Transponder Issues & SBA fly in

This last Easter weekend, I had a chance to fly 2 round trips (shuttling kids) to/from SoCal and got several comments from ATC (VFR advisories) that they “ere not receiving my transponder”. I noticed that Steve Schultheis (N1645S) reported problems with his too. Steve’s comments beg several questions:

  1. Is anyone else having problems with their transponders and ATC?

  2. Is the signal received by ATC influenced by the specific code assigned? I hear an ATC fellow mutter something about “try this code … that one should show up” giving me the impression that some codes work better than others! That didn’t seems to pass the smell test, but I am not an engineer. Anybody?

3 Would the use of an ‘RCO’ for radar have an effect on the efficacy of the system?

RE: SBA fly in … the coming months look good for another fly in (attempt). Kevin is good at the logistics and hopefully the next one will actually have some people show up in other than a Plymouth Valiant!

BTW, the price of 100LL at Camarillo is 2.29! I met the guy that I think coordinates the fuel and adjacent soda machine (.50 for a 20oz bottle!) and he was laminating the recent price hike to $2.29. CMA has got to be one the bargins for 100LL. Also check out AirNav.com for fuel prices. I found it very helpful now that gas prices are going higher than a Cirrus!

FWIW - Talking to other pilots of SR-20’s it sounds like the transpoder is actually been the source of problems for far too many of you.

MR N84MR - care to answer Walt?

I might suggest Santa Paula. It is farther south which may cause problems for you notherners. They have a nice restaurant, nice airport. Fuel 2.67 per AIRNAV. (BTW Corona is 2.20)

RE: SBA fly in … the coming months look good for another fly in (attempt). Kevin is good at the logistics and hopefully the next one will actually have some people show up in other than a Plymouth Valiant!

BTW, the price of 100LL at Camarillo is 2.29! I met the guy that I think coordinates the fuel and adjacent soda machine (.50 for a 20oz bottle!) and he was laminating the recent price hike to $2.29. CMA has got to be one the bargins for 100LL. Also check out AirNav.com for fuel prices. I found it very helpful now that gas prices are going higher than a Cirrus!

RE: SBA fly in … the coming months look good for another fly in (attempt). Kevin is good at the logistics and hopefully the next one will actually have some people show up in other than a Plymouth Valiant!

I would suggest Santa Maria (SMX). There are three on-field restaurants: one in the terminal and two in the Airport Hilton (or is it Regency?) hotel. And who knows, we might even be able to talk Tom Rogers of Avionicswest into coming out to see a band of Cirri with the odd 260se thrown in for flavor (he’s already seen Paul’s '22, flown in my 260se, and is working on Dean’s 260se’s panel).

Tina & I will have to pass on April 28/29 but if that’s what is decided, then y’all have a great time!

I too have recently had two instances of transponder not being received when flying over the UK. I havent tried the trick of changing codes but will the next time it occurs. The other thing that I plan to do is to take with me an Airsport transponder sensor — this gives a direct readout of what the transponder is emitting. If I find anything useful I will post it.

Mike Glazer

N184CD

Turweston EGBT

UK

FWIW - Talking to other pilots of SR-20’s it sounds like the transpoder is actually been the source of problems for far too many of you.

MR N84MR - care to answer Walt?

Dean - Sure thing.

Walt…

This has been a source of frustration for me since day one (117 hours now). Cirrus believes that it might be an antenna ground-plane issue, and I’ve already made one attempt to get it taken care of by my nearest Authorized Service Center. They looked at the installation, and decided it was good. They then conducted an electronic test of the transponder, and pronounced it “excellent”. No changes were made. Needless to say, on departure from that airport, NY Approach lost my transponder signal.

Cirrus says that there are indeed things that can be done, and they will communicate more closely with my Service Center to make sure that the remedy is clearly understood.

Meanwhile, I continue to experience the same occasional loss of radar contact. Last Friday, on a trip from Louisville, KY to Allentown, PA, it happened so often that I took my “Cockpit Voice Recorder” and extracted all the relevant dialog between ATC and me. In this case, it was not merely frustrating - it cost me time and fuel, too, because I got a pretty good reroute to keep me safe while Center couldn’t “see” me.

I’d be happy to send you the .WAV file (Zipped), if you like. It’s probably more of interest for the Cockpit Voice Recording aspect than for the actual content about the transponder… seems that you’ve experienced that for yourself. In any case, be warned… the Zipped file is over 3 Mb. (I have sent a copy to Cirrus Customer Service, but it probably won’t get any attention for a while, for good reason.)

As for different codes: Yes, that happens to me too; and sometimes it seems to work. In fact, there’s an example of it on the Wave file. I can’t explain it at all - and I am technical, although I know virtually nothing about transponder encoding.

I hope this helps.

Mike.

I get the occasional transponder invisibility myself, but not so much as to be chronic. Kind of like the ELT going off for no reason; annoying when it happens.

FWIW - Talking to other pilots of SR-20’s it sounds like the transpoder is actually been the source of problems for far too many of you.

MR N84MR - care to answer Walt?

Dean - Sure thing.

Walt…

This has been a source of frustration for me since day one (117 hours now). Cirrus believes that it might be an antenna ground-plane issue, and I’ve already made one attempt to get it taken care of by my nearest Authorized Service Center. They looked at the installation, and decided it was good. They then conducted an electronic test of the transponder, and pronounced it “excellent”. No changes were made. Needless to say, on departure from that airport, NY Approach lost my transponder signal.

Cirrus says that there are indeed things that can be done, and they will communicate more closely with my Service Center to make sure that the remedy is clearly understood.

Meanwhile, I continue to experience the same occasional loss of radar contact. Last Friday, on a trip from Louisville, KY to Allentown, PA, it happened so often that I took my “Cockpit Voice Recorder” and extracted all the relevant dialog between ATC and me. In this case, it was not merely frustrating - it cost me time and fuel, too, because I got a pretty good reroute to keep me safe while Center couldn’t “see” me.

I’d be happy to send you the .WAV file (Zipped), if you like. It’s probably more of interest for the Cockpit Voice Recording aspect than for the actual content about the transponder… seems that you’ve experienced that for yourself. In any case, be warned… the Zipped file is over 3 Mb. (I have sent a copy to Cirrus Customer Service, but it probably won’t get any attention for a while, for good reason.)

As for different codes: Yes, that happens to me too; and sometimes it seems to work. In fact, there’s an example of it on the Wave file. I can’t explain it at all - and I am technical, although I know virtually nothing about transponder encoding.

I hope this helps.

Mike.

Transponder problems have been a frustration for me as well. They seem to come and go for no reason. Had local electronics check and no problem with unit. I would be curious what Cirrus is saying to the service centers to fix the problems. Has ther been an SAQ put out on the fix? Any ideas to help.

I get the occasional transponder invisibility myself, but not so much as to be chronic. Kind of like the ELT going off for no reason; annoying when it happens.

This is my experience too, nearing 100 hours. Haven’t had any ELT problems yet, but on every 2nd or 3rd trip will get a controller telling me about an xpdr problem.

Santa Paula reportedly has been voted the likeliest place to be involved in a midair in socal. I would sooner take the Valiant than fly there on a weekend.

glenn

I might suggest Santa Paula. It is farther south which may cause problems for you notherners. They have a nice restaurant, nice airport. Fuel 2.67 per AIRNAV. (BTW Corona is 2.20)

How about a fly-in on Saturday, April 28?

I agree with Dave Raab that Santa Paula (SZP) is a neat airport with a very good restaurant. The only concern might be that parking is at a premium on the weekend.

Another possibility might be Camarillo (CMA). The Waypoint Cafe on the field is superb (my wife has us fly there just for the potato salad), the parking is ample, the fuel is inexpensive (see Walt’s earlier post), and there’s always a variety of interesting airplanes (T-28s, Yaks, and a Martin 4-O-4). And it’s literally just over the hill from Santa Paula…

Santa Maria would be a fine idea, too.