# How to record Intercom / ATC in a small aircraft like a Piper Archer?

For making videos it would be nice to have some more sound than the engine sound recorded by my GoPro. What ideas do you have to record the aircraft intercom? It won't be a problem for me to have two files (an audio and a video file).

Edit: I'm looking for a good sound quality comparable with that which you will have while sitting in the aircraft listening to the intercom.

• invest in a CVR? – ratchet freak Jun 7 '14 at 16:35
• Plug into an unused headphone jack, use a size adapter to plug into your recorder's microphone jack, and record. – mah Jun 7 '14 at 16:37

For the GoPro specifically there are audio recording cables you can buy which connect to your intercom jack and provide a pass-thru connection for your headset.
There are other cable options available to support recording on different devices (e.g. iPhone/Android phones and tablets).

As is often the case with "aviation" accessories these can be somewhat expensive, but they're also pretty reliable drop-in solutions. As mah noted if you have a spare headset jack you're not using plugging into that can be much cheaper and just as effective.

• Good answer. Just note that aviation intetcoms have a very high signal level to drive high-impedance (600 ohm) aviation headsets; this is much higher than consumer audio levels. Enough to blow some devices if they can't handle it and the cable does not provide any impedance matching. – TypeIA Jun 9 '14 at 11:39
• Thank you for this -as allways- very helpful answer! As this peace of equipment is designed for this use it should be no problem. Anyway, Iif you have more information about this I would be really curious because I'm really inexperienced in terms of audio recording. Another question would be if there would still be the aircrafts sounds on the recording. – Falk Jun 10 '14 at 2:09

The specialized aviation adapter cables are fantastically overpriced (there must be a law somewhere that companies are required to rip-off aviation consumers). Assuming you have an open headset port on your intercom, save yourself a few bucks and just buy a 1/8 to 1/4 TRS cable. You can get it on Amazon for less than $7. Unfortunately, if you have the Hero 3, you're still stuck getting a USB audio input adapter (you would need this for any type of external audio input anyway). But even then you're only out 17 bucks, versus spending$44 (!) for a specialized cable.

Regarding the high signal output, this doesn't appear to be a problem with the GoPros; I've successfully recorded a bunch of flights this way with no issue. Besides, as far as I know, none of the specialized cables provide any type of impedance matching either.

Find a small microphone or even an earbud speaker that will plug into your recorder's IN jack. (The earbud will in most cases work like a microphone). Then just wear it inside the earcup on your headset.

• Is that really the way you would go about solving the problem? Your recorded signal would most likely be horrible, and your ear might also be uncomfortable. If you don't have a spare headset jack available (single seater, or all seats occupied with passengers using headsets), a splitter wired to the recorder's mic input would be orders of magnitude better. – mah Jun 8 '14 at 10:35
• Yes, it is. Start with the easiest, least expensive solution I can think of. If the results are not satisfactory, then escalate complexity and expense. How is this not a good plan? – Skip Miller Jun 8 '14 at 13:58
• It's not a good plan because it's an almost certainty that the recording quality will be unusable. (While an earphone can work like a mic, they're not the same device and quality will suffer greatly.) Also, unless your mindset is that there simply aren't any unused headset jacks left in the aircraft, it would be very surprising you don't consider using an empty jack simpler. While purchase of a size adapter in order to use an empty jack is not free, the few dollars would hardly give "least expensive" much merit. – mah Jun 8 '14 at 14:29
• Neither you nor I know what Falk requires with regard to the quality level. With that, I will let Falk do as he pleases, and at least he has options. – Skip Miller Jun 8 '14 at 16:02
• -1, I'm sorry, I agree with @mah - this is not a good solution. – TypeIA Jun 9 '14 at 11:34