I recently received a query from Lew, N4CO in Beaufort about F-35 frequencies and since it was something I’ve been thinking about lately, I thought it would be a good topic for a blog post. For those that aren’t familiar, the USMC training squadron for the F-35B, VMFAT-501 is in the process of moving to MCAS Beaufort from Eglin AFB. They currently only have a few of the F-35Bs at MCAS Beaufort but as the year goes by, those numbers will increase until all 20 of the squadrons aircraft are at Beaufort. Because not all of the squadron’s aircraft are at Beaufort yet there hasn’t been heavy activity from the squadron, making it hard to pick up any squadron frequencies. As a result, I can only pass on one frequency that I’ve heard in use; the rest of it is potential frequencies from a pool of those used by squadrons previously based at MCAS Beaufort.
In order to catch the F-35Bs, the first thing you need to know is what callsign they’re using. I’ve caught them a few times going back and forth between Beaufort for demonstrations before they started the move. At that point, they were using the callsign SWEDE. I suspect it will remain the same during and after the move. There are three types of frequencies to listen to in order to catch the F-35Bs. The first group is the air traffic control frequencies that they’ll when going back and forth between the Air Station and the training areas. The second set of frequencies is the training area frequencies. Third are the squadron’s Base and air-to-air frequencies. The first two sets are already known but the third set of frequencies will be found through searching while the jets are in the air. There is one exception for the third set – during flights back and forth between Elgin and Beaufort, I’ve heard them use 289.950; whether that frequency will be used now that they’re based at Beaufort remains to be seen.
- 342.675 – Tower
- 328.425 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
- 292.125 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
Training Area Frequencies
- 284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
- 313.700 – SEALORD North Secondary
- 349.800 – W-157 Discrete
- 376.900 – W-157 Discrete
- 385.300 – W-157 Discrete
- 228.400 – Townsend Range
- 252.900 – Townsend Range
As I mentioned above, for the most part all I can do is speculate for squadron frequencies other one air-to-air frequency that’s been heard prior to the move. That doesn’t mean that it will be used after the move but it’s worth listening out for. The rest of the frequencies below have been used by squadrons formerly based at MCAS Beaufort or previously used by other squadrons based at Beaufort.
Potential Base Frequencies
Potential Air-to-Air Frequencies
- 289.950 – heard used by VMFAT-501 prior to move to MCAS Beaufort
I hope these help Lew and others that are and will be listening out for the F-35s. Since the VMFAT-501 is the Fleet Replacement Squadron, I expect heavy activity from them once their fully established at Beaufort which means it shouldn’t take long to search out their squadron frequencies. I’m excited that the F-35 FRS is going to be based at Beaufort and look forward to being able to listen to them as the Marine Corps works up their new aircraft!