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Great Progress on Canadian In-Flight Weather Broadcasting — Parry Sound Now Online

By Ian Brown, EAA 657159, Editor - Bits and Pieces, Board Member - EAA Canada Council

January 2022 – We had a phenomenal response to our article in last month's issue of Bits and Pieces but we're not there yet. The fund now stands at just under a quarter of the $10,000 target with many generous donations from readers like you. If you can spare any amount this holiday season it will essentially be like buying yourself a present. All pilots in Canadian airspace will benefit from these broadcast repeater towers based on the UAT 978 mHz frequency which are entirely compatible with the U.S. ADS-B In broadcasts.

You can donate NOW at one of the following two links:

One of the latest installations in Parry Sound, ON, now online.

If you think you won't benefit because you don't have the equipment available, you can get a receiver for as little as $135 U.S. if you're willing to build it yourself. It's an easy kit to build. You can feed the input to any Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) software like FltPlanGo, Foreflight, and Garmin Pilot. Just Google “Stratux kit.” My own experience has been excellent, although you can always find negative reviews from people who had other expectations. The option of short or long antennas should not put you off. Just pick one. I chose “short” but they apparently both perform well. If you already have an ADS-B In capability you won't need to do anything. You'll automatically get the benefit as more stations come online, as you probably do already near the U.S. border.

This information came from the CIFIB website:

“Ground stations broadcast local and regional weather information, including weather radar (from Environment Canada), METARs, TAFs, and some private weather station information.
Ground stations may broadcast area traffic information, including FLARM and OGN (gliders), and NemoScout (flight school aircraft).
In future, CIFIB broadcasts may include NOTAMs, lightning, cloud tops, freezing/icing level, upper winds and temperatures aloft, PIREPs, AIRMETs, SIGMETs, turbulence, MOS, and weather from ASOS/AWOS/LWIS. ATC radar traffic is also being considered.”

As mentioned in our article last month, this is an all-volunteer effort and contractors are only employed when necessitated by the situation. A few of you have been extremely generous and progress is now underway on several proposed ground stations across our nation, but we still have a long way to go. Remember this vital safety program is free to use. No subscription required.

Each of these stations costs an average of about $2,000 to set up but some could cost much more. The fundraising effort asked for $10,000 but the estimated need of 100 stations obviously requires much more funding. The sooner you donate, the faster these sites can be installed. Sites are in the planning stage in Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Alberta as well as others in Ontario. If your province is not included, maybe now is the time to contact CIFIB with your ideas.

For more information check out the CIFIB website.

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