How to read coverage area on SinAware

I am new to Vatsim and want to fly with ATC to practice speaking to someone. I look at the SinAware website and it shows which area what coverage but in some locations it is just “A” which I am assuming is ATIS. And in some locations, there is a area marked but has no indication of any alphabets. How do I read this?

Another related question. I flew from MPBO to MROC recently. MPBO is uncontrolled, so I announced by intentions on 122.8 and took off. On xPilot, I saw that there was someone online at Centre in MROC with a frequency. Following the top down approach, should I have contacted Centre MROC or just use 122.8 until I am closer to MROC and contact Tower there?

You can interpret SimAware as follows:

  • yellow A = an ATIS is available for this airport
  • blue D = a Delivery controller is connected at this airport
  • green G = a Ground controller is connected at this airport
  • red T = a Tower controller is connected at this airport

These are the aerodrome stations. You could also come across a Ramp controller at some point, but I have no clue if/how SimAware displays those because it is a very new station type and I have not yet seen this station being used anywhere.
For radar/procedural stations you will find:

  • blue outline = a departure/approach controller is online for this airspace
  • white outline = an enroute controller is online for this airspace

To figure out who you need to call, you need to be aware of your position as well as what airspace a controller covers. In some cases this is easy, in some cases it isn’t, but it always requires that you are aware of your own position. But at the bottom of your screen, right of the ATC icon which you have already turned on to see the online controllers, there is an icon resembling glasses. If you click here, the display will change to more accurate data which allows you to view accurate sector boundaries based on level (change the level with the up and down arrow keys, you can see the currently selected level in the top left corner), but this more accurate data is unfortunately not available for all airspaces, so make sure to always crosscheck with the basic display that you get when selecting the ATC icon.
But in some places around the world, radar controllers also prefer to send you a contact me if and when they need you on their frequency (unless you can be certain that this is the case wherever you flying, the rule of making contact proactively still applies, though).

As for your second question: as I’m not sure which airport you are referring to by MPBO (that ICAO airport code doesn’t exist), I can’t tell you whether you should have called the center controller in this case. However, since it seems like you didn’t get a contact me message from the controller, you probably weren’t supposed to talk to them.
I can also tell you that the stations appearing in your controller client are just the stations that you are in range of. Particularly center controllers will have a very large range and will appear even if they are very far away and will never be responsible for you during your flight. To figure out who you have to talk to, you ultimately have to look at a map tool like SimAware and potentially your charts.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. That is very useful.

The airport I was referring to is MPBO (JOSE EZEQUIEL). it is both on XP12 and Simbrief.

Huh, I guess I must have mistyped that multiple times then when trying to look it up - sorry for that :sweat_smile:

But then - according to the VATGlasses sector data - you didn’t have to call the controller covering MROC because they will never cover Panamanian airspace.