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By riverrock
Depends where you are as to whether a traffic service is available to you. Where I've been doing most of my flying, there is no radar coverage. The controlled airport that I fly from automatically puts us on a basic service once outside their airspace. You have to be flying pretty high to be able to get a traffic service from them (and then you have to ask for it).

I suppose the question is - when a traffic service is available (as in you are high enough to get radar coverage and there is a provider nearby) - is there any reason not to ask for it? How often are people refused?

PCAS is only useful if the other aircraft has a working transponder, and is being pinged by someone else, either a TCAS unit or a ground radar station. If there is a ground radar station pinging it - then a traffic service might be available...
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By Timothy
ROG's encounter was in an area covered by Farnborough and Southend Radars. I'd be surprised if neither could offer a Traffic service.

ROG, did you ask for one, and if not, why not?
Tim--was about to contact southend radar when it occured. about 12 miles out. -we were listening out to SND radar.--as we have mode s guess they didn"t notice or were busy.--they give a good service and I know most of the guys there very well. i did have a word on landing---decided not to take further. As dutch said --these things happen----we will probably invest in a warning system--so it will add to safety --an enhancement to our xmas tree lights.
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By Timothy

You'll only get Traffic if you ask for it. I would ask for it at the edge of DOC.
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By GrahamB
riverrock wrote: If there is a ground radar station pinging it - then a traffic service might be available...

Not necessarily. Your transponder will respond to being pinged by radar heads well out of normal range.

I'm based at Welshpool, and our single local LARS provider, Shawbury, doesn't operate outside of the normal working week, yet as soon as I'm airborne at a weekend my transponder display clearly indicates that it is being swept by multiple radar heads.
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By KNT754G
I am surprised by the quote above about BS being "imposed" when you leave the zone.
Unless there is an agreement in place locally then ATC are mandated to ask what service you require.

At Blackpool we have an agreement with all of the local clubs that if they are on a local trip (landing back at base) they will get BS unless they ask for something different, if they depart for a landaway they should be asked what service required.

I am likewise surprised by the number of pilots who listen out on a local frequency expecting to get an almost total picture of what is around by hearing what the other pilots say. You are not going to hear anything from the other pilots who are doing exactly what you are doing!

Next surprise, there are still way too many ATCOs fudging the division between basic and traffic service, one of the prime reasons for the change, and far too many pilots expecting traffic information on a basic service - I hereby serve notice, you won't get traffic info from me on a basic!
By James Chan
is there any reason not to ask for it?

I think one reason is for the student or newly qualified pilots who may need to focus on learning / improving core cockpit tasks (e.g. flying straight and level and keeping a good lookout) while not being distracted by increased radio workload. I didn't make use of radio / ATC services till many hours into my training.

Another reason might be that some don't want the extra radio workload from certain units giving traffic reports when planes are simply too far away to see (4-6 miles?) and/or have no alt-readout. They may never end up seeing them to avoid them.