Contact ATC while on intercom

Hi, today I did my first ever flight on VATSIM and I have a question,
After I departed, my ATC controller told me to go on unicom on 122.8, which I did. I waited and checked my unicom but I did not receive any ,contact me’’ message, and because I did not know who to contact, I ended up completing my flight without ATC.
My question is: how do I know who and when to contact when I am on unicom?
And what do I say to the controller once I contact them?

PS: my flight was LROP-EDDB and the only controllers were at LROP, LOWW and EDDB

UNICOM was implemented on the network to give some predictability to radio usage when there’s no ATC online. It really should be referred to as a CTAF, common traffic advisory frequency, since that’s what is more aligned with the intended use.

UNICOM is not as useful when you’re enroute and cruising in the flight levels, but it is essential when you’re departing from or approaching an airport–especially the busy ones. Self-announce your callsign/aircraft type, position, altitude, and intentions gives everyone else the awareness that you’re there and what you’re about to do.

If you’re on UNICOM and on the ground, check your pilot client or any one of the handy VATSIM ATC awareness programs, like VatSpy or Vattastic, to see if you might be at an airport that’s covered. You’ll also want to have charts to help you figure out if your airport is covered by a certain facility, and also because a lot of ATC expectations are published on charts and not explicitly stated by controllers.

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But what do I do if I am cruising am I am on unicom but no one said to contact them?

Do I contact The nearest controller in range myself?

Luca, Welcome. ATC will tell you it is up to you to contact a Controller as you enter their area of control. This means that as a pilot you always need to monitor your location and published ATC boundaries. There are several ways of seeing ATC boundaries, VATSpy, Volanta, VATSIM who’s Online, etc.

Some Controllers will send you a ‘Contact Me’ message to alter you that you have entered their area of control.

Basically if the area is controlled by a controller then you must be on their frequency, otherwise you are on 122.800 (what we call UNICOM) and pilots negotiate collision avoidance.

Outside of a controlled area, there is little negotiation or communication as it doesn’t really matter because we should have Crash Detection turned off on the network.

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Thanks a lot for the info.
I have one more question: Let’s enter a controlled airspace and I contact the frequency myself without someone telling me to contact them. What do I say when I enter their frequency?

If you’re enroute you could contact center with a transmission like: “Copenhagen Center, Scandinavian 123 at FL350 inbound GESKA”.
If you contact App it could be like: “Copenhagen Approach, Scandinavian 123 FL150 on the MONAK3C arrival”.
If it is tower, then “Kastrup Tower, Scandinavian 123 on the ILS rwy 22L”.

If flying VFR it would be callsign altitude/FL and position.
There might be local differencies, but nothing major.

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Thanks, that really helps:).

Hi Luca,

A great resource to become familiar with is the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). See the chapters on ATC and Airspace to get comfortable with VATSIM procedures. A good way to think about communication requirements is to think of anyplace that doesn’t have ATC coverage (I use the VATSPY app for this) as Class E airspace.

The AIM can be accessed online at .

Have fun and keep learning.

I would highly recommend not reading the US AIM if you are trying to learn how to fly properly in Europe (as OP does).

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