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Railroad/Railfan Monitoring Forum This is the place to discuss monitoring railroad communications.

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Old 02-23-2012, 1:05 AM
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Nah... I included the RCO repeater.


We have a quieter system here. It only talks for a man down.

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Last edited by burner50; 02-24-2012 at 12:28 PM..
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Old 02-23-2012, 5:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by com501 View Post
Your forgot the robo switcher, which almost always seems to have a 'brake recovery failure'.
I live in the Toledo area and hear this in the daytime almost constantly on one freq. I wonder sometimes if the brakes ever do recover successfully! I almost always can hear both the locos and the dispatcher on the 161.070 main NS road channel, and on 160.230, I hear CSX locos all the time too.
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Old 03-05-2012, 3:35 PM
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I suspect there is a problem with the antenna installation. Either a coax connection problem (i.e. center conductor shorted to ground) or a bad connection to the radio or antenna. Being only 5 miles from the tracks (assuming the antenna is not shadowed by another building or terrain), the outdoor antenna should be able to receive the trains transmitting within a 15 to 20 mile range. I have in the past, forgot to connect my coax to the antenna lead and could still hear the dispatcher but nothing else. That's due to the dispatcher radio having a higher transmit wattage than the train radios. Check the connections and test the coax for shorting between the shield and center conductor with a multi-meter. Disconnect the coax from the radio and antenna before testing. Another way to check the base installation is to use a hand-held radio or vehicle mounted mobile to compare reception performance. See if train traffic can be received outside of the house with the hand-held or mobile radio. If it can, then that would prove there is a problem with home base installation.
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Old 03-06-2012, 2:58 PM
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One other thing to add to my previous post is that the frequency being used to monitor UP's Marysville Sub should be 160.515 (Ch 27). Is this the frequency being monitored? I copied the small portion of the actual Marysville Sub Timetable showing the radio display for that territory. The *24 is the radio DTMF quence to tone up the dispatcher.


MARYSVILLE SUBDIVISION (0220)
Radio Display:
Upland to Gibbon Jct. - 27 27- *24
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd6ptt View Post
I suspect there is a problem with the antenna installation. Either a coax connection problem (i.e. center conductor shorted to ground) or a bad connection to the radio or antenna. Being only 5 miles from the tracks (assuming the antenna is not shadowed by another building or terrain), the outdoor antenna should be able to receive the trains transmitting within a 15 to 20 mile range.

You're making one very big assumption here...


You're assuming that the trains are transmitting while in range of his setup. This is not always the case... sometimes they go for hundreds of miles without using the radio.


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Old 03-07-2012, 2:41 PM
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I'm not assuming anything. At some point in time on a daily basis there will be trains transmitting within the range of the outdoor antenna or a mobile or handheld radio. I was suggesting other possibilities as to why the transmissions from the trains was not being received and a method of checking the system. Although I have not been near UP's Marysville Sub, I have been to many busy CTC territories like the Marysville Sub and have never experienced a lack of radio chatter no matter where I was located along the line. There are always issues with signals, train meets, mechanical problems, and maintenance of way work where radio traffic is generated. I would agree that radio traffic could be sparse if the Marysville Sub was some secondary line with only a half dozen trains operating on a daily basis, but it's not.
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Old 03-07-2012, 7:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd6ptt View Post
I'm not assuming anything. At some point in time on a daily basis there will be trains transmitting within the range of the outdoor antenna or a mobile or handheld radio. I was suggesting other possibilities as to why the transmissions from the trains was not being received and a method of checking the system. Although I have not been near UP's Marysville Sub, I have been to many busy CTC territories like the Marysville Sub and have never experienced a lack of radio chatter no matter where I was located along the line. There are always issues with signals, train meets, mechanical problems, and maintenance of way work where radio traffic is generated. I would agree that radio traffic could be sparse if the Marysville Sub was some secondary line with only a half dozen trains operating on a daily basis, but it's not.
What i believe you've experienced is being near a busy terminal or crew change location. As far as train meets, this is double track all the way. Mechanical Problems? Should be pretty rare since most of these engines just left major terminals with large amounts of mechanical forces. Maintenance of Way? Again, mobile units, in rural nebraska, and UP had been using laptops to issue authority to MOW for some time now. Hearing T&T authority being granted is not as common as it once was.

We're talking about 2MT CTC in rural Nebraska. Trains can pass each other all day every day and not say a word. Been there, done that. Its not like its TWC where everybody has verbal hand copied authority, the dispatcher presses a few buttons, and trains move.

There should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 trains per day in that area, and odds are you're not going to hear many of them in that area. There is nothing there... no yards, no busy industries, no busy interlockings, just thru traffic.

To really test your setup, you'll have to try something a little more consistent than the railroad. Try grabbing some NOAA weather and see how far out you can get that. Try other things than trains who may or may not be talking.

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Old 03-07-2012, 9:54 PM
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Some of the busy subdivisions I'm referring to are the BNSF Needles Sub, Cajon Sub (some 3 MT CTC located in rural areas), UP Martinez Sub (over 100 miles of 2MT CTC) in the middle of the Sacramento Valley area, and portions of UP's Yuma Sub, all have very active radio traffic and are located in relatively rural areas. Rural area or not, it doesn't preclude the standard operating problems that active subdivisions encounter, thus the corresponding radio chatter. As for train meets, even with multi-track CTC, dispatchers will hold slower trains so that faster or higher priority trains are run around them especially if there is opposing train traffic. As for engine service, I live only a few miles from Roseville, CA with a large yard and engine servicing facility that do major overhauls and FRA inspections. Yet the power serviced there does have problems after departing the yard and there are frequent calls to UP Mechanical for help. Addressing the mobile computer maintenance of way track and time etc. requests. UP uses that system here too, yet there is considerable radio traffic regarding these types of requests and releases. We can speculate all we want about what the Marysville Sub radio traffic is like. Without being there first-hand, I'll never know. However, unless it's some magical smooth running and trouble free subdivision hosting 50 plus trains a day, I can only imagine that it would be no different than any other busy subdivision I have been to.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:00 PM
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Overheard this morning from MOW on 78/78 Roseville Sub:

"Pick me up a couple of burritos for breakfast on your way out here."

There is ALWAYS some kind of radio chatter, even if its only a 1 watt detector.
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Old 03-08-2012, 3:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd6ptt View Post
Some of the busy subdivisions I'm referring to are the BNSF Needles Sub, Cajon Sub (some 3 MT CTC located in rural areas), UP Martinez Sub (over 100 miles of 2MT CTC) in the middle of the Sacramento Valley area, and portions of UP's Yuma Sub, all have very active radio traffic and are located in relatively rural areas. Rural area or not, it doesn't preclude the standard operating problems that active subdivisions encounter, thus the corresponding radio chatter. As for train meets, even with multi-track CTC, dispatchers will hold slower trains so that faster or higher priority trains are run around them especially if there is opposing train traffic. As for engine service, I live only a few miles from Roseville, CA with a large yard and engine servicing facility that do major overhauls and FRA inspections. Yet the power serviced there does have problems after departing the yard and there are frequent calls to UP Mechanical for help. Addressing the mobile computer maintenance of way track and time etc. requests. UP uses that system here too, yet there is considerable radio traffic regarding these types of requests and releases. We can speculate all we want about what the Marysville Sub radio traffic is like. Without being there first-hand, I'll never know. However, unless it's some magical smooth running and trouble free subdivision hosting 50 plus trains a day, I can only imagine that it would be no different than any other busy subdivision I have been to.

Not that I want to argue with somebody who is clearly an expert and spent several hours "trackside" watching trains, but it is entirely feasible for there to be no traffic from a locomotive in the area that the OP is listening from.

What you're talking about is Southern California... Not rural Nebraska... Very different situations.

50 trains per day approximately means a little over two per hour... Maybe one each direction by the original posters location. Assuming that he can listen to just the road channel for three hours per day, he might hear six to eight trains near his location.

If you don't think that 8 trains per day can pass a certain location without talking on the radio, I have news for you. As far as maintenance of way, they aren't very active during a Nebraska winter, and track inspectors almost all have the ability to get their authority sent to their laptop. Mechanical problems? Not nearly as common as you might think. This is all assuming that you are actively listening and not scanning by... And anyway, the original poster already said that he could hear some MOW chatter...

It is not that far of a stretch to think that maybe these trains simply aren't communicating. UP dispatchers don't run trains around based on speed, they make these moves for higher priority trains. USUALLY "Z" trains, which have a scheduled time that they are supposed to leave their initial terminal (such a North Platte). The westbound Z train used to get into my terminal daily at around 0430am.

I agree that some troubleshooting is in order, but he should figure out his capabilities before he starts changing things based on the advice of people on the internet.

My opinion is that you are making too many assumptions in your diagnosis of a problem and that further testing is required.
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Last edited by burner50; 03-08-2012 at 3:52 AM..
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