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A cheap way to get 8.33 - an "approved" handheld radio

Simplified Approval Process for Handheld VHF Radios

Description:The CAA has assessed and determined that handheld radios meeting certain clauses of the European Standard for ground-based 8.33 kHz channel spaced VHF radios are safe for airborne use and will not adversely impact network interoperability. Consequently, the CAA has issued Aircraft Equipment Approval LA301075 which will facilitate the use of these radios subject to conditions and limitations contained within the approval.


It’s a bit of a joke anyway. Who is going to be checking the approval status of a handheld radio? Many years ago, the UK CAA approved some ancient ICOM models and a lot of people have since been scared of buying any other type, even for emergency use. The CAA did not bother to approve later models.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom


The approval is limited for use in the UK for UK-registered non – EASA GA-aircraft operating outside Class A, B and C airspace …
no external antenna allowed.

I think in case of a radio failure nobody will complain if you activate your carry-on 8.33 handheld in your EASA-aircraft.

EDxx, Germany

Talking of this: what 8,33 handhelds are available today? As I check the www, the Icom’s are still at 25 KHz channel separation?

BTW myself use an A6, that easily slides in and out of a dedicated panel mount. Supply is from the a/c battery, but through a low-drop regulator, the A6 requires 11V DC supply. Works great, all in all, though the external antenna seems to want a bigger ground plane.

Last Edited by at 30 Nov 13:23
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

both the Icom IC A-24 E and Icom IC-A 6E have 8.33 KHz channel spacing. And they also transmit on these frequencies, compared
with other “transceivers” that only receive those channels (e.g. Yaesu).

EDxx, Germany

I think it very unlikely that in the event of a total electrical failure in IMC/ IFR any regulatory authority would have any problem with me using a handheld radio that transmitted via the external antenna.

Even if some numpty decided to have a pop at you there are a number of bits of the ANO about what a commander of an aircraft can do I order to preserve life in an emergency and in my book total electrical failure in hard IMC meets the criteria of an emergency.

We’re using a simple antenna switch for our UK permit a/c – when the handheld is plugged in, it has priority over the fixed comms kit, and, in theory, offers improved performance, range etc:

Sporty’s offer a handheld with basic ILS and VOR, but it doesn’t appear to have 8.33.

Last Edited by 2greens1red at 30 Nov 18:10
Swanborough Farm (UK), Shoreham EGKA, Soysambu (Kenya), Kenya

Antenna type is critical my current radio fit is full IFR with the COM 2 antenna line having a mechanical relay that disconnects COM 2 and connects the handheld.

The radio range with the rubberduck antenna is about ten miles, with the aircraft antenna connected it has been tested to fifty miles at 2000ft and with the quality of signal it is clear that it could go further.

Yes – I too have found that the handhelds (I have a year-2000 ICOM A22 or something like that) work superbly with a rooftop antenna. Probably as well as the panel mounted radios – for practical purposes where you don’t need more than a few tens of nm range from a few thousand feet altitude.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The last 10 years I fly around with a ICOM handheld. Although it is so much better than none it is very very limited which you only find out when required in emergency! Below my observations:
- an outside aerial is a must but a T-piece on a split cable is an error source. So have your own aerial on the roof and a single cable and connector only for your handheld
-always check your batteries of the handheld the day before you fly so you have ample time to reload. But as a pro-pilot you always have a spare set of 12 batteries in your flight back, but are the loaded!!
-have a paper with the com-frequencies for the flight at hand, if complete power failure occurs you have lost all you super frequency memories and with EFIS more
-and now the weakest point, your handhold is maybe 0,5-0,9 watt, your radios give 7-10 watt output. So the line of contact formulair is not working, as your handheld (at least mine) is giving me only max 5 miles of com distance before it runs out of steam! If you are above FL100++ little change they hear you at the ground with your handheld.

Just test the reach of you handheld at 500 feet, 1000 ft 2000 feet, with a distance of 5-10-15-20 miles and so on with a strong 8 watt com on the ground at your club. You will be unpleasantly surprised but at least you know now the distance your handheld can transmit.


Willem, in the same way as Peter I am getting very good comm with an Icom routing through an external antenna. I use the Jurassic kx170 as my stand by and operate mainly with the hand held.

You need to speak carefully into the mic area, but generally I am strength 5 in the ATZ. Have not checked line of sight for transmit, but my experience suggests it is good at 10 miles.

Oxford (EGTK)
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