Hey friends. I am needing a way to control and light up my strip for night landings. My runway is short, on an increasing uphill slope, and is definitely one-way. I am getting the lighting the way I want it, but need a way to turn it on from the plane. There used to be two companies that made simple PCL switches, but from my understanding, both have gone out of business.       http://www.hamtronics.com/r123.htm

The commercial companies want ~$2k, but I am not willing to invest that amount. I can sweet-talk my wife into driving down to the strip and manually turning on the lights instead of spending that much money.

I am not opposed to building my own circuit for this, but I'd rather not have to also take the time to engineer it. Anyone have a schematic?

I'd rather just buy a simple radio controlled switch (do not need the multiple light brightness outputs). Do you all have any suggestions on getting a non-commercial grade PCL switch?


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Something like this? 

It has a 20 amp relay that can be controlled from ~1000ft LOS with an antenna key FOB  to turn on your lights also it can be programmed for timer operations. 

Up to 40 key fobs for a single receiver.  fobs run $60 receiver is less than $200.  looks like a fun project. 


You would have to make a weatherproof enclosure for the receiver not to hard. 

Do you have access to a cell phone in the cockpit, with an Internet connection, you could use a smart plug devices such as two Tuya or some other brands, to activate his circuit at home with using the app over the Internet.

Another thought would be a remote control airplanes servo connected to a relay. Although I’m not sure if the range would be sufficient.

Thanks for the replies.

My setup is all solar charged 12v. I looked at the smart phone switches, but it is too far from our house (internet) and would require a long-range signal broadcast/receiver and a router at the runway in order to make the switch work.

The key fob is a good idea, but I'd like to keep it airplane radio-controlled if possible.

I may have to revisit these two options again if I can't come up with something else though.

Thanks again and I welcome more ideas!

Howdy Jon,

Wag-aero used to have complete runway lighting kits, that I thought also contained a VHF receiver controller, but I don't read the description that way now. Might be worth checking into.



CH701 scratch-mostly

N 38.9940

W 105.1305

Alt.  9,100'

Check out gsm-auto.com. This is a cell phone Controlled relay. Controlled via the cell network and a SIM card, not wifi. You call it’s number and it activates the relay. Looks reasonably priced too. Only down side is that you would need to add a line of service to you cell carrier, but usually an add on line isn’t too bad. Worth a look.

I use one of these cell phone switches to turn on my oil pan heater in the winter.  I use a T-Mobile simcard and the cost is $10 every 3 months.  It works great.  If I'm going to fly I turn it on the night before with a phone call...you can program each call to make the device stay on or turn off when you want.

I followed RV builder Mike Bullock's design: http://www.rvplane.com/?categoryid=7&dayid=1005

He later upgraded to 4G capability which it sounds like I may have to do as well: http://rvplane.com/?categoryid=10000&dayid=1379

This past summer I purchased some solar garden lights at the dollar store. They have a switch that will make them only white or can be switched for a red and green alternating. At the time I thought they would be good for a small strip lighting, because they are solar you could leave on all the time as the have a sensor and turn off in the day light and turn on a dusk.
Windtek also makes a VHF control module, although I’m not sure how expensive it is.....


Windtek also makes a VHF control module, although I’m not sure how expensive it is.....





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