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During flight from one country to another, can I use my hand held radio during flight to listen to ATC?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is receiving-only, correct? $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ yes, just to listen to the ATC, not to interrupt or transmit. $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Can I fly with an airband receiver in the United States? $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 22:15

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I don't know if you are "authorized" to... but I can tell you that it likely won't work.

I've tried a handheld aviation radio in a commercial cabin, and was unable to hear the ATC side of transmissions at all. This was likely due to having a very short antenna inside a large metal cylinder, a long way from the source of the transmission.

It was nearly impossible to follow the communications when I could only hear my flight crew's side of the conversation.

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This actually varies from country to country. You can use it in the US (but I cant promise people wont look at you funny). In the UK its actually illegal to do so you can see a full discussion here on that topic. If you intend on doing this I would advise checking the local laws on what you can and cant do.

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    $\begingroup$ It will also depend on airline policy: If the cabin crew tells you no then the answer is no. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ To say "you can use it in the US" is too broad. It depends on the airline. Radio receivers have the potential to fail in a way that causes transmissions. As an example, United prohibits radio receivers. united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/devices.aspx $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ I found it for Emirates and it mentioned that you cannot use it at all. emirates.com/english/help/faq/193449/… $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to update your answer to "check Airline specific policy", instead of "local laws" $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ I was speaking mainly from an FCC (legal) stand point. While airlines may not allow it all they will do is ask you to shut if off. In the UK it seems you can get in real legal trouble for it. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:12

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