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Old 10-09-2017, 2:30 PM
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Default Opinion of Ritron Clean Cab

Our agency is looking at new Clean Cab radios. There is the Quest Rail,Railcom, Ritron and probably some others, but I am looking for input from users (Railroad Engineer types) of the Ritron Clean Cab. I just went over there programming manual and it appears to be pretty descriptive as to what the radio is capable and not capable of. We don't need 90% of what is in the radio, no need for DTMF or any other tone signalling except PL so what I am looking at what others think of it's ease of use, receive volume and clarity, display, built in microphone gain and noise rejection on analog mode only, also changing channels on the fly and the use of Home channels instead of AAR presets.

I would prefer to hear from actual users rather than hearsay or sales people.
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Old 10-10-2017, 6:29 PM
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I worked for a shortline that was using GE 12RII clean cab radios when I got there. They had poor range, were very susceptible to intermod, and the audio wasn't the best. I polled some engineer friends at CSX, NS, and CP, and all seemed to like Motorolas the best, followed by Ritrons. We purchased two Ritrons to test, and were told that the audio was better (louder & clearer), better reception, and the intermod issue disappeared completely. We eradicated the GEs with more Ritrons and some used Astro clean cabs from CSX. Didn't have any complaints about ease of use as compared to the GEs or Motorolas. Can't comment on home channel use since we didn't use them. Display is clear & bright.

With that said, the Ritrons' weakness is noise rejection. In older, loud, rattling locomotives, you don't hear much besides cab noise.

Full disclosure: part of the range issue was probably due to the Motorola HT750s being used when I got there as well. These were replaced with Kenwood TK-2180s.
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Old 10-12-2017, 5:28 AM
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The GE 12RII I use have a couple issues. The main one is the PTT will stick. People have resigned over what was said when that PTT was stuck. Its fairly common problem with our fleet. I have confirmed with engineers/conductors on other railroads and they have experienced the same issue. Next is a no receive issue. The display will say "NO RCB DETECTED". When this is occurring the radio is basically useless until re-started. The radio doesn't beep or signal that something is wrong with it. Both of these issues have been reported for the last 9 years. Our mechanical forces change out the remote head, but the problem still occurs.

We utilize the home channels. It great just hitting channel up or down. We use 2 channels often and switch back and forth. Not very often we have use the "AAR" button. We do have one home channel that has PL encode, it works just fine. The TX/RX audio is great. Good noise cancelling and even better when use the phone style microphones.


We also have a fleet of Ritrons. To me, they are the replacement to the Motorola Spectra. Similar design and radio operations. Speaker is loud. The internal microphone will pick everything, best to use a handheld style mic to get rid of the background noises. Home buttons are what we mainly use. The only bad thing I have seen with them was during a engine start up. It seems during the start up the radio locked into TX mode. I'm suspecting low voltage during the engine turning over, but not for sure. Those radio's were TXing for days before someone finally found them. They were hot, but they still work today.

Tim
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Old 10-12-2017, 6:37 PM
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When i worked for Whelen 1996 we used the little ritron data radio in the large outside siren. They were not bad radios. some were goofy some were not.

But look at how many Aerotron radios the Railroads have used over the years
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:17 AM
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Seems like one of the available clean cab locomotive radios is actually a Kenwood mobile in a clean cab box with a power supply and modified user interface. Is that correct?
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Old 10-13-2017, 8:00 PM
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Default Ritron CCR

Hi Radioman,
Sent you a PM.
Bill
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Old 10-16-2017, 1:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
Seems like one of the available clean cab locomotive radios is actually a Kenwood mobile in a clean cab box with a power supply and modified user interface. Is that correct?
Either a Kenwood or ICOM mobile radio guts, yes.
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Old 10-16-2017, 5:07 PM
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I've used the GE's, the JEM, Motorola and RITRON.

What Tim said on the GE's. Avoid.

JEM has a Kenwood or ICOM core, though I think they have mostly went to Kenwoods. They work, but the display is small and runs together. I am not sure if any custom display names can be had, but I don't care for them - but that's all that are bought.

The RITRON's I've played with in the field and at IWCE in the past. Nice loud audio and nice bright display screen. As stated above, seem to be the one to go to as a Motorola replacement.

When I spoke to the factory reps at IWCE moons ago, they stated they built theirs from the ground up, whereas most others are just a mobile radio with the custom clean cab head (Motorola, Nexterma/JEM). I am not sure if GE's are repackaged as well or not.

So, unless you need alpha display names, the RITRON is a very good radio, straightforward and simple to use.
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Old 10-17-2017, 3:35 AM
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I would use the GE radio over the JEM crap. We only get the JEM stuff on foreign power. Takes forever to just change a channel.

Tim
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:35 AM
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Thanks to all we now have one in the shop for a one to one comparison with the Railcom.
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Old 10-26-2017, 6:34 PM
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For what you guy do ever think about just building your own
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Old 11-08-2017, 9:07 AM
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Not my call, I will evaluate what is produced out there, also there is the matter of liability, our agency likes to have someone else be responsible.

I have built some very special radios for our in house FD/EMS (an APX VHF/UHF in a Pelican box with battery, also a CDM-1250 in a Pelican box for use in the tunnels where a portable doesn't always cover) and a jump box radio for Amtrak to use when in our territory for Giants Stadium runs back when we were adding channels last year.

I also did come up with a solution for the Spectra coach version (a Spectra Clean Cab mounted in a box with a AAR connector on it) radios back in 2012 that were not narrow band capable by actually building a CDM-1250 into the casing replacing the Spectra chassis that was capable of up to 16 channels remotely controlled (more than we needed). My boss was very impressed, but he said we got money and let someone else be responsible if it fails.

Quote"
When I spoke to the factory reps at IWCE moons ago, they stated they built theirs from the ground up.

Not true the Ritron has a Kenwood radio in it. Ritron isn't capable of building a radio from scratch. Overall all the Clean Cab radios are mobile radio chassis with a custom interface for a head/display.

Last edited by radioman2001; 11-08-2017 at 9:23 AM..
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Old 11-09-2017, 7:29 PM
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here is a weird one
The valley bought nx-200 and nx700 about 2012
the nx200 are really showing there age
we went back to analog

Here is the funny thing
i bring down my loaner fleet for the christmas train 6 xpr6350 6 cp200d
Motorola to Motorola fine
when the kenwoods key up there were getting a little delay on the RX on the Motorola

I turned off the battery saver and adjusted some timing in the MDC

the Motorola are running MDC on dekey
I would on the kenwoods as well but they use DTMF for crossing activation
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Old 08-02-2018, 4:19 PM
   
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Default Ritron Locomotive Radio

Ref Radioman2001 - "Not true, the Ritron has a Kenwood radio in it. Ritron isn't capable of building a radio from scratch. Overall all the Clean Cab radios are mobile radio chassis with a custom interface for a head/display"

I'd like to respectfully correct the above statement. Ritron's locomotive radio is indeed 100% designed and manufactured by Ritron, Inc. The Ritron RCCR radio does NOT use another brand (Kenwood or any other) commercial LMR mobile radio as the RF platform. In fact, ALL assemblies in the locomotive radio device, including the railroad-optimized RF platform, are designed, manufactured and supported by Ritron.

Ritron is one of a number of companies marketing a clean cab locomotive radio. However, it's worth noting that, only Ritron, Inc. can make the legitimate claim to be a designer and manufacturer of radio communication equipment. A commercial grade VHF mobile radio modified for use in a locomotive is an option, an option used by others. The mobile used by the competition performs ok, however, for the RCCR Ritron chose to do a ground-up, railroad-optimized design. The RCCR is used today by a wide variety of freight and transit railroads across the US, Canada, Mexico and Central America.
Respectfully Submitted,
Steve Rice
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Old 08-03-2018, 8:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timkilbride View Post
I would use the GE radio over the JEM crap. We only get the JEM stuff on foreign power. Takes forever to just change a channel.

Tim
NS had an obsession with JEM's for a long period when they first came available. They're crap. Completely unreliable, and a pain in the *** to use. And for some reason, despite having Kenwood cores, NS had a common issue for a while with the PA's in the radios blowing up. Hard to get the dispatcher when you're in the mountains and the PA goes leaving you to play with ~100mW.

They've been having issues with the JEM Locomotive Antenna Farms lately also.
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Old 08-10-2018, 4:57 PM
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The only quirk I've seen with them is the frequency range: 155-174 MHz, versus 136-174 in almost everything else. For 99% of the customers out there that's not a problem, and they do have excellent RX specs in the AAR band.
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Old 08-11-2018, 9:57 AM
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Railcom "clean cab" radio is basically a mototrbo mobile radio in a nice case, with software to be able to punch in AAR channels. Nothing really spectacular about them, except the price. And since AAR isn't embracing DMR for future use like they are NXDN, I wouldn't invest in it for Railroad use. (Though I personally love Mototrbo)

I hear lots of good things about the Ritron's Locomotive radios, though.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:03 AM
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Don't forget about Wabtec, they are in the game, with a "clean cab" radio that is pretty similar to the old Motorolas.... https://www.wabtec.com/products/1169...radio-tri-mode
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Old 08-11-2018, 2:24 PM
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Ritron just recently came out with an updated model to support NXDN 4800

https://www.ritron.com/locomotive-radio-rccr-151
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Old 08-27-2018, 7:20 AM
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Quote"
Ref Radioman2001 - "Not true, the Ritron has a Kenwood radio in it. Ritron isn't capable of building a radio from scratch. Overall all the Clean Cab radios are mobile radio chassis with a custom interface for a head/display"

I stand corrected AFTER I totally dissasembled the radio and inspected the board quality, and other tests. Not impressed with the board quality, connectors and the single board manufacturing processes. (Maybe I am used to Mother M and GE quality) The radio doesn't come with any built in ANI capability (MDC or GE-Star) DTMF is useless with our consoles, and that is a deal breaker for us. Ritron also would not allow us to install any after market board, and wanted us to send the radio back for modification with an unknown after market board. (I have my suspicions why but will hold comment on that)

And Steve you sound like a manufacturers rep, and if so you should have a least said so. While they have manufactured the radio from what appears scratch so did a lot of others who fell by the wayside with poor product after a few years of rough service. I will hold any further comments until after the 180 day test period. Lets see how they can handle being beaten by a brake handle.
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