Communication, Navigation Devices & Antennas

Submitted by ewadmin on Thu, 06/18/2020 - 14:12

The present article concentrates on communication and navigation devices and antennas widely used in General Aviation aircraft. A separate article for engine and flight instruments will follow. Apart from commonly used selection criteria like integrated technologies, product capabilities and specifications, product certification (e.g. FAA 8130-3 Form or EASA Form1) is sometimes required which limits selection and affects the product price. In addition, space limitations in aircraft panels is yet another important factor often dictating the selection of multi function displays (MFD) and Electronic Flight Information Systems (EFIS) which can be used in replacement of different devices and provide their users with the required information and support for communications, flight planning, navigation, situation awareness, etc.


VHF transceivers (also known as COMM radios) are by far the most commonly needed avionics by our customers. Sometimes, asked units need to combine VHF  communication with capabilities used for VOR navigation or follow a Localizer on approach (NAV/COMM units) as well as GPS functionality. There is a wide selection of products in the market with BENDIX KING and GARMIN commonly encountered avionics in aircraft cockpits. However, there are also other manufacturers like TRIG, TKM, VAL ICOM, BECKER AVIONICS and others offering interesting quality units for new installations or direct replacements/upgrades of legacy avionics. Certain newer models offer more transmit power (16 W instead of 10 W). Some of the products (both older but still used models and newer ones) are mentioned below. Apart from the units, their installation manuals, kits, mounting trays and/or harnesses are also available as part of our offered range of avionics. Further information on the respective products is available at our Web Platform for Supplies.


Becker Avionics is a German manufacturer providing communication, navigation, surveillance and search & rescue equipment for airborne and ground applications. Their AR6203-(112) EASA certified Panel Mounted COMM Radio features 10W power, 25 kHz spacing, integrated VOX/Intercom and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology.


BendixKing is a wholly-owned division of Honeywell Aerospace, based in the U.S.A. This division designs, develops, sells and supports a full suite of avionics, including integrated flight decks, navigators, audio panels, radios, transponders and ADS-B transceivers, autopilots, radar-based storm sensors, and products for in-flight and on-ground connectivity. BendixKing avionics are installed in a variety of general aviation aircraft, including single-engine and twin-engine piston and turboprop airplanes, business jets, helicopters and military trainers. Some of their popular models include:

KY 196A/KY 197A Series TSO'd Panel-Mounted VHF COMM Transceivers. These radios utilize a space-saving flatpack design, allowing them to fit neatly into any aircraft avionics stack and have the same capabilities except that the 28-volt KY 196A delivers 16 watts minimum transmit output power compared to the 10 watts of the 14-volt KY 197A COMM . Both feature solid-state construction, nine-pilot-programmable memory channels, flip-flop frequency switch to transfer between active and standby frequencies, gas-discharge displays clearly showing all selections, a 118.00MHz to 136.975MHz operating range and a digital frequency synthesizer generating 760 COMM frequencies.

KX155A/KX 165A Series TSO'd Panel-Mounted NAV/COMM units. With such features as programmable comm channels, support for 8.33 kHz comm tuning (KX 165A only), GPS QuickTune, multiple operating modes, remote channel increment with flip-flop tuning and a built-in timer, the KX 155A and KX 165A NAV/COMMs match a sophisticated appearance with advanced capabilities.

KX125 Crown Series TSO'd Panel Mounted Digital NAV/COMM unit. Ideal as a replacement radio, a primary system for homebuilts or a very affordable back-up. Despite its low price, it comes with a complete list of features. The COMM section provides 760 frequencies. Its separate NAV section offers 200 frequencies, including localizer. Other features include  'flip-flop' frequency selection, a built-in audio amplifier with side-tone and audio leveling, direct tuning, stuck-microphone alert, and even remote transfer of both COMM and NAV frequencies. It has a FAA TSO approval but still requires a FAA 337 form for new installations.


Based in France, COBHAM AEROSPACE COMMUNICATIONS manufactures aircraft avionics systems for commercial, military, and special-mission aircraft. Different COBHAM antennas can be used in avionics installations in general aviation aircraft including those listed below:

Comant CI-105 TSO'd DME/Transponder Antenna, BNC. Broadband and rugged antenna designed for DME or transponder use.
Comant CI-121  TSO'd VHF COMM Antenna, BNC covering 118-137 MHz frequencies. Similar to the CI 109, the CI 121 is smaller in diameter and lighter. Features a tapered glass laminate housing and die-cast aluminum base. Offers standard mounting and appearance to many Cessna communication antennas. 
Comant CI-196 TSO'd VHF COMM Blade Antenna. Identical to the CI 119 with a frequency range 118-137 MHz. Matches the styling and mounting configuration of the late model Mooney 201/231/252 aircraft series starting in 1978. 
Comant CI-292-2 TSO'd VHF COMM Antenna, BNC. Identical to the CI 292-1 Antenna except for a stainless steel bent-whip radiator for use in helicopters and bottom mounting underneath fixed wing aircraft.


Based in the U.S.A,  GARMIN product line includes a wide range of products including wearables, GPS technology personal navigation devices designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs, full line of avionics for the aviation industry and electronics for marine applications. GARMIN aviation communication and navigation products are supported by different navigation data (Americas, Atlantic or Pacific)  to cover regional navigation needs. Indicative GARMIN COMM, NAV/COMM & GPS avionics include:

AERA Portable GPS units. Various models are available. AERA 660 is a a built-in GPS/GLONASS portable 5'' receiver providing affordable feature-rich navigation, stunning display and streamlined database updating. 3D Vision perspective view shows terrain, obstacles, airport environment, optional traffic, nearest airport and more. AERA 760 features a  large, sunlight-readable 7” touchscreen display, rich, interactive, dynamically drawn and customizable aviation maps as well as flight planning. AERA 796 shows a virtual 3-D behind-the-aircraft perspective of surrounding terrain derived from GPS and the onboard terrain database. U.S. georeferenced VFR sectional and IFR enroute charts come preloaded while optional European and Canadian VFR and IFR charts are also available. U.S. and Canadian obstacles database not only shows contours in 3D Vision mode, but also allows for a top-down view of the entire route. With the optional GXM 42 antenna, AERA 796 offers access to high-resolution weather and audio entertainment while its 2 serial ports allow for simultaneous connectivity with other hardware.
155 XL TSO'd Panel Mounted GPS shares the popular features of the GPS 150XL and is TSO-certified for non-precision approaches for the IFR environment.
GTR 225 Series Panel Mounted COMM radios are available in different versions: 10 W or 16 W with 25 kHz or 8.33 kHz spacing options depending on selected version. Certification: FAA Export 8130-3.
GNC 255 Series Panel Mounted COMM/NAV units are available in two versions: GNC 255A with 10W output, 25 kHz or 8.33 kHz spacing, 200 channel Nav with VOR/localiser and 40-channel glideslope receiver and GNC 255B, same as GNC 255A but with 16W output . Certification: FAA Export 8130-3.
GTN 750 Panel Mounted GPS/COMM/NAV, a Multi Function Display (MFD) combining GPS navigation, Nav/Comm and enhanced situational awareness capabilities.


ICOM Inc., based in Japan, manufactures wireless communication products including land mobile, amateur, marine, handheld and panel mounted aviation radios, navigation products and communications receivers. ICOM aviation panel mounted COMM product line includes:
ICOM IC-A210 Non Certified Panel Mounted VHF Air Band Transceiver with built-in voice activated intercom & 3FT Harness Jacks Attached. Harnesses are intended for use with experimental aircraft only.
ICOM IC-A210E Non Certified Panel Mounted COMM Transceiver with 25 kHz or 8.33 kHz spacing. Accepts a 12/24V DC power source and has a built-in voice activated intercom.
ICOM IC-A220T Certified Panel Mounted COMM Transceiver with 8.33kHz spacing. Accepts a 12/24V DC power source and features a built-in voice activated intercom and a GPS memory function for connection to an external GPS receiver.


MGL AVIONICS was founded in South Africa and operates today in Europe and the U.S.A. The company manufactures advanced electronic flight instrument systems for experimental and light sport aircraft including EFIS and engine monitoring systems and radios. MGL COMM and NAV units include:

V16 Non-TSO’d Remote VHF Aviation Radio Transceiver. Split design remote-mount COMM Radio with 10W output power controlled via a separate controller/EFIS. It features 25KHz or 8.33KHz frequency spacing, 2-place intercom with a wide-range VOX system.
N16 Non-TSO’d VOR/LOC/GS Remote Navigation Receiver. Split design remote-mount NAV Receiver controlled via a separate controller/EFIS. Input Voltage: 12/14V and 24/28V. Single ILS (Localizer and Glide slope) with ID Morse station decoder. Can be controlled by a 1 Razor or 2 Vega Control Heads or directly by an MGL Avionics iEFIS (Gen 3 and above).
RAZOR Series 3 1/8” Touchscreen VHF Controller (Head). Controller for V16 VHF COMM/N16 NAV Receiver. 
VEGA Series 2 1/4” VHF Controller (Head). Controller for V16 VHF COMM/N16 NAV Receiver. For stand-alone operation, at least two MGL VEGA heads are required.


U.S. manufacturer of NAV/COMM radios including digital, direct replacement NAV/COMM radios for existing legacy Bendix King, ARC, Narco and other radios. TKM AVIONICS product line includes among others:
MX-170 TSO'd Panel Mounted NAV/COMMM. Latest MX-170C model comes with 8W  output power, 760 VHF Comm channels and 200 Nav channels, built-in 40 channel glideslope,&nbsp dual color LED frequency self-dimming display. This radio is designed to be electrically and mechanically interchangeable with the Bendix King KX170 and the Bendix King KX-175 series of NAV/COMM radios (slide in replacement).
MX-300B TSO'd Panel Mounted NAV/COMM. 8W output power, 14V Black Faceplate. 200 NAV and 760 COMM frequencies.
MX-385B TSO'd Panel Mounted NAV/COMM. 8W output power, 28V Black Faceplate. 200 NAV and 760 COMM frequencies.
MX-155 TSO'd Panel Mounted NAV/COMM. Expected soon. 8.33kHz frequency spacing, 14/28V. Built-in 40 channel glideslope, VOR/LOC converter with built-in VOR indicator. Electrically and mechanically interchangeable with the Bendix King KX 155/KX 165 series of Bendix King NAV-COMM's.

Trig Avionics   TRIG AVIONICS

Based in Scotland, U.K., TRIG AVIONICS LTD. develops & manufactures innovative avionics and related accessories for General Aviation including Mode S transponders, VHF radios, NAV/COMM units, audio panels, GPS receivers and antennas. TRIG NAV/COMM current product range includes the units listed below while TX56 and TX57 NAV/COMM models are expected soon. The latter will be available, depending on the model, with 8.33 kHz channel spacing or conventional 25 kHz spacing, with 10 Watt or 16 Watt transmit power.  They shall include a stereo music / two place intercom, a VOR/ILS receiver for monitoring a 2nd VOR,  built in VOR/LOC converter,  40 channel glideslope receiver and a graphical CDI (course deviation indicator) allowing the pilot to navigate without an external CDI.:
TY96 Certified Panel Mounted Slimline VHF Radio. 8.33 KHz, 10W output power with built in 2-place intercom with auxiliary inputs for stereo music and audio warnings and configurable 200 airfield frequency database. Certification: EASA Form 1
TY96A Certified Panel Mounted Slimline VHF Radio. 25 KHz, 10W output power,  760 channels . Includes TY96/TY97 Installation Kit, mounting tray, connector kit and user manual.
TY97 Certified Panel Mounted Slimline VHF Radio. 8.33 KHz, 16W output power . Same features as TY96 but high power transmission. Certification: EASA Form 1. 
TY97A Certified Panel Mounted  Slimline VHF Radio. 25 KHz, 16W output power, 760 channels. Same features as TY96A but high transmit power. Certification: EASA Form 1.


U.S. manufacturer of antennas and parts covering a wide range of functions for military, aviation and transportation applications. RAMI antennas include:
AV-525 TSO'd VOR/LOC/GS Antenna 
AV-532L TSO'd NAV Antenna. VOR receive only antenna. Frequency: 108 to 118 MHz.
AV-534 TSO'd COMM Antenna. Heavy-duty stainless steel quarterwave VHF communications antenna. Frequency: 118 to 137 MHz.
AV-534L TSO'd COMM Antenna. Same as AV-534 but furnished with 96" lead of RG58 A/U cable with male BNC and ground strap with lugs. 


U.S manufacturer of low-cost, high-quality avionics for the General Aviation, light-sport and experimental aircraft. VAL product portfolio includes VHF communication transceivers, NAV receivers, integrated navigation systems, EFIS and accessories.
NAV 2000 Panel-mounted NAV radio with built-in VOR, Localizer and Glide Slope receiver. Complete EFIS integration via RS-232 interface. Internal CDI. Replacement for an aging KX-170B or Cessna NAV/COM.
COM 2000 Non Certified Panel-mounted COMM VHF Transceiver. 8 W output power, built in RS-232 serial port, cross compatible as a Garmin SL40. Meets or exceeds TSO standards.​
NAV 2KR Remote NAV Receiver with GS. 8 W output power. Complete EFIS integration via RS-232 interface. Meets or exceeds TSO standards.
COM 2KR Non Certified Remote VHS COMM Transceiver. 8 W output power. Complete EFIS integration via RS-232 interface. Meets or exceeds TSO standards. .


Aviation audio panels are used for audio control and for selections of different audio sources. Different aircraft audio panels are available in the market from manufacturers like BENDIX KING, GARMIN, TRIG AVIONICS, PS ENGINEERING, AVIDYNE and others. A selection of audio panels is included in our Web Platform for Supplies with high-quality user interface and intuitive control.


Bendix King TSO'd Audio Panels like KMA24 or KMA30 (a convenient replacement for selected older audio panels)  are frequently installed in GA aircraft with selection capabilities for TEL/COMM/NAV/DME/MKR/ADF/AUTO.


GARMIN offers a range of aviation audio panels from GMA 240 and GMA 245 for experimental and sport aircraft to GMA 342/345 or GMA 350 for certified aircraft. Indicative GARMIN audio panels are listed below:

GMA 240 Non-certified Audio Panel. Comes with many of the popular control and indication features found on the GMA 340 including a 4-place stereo intercom system and support for 2 stereo music inputs, dual COM, NAV and AUX audio inputs.
GMA 345 Certified Audio Panel with bluetooth.
GMA 350 Certified Audio Panel. First truly all-digital audio panel introducing a number of new technologies to the cockpit, including Telligence™ Voice Command, 3-D audio processing and advanced auto squelch.


PS Engineering is a U.S. leading manufacturer of both general aviation and special mission audio control systems. The company focuses on aircraft intercom and audio panel systems. Some of the models offered include:

PMA 6000B-2 Certified Audio Panel without Marker Beacon. Built-in 4 place mono intercom with optional built-in marker beacon receiver. FAA TSO & EASA ETSO approvals.
PMA 7000B Certified Audio Panel with Marker Beacon. 6 - Place Hi-Fi stereo intercom, 2 - music mute modes, built-in Marker Beacon Receiver. Certification: FAA Export 8130-3.
PDA360EX Non Certified Audio Panel. Provides functions most appropriate for experimental aircraft.
PAC 24 Certified High Performance Audio Control and ICS Panel designed from the outset as an upgrade/replacement for the popular BENDIX KING KMA24 –71. 

Trig Avionics   TRIG AVIONICS

TRIG AVIONICS TMA 44 MONO and TMA 45 STEREO audio panels can be used as companion products for the company's radios.

TMA44 MONO Audio Panel provides switched inputs for Nav 1, Nav 2, ADF, Aux and DME.  Product kit includes  a mounting tray, connector kit and user and installation manuals.
TMA45 STEREO Audio Panel is a 2-6 seats stereo panel with the functionality of the TMA44 and Trig Digital Noise Reduction (TDNR).


Automatic direction finders (ADFs) are used as aviation or marine navigational aids. They are radio-navigation instruments that automatically and continuously display the relative bearing from the ship or aircraft to a suitable radio station. Their major advantage over non-directional beacons (VOR navigation) in the reception is that this is not limited to line of sight distance.


Bendix King KR 87 ADF is a compact TSO'd solid state automatic direction finder providing an accurate bearing-to-station in the 200 kHz to 1799 kHz frequency range and comes complete with ADF, ANT and BFO tuning modes, plus audio output for station identification and monitoring AM broadcasts. The KR 87's advanced coherent detection design rejects unwanted frequency noise and achieves much greater range while remaining less susceptible to engine noise, static and atmospheric interference. Its flip-flop frequency display allows switching between pre-selected standby and active frequencies with the touch of a button. Suitable for 28V aircraft only. Can be used with single needle KI-227 ADF indicator. KA-44B combined loop/sense low profile ADF antenna or KA-44 blade antenna required. 


COBHAM CDF-552 Digital ADF Control Display controls dual remote ADF receivers. This display is part of the COBHAM FliteLine™ suite. Display menu includes ADF station, antenna bearing, and BFO information.

Gables Engineering   GABLES ENGINEERING INC.

Gables Engineering Inc., based in the U.S.A manufactures custom avionics controls and other related products. Its G7613 TSO'd Digital ADF Control Panel is intended for use on business, regional and general aviation aircraft. 28V input power.


Distance measuring equipment (DME) is a system requiring both aircraft-installed and ground-based equipment, with the latter normally co-located with a VHF omnidirectional radio range (VOR) or, sometimes, an instrument landing system (ILS). DME provides the pilot with the slant-range distance to the DME transmitter. DME systems are offered by different manufacturers like Garmin and Bendix King.


Bendix King offers different DMEs like:
KN 62A TSO'd Panel Mounted DME Transceiver, an all solid-state DME with 200-channel receiver and internal and external channeling capability. Provides simultaneous distance, ground speed and time-to-station display. Voltage: 11 to 33V.
KN 63 TSO'd Remote DME Transceiver. Features 100 watt, 200-channel remote DME system utilizing Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuit technology.
KN-64 non-TSO'd Panel Mounted DME Transceiver, an all solid-state DME with 200-channel receiver which can be channeled remotely through almost any NAV receiver or tuned directly with its own frequency selector knobs. As the unit only consumes 15W of power, no external cooling is required.
In addition, Bendix King offers different DME Displays for use with DME Transceivers:
KDI-572 DME Display, 5V with ON/OFF, NAV 1/2, DME Hold selector. For use with Bendix/King Remote DMEs KN-63 & KDM-706/706A.
KDI-574 DME Display. Similar to KDI-572 but DOES NOT include ON/OFF, NAV 1/2, DME Hold selector. For use with Bendix/King Remote DMEs KDM-706 / KDM-706A, KN-63 DME and KTU-709 TACAN.

Multi Function Displays (MFD) - Electronic Flight Information Systems (EFIS) - Flight Management Systems (FMS)

Multi-Function Display (MFD) is an avionic device that manages and displays information such as the aircraft's flight, navigation, engine, hull and alarm on a single AMLCD Ruggedize display screen with pilot-friendly graphics. An electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) is a flight deck instrument display system that displays flight data electronically rather than electromechanically. An EFIS normally consists of a primary flight display (PFD), multi-function display (MFD), and an engine indicating and crew alerting system (EICAS) display. A Flight Management System (FMS) is a fundamental component of a modern airliner's avionics although systems similar to FMS exist on today's General Aviation aircraft. It is a specialized computer system that automates a wide variety of in-flight tasks, reducing the workload on the flight crew.
MFDs are today offered from Garmin, Avidyne, Aspen Avionics, Bendix/King and other avionic manufacturers. Similarly, a wide range of EFIS are available in the market from many manufacturers like Bendix/King, Garmin, Dynon Avionics, Aspen Avionics, Universal Avionics, Genesys Aerosystems, Kanardia and others. FMS are supplied by companies like Honeywell, Avidyne, Collins Aerospace and Universal Avionics.


Avidyne Corporation, headquartered in the U.S.A, is a market-leader in the design and manufacturing of integrated avionics systems for general aviation (GA) aircraft. Avidyne designs and manufactures integrated instruments, flight displays, VHF and GPS-based navigation, communication, and data link transceivers, digital flight control systems, as well as a range of ADS-B, traffic detection and weather detection sensors. Indicative Avidyne products include:
IFD440 Panel Mounted FMS/GPS/NAV/COMM 10W Black with BT/Wifi/FLTA.Features: 8.33KHz channel spacing, forward looking terrain avoidance, WIFI and Blue Tooth. Supplied with tray and connector kit.
IFD540 Panel Mounted FMS/GPS/NAV/COMM with BT/Wifi/FLTA. Similar features to IFD440. VHF COMM Power Output: 10 W, Optional 16W (28V installations only).


KSN 770 European Navigator MFD/GPS/NAV/COMM. This unit combines an IFR GPS navigator, integrated TAWS, weather radar display, a 16-watt digital VHF COMM and a VHF NAV/ILS replacing up to four separate units. Versions available: KSN770-05 (Standard International) and KSN770-07 (TAWS International).


U.S manufacturer of avionics and aircraft systems for experimental, light sport, and type certificated aircraft. DYNON offers different EFIS including:
EFIS-D10A, consolidating all the flight instruments into a sunlight-readable, 4" diagonal, color LCD. Six buttons below the LCD allow pilots to perform flight-related functions, configure the instrument and perform initial calibrations. Available in two versions, for Experimental/LSA aircraft and for EAA STC installations.
D3 Pocket Panel Portable EFIS. Situational awareness device in a portable package. The newest edition of Dynon’s popular pocket panel, now featuring Synthetic Vision. Comes with two portable mounting options. No regulatory approval is required for installation and use. The D3 features the same reliable, proven AHRS engine from Dynon’s best-selling panel-mounted products for experimental, light sport, and type certificated aircraft.


MGL AVIONICS, founded in South Africa, is a manufacturer of advanced electronic flight instrument systems for experimental and light sport aircraft including EFIS and engine monitoring systems and radios.
MGL XTREME EFIS MINI is a full featured Electronic Flight Information System and Engine Monitor all wrapped up into a compact instrument that fits a standard 3 1/8" instrument hole. Can be configured as a Primary Flight Display (PFD) with AHRS sensors added, and/or an engine monitor, with RDAC added.


A transponder (short for transmitter-responder and sometimes abbreviated to XPDR, XPNDR, TPDR or TP) is an electronic device that produces a response when it receives a radio-frequency interrogation. Aircraft are equipped with transponders to assist in their identification on air by traffic control radars. Different transponder modes specify transponder's capabilities. Mode A equipment transmits an identifying code only. Mode C equipment enables the Air Traffic Controllers to see the aircraft altitude or flight level automatically. Most recent mode, Mode S, transponders have altitude capability and also permit data exchange. Upon interrogation, Mode S transponders transmit information about the aircraft to the SSR system, to TCAS receivers on board aircraft and to the ADS-B SSR system. In Europe, Regulation (EU) No 1207/2011 requires that all flights operating as general air traffic in accordance with instrument flight rules within the EU are equipped with mode S transponders. Transponders are offered in the market by various manufacturers such as Bendix King, Garmin, Becker Avionics, Dynon Avionics, Avidyne and others.


Two Bendix King KT-76 transponders below were used as updates of the original KT-76. With 250 watts of transmission power, these transponders have been solid and dependable offering long range and operation up to 35,000 feet.
Standard KT-76A TSO'd Panel Mounted ATC Transponder. 14V, 4096 code, Mode A/C, Class 1A transponder.
Standard KT-76C TSO'd Panel Mounted Transponder. 14V, Digital, Mode A/C, sequential push button code entry.


Comant CI-105-16 DME XPDR Antenna BNC.
Cobham Comant CI-105 DME XPDR Antenna BNC.


GTX 327 Mode A/C Panel Mounted Digital Transponder with 4FT Harness. Mode A/C panel-mounted full-featured, TSO certified transponder. This product can be used to both certified and experimental aircraft with or without harness.
GTX 328 Mode S Panel Mounted Digital Transponder. Solid-state Mode S digital transponder covering EU VFR Mode S requirements. IFR certified for aircraft operating under 15,000 feet and with a true airspeed of under 175 knots.