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What's up with Providence & Worcester freq 160.650?

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SCPD

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#1
I've been monitoring the Providence & Worcester Railroad frequency 160.650 off & on since I was a boy, I listen in particular for the transponder in Uxbridge, MA that reports the condition, number of axles & rate of speed when a train passes it. As if this freq isn't plagued with enough interference, lately there's a continuous data transmission on it. Best way I can describe it is it sounds like a big diesel motor, having been a radio hobbyist all my life I've heard this sound elsewhere so I know it's data of some kind. It's signal strength comes & goes, it's just strong enough to break my squelch every so often & be enough of a nuisance that I've been locking the channel out. So, I haven't been monitoring to see if P&W is still using the freq for FM voice or not, I only hope it's not them "upgrading" to some new data communications system and their not going to use voice any more. Does anyone know anything about this, or even what I'm talking about? Any info would be appreciated, Thanks!
 
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#2
Sounds like the right time for some track side railfanning to see if the "data" signal gets better the closer to the trackside detector you get.
Also, take a look at the P&W's FCC license to see if they have added the NXDN emission designator to it. Should look like 4k00F1E. If so, it is possible, though highly unlikely they are using the new NXDN railroad standard. No way to know for sure without setting up your scanner with DSD software to try and decode the data signal, or find someone with an NXDN radio.
 
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#3
I monitor them in Plainfield CT and have not heard that at all. I have also heard them in New Haven with out any issue. Is this something new you have started to hear? It may be interference from something totally unrelated. I have a few RR frequencies in my truck and when I go buy certain businesses to and from work I will pick up interference on the frequencies.
 
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#4
You're hearing the contol channel for the new State of Maine MSCOMMNET trunked radio system. 160.650 was being used as a CC at the Ossipee Mountain site in Waterboro, Me. but is has changed to 170.100 for now. There has been great atmospheric conditions the last few nights, enabling you to hear it down in Mass.
 

KC1UA

Scan New England Guru
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#5
+1 for the above post. Conditions to the north have been extraordinary for several days. This is a problem that will for the most part go away, but occasionally be an issue. Not sure if there is a CTCSS tone for the transmitter you wish to monitor but if so enabling it would reduce your problem in such circumstances.
 
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#6
Thanks all for the great advice. 160 Mhz must have indeed been experiencing some atmospheric amplification, as there's no trace of the signal I was hearing now even with the preamp engaged. I live in the bottom of the Blackstone River Valley in Whitinsville and utilize a Comet GP-9 and a very sensitive Yaesu FT-530 just to hear the transponder in Uxbridge. It seems as soon as I posted this thread the signal disappeared, and now there's just the train engineers & dispatchers as well as the 'ol faithful automated transponder. Thanks again for all your help!
 

shortwaver

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#7
Thanks all for the great advice. 160 Mhz must have indeed been experiencing some atmospheric amplification, as there's no trace of the signal I was hearing now even with the preamp engaged. I live in the bottom of the Blackstone River Valley in Whitinsville and utilize a Comet GP-9 and a very sensitive Yaesu FT-530 just to hear the transponder in Uxbridge. It seems as soon as I posted this thread the signal disappeared, and now there's just the train engineers & dispatchers as well as the 'ol faithful automated transponder. Thanks again for all your help!
Hi N1USC. I live in northern RI and wonder how far the transponder signals usually propagate, and wonder if I would be able to hear it from my location. I have a vhf antenna in the attic and a Commradio CR-1 radio, as well as a Home Patrol HP-1.
 
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#8
Hi N1USC. I live in northern RI and wonder how far the transponder signals usually propagate, and wonder if I would be able to hear it from my location. I have a vhf antenna in the attic and a Commradio CR-1 radio, as well as a Home Patrol HP-1.
Hi Shortwaver, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. The Uxbridge transponder for the P&W is pretty weak, occasionally they give it a tuneup though because I'm picking it up on my scanner as well as the Yaesu again now. All you can do is try, it's on 160.650 MHz. A yagi antenna pointed towards the sand pits just south of Uxbridge center would definitely help. Let me know how you make out!
 
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