SureCheck has come out with a new portable traffic awareness product that it calls TrafficScope VRX. The unit is a passive one, meaning that it doesn't interrogate other transponders but simply listens for their replies. Range information-that is, how far away the intruder aircraft is-is derived from the strength of the transponder signal and other algorithms, including altitude. The unit gets its altitude from an internal pressure sensor and from the airplane's own Mode C replies, which it monitors along with other airplanes' transponder signals. Other airplanes' altitude is derived from their Mode C transponders.
The portable unit can be placed on the glareshield, or it can be panel mounted. It's powered by either batteries or via an adapter cable; it also has a detachable antenna that can be extended with a cable. Panel-mount installations can use a permanently mounted transponder antenna.
At around $1,200, the TrafficScope VRX is around 20 times less costly than TSO'd panel-mount options, but it has strong limitations, too. Unlike active products, range shown on the VRX is an approximation only. Furthermore, it doesn't show bearing.
TrafficScope VRX is available now. For more information about it, visit www.surecheckaviation.com, or call 888/340-8055.