AAR Narrowband Migration

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AK9R

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The narrow band channel steps on VHF public safety and business channels are 7.5 kHz so that's what you set your scanner for to program the channels. The bandwidth of the signal is nominally 12.5 kHz.
 

N9NRA

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Not sure what to make of this, but i`ve noticed what i believe to be narrowband transmissions on some CN rall freqs around WI (here in the central part of the state mostly). Anyone have any thoughts on this? Just curious. Thanx! N9NRA
 

AK9R

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The railroads, like all public safety and business users, are under an FCC mandate to switch to narrowband by January 1, 2013. CSX in my area seems to have switched, except for a couple of Avon Yard base stations which are very loud compared to everybody else on the channel. There have been reports in this forum of the UP and other railroads switching to narrowband. So, it doesn't surprise me that you are hearing the CN using narrowband.
 

N9NRA

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The railroads, like all public safety and business users, are under an FCC mandate to switch to narrowband by January 1, 2013. CSX in my area seems to have switched, except for a couple of Avon Yard base stations which are very loud compared to everybody else on the channel. There have been reports in this forum of the UP and other railroads switching to narrowband. So, it doesn't surprise me that you are hearing the CN using narrowband.
Yeah, that`s kinda what i thought. Intresting thingy will be how they`ll do the digital thing once that shoe drops, heard that they`ll do the NXDN thingy from a fellow ham op that works for CN in comms (communications), from what he told me they`re already getting new NXDN capable radios for the comms guys (HT`s for their use, not sure when they`ll start using `em yet). So, this whole thingy will be really intresting to watch IMO. N9NRA
 

radioman2001

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In our radio shop we are going digital too(ICOM IDAS), more of a move for a wide area system using different channels than just for the AAR's sake. The radio shop uses RR and regular business channels throughout our system so going with their IP connected bases makes sense. Then we also break out from the IP connected stations and covert them back to analog, simulcasting digital and analog giving the best of both worlds since we have about 4000 HT-1250 radios.
 

blaze

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For what it's worth, I just did some over the air measurements in the Philadelphia (PA) area.

It appears that as of this weekend, just about everything in the railroad band here (CSX, NS, Amtrak, SEPTA) has now switched to narrowband, with the exception of Conrail Shared Assets, which is still wideband. (I'm specifically seeing wideband traffic on 161.070, the South Jersey channel.).
 

kc0vgj

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The craggy Mountain lines in asheville nc. will soon need radio. I plane on getting kenwood radios and program them to our frequencies, But would we have to go to the digital system too in 2025ish? Were a small historical line non for profit?
 

burner50

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The craggy Mountain lines in asheville nc. will soon need radio. I plane on getting kenwood radios and program them to our frequencies, But would we have to go to the digital system too in 2025ish? Were a small historical line non for profit?
Are you isolated from other railroads?
 

burner50

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I doubt you would be required to use the AAR plan given your isolation. However, if you ever need to communicate with NS, you would be unable to do so.
 

RadioDitch

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I doubt you would be required to use the AAR plan given your isolation. However, if you ever need to communicate with NS, you would be unable to do so.
If you are an interchange railroad with common carrier status, then yes, you have to be on the AAR band. If you remain isolated, with no connection to NS, then no. But if you do end up on the AAR band, then yes you must be narrowband now, and 6.25kHz NXDN digital starting June 1st, 2018.

But remember, unless you're going to use FRS or MURS, both of which are low power, you'll need a FCC license. Even to be on the AAR band.
 
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bruch

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then yes you must be narrowband now, and 6.25kHz NXDN digital starting June 1st, 2018

Sorry, but there is NO mandantory date either by the FCC or the Railroads to go to 6.25 or NXDN Digital. Don't know where you got the June 1, 2018?

Just wanted to clarify that one tid bit.
 

RadioDitch

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Don't know where you got the June 1, 2018?
This argument is getting old...

The date is from the AAR themselves. This is the date that was agreed on when it was pushed back after 2014 was deemed wholly unreasonable. Likely, it will be pushed back again. And you are correct...mostly. No, there is no mandate to go to NXDN digital from the FCC or the AAR. However, this has already been agreed upon (not mandated) by the Class I's as the digital standard that will be used by them (the Class I's), and it will happen. It's a done deal, period, even if the date keeps changing.

It also means that when it does, any railroad who wishes to communicate with them, will need to be also.

There still IS an FCC *plan* (no mandate yet) however for any non-government, non-ham radio user in the 137-174 range to convert to 6.25kHz in the next 15 years. This would include the AAR band. This is in major limbo right now though cause of the mass chaos the narrowbanding of the T-band spectrum caused.

Regardless however, even though there is no mandate, the agreement between the Class I's will go forward, and they will be 6.25kHz NXDN.

These are verifiable facts. Not fantasies. If you beg to differ, feel free to contact the AAR or any of the railroads' corporate PIOs on the matter. Being a railroader or railfan does not qualify you as authority, unless you are directly involved with this specific matter at the planning level like some of us are.
 
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weather4ar

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For those still worried about 6.25 NXDN - This link is from a radio dealer who specializes in Railroad Radios. FCC Narrowband Changeover FAQs - Motorola Two Way Radio Dealer Railcom Memphis Tennessee - these FAQ's confirm what most have said. (See the questions - What about changing to digital? & Do I need to buy a tri-band radio?) They answer the question quite effectively. There is no mandate for the 6.25 digital transition for railroads or most other narrowbanded systems. (700 Mhz Public Safety systems are actually the only ones required to move to 6.25 by 2017, since they mostly handle data anyway). Again, railroads have been researching it, including buying the NXDN capable radios, but, there are no plans for the conversion in the forseeable future. The AAR has actually backed off the original plan. This link - Radio Narrowbanding Myths & Realities - WirelessRadio.net - has more information on the various narrowbanding myths out there. It will help alleviate fears caused by the persistant hype that has surrounded the process. For most current scanner users, there will not be any need to replace your current radios anytime soon, especially if they are from within the last few years.
 
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kc0vgj

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I don't know were you got the facts from, but i asked a question first before I plan on buying radios for our train, I am also a ham radio operator check the QRZ site, I know I have to go the the railroad cordnator for frequencies and license. I like to know first before I buy. Now that I got my answers I can go throught with my plains. Thank you that helped me.

P.S. CML is a real Railline.
 

burner50

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Again, railroads have been researching it, including buying the NXDN capable radios, but, there are no plans for the conversion in the forseeable future.

I disagree. I believe that you will start seeing testing and small scale usage in the next couple of years.

We have been deploying equipment programmed for digital for at least a year now. If there was no immediate plans to utilize NXDN in the near future, they wouldn't be deploying the equipment. They would be deploying cheaper analog equipment.
 
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