ADS-B For Canada: Diversity TXP, Still

The uAvionix tailBeaconX is still a top pick for Canada's looming space-based ADS-B mandate.

In the June 2022 Aviation Consumer, I wrote about the ADS-B requirements for Canada and their implications for both domestic and international aircraft. 

Over a year later, the same key issues for pilots flying in Canadian airspace exist, including when to equip, what the hardware requirements are (they are different than the U.S.), what the ADS-B rule airspace will look like and whether ADS-B In will exist, as it does in the U.S. Here’s a refresh.


According to U.S.-based uAvionix, there are more than 40,000 and 120,000 U.S. aircraft equipped with 978 MHz UAT and 1090 MHz respectively. The majority of these systems won’t comply with the coming Canadian mandate. For those wanting to cross the border, that will mean a trip to the avionics shop (many for a rip and replace installation) for an equipment upgrade—including a dual-antenna Diversity-based ADS-B Out transponder. Yes, that’ll be a big investment that already has aircraft owners still recovering from the costs of U.S. ADS-B upgrades looking toward AOPA, EAA, RAA and other GA advocacy groups’ ability to create an exemption for U.S.-registered aircraft with NAV Canada.  

One thought is that NAV Canada might allow U.S.-registered aircraft to utilize a portable 1090 MHz ADS-B Out transmitter similar to uAvionix’s SkyEcho 3-watt 1090 ADS-B Out (and In) transmitter. This approach would not be unlike Transport Canada’s exemption for foreign aircraft to carry portable 406 MHz beacons for the Canadian 406 ELT mandate. Note that the SkyEcho product is not approved for use in the U.S.


The timelines for implementation by NAV Canada have not really changed, but like the U.S. mandate, the equipage mandate can sneak up on you, and with shop backlogs still an issue, waiting until the last minute could have consequences just as it did with the U.S. mandate. As it stands now you’ll need to be equipped to fly in Class A Canadian airspace on Aug. 10, 2023, and Class B Canadian airspace on May 16, 2024; Class C, D and E are slated to occur no sooner than 2026—and will be determined pending further assessment.  

Bernard Gervais (former COPA CEO and president, now a consultant with uAvionix) has been in discussions with NAV Canada and reports that NAV Canada is not ready for a 2026 implementation.

NAV Canada reports that its current ADS-B focus is with the successful deployment in Class A and B airspace. Jeff Dawson, assistant vice president, Operational Support, NAV Canada, seems realistic.

“The valuable input we have received from our stakeholders and partners on the Canadian ADS-B mandate indicates that later dates for the mandate requirement for other classes of airspace are warranted as the industry continues to navigate the ongoing impacts to supply chains due to the pandemic,” he said. Dawson also reports that what the agency is seeing in terms of equipage is very encouraging, as equipage rates in Class A airspace are above 95 percent, while those in Class B airspace are growing steadily. 

NAV Canada says that as we get closer to 2026, a process of consultation with key stakeholders, like AOPA and COPA, will occur to refine the dates and other aspects of ADS-B for Class C, D and E airspace. Further, they are examining the need for ground stations to augment the Aireon space-based ADS-B network and say that their position regarding 978 MHz UAT has not changed (they will not implement that system). They are investigating the possibility of delivering traffic and weather data through other means. Outside of controlled airspace, the potential ADS-B electronic conspicuity could provide another layer of safety over and above see and be seen.


From a hardware perspective, an aircraft must be equipped with an appropriate transponder with ADS-B Out capabilities and performance with the applicable standard of Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) DO-260B, “Minimum Operational Performance Standards,” or newer; and have antenna capability for broadcast toward space-based ADS-B receivers emitting 1090 MHz extended squitter. 

This requirement can be met either through antenna Diversity (the use of a top and bottom L-band antenna) or with a single antenna that can transmit both toward the ground and up toward satellites. Not much has changed over the past few years in terms of vendors. Garmin’s $8995 GTX 345D (and the older 330D ES) transponders both support antenna Diversity, but also require a WAAS GPS position source. L3Harris’ Lynx NGT-9000D smart transponder and uAvionix tailBeaconX remote transponder are other alternatives.

The $2499 uAvionix tailBeaconX meets the minimum antenna requirements with its single antenna design. The tailBeaconX is designed to replace the navigation (position) light at the rear of the aircraft and includes an ADS-B 1090 MHz transmitter, a WAAS GPS, Wi-Fi and a 20,000-hour-rated LED position light. With a single dipole antenna, the tailBeaconX is able to transmit to both satellite and ground-based ADS-B Out infrastructures, making it usable in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The remote-mounted tailBeaconX is designed to replace your existing transponder. To control it, the uAvionics AV-30 and AV-20 control heads will work. Installation is relatively simple, but can require teardown to install the interface wiring between the tailBeacon and the control head. We covered the AV-30 extensively in Aviation Consumer, most recently in the May 2022 issue. 

Given its unique design, some owners and potential buyers have been concerned about hanger rash to the tailBeaconX’s antenna when installed at the rear of the fuselage (as opposed to the top of the rudder). Marc Thompson, a Van’s RV owner, shared the same concern. He designed a 3D-printed hard cover that fits over tailBeaconX, protecting the antenna. You can contact him for more information at [email protected]. 

Keep in mind that the uAvionix tailBeaconX is an ADS-B Out device only and it won’t receive weather or traffic data. But there are plenty of solutions for that, including a variety of portable ADS-B In devices, like ForeFlight’s Sentry receiver line or Garmin’s GDL 51/52 series ADS-B In and Sirius XM receivers, to name a couple. Adding an AV-30-C control head/EFIS in a bundle increases the cost to $4598, plus installation  Already own a uAvionics tailBeacon? At press time the company is offering a $1000 to $1200 trade-in allowance when upgrading to a tailBeaconX.

L3Harris ( makes the Lynx NGT-9000 line of smart ADS-B transponders (and sold through Avidyne), which take a software approach to the mandate. The color touchscreen transponder has been around for a number of years and is shipped with all the appropriate hardware ready to enable new functionality through a software license purchase. The NGT series transponders are equipped with ADS-B Out using 1090 MHz, ADS-B In using both 1090 and 978 MHz, built-in WAAS GPS, plus Wi-Fi to view ADS-B traffic and weather on iOS and Android smart devices and apps. There’s also a version with the L3 SkyWatch chip, providing transponder-based active traffic alerts. For the Canadian mandate, the “D” model with antenna Diversity is standard and priced at $8946 through Avidyne.


Canada’s ADS-B environment is Out only and does not provide traffic or weather information (as the U.S. system does using ADS-B In via UAT). Essentially, it’s like going  back to flying before the invention of tablet-based weather and traffic. Old school—contact a Flight Service Station to receive the latest METAR and TAF for specific airports. For pilots flying more sophisticated aircraft, there’s also onboard ship’s weather radar.

The Canadian In-flight Information Broadcasting Association (CFIB), a not-for-profit organization, has developed an affordable ADS-B ground station designed to be deployed by airports, flying clubs and individuals to push ADS-B traffic to ADS-B In receivers. To date, CFIB has implemented ground stations at six airports (with five pending installation). Like many organizations during the pandemic, their deployment activities suffered due to component shortages. This has led to the development of the next-generation ground station. Their current economic model sees the site paying a one-time fee of $2000 and an annual fee of $2000, both in Canadian dollars.

In CFIB’s model, they own the hardware and obtain the necessary Innovation Science Economic Development Canada (ISED) communications license to legally broadcast ADS-B signals. With roughly 1987 airports in Canada, CFIB’s biggest challenge will be scaling to meet the demand. Hats off to CFIB to pick up a gap that the Canadian government and NAV Canada should be filling. As well, uAvionix has been quietly working with Transport Canada and NAV Canada testing an ADS-B broadcast ground station, with the goal of deploying these ground stations at airports and delivering ADS-B In signals with traffic and weather to aircraft equipped with ADS-B In UAT receivers.


For those who haven’t equipped yet, uAvionix’s solution will be the least expensive.  However, if your aircraft is equipped with Garmin tech such as a G1000 or G500, you might be cornered into an all-Garmin solution. Legacy non-WAAS G1000 owners have a different set of economics to consider. The cost to upgrade a G1000 to WAAS can be north of $30,000. In this case, uAvionix’s solution might be the more affordable option. 

With the amount of uncertainty created by NAV Canada for GA pilots operating in Class C, D and E airspace, but who wish to fly in the U.S. (through ADS-B rule airspace), implementing the least-cost solution and taking a wait and see approach will allow Diversity costs to be differed into the future. 

Aviation Consumer regular contributor Phil Lightstone flies a Rockwell Commander based in Canada.