Difference between contacting and monitoring frequency?

So today I was listening to KJFK tower and the controller told the planes to monitor ground. Is there a difference between monitoring and contacting a frequency?


Monitoring is just listening, contacting is actually talking on the frequency and letting them know you are there.


Yes. If you are told to contact a frequency you transfer to them and call the controller. If you are just told to monitor then you transfer frequencies but do not say anything until the controller calls you.


When monitoring (ground in this case) a frequency, you are gathering data periodically for other aircraft and airports. Contacting a frequency is literally, contacting the controller.
@DeerCrusher and some of the other pilots could correctly answer this.

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I gave the correct answer 🙄

I thought so. Thanks for the clarification!

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I didn’t see that before. Thanks for making it clearly obvious.


He can still listen and contact the origin freq, is that correct?
Thank you!

No typically they will have you monitor ground after exiting the runway so at that point if you need anything you would be asking ground not tower.

If you land on the a runway (let’s take ord for ex and time to bust out the airport diagram from airnav) 28c. 2 miles from Seika or at Seika approach will tell to switch to tower.

You contact tower. They will clear you to land.

Once you land (you are still on tower) tower will tell “you two rights on Papa hold short of GG MONITOR ground point 9(aka121.9) you read that back and switch to ground. You don’t say anything unless you need to verify taxi instructions. You keep taxing down Papa and ground will get a hold of you and tell you” hold short OR cleared to cross Rwy28R left on N, CONTACT ground point 8 (aka 121.8)" once you start making that left you contact ground and tell them who you are, where you are and where you want to go. At this point they will instruct you to your gate.

Long story short monitor is what it means. Monitor that feq to hear you flight or tail number. Hope that helps :)

Pretty much what @Brandon_Sandstrom said, but I understand things better as examples and visuals. That’s just me though.

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