Non-Directional Beacon (NDB)

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Systems Interface is a leading supplier and installer of Non-Directional-Radio Beacons around the world.

What are Non-Directional Beacons?

Non-directional beacons (NDBs) are ground-based radio transmitters used to aid and navigate vessels in aviation and marine applications during their approach.

They have continued to provide a fundamental and reliable means of aircraft navigation despite the arrival of GNSS and modern ground-based systems. The decommissioning of non-directional beacon systems does not appear to be likely to occur for many years to come. For this reason, manufacturers are investing in the development of modern ultra-reliable systems.

How do NDBs work?

NDBs transmit Omni-directional signals to an antenna on board the aircraft/ship. An automatic direction finder (ADF) then uses the signal to determine the aircraft's bearing and display its position in relation to the NDB transmitter.

The NDB is a ground-based transmitter situated in a ground station that broadcasts signals in all directions (omnidirectional). The NDBs signal traverses the curvature of the Earth’s surface and enables the pilot to plot a course to their destination. NDB stations are classified as either compass locators, medium homing, homing or high homing and are differentiated by their signal range.

Automatic Direction Finders

ADFs are onboard instruments that use antenna equipment to understand and display information received from the NDB. These antennas include loop and sense antenna which use bidirectional signals to identify the direction of the NDB 180 degrees apart (loop) and use nondirectional signals to determine which direction correctly locates the position of the ground station (sense). These radio waves are received at either medium or high frequencies.

NDB Aviation Systems

They have continued to provide a fundamental and reliable means of aircraft navigation despite the arrival of GNSS and modern ground based systems. The decommissioning of non-directional beacon systems does not appear to be likely to occur for many years to come. For this reason manufacturers are investing in the development of modern ultra reliable systems.

Non-Directional Beacons 'Vector Series' 

We are agents for Nautel of Canada who, for over 35 years, have provided the lowest cost of ownership by making reliable products and supporting them with the industry's best customer service. Nautel are also one of the worlds' leading broadcast transmitter manufacturers and this heritage is apparent in the build quality and reliability of their products.

Nautel's 'Vector series' of NDB aviation transmitters dramatically improve system effectiveness and feature a range of models with outputs from 10W to 2KW. The Vector NDBs feature state-of-the-art digital technology including extensive remote control capability and operate on a frequency range of 190 kHz to 535 kHz with up to 1800 kHz of additional extended frequency. The Vector range can be wall or floor mounted and are compliant with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Industry Canada, RTTE, FCC and ANATEL standards.

Antenna Tuning Units (ATUs) supplied with the Vector range feature both automatic reactance matching and automatic resistance matching, meaning that field strength remains constant even when varying environmental conditions and ground conductivity would seriously compromise conventional NDB systems.

It’s Time to Invest in NDBs

Many airfield operators continue to struggle on with old and unreliable equipment, expecting the NDB to become a redundant Navaid. However, with the UK wide DVOR rationalisation project underway, many DVOR guidance facilities will either be withdrawn or become unsupported, therefore an NDB will be the only means of navigating to Airports and conducting an approach for an aircraft not GPS equipped. Now is the time to consider a replacement. Systems Interface will be pleased to provide a budgetary quote for a modern, reliable trouble-free system.

For further information on our NDBs (Non-Directional Beacons), please fill out enquiry form online or call our team on +44 (0)1483 267 066.

VECTOR NDB Series Features & Technical summary

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ISO 9001 : 2015 accredited organisation
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