via Melbourne Centre.

Another handy frequency to program up will be the nearby Point Cook CTAF frequency on 126.2000 (AM), also just a reminder that the Point Cook CTAF transmissions are currently rebroadcast on 380.9500 P25 mode.

The RAAF Roulettes will be active so it will pay to program up a couple of their known frequencies they use to coordinate their performances. At Avalon you could try 136.2000, 133.9000, 134.8000, 126.2000, 134.1000, 335.8000 and 375.4000 as a few possibilities.

The USAF returns to Avalon and with them comes the F-22 Raptor, possibly from the current deployment of such at RAAF Tindal in Australia’s north. Image courtesy of Chris Maxwell

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The Australian Defence Force will once again showcase a vast array of equipment. Here members fast rope from Army Blackhawks to retake the airfield from an enemy force. Image courtesy of Chris Maxwell.

ComGroup Australia Pty Ltd, a division of Simoco, are the primary supplier of this years radio systems.
Registered for use at Avalon 2017 by Simoco include the following 5 watt allocations;

462.6250 462.8125 463.0875 463.4375 463.7500 464.7250
465.2000 465.6375 466.2500 466.3625 466.7375 467.4625

Simoco also have the following 3w and 5w allocation registered for use Australia wide.

5w 162.2250 162.4750 162.8625 163.2875 164.6250 472.2750 472.8000 474.5750
3w 465.9125 465.9250 471.0000 471.0125 474.2750

As for what flavour of mode the installed system will be operating in I’m suspecting it would be a DMR Tier III system, at a stretch maybe P25, but we’ll have to wait and see.

With increased traffic along the Princes Freeway and surrounding road infrastructure to Avalon Airport expect Vicroads to be active on their current main UHF frequency, that being 464.2000MHz (CTCSS 179.9). Traffic Control and Parking services is being provided by Go Traffic and I’d expect them to be on the network provided by Comgroup. As with most traffic control companies UHF CB may be worth a listen to also.

The ARFF have a permanent presence at Avalon and should be able to be found on their Tait P25 system frequency of 500.8000 (NAC A5A) as well as their nationwide allocation of 509.6250 (NAC A5A). For ARFF to aircraft communications program in 131.0000 AM.

As per previous years expect the Country Fire Authority to have their usual presence. Now this one is going to be tricky as the CFA have transitioned to their new P25 Incident Control, Fire-ground and such channels. Locally the District that Avalon falls under, District 07, still uses the older analogue VHF Voting Network Channel 21 for dispatch, but as for what ‘local’ channels they may use that might be a bit hit and miss.

Use Channel Frequency CTCSS
District 7 Dispatch
(VicFire Voting Network)
21 162.4000
162.5750
162.8375
163.2250
163.5375
162.2
Airshow Command 77 161.2125 179.9
Airshow GOTO 3 161.0875 103.5
Airshow Reserve 74 161.1750 173.8
Airshow Logistics 6 161.1125 107.2

Now I can’t stress this enough, the above is a guide only based what the CFA have used at Avalon in previous years, this years allocations will possibly be very different given the CFA’s move to P25 for Fire-ground and Incident Control and the like. Channels 77, 3, 74 and 6 that were used in previous years for local control fall under the older analogue allocations and as such may now be defunct.

Ambulance Victoria in recent years have used several of their VHF allocations on the MPT1327 SMR Network, but it may be advisable to also monitor their MMR Network allocations although generally in this geographical area Ambulance Victoria do not the MMR Network. They, like any other ESO, will have selected staff who also operate on the ComGroup supplied net.

Two RAAF F/A-18A Hornets roll out on a wet Avalon Airshow day to strut their stuff. Image courtesy of Chris Maxwell.

Victoria Police will be on the MMR Network, so forget it, as we all painfully know they’re operations are encrypted.
The contracted event Security will be provided this year by MA Security Group and I’d be expecting them to be at the very least on a ComGroup Australia supplied allocation.

St John Ambulance will again be providing their services to program up their allocations and possibly expect to hear them, or a liaison, on the ComGroup supplied system.

Bus Services are another big factor in making the event possible and support the nearby rail services, so those are two more areas to consider. Also consider there may be extra train services in to the area as a result then on to the bus shuttle services, those are bound to generate some radio chit-chat so remember those rail 450MHz and 469MHz allocations.

Another good thing to remember is that Avalon Airport is an active airport and currently services Jetstar flights and QANTAS engineering services, both who have a few frequency allocations for their needs so program those ones up as well.

131.5000 AM  QANTAS
130.2250 AM Jetstar
136.1250 AM Jetstar
505.4750 NFM  Jetstar (5 Watts)
505.7750 NFM Jetstar (5 Watts)

Also of note are a couple of CSE Crosscom allocations registered for use at Avalon Airport. I am uncertain of their use, but nonetheless they’re registered and can be found on the ACMA database so if you want to consider putting those ones in that might be a good idea.

With a major even such as this you really have to think outside of the square, or in this case the airport! Some of the old favourites such as 123.450 (AM) always seem to get run for general aviation chit-chat between pilots. Remember, do your homework, spend a little time on considering what you want to monitor, research possibilities, program up that scanner, turn on that close call feature if you have it and reap the listening rewards! Remember to be sensible with the information provided, heard and gained.

Hit us up in the comments with your suggestions or finds. I really hope this helps someone get a little bit more out of this event, have fun.

Happy Scanning!

3 thoughts on “Avalon Airshow 2017

    • That’s correct Len, in many areas CFA use digital for dispatch and analogue for fireground operations. But be flexible – some districts are vice versa. Don’t know what District 7 or Avalon operations are using.

  1. CFA Command Channel this year is digital channel 388, working off a repeater at Avalon.
    77 is the fireground channel still if required.
    Sorry, posted this on the wrong article earlier.

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