The best Air-band radios/scanners on the market offer you the ability to receive a variety of transmissions, including transmissions from military aircraft such as Air-Air, Ground-Air and Air-Ground.
Cheap air-band radios can be bought for as little as £20, although in most cases, this will limit your ability to pick-up communications to just Civilian/Commercial aircraft. That however, doesn’t mean you can’t get an affordable Air-band scanner that will allow you to hear military comms such as on the NATO Low Fly frequency 278.000.
Which scanner should I buy?
Deciding which Air-band radio to buy largely depends on its intended use and how much you can afford to pay. If you intend to visit the Mach loop for example, you’d need a relatively good all-round scanner with the ability to receive military aircraft transmissions – the UHF aircraft band (225-400MHz) – in order the comms of aircraft in the area.
If you aren’t intending to use the scanner for military tranmissions, a cheaper scanner with less features and the ability to receive VHF aircraft band (108-137MHz) will generally suffice.
Always bear in mind, valleys and low-flying aircraft will not provide you with 100% coverage, but this adds to the enjoyment and spontaneity of a last-minute ‘incoming!’ shout.
View our Mach loop frequencies page if you already have a scanner and want to know which channels to tune-in to!
Popular scanners for the mach loop:
Uniden Bearcat 125XLT
GRE PSR 295
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An example of what you can expect to hear is demonstrated in this Youtube video!