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BART and talk groups

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cquirk

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So I can monitor BART on my PRO 107 which works fine. I notice that there are signs at various BART stations refering to talk groups, these are visible to the training operator and say things like entering Group C Talk group. I am guessing these are for defining the areas that radio system covers and keeps the chatter down by regionalizing the communications

Anyone know what talk group would be linked to certain radio channels?

Yeah I know it is trunked system making it challenging
 

PCTEK

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BART Radio

I live very close to a local BART station. On my 396XT, when indoors, I can barely pickup thier transmission. I'm wondering if the BART transmission power is low due to how many channels they have and the close proximaty.
 

WayneH

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BART uses only directional antennas on its station towers that TX the signal in the direction of the track. Due to the high gain the signal is very focused in a certain direction. I'm able to get them from the Dublin station transmitter out in the Valley because of this. So my guess is you're outside the beamwidth of the antenna.


Chris, the letters stand for the "Line" which I believe is how the TGs are aliased in their radios. As I look now they still patch them together so it makes figuring them out tough. Here was my best guess and there are no doubt errors....

M Line (Market St) 274
W Line (Colma) 275
K Line (Oakland) 276
A/L Line (Fremont) 277
C Line (Concord) 278
R Line (Richmond) 279

Fremont, Concord and Oakland are patched together (TG1537).
Richmond, Colma, and Market St are patched together (TG1538).

I can't find my Kelty Golden Gate book but maybe someone can check. I don't think he has them exactly either IIRC.
 

inigo88

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There is no correlation between radio frequencies and talkgroups. You need a scanner capable of following an EDACS Standard trunking system.

Which part of the station did you see the signs? Any pics? :)

FYI to BART listeners: The Train Operations talkgroups are split up by letter depending on the track route (ex C-Line), but the dispatcher "Central" often patches many of these talkgroups together due to limited staffing. When this happens a temporarily talkgroup ID is created (Lately it has been 12-005 but it could be anything in the 12-xxx format). You won't be able to know which talkgroups are included unless you look at the patch on a program like Unitrunker.

Just be forewarned that the temporary patch issue exists and confuses people (as it did me) on EDACS systems, including BART and Oakland.

Inigo
 

inigo88

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Here's the current, software verified patch:

Temporary talkgroup AFS 12-001 (Decimal TG 1537):
------------------------------------------------------------------------
W Line (Colma) 274
M Line (Market St) 275 <- (Wayne my data has M & W switched but otherwise good)
K Line (Oakland) 276
A/L Line (Fremont) 277
C Line (Concord) 278
R Line (Richmond) 279

So as you can see the Central Dispatcher on 12-001 / 1537 is transmitting to every train in the system on this patch talkgroup, even though the trains are all set to different talkgroups in the system. During the day when it's busier I believe they split this up.

I'll go ahead and update the DB!
 

WayneH

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Evidently the virtual patch TGs don't have a static list of members. I was going over my logs and 1537 was also used for K, C and A/L with 1538 being the rest. I'm guessing during the day west and north Lines are removed and then added (based on however the dispatcher selects the changes) to 1538.

On the 29th 1540 was used to patch BART PD 1 and something else I didn't log. Today 1540 was used to include C and R.

1537 and 1538 seem to be the most dominant. I would program them both in for sure. The PITA here is that these TG IDs are assigned at random but are done in blocks (1537 and up). At one time they were assigned at the beginning, at one time the end....so you have to manually keep on top of them to monitor the traffic. I think to be safe programming 1537 to like 1545 would worthwhile for the time being. The blocks seem to change with what could coincide with either a system reset or software upgrade.
 

inigo88

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Yeah Wayne the temporary patch talkgroups do shuffle around a bit, I keep track of them in AFS format, and remember that anything starting with 12-xxx (12-001/1537 and up) is Central Dispatch patching some variation of train ops talkgroups together. As I recall they were originally in the very low numbers several years ago (00-xxx) but were shifted to (12-xxx).

The same thing happens with Oakland PD, which has two or three temporary patch talkgroups. Depending on time of day, one will be Service 1 & 2, one will be Patrol 2 & 3, or one will be dispatch citywide Patrol 1, 2 & 3 at once. To save the time of starting up control channel software you can usually just listen to unit IDs and the type of radio traffic (dispatch vs. service ("on the list")) with the above options in mind and figure it out. :)

I have a feeling the same can be done with the BART train ops talkgroups - I found a forum thread a while ago somewhere listing the train numbering scheme which is temporary and changes as they change lines, and I'll see if I can find it again.
 

transitman

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Which part of the station did you see the signs?
While riding BART last March, I noticed metal signs hung to the walls at Ashby, Rockridge, West Oakland and Lake Merritt stations, advising train operators to change to the proper talkgroup. Unfortunately I couldn't find the changeover point from group M to group W although I believe it's either Daly City of Colma.
 

inigo88

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For those that haven't seen it, this is the best (and only) BART track map I've seen to date. I would love to get a better understanding of the dispatch format, and the significance of the milepost/geographic markers (e.g. "A55 gates alpha charlie," etc).

Transitman: I'm inclined to suspect that the border between M & W lines is at Daly City, because that's where the majority of the runs on the regular rider map end, but I have no other evidence to back that up. Let me know if I copied your info right below:

R-Line talkgroup - Ashby station to Richmond Yard
C-Line talkgroup - Rockridge station to Pittsburg/Bay Point turnback
K-Line talkgroup - Ashby & Rockridge stations to West Oakland & Lake Merritt stations
A/L-Line talkgroup - Lake Merritt station to Fremont & Dublin/Pleasanton turnbacks
M-Line talkgroup - West Oakland station to Daly City station?
W-Line talkgroup - Daly City station? to Millbrae turnbacks

I finally found where I originally saw the train numbering scheme listed, in this thread on the BARTrage blog (which seems to be a really good source of BART info). The way they temporarily number (and renumber) trains is apparently a hot topic, because if a train falls too far off schedule they simply move it to the slot behind and renumber everyone else in line - so that everyone is "back on schedule" and one train is "missing." Apparently this is to meet an on-time quota. In summary, here is what it said:

Train Radio IDs

100 - SF to Fremont
200 - Richmond to Fremont
300 - Bay Point to SF
400 - Richmond to SF
500 - Dublin to Millbrae OR Daly City?
900 - Out of Service

* Apparently +400 is added to the original ID if the train is going out of service at the end of their run (such as if they're late). Example given was the 325 becoming the 725. *

Note: These radio numbers are unit IDs temporarily assigned depending on what run the train is on. Individual train car ID numbers are four digits, and the TO usually mentions the number of the lead car when getting their initial dispatch. Also not to be confused with the "Radio IDs" unique to each radio.

When Central is patching multiple line talkgroups together into one of the temporary patch talkgroups (12-xxx AFS / 1537 decimal and up), listening for train ID numbers and station names should help to get an idea of which talkgroups are in the patch without resorting to control channel monitoring software.

Hopefully this consolidates a lot of the harder to find (but already out there) info. Great thread, keep it coming! :)
 
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richtidd

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PCTEK

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Programming Help Needed

I have tried for quite some time now to get the BART system programmed into my Uniden 996XT & RS Pro-160 (using ARCXT-Pro and ARC-160). I've downloaded the system information from here (RR). I've set the rebanding information (based on what info I've found here) on both scanners. I've also tried setting the "Control Channel Only" to both on and off. I still can't hear anything. I am pretty close to the Millbrae BART station, so I should hear something. I can only imagine I have set/done something wrong.

I would appreciate any help you can provide. (I can provide my email address so we don’t take up a lot of thread room).

Thanks again.
 

richtidd

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I have tried for quite some time now to get the BART system programmed into my Uniden 996XT & RS Pro-160 (using ARCXT-Pro and ARC-160). I've downloaded the system information from here (RR). I've set the rebanding information (based on what info I've found here) on both scanners. I've also tried setting the "Control Channel Only" to both on and off. I still can't hear anything. I am pretty close to the Millbrae BART station, so I should hear something. I can only imagine I have set/done something wrong.

I would appreciate any help you can provide. (I can provide my email address so we don’t take up a lot of thread room).

Thanks again.
On Monday eve Dec 27, I down loaded the BART system from the RR data base for use yesterday in my 396T.

Without any mods to the data base, my 396T picked up the BART system very well in the east bay, SF and at home. Even while riding on the train from SF to Millbrae.

I operate the BART feed from my home in San Mateo County without any mods from the RR data base at this time.
 
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