Please Use 122.75 – Not ‘The Fingers’

Many times when pilots are flying in formation or instructors are flying with students in a practice area they will say “Meet me on The Fingers.” This is when they will typically leave their primary radio tuned to CTAF, TRACON or ARTCC and tune their second radio to a frequency of 123.45 MHz to coordinate their actions.

Unfortunately, this is another common faux pas many pilots and CFIs perform and is usually born from what was taught during their initial training and were unaware that there is a more proper frequency for this type of radio traffic.

It is also very easy to remember since all you have to do is count each of your fingers on one hand – 1,2,3,4,5 (i.e. 123.45 MHz).

However, a quick review of the AIM chapter 4-1-11, which discusses the designated UNICOM/MULTICOM frequencies, reveals that the FCC reserves 123.45 MHz (a.k.a. The Fingers) for “…flight test land and aircraft stations (not for air-to-air communication except for those aircraft operating in an oceanic FIR).

The FAA Coordinating With The FCC On Which Frequencies Are Used For Specific Activity

As shown in the AIM table for “Other Frequency Usage Designated by FCC”, they have set aside 122.75 MHz for air-to-air communication between fixed wing aircraft. This allows for a less cluttered radio channel for different types of airborne operations.

Since we all know how difficult and frustrating it can be to talk on a busy frequency (for example, when attempting to make a position call in a traffic pattern) it is in everyone’s best interest to use the correct frequency for the kind of flying being performed so we can all fly safely.

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