RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Service Specific Monitoring > Railroad/Railfan Monitoring Forum

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

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #41 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2016, 6:25 PM
PJH's Avatar
PJH PJH is offline
Global Database Admin
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,288
Default

I'll throw this out here as well based on the last information I have and how railroads work (class 1's).

I'll use the two big western ones as an example, and in general terms and not site specific.

BNSF's radio system is setup with with selective tower calling. Although a subdivision may run 400 miles onnhe same radio channel, based on RF progragation and terrain, BNSF assigns each radio tower a DTMF code. Once this code is heard, the tower will send out an acknowledgement tone and at the same time send an alert command to the dispatch center operator position. This will place a "call" indication on the tower that was alerted.

On the UP, same distance may be involved. However the UP uses a dispatcher DTMF code. When transmitting this code it is heard by all towers and a comparator votes on which tower is best receiving the transmission and routes that to the dispatcher as described above.

Currently there are no working products that work as a comparator on NXDN systems in this sense. Kenwood does have a system using the conventional IP network solutions but uses satellite recievers to accomplish this. However this is using a repeater operation and thus does not work in a railroad environment. This also does not help in the territories that use long Train repeater for train crews.

Now you also have the issue of alerting the dispatcher when you need to talk to them. How are going to properly selective call the correct tower and dispatcher? How many codes will be required and be acknowledged per site? The BNSF have multiple codes per tower depending if you want to talk to the dispatcher, help desk, police, etc.

To further expand that, you now have to deal with a dispatcher talking to one train and at the same time another train in the distance setting out a car. The dispatcher radio will wipe out and comms of that crew. Most rules require that work on the mainline remain on the road channel. With analog comms - although annoying a crew can still work around this. Digital it's all or nothing - so that doesn't really work either.

So moving along, you have trackside defect detectors (a lot of them) that would also need to be converted. Most modern ones use manufactured radios by the suppliers. No longer (in many cases) is a mobile radio just "plugged in" to the detectors. It's a custom built radio. So now you need to have them come up with a NXDN compatible radio at additional costs. Several railroad also employ a radio recall mode so if the train cannot hear the results the first time a DTMF sequence is used to get it to talk again.

Most railroads also employ radio power switches and derails in yards. Guess how they are controlled? DTMF - and many with long sequences. Several railroads also use these on main lines under TWC.

BNSF in Montana and Idaho still maintains legacy radio systems with telephone interconnect. How will that be intergrated in?

In a simplex operation, there is presently no good solution to replace simplex voice communications in a wide area operation. In order to do this, you'd be looking at the nations largest private SMR by area and users. That comes with a tremendous cost - with presently no good solution.

These are issues that came up in committee that were not completely explored. Everyone jumped on the digital bandwagon without figuring out how it will actually work out.

There are people working on it, but no viable solution has been developed by the manufactures and nothing is on the horizon at the mkment - without completely reinventing the wheel.
__________________
If you have received a PM from me about a submission, kindly reply within 5 days with requested information or your submission may be rejected. Thanks!
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #42 (permalink)  
Old 12-05-2016, 8:34 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New York North Carolina and all points in between
Posts: 2,053
Default

Quote"
Currently there are no working products that work as a comparator on NXDN systems in this sense.

Icom FR-5000 with the appropriate digital and IP board does this right out of the box, you can designate one station on the network as the comparator it then sends the "voted" by bit error data down the line. Yes it's IP based so you need to have a network capable of the area you want to cover. Icom came in and did a demo with both dispatch consoles for incoming transmissions, and it also could be sent out to a repeater or a base on a different frequency. If I remember correctly that's how Icom built it out for a RR in South America with about a 2000 mile rail freight line. With the Icom you can even set up beaconing to determine which station is the strongest in you area all in digital mode for voted conventional or repeater.

Our radio shop has a wide area IP system, and it can be simplex or repeater. We even send the signal out to non-IP connected repeaters with a control station from IP network.

I in no way would endorse a digital solution for RTC at this time, RR's are very conservative in moving forward with ANY technology. Digital for support services is something I have been pushing for years due to the ability to have 2 channels for one frequency and the IP connect for wide area coverage. Plus the ability to stun or KILL stolen radios, which is a very serious problem with us.

Last edited by radioman2001; 12-05-2016 at 8:40 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #43 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2017, 2:20 PM
motorola_otaku's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Stinkadena, TX
Posts: 553
Default

KCS uses the comparator/site voting setup on the Rosenberg line south of Houston. All of the hardware is Avtec with IP backhaul.

Someone a few posts back mentioned repeaters... they have one or two in Shreveport, and they are CSQ in/out. Everywhere else is standard half-duplex, except for the Tex-Mex line which is straight simplex.
Reply With Quote
  #44 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2017, 2:34 PM
PJH's Avatar
PJH PJH is offline
Global Database Admin
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,288
Default

Hey Josh is back

Yes Avtec is pretty popular. it's not flashy like a Motorola console (in railroad applications) but gets the job done, and works very well.
__________________
If you have received a PM from me about a submission, kindly reply within 5 days with requested information or your submission may be rejected. Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #45 (permalink)  
Old 01-28-2017, 4:25 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 17
Default

All that I know is that at MIdwest Railway Preservation Society here in Cleveland, Ohio we are assigned one frequency, 161.415 AAR087. We use it for all of our communications. When others are in territory, they go to our channel to communicate. Seems to work out for the surrounding railways in the area.
Base radio is a Kenwood TK-730g running about 45 watts into a 5/8 ground plane antenna up about 45 fee fed with LMR-400 cable. Works pretty good down here in the valley.
For more information on us: check out our website and Google Midwest Railway Preservation Society follow the link and take a look at the rebuilt B&O repair shop and all the equipment that we work on. The shop was rescued from being torn down a long time ago. It is also home of a Boston Steamworks Mikado 2 Number 4070 in the process of being repaired for road use.

Last edited by wqtz773; 01-28-2017 at 4:34 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
                          
  #46 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2017, 9:04 PM
motorola_otaku's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Stinkadena, TX
Posts: 553
Default

I have a couple of acquaintances who do radio for KCS. Everything I hear about UP or BNSF is second-hand.

KCS is definitely not interested in NXDN for road channel use in the near or long term. Many of their bases are Motorola Quantars, and they are only being pulled and replaced as they fail. ICOM bases were used on the Rosenberg line but didn't hold up well and are also being replaced. They still have hundreds, if not thousands of ASTRO cleancab radios in service. I wrote their narrow-band codeplug.
Reply With Quote
  #47 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2017, 7:05 AM
burner50's Avatar
The Third Variable
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ft. Worth, TX
Posts: 2,454
Default

Union Pacific radios are being deployed with NXDN enabled. Handheld radios are NX210's, mobiles are NX700's, and locomotive's are equipped with JEM clean cab radios which are literally just a dash mount NX700 or icom equivalent stuffed into a box with a custom interface that literally re-programs the mobile on the fly. Analog only radios are being phased out.


As far as PL tones, many larger yards yards have repeaters in them, but I haven't found any widespread use of PL tones as it interferes more than it helps.
__________________
RadioReference.com Forums Moderator

burner50@radioreference.com
Reply With Quote
  #48 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2017, 7:59 AM
milf's Avatar
Careful, I CAN hear you!
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 10,431
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorola_otaku View Post
I have a couple of acquaintances who do radio for KCS. Everything I hear about UP or BNSF is second-hand.

KCS is definitely not interested in NXDN for road channel use in the near or long term. Many of their bases are Motorola Quantars, and they are only being pulled and replaced as they fail. ICOM bases were used on the Rosenberg line but didn't hold up well and are also being replaced. They still have hundreds, if not thousands of ASTRO cleancab radios in service. I wrote their narrow-band codeplug.
Hmmm why mod all licenses for it if never going to do it? Waste money and time? KCS? Never. Meridian Speedway answers that. KCS is hardcore misers when it comes to when and how to use cash flow. They will do what every other main line RR is doing. They will add new gear for digital and access to the narrowband AAR freqs. They have to interact with CSX, and CN daily in MS and TN. Both of those little tiny agencies are going NXDN and narrowband. All the arguments about it ain't gonna happen, it will be an hundred years, they can not afford to change out fleets/base stations/PBX/blah blah blah... Sorry but the future is now, the change out/upgrades etc are happening now. Yes there are some smaller lines that are not going digital, some that even are going DMR, but the big boys are adding NXDN toys.

Sent from my LG-K330 using Tapatalk
__________________
Admin for AR, IN, LA, MS, and TN
PRO-92, PRO-92B, PRO-96 x 2, BCD396XT, BCD436HP+DMR
HT-1250 LS+, APX6000XE

Last edited by milf; 02-15-2017 at 8:42 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #49 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2017, 8:08 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Heflin, AL
Posts: 77
Default

Sorry if this is a bit off topic. If it offends, please delete. Do any of you remember WABCO railroad radios? Westinghouse Air Brake Co. I happened upon a couple years ago at Dayton. They were modular, sort of. The receiver and transmitter were separate plug in modules. I never fooled with the transmitters much, but those receivers were wonderful. They didn't have PL, if memory serves and I don't remember seeing any convenient way to add it. I even had a xeroxed copy of the manual. They actually worked off 12 volts with a 72 volt converter. They used channel elements that were easy to disassemble and re crystal. The receiver was similar to a MASTR II with single conversion and a really nice crystal filter. And, they had a 5 pole helical resonator preselector too.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #50 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2017, 8:32 AM
milf's Avatar
Careful, I CAN hear you!
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 10,431
Default

WABCO did not need any PL/DPL methods since they were for main road/dispatch use, and basic yard ops where nary a freq had an PL/DPL. Wow most still don't. And yes, they receive amazingly well to be non PLL/triple heterodyne/digital mixed radios right?
__________________
Admin for AR, IN, LA, MS, and TN
PRO-92, PRO-92B, PRO-96 x 2, BCD396XT, BCD436HP+DMR
HT-1250 LS+, APX6000XE
Reply With Quote
  #51 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2017, 10:57 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Heflin, AL
Posts: 77
Default

It seems they had 10 watt audio too. A necessity in a noisy train engine.
Reply With Quote
  #52 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 12:19 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New York North Carolina and all points in between
Posts: 2,053
Default

Quote" Do any of you remember WABCO railroad radios.

I have a stack of WABCO RC-4's radios here, the modules look like Repco but are much larger. Can't say much about them as they were pulled out long before I started here. The front end filter really wasn't that good we tried using them in other applications but the were too wide. They were replaced by Aerotron Concept radios on the AAR tray and they were real junk. We threw out about 100-150 of them brand new in their boxes because they were so bad.I don't they made it more than a year before being pulled and replaced with a custom tray with a Mitrek on it. We reused the 72 v power supply which was pretty much bullet proof, and they lasted over 30 years and were only pulled when NB became mandatory.

PL is for non rail control channels, I tried to get Amtrak to put one in for the North East Corridor and they freaked. A nationwide PL would be nice to mitigate interference complaints by the engineer, and the RTC dispatchers.

Someone mentioned Pl would cause more interference problems then solve. How So?

While frequencies may be nationwide, local operating rules when on another's track must be followed. So putting a PL in a new radio that has around 2-4k channel capability is doable.

Last edited by radioman2001; 02-17-2017 at 12:26 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #53 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 1:53 PM
N9JIG's Avatar
Sheriff
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Far NW Valley
Posts: 3,036
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by radioman2001 View Post
Quote" (some snipped for brevity)
PL is for non rail control channels, I tried to get Amtrak to put one in for the North East Corridor and they freaked. A nationwide PL would be nice to mitigate interference complaints by the engineer, and the RTC dispatchers.

Someone mentioned Pl would cause more interference problems then solve. How So?

While frequencies may be nationwide, local operating rules when on another's track must be followed. So putting a PL in a new radio that has around 2-4k channel capability is doable.
The issue is two-fold. Using a PL for road operations means that either all your locomotive and personal radios have to be set up with a channel or channels for it. CleanCab radios do not normally have easily set PL tones so they would have to be programmed into a memory. If your railroad hosts locomotives from other companies then this is a problem. NS can't expect BNSF to put in a PL tone on their radios for run-thru operations.

The other issue more related to interference is user training. As anyone who manages a two-way radio network of any type and size will attest, training users on operations is difficult. Having them monitor a channel before talking to avoid interfering with co-channel users is all but impossible. Most users have no clue nor do they care to know how this stuff works and trying to get them to follow instructions is a real challenge.

Having a nationwide PL tone would help some of these issues. but would require reprogramming of thousands of radios, probably twice. The first time to add PL to transmit, the second to receive. You can't do it all at once unless every radio is reprogrammed at the same time.
__________________
Rich Carlson, N9JIG
http://www.scannermaster.com
http://www.n9jig.com

http://www.carmachicago.com
Facts are facts but my opinions are my own and may not reflect those of whom I work for.
Reply With Quote
  #54 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2017, 5:09 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New York North Carolina and all points in between
Posts: 2,053
Default

I don't get what's so hard about a separate channel for a particular section of track, my agency has 5 frequencies that the engineer must change to in the coarse of some trips. The radios themselves are certainly capable even an Astro Spectra is 255 modes, Correct me if I am wrong but as an engineer you must pick up you daily form for your trip it has special notices for along the route including frequencies. Our Clean Cab radios don't even have channel numbers just divisions.
As far as training you have to qualify for a section of track so you should know what frequency to use. So instead of punching in 35/35 you select an alpha frequency. This whole PL thing could have been done during narrow banding but it wasn't., and you only need to program the radio once for PL transmit only.. Most of the interference issues occur at base stations, not road equipment.

Quote" If your railroad hosts locomotives from other companies then this is a problem. NS can't expect BNSF to put in a PL tone on their radios for run-thru operations.

Sure you can to be simple about it if you want to operate on a section of track not belonging to you. You must follow the rules of that section by that owner. If that owner decides that you radio must have PL on that channel either you have do it by having a radio with PL or get an engineer from that railroad with his radio with PL to escort you. It's plain and simple and it's done that way every day for things other than PL.

Unfortunately no one has had the guts to force the issue, my agency with my insistance has been trying to get PL on one frequency we constantly get interference on. All of our radios are programmed with PL transmit so all we have to do is throw the switch.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions