v1.1 - Observer's Guide
(version 1.1 - February 2004)
This page will show you how to
log on to VATSIM using ASRC v1.1, and how to make the most of
being an observer.
Before you start, make sure you
have a VATSIM CID (Controller Identification number) and password,
and have joined the UK Division. Details of how to do all this
are on the "Getting
Guidance for downloading and installing
ASRC and Roger Wilco are on the "ASRC
v1.1 Setup" page. The combined Installation and Observers
Guide can also be downloaded in Word format as ASRC
v1.1 Observers Guide.doc
- If you are not online, you will
need to connect to the internet before you open ASRC. If necessary,
close ASRC, and make the connection.
- Open ASRC.
- You will see a message at the
bottom of the screen "ASRC 1.1 Downloading Network Information
- If you are connected properly
you will quickly receive a message "<nn> servers received
from the network".
- If ASRC hangs, you have a corrupted
or blank IP address file. To correct this, close ASRC, delete
the file "vatsim.loc" from the ASRC root directory,
make sure you are connected to the internet and reopen ASRC.
- In ASRC select File/Connect.
A dialogue box will open.
- Enter your callsign. When you
are controlling this will be the callsign of your position, but
as an observer you can choose your own. It is recommended that
you choose something by which you can be recognised online, such
as your initials or first name, followed by _OBS. eg RUTH_OBS,
- Leave the Tag box blank.
- Set the Rating box to your official
Vatsim rating. If you are just starting out this will be Observer.
You can only log on at a higher rating when you have passed
the appropriate exam. Observers can watch and can take part in
private chats, but cannot communicate on ATC radio frequencies.
- Enter your real name in the
- Choose one of the servers from
the drop down menu to log in.
- Facility should be set to Observer.
- Enter your CID and password.
- Press OK, and you will be connected
- You will now see aircraft positions
appear on the map. You have successfully logged on!
You now need to choose a controller
to observe. The best position for a beginner to observe is a Tower
(TWR), because these control all the take-offs and landings, and
if there is no Ground controller available, they will also give
the clearances and taxi instructions. You can also observe the
Approach (APP) and En-route (CTR) controllers, who will be giving
specific headings, flight levels and speeds for aircraft already
in the air.
Look at your radar screen and
identify any airports that look reasonably busy. If you have ServInfo,
you can see how many aircraft are due to fly in and out. In ASRC
the Controller List is in the upper right section of the screen.
This lists the active controllers and observers in your visibility
range. This will be centred on London Heathrow (EGLL) unless you
have changed the "centre on" setting. The visibility
range is set in the Options/Settings menu.
What do those
codes mean? The main airport
codes can be found on the "Useful
information" page. For example, Stansted is EGSS, and
Luton is EGGW, so Stansted Tower is EGSS_TWR, and Luton Ground
is EGGW_GND. Controllers using voice put a V in their callsign
eg EGSS_V_TWR. Other abbreviations you may see are T(rainee),
M(entor), (R)adar and E(xaminer).
- In order to observe a controller
you need to connect to his ATC frequency using the VSCS (Voice
Switching and Control System).
- Click on the controller's callsign
in the controller list. In the CRD (Computer Readout Display)
in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, the controller's
details will appear in the middle RA (response area) box. On
the first line will be the controller's callsign and the ATC
frequency e.g. EGSS_V_TWR 123.800. Make a note of both.
- Each controller uses a voice
room, identified by the server IP address and the controller's
callsign e.g. 220.127.116.11/egss_v_twr. To find out which server
a controller is using, you need to read his ATIS (Automated Terminal
a. Type .atis <callsign> (the . is important).
b. You will see the callsign in the Controller List start flashing.
Double-click on it.
c. A grey box will appear near the bottom of the screen with
the ATIS in it. If it scrolls past too quickly, use <pageup>
to scroll back. You can turn the grey box off by typing .x
d. Make a note of the IP address and voice callsign; note the
latter is sometimes different from the text callsign.
- Open the VSCS by pressing TAB
or using the drop down menu. The grey boxes are called "frequency
buttons", and each can be set to one ATC position.
- Click on BUTN CNFG on the bottom
line, and then on the first available grey box.
- In the dialog box enter the
frequency (e.g. 123.800), the ID (the name you want on the button
e.g. Stansted Tower or EGSS_TWR), the voice server (e.g. 18.104.22.168)
and the Voice Channel (the voice callsign e.g. EGSS_V_TWR). Click
- The box will now turn white
and will be labelled with its name. Click on the box preferably
on the right half) to open it.
- There are three coloured boxes.
From left to right these are Transmit, RW connection, and Receive.
Green means ON, and black means OFF. At the moment only one box
should be on. If this is the left box, then click on the right
box (receive) to turn it on. Anything that is typed on this frequency
by the controller or the pilot will appear in the transparent
textbox at the bottom of the screen. As an observer, you will
not be able to input anything yourself.
- You can check you are connected
correctly by looking at the bottom of the screen. The frequency
you are connected to is displayed in yellow text (receive mode
only) or greent text (receive and transmit) surrounded by a red
box (voice mode off).
- To open the voice channel
a. click on the middle box which will turn green.
b. At the bottom of the screen the box surrounding the
frequency will change from red to green. You are now connected
to the voice room and can listen to the controller and pilots
c. Make sure you switch the left xmit (transmit) button
off (i.e. black), so that you do not accidentally transmit on
the controller's frequency.
- Voice etiquette. The only people speaking in a
voice room should be the controller and the pilots. Observers
MUST maintain radio silence. The only exception is when there
are no pilots in the voice room, when the controller may choose
to use voice with an observer rather than text. This is highly
unofficial, and if a pilot comes on frequency, must be stopped
immediately. Consult the manual on how to use VSCS to transmit,
or how to set up the Intercom.
- You will get a better view of
what is going on if you use the sector file for the airport you
are observing. This shows the taxiways, runways, buildings and
boundaries in detail. If you followed our "Getting started"
instructions, you will also have the Essex Radar sector file.
To open the Essex Radar file, click on File/Open, and then navigate
to your sector file folder. To centre your screen on a particular
airport just type the four letter ICAO code and then press the
- All the Essex RAM sector files
are available on the Essex
website. Other files can be obtained from the Downloads page
of the Vatsim-UK
Observers can communicate
with other people online by using the private chat facility.
- If you have an incoming message
the letters "CL" at the top of the controller list
(top right of the screen) will flash yellow, and the background
behind the caller's callsign will flash grey.
- To view the message, click on
the callsign. You can also select the callsign by typing the
two character ID to the left of the callsign and then pressing
the controller select <csel> key. This will be \ if
you haven't changed the default setting.
- A grey text-box will appear
near the bottom of the screen with the incoming message displayed.
The identity of the caller will be displayed in the RA (response
area) box at the bottom right of the screen. The currently selected
individual in the controller list will have a white box around
- The chat-box must be grey in
order to type in it. To reply just type your answer in and press
<enter>. If you press <enter> without
typing anything in, the box will turn black. To turn it grey,
press <enter> again.
- To change to another person
you already have communicated with, just click on their callsign.
- To close a chat-box, press the
a text call
- To open a chat-box with anyone
in the controller list double-click on their callsign.
- The grey chat-box will appear.
Anything you type will then be sent to that individual.
- Their reply will appear in the