The North American Enroute Aviation Guide by Larry Van Horn, N5FPW is a useful resource for aviation and military communications enthusiasts. The e-book basically consists of two sections. The first section is an overview of the National Airspace System (NAS) including its organization, its history, and future upgrades to the system. The second section is a frequency listing for the 22 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) in United States as well as the Area Control Centers (ACC) in Canada and Mexico.
The first section of the book on the NAS may be prior knowledge to many experienced aviation or military communications enthusiasts but it would certainly be of great use to someone new to the aviation or military monitoring hobby. It describes what the NAS is and explains how the system works as an aircraft moves from ground control to tower control to Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility (TRACON) control to ARTCC control. It also has information on what makes the NAS work including navigational aids, radios, and radar as well as coming upgrades to modernize the NAS to include the use of ADS-B and Mode-S. Van Horn also offers a history of the NAS before going on to describe how an ARTCC works and explaining the various types of Special Use Airspace.
The second and largest section of the book is the frequency listing follows a glossary of terms and acronyms that a new hobbyist would also find useful. Each of the 22 ARTCCs has a chapter which includes information and a brief history of the center followed by the frequencies for each of its sectors. The frequencies are sorted by VHF frequency (lowest to highest). The Canadian and Mexican ACCs each have a chapter organized the same way – information about the center followed by frequency lists.
The frequency lists are going to be what most hobbyists are looking for in the book and naturally the major question on their minds will be one of accuracy. First of all, it is important to remember than any published frequency list will always be somewhat out of date as soon as it is published; in the case of this subject matter sectors can be rearranged and frequencies changed. As the Van Horn states in the book’s acknowledgements: “While North American Aviation Guide is as current and accurate as we can make it, it will always remain a work in progress… To say we have nailed down everything would be a falsehood. Corrections, additions, or deletions are always welcomed from my readers.” All I can judge the book by for accuracy are the listings for the Jacksonville ARTCC and Atlanta ARTCC sectors that I monitor on a regular basis. The only issue I found regards frequency information for Sector 73 of Jacksonville ARTCC (and I have already emailed the author with the information I have from monitoring experience):
120.850/322.500 Savannah GA (SAV) Sector 73E – Allendale Low
132.500/363.200 Millen GA (QMG) Sector 73W – Allendale Low (ex 132.925)
Sector 73, Allendale Low is listed as 120.850 for the east side of the sector and 132.500/363.200 for the west side of the sector and shows 132.500 replacing 132.925. 132.925 is actually the new VHF frequency and the east west sides are now combined using the frequency pair 132.925/363.200. I haven’t heard 120.850, 322.500, or 132.500 in use since early 2013. Likewise, 132.925/363.200 should replace 120.850/322.500 and 132.500/363.200 for North Bulldog A, B, & D and Chudd Stack. Comparing the frequency lists against what I monitor, I found them to be accurate with this exception.
One thing to consider here is that this is an e-book and new editions will probably be easier to produce at quicker intervals than hardcopy books were. It is quite possible that authors and publishers of frequency lists as e-books may be better able to stay on top of changes as published lists move into the e-book era.
Overall my opinion of the book is favorable. If I had any gripes, there would only be one – the organization of the frequency lists. I wondered to myself if organizing them geographically within the ARTCC as opposed to sorted by frequency would be more useful but that goes to personal preference and not everyone may look at it that way. Anyway, the information is there and is easily found either way and it isn’t something that would cause me not to recommend the book. I would say that the North American Enroute Aviation Guide is a very good resource, particularly for hobbyists that travel and new hobbyists. Hobbyists who travel, even experienced ones, don’t always find themselves with ready internet access to find frequencies from online sources. Keeping this e-book on a Kindle, tablet, or laptop would allow ready access to frequency information when traveling away from home. Hobbyists new to aviation or military monitoring would find the first section on how the NAS works useful in understanding what frequencies are used, what to listen for, and when to listen. Finally, at a low price of $2.99 it is well worth the price; I don’t think you would go wrong buying a copy.