Using the Audio For VATSIM Standalone Client
The new voice codec for VATSIM, called Audio For VATSIM or just AFV, is now here! This will not only improve the voice quality on VATSIM, but also reduce the transmission delay we sometimes encounter and provide realistic range simulation with signal strength dependent on distance and altitude. In summary, the concept about "voice rooms" and "voice servers" is going away in favor of more natural use of frequencies. Instead, the AFV client will allow you to transmit and receive on those frequencies using real-world ZNY antennas in order to simulate VHF line of sight and range degradation.
As a controller, the only major change you will see is to download an additional piece of software when connecting to the network: the Audio for VATSIM Standalone Client. Whether you're a new member who just joined NYARTCC or have been here for years, this Mandatory Briefing Item (MBI) is meant to provide a step-by-step guide on how to connect to VATSIM with VRC, EuroScope, vSTARS and vERAM using the Standalone Client. Eventually, you can expect the new codec to be fully integrated into those clients, but in the meantime, you can follow the steps below to get started.
- N90 Transceiver Usage
- For controllers logging onto N90 sectors and only covering one area (for example, NY_HRP_APP covering only LGA area or NY_KEN_DEP only covering JFK area), no special procedures are required. For controllers logging onto an N90 sector and covering multiple areas (NY_NWK_DEP covering EWR and LGA departure areas), there are 6 special positions configured in the AFV database for use with each of the 6 primary sectors. These positions provide additional transceivers to provide the required geographic coverage when controlling multiple areas. When using these positions, you will continue to use the normal frequency for the sector you are logged on as. The logon callsign is not changed. To use these positions, add them to your transceiver list in the AFV standalone client. You should then de-select the logon position in the transceiver list (leaving only the multi-area position selected).
- Note: For controllers logging on NY_CAM_APP, the Islip Area transceivers are already included as inherited child positions and it is not necessary to use NY_C_APP position to provide coverage in the Islip.
- Ground Frequency Conflicts
- Due to the way AFV simulates radio propagation, there have been several changes made to the ground control frequencies at several airports to remove conflicting frequencies. You must use the modified ground frequency in both the radar client and the AFV standalone client. In addition, it is critical that you log onto configured positions when controlling cab positions in order to use the correct ATCT antenna locations.
How Do I Connect to the Network with the Standalone Client?
- Step 1: Download and install the lastest version of VRC, vSTARS, vERAM or EuroScope
- First and foremost, ensure you have the lastest version installed of your controller client by visiting the respective client's website: VRC, EuroScope, vSTARS and vERAM.
- Step 2: Download and install the Audio for VATSIM Standalone Client
- Download and install the Audio for VATSIM Standalone Client by clicking here. After having it installed, launch the client and configure your settings. It's important you configure the settings panel before connecting to the network. It should look familiar to you as it's quite similar to the existing settings panels in our clients. You can find details on the settings in the Audio for VATSIM User Guide section 3.1.3.
- Step 3: Connect to the Network
- The easy and familiar part; open VRC/EuroScope/vSTARS/vERAM and connect to the network using SOP-approved callsigns and frequencies. Then prime, and only Prime, your frequency (i.e. do NOT hit any HDST/SPKR button). If you're controlling a delivery, ground, tower or minor TRACON position, it is also important that you set your visibility center(s) before connecting with the Standalone Client. In VRC and EuroScope this can be done by typing: .vis [primary airport(s) ICAO], for example .vis KJFK
- VRC Frequency Setup
- EuroScope Frequency Setup
- vSTARS Frequency Setup
- vERAM Frequency Setup
- Step 4: Launch the Audio for VATSIM Standalone Client and Connect
- The process for connecting with the standalone audio client varies depending on the type of facility. All staffable positions in ZNY should be configured. If you log onto a position that is not staffed, the standalone client will place antennas at your visibility centers. Please report any positions that are not configured to the ZNY staff.
- For all positions excluding New York Oceanic (ZWY) and ramp positions at JFK, you will log onto a configured position. For ZWY, see the ZWY SOP for proper AFV usage. For ramp positions at JFK, you will log on with a callsign that is not pre-configured. In order to access the ramp position frequencies, add the JFK_RAMP position to the VCCS list.
- Suppose you're on as NY_CTR. We have pre-configured the frequency panel for the standalone client, and because it detects a configured position, it will automatically set your transmission and receive antenna sites.
- Step 5: If necessary, Cross Couple
- Large facilities, like N90 or NY Center, should press the "XC" Button. The new codec takes range into account. An airplane on the ground at JFK will not hear an airplane on the ground at PHL, even if they are both on frequency 125.32 because they are too far away from each other. This is realistic and expected. Because VATSIM is what it is, you can cross-couple your frequency so airplanes far away from each other can still hear one another, and thus you won't be subject to two airplanes transmitting at the same time.
How Do I Relieve Another Controller?
- Step 1: Follow the previous steps
- Use your relief callsign (e.g. NY_1_CTR; JFK_1_TWR; NY_CA1_APP) instead, but follow all the same steps to connect. As the position is "not configured," AFV will place a transmitter at your visibility center(s) by default. Using the pre-configured position data requires the additional steps below.
- Step 2: Add a callsign
- At the bottom of the frequency section, called the VCCS, there is a small "+" button. Click it and add the callsign you will be monitoring or assuming. For example, "NY_CA1_APP" should type "NY_CAM_APP" and "JFK_M_TWR" should type "JFK_TWR".
- Step 3: If necessary, Cross Couple
- Deselect the reliever/instructor callsign and select TX/RX (and XC, if necessary) on the position you are monitoring or taking over.