I am a complete newbie, but hopefully this question makes sense. I am interested in tracking communication between a flight and ATC. I've found www.liveatc.net, but I have difficulties understanding what code to use. When the flight was on the ground, I used the code of the origin airport. I could listen them talk to the flight of interest. Then they moved to Germany, where live ATC data is not available. Now they are over Poland, but I don't know what code to look for. Probably they don't talk to any particular airport tower but to something responsible for a big part of the country? Is there some way to convert for example, the current flight location (GPS) to a code to type into LiveATC?

  • $\begingroup$ A lot of European countries make it illegal to listen to radio communications, so they may not be available publicly. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 22, 2022 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ But even when they are, you’d need to listen carefully to the whole flight and follow the handoffs. Once you lose it you’d be very lucky to find it again until nearing its destination. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Oct 22, 2022 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


There are a lot of things in play based on the altitude of the aircraft for which radio zone they are talking to. I can only imagine this is more complicated in Europe where radio could travel farther than country borders.

Your ability to do this will improve as you gain experience. Try to search out High and Low IFR maps because those will have documentation on the frequencies used for routes. Whether you can use that information legally I'm not qualified to answer. Maps dealing With VFR are more verbose and often contain additional information meant for human pilots.

The best way is to catch the handoff from one zone to another, record information and then try to relate it to the maps You have available.

Good luck! It wouldn't be as fun if it were easy.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, you will need to use IFR charts to identify the sector the flight is currently in. You can also use Flight Aware to get the filed flight plan and Sky Vector to map it to help better identify the ATC sector. But honesty majority of ATC communication happens around the airport environment. There is very little chatter en route, it is mainly handoff from one ATC sector to the next. Not sure about EU but in the US there aren't many center/radar frequencies being broadcasted to LiveATC, mostly airport frequencies only. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2022 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ The reason is mostly technical. Centers have antennas on really tall places to extend their viable horizon and they are talking with aircraft over FL180. To cover a center adequately for all of the communications you would need a receiver closeish to their transmitter and 5-6 receivers around 60% the radius of their Artificial Horizon to properly pick up most of that traffic. Also just like large airports' center frequencies are different depending on where you are coming and going to if you are transitioning from center to center. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2022 at 16:59

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