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Distorted/Odd audio from UP Dispatchers

JoshuaHufford

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
227
Location
Jefferson City, Mo
I've noticed for the last 2-3 weeks that audio from UP dispatchers in my area seems to have some weird modulation or distortion. I first just thought it was my scanner, but I get the same thing on 2 different scanners and 2 different Motorola receivers that I have tried. I also hear the same thing from different towers, not just one. Any audio that I receive from trains or defect detectors sounds fine, just the dispatcher. I've included a sound file for reference.

Any ideas what is causing this?

Dropbox - 201906090837-572678-29632.mp3 - Simplify your life
 

kruser

Retired
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
3,006
Location
St. Louis County, MO
I noticed the same here on the Jeff City Sub.
It sounds like either some form of voice activated equipment that is set too sensitive and cuts in and out or it could be some type of voice compression taking place somewhere on UP's network to reduce the data packet size being as everything is dispatched out of Omaha.
Whatever it is, it is annoying and sounds horrible. I also wonder if new equipment to support future NXDN may not be part of this.

When monitoring the other day, a train was having emergency braking issues they were trying to resolve. Dispatch sounded horrible and exactly as you described. A bit later, a repair department dispatcher came on the air and was clear as a bell.
I've also heard Omaha dispatch change to a different local transmitter for a better signal from the train crew they were talking with but that audio was just as broken.

I sure hope they fix it and am surprised none of the train crews comment on it. Or do the crews have some kind of magic radio that replaces the missing bits and pieces of audio.
 

JoshuaHufford

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
227
Location
Jefferson City, Mo
I noticed the same here on the Jeff City Sub.
It sounds like either some form of voice activated equipment that is set too sensitive and cuts in and out or it could be some type of voice compression taking place somewhere on UP's network to reduce the data packet size being as everything is dispatched out of Omaha.
Whatever it is, it is annoying and sounds horrible. I also wonder if new equipment to support future NXDN may not be part of this.

When monitoring the other day, a train was having emergency braking issues they were trying to resolve. Dispatch sounded horrible and exactly as you described. A bit later, a repair department dispatcher came on the air and was clear as a bell.
I've also heard Omaha dispatch change to a different local transmitter for a better signal from the train crew they were talking with but that audio was just as broken.

I sure hope they fix it and am surprised none of the train crews comment on it. Or do the crews have some kind of magic radio that replaces the missing bits and pieces of audio.
I also was wondering if this was the first step into converting to some other format, I hope not. While I can still usually understand the dispatcher, it is quite annoying.
 

kruser

Retired
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
3,006
Location
St. Louis County, MO
I also was wondering if this was the first step into converting to some other format, I hope not. While I can still usually understand the dispatcher, it is quite annoying.
Annoying it is!
I was also thinking some type of noise cancelling microphone used by dispatch that is cutting out some of the normal speech thinking it is background noise.

The other day, a male dispatcher was on the air and this issue did not sound near as annoying to me. For one of the female's though, it sure is very annoying to monitor. Like you, I can also understand most everything said but sometimes doing that is a struggle.

If the train crews hear dispatch like we are hearing them, this seems like something that could cause a mistake in my opinion. I guess it's a good thing most everything is confirmed by being read back to the other party involved as a check mechanism.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
3,928
Location
Far NW Valley
I concur on the packet loss suggestion. I hve heard the same here on the Sunset and Phoenix subs and a buddy of mine from the Chicago area just mentioned the same thing going on up there.

I wonder if UP swapped out connectivity providers recently and the new one is not as good as the old one...
 

WIscannerguy1987

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Waukesha, WI
Same issue here in South East Wisconsin, we have the UP Milwaukee Sub that goes from Chicago to Milwaukee and lately I have been hearing distorted audio on 160.485 AAR Ch 25 and also on 160.890 AAR ch 52 the UP Adams Sub which goes into northern WI, it’s just the UP dispatcher audio, the PTC help desk comes in pretty good and when someone is at the Butler Yard office it’s loud and clear, hopefully it starts to improve soon
 

Haley

Member
Joined
May 28, 2005
Messages
1,075
Just weighing in here in Central Iowa. The same thing has been happening here , Ch. 52 (160.8900). Sounds VERY bad at times. Thought it was just me.
 

KK6ZTE

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
287
Location
California
We get on the Coast and Santa Barbara subs as well. Some days better than others.
 

wrr20891

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 23, 2006
Messages
105
Near me, it seems to be tower dependent. Four of the remote towers I can pick up, the audio is fine. One tower has distorted audio, almost sounds like the transmitter is off frequency. I always figured it was something wrong in the audio chain of that one tower.
 

Charlie

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
22
Location
South Central Minnesota
I think there is an ongoing effort to remove RF links and/or dedicated wireline connections to remote locations and replace with radio over IP. I think that may be producing the audio artifacts you're hearing.
 
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