AAR Narrowband Migration

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RadioDitch

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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.
Again, I emphasize, he is correct in that there is no mandate. But the agreement has been made between the major players, and this will go forward in the Class I's and Amtrak as well as major commuter lines and major regional systems. Period. It's in stone. The date keeps changing, but the switch is said and done.

The Class I's, MRL, RailAmerica, Amtrak, and commuter roads are all 100% ready at this time per their reports to the AAR. ALL of the licenses for the committed roads have had modifications approved to allow for NXDN operation. Hell, even Strasburg Rail Road is good to go.

The big problem that keeps pushing the date back is the railroads like CML in this thread. The smaller regionals and shortlines that are cash strapped and must be able to communicate with the Class I's for interchange or trackage rights need time to acquire equipment, program it, and modify their licenses. For some really small roads, this is a bigger feat than it sounds. The major players are trying to give everyone else a fair chance to catch up.

NXDN is coming. 6/1/2018 for now, per the AAR and Class I's, but again, VERY likely to be pushed back yet again. Almost guaranteed.

(FWIW too, the systems will be CSQ/Clear/No access code, so if you can afford an NXDN radio, when it does happen, you will still be able to listen in.)
 
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burner50

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Saying that there is no NXDN in the foreseeable future is not correct.


I'm not sure if you're replying to me, or posting a rebuttal, but there doesn't have to be a mandate, nor does there have to be a set agreement between class 1's for testing to begin or small scale deployments.

I forsee NXDN seeing use in the next two years.
 

weather4ar

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The info I posted is based on the two links that I provided. If there are changes, the folks that sell the radios should know as well as anybody. Even the AAR says there is no mandate though they encouraged buying 6.25 capable equipment. - http://www.aar.com/aar_rf_ms_info.php. - Yes, they just might use it in small areas for development or testing, but until there is something official announced, it's all conjecture at this point as far as the timetable. I want to see the 2018 date agreement in writing, is there a link to see this?
 
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weather4ar

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6/1/2018 is pure conjecture.

Again, I emphasize, he is correct in that there is no mandate. But the agreement has been made between the major players, and this will go forward in the Class I's and Amtrak as well as major commuter lines and major regional systems. Period. It's in stone. The date keeps changing, but the switch is said and done.

The Class I's, MRL, RailAmerica, Amtrak, and commuter roads are all 100% ready at this time per their reports to the AAR. ALL of the licenses for the committed roads have had modifications approved to allow for NXDN operation. Hell, even Strasburg Rail Road is good to go.

The big problem that keeps pushing the date back is the railroads like CML in this thread. The smaller regionals and shortlines that are cash strapped and must be able to communicate with the Class I's for interchange or trackage rights need time to acquire equipment, program it, and modify their licenses. For some really small roads, this is a bigger feat than it sounds. The major players are trying to give everyone else a fair chance to catch up.

NXDN is coming. 6/1/2018 for now, per the AAR and Class I's, but again, VERY likely to be pushed back yet again. Almost guaranteed.

(FWIW too, the systems will be CSQ/Clear/No access code, so if you can afford an NXDN radio, when it does happen, you will still be able to listen in.)
The date 6/1/2018 is pure conjecture! Read the following from Falcon Communications: Analog Planner 2010 - http://www.info4u.us/Analog_Planner.pdf (see pp 5-6). - "The FCC and you! - One of the major influences toward the move to digital was an FCC requirement for all VHF or UHF radios sold in the USA after January 1, 2011 to be capable of operating with two 6.25 kHz slots (channels) within a 12.5 kHz channel width. FM Analog radios were not, and are not designed for this Very Narrow Band (VNB) standard. Many users were moving to digital as they were prompted by the manufacturers to make the conversion to digital to avoid future problems and additional expense as the industry moved to VNB technology. This was good advice until June 30, 2010 when the rules were inexplicitly changed to eliminate this requirement. Suddenly the analog/digital playing field was leveled! More detailed information follows:"

"Score a knockout for another FCC mandatory compliance date! For those who keep up with such things, you know that the FCC yielded to pressure to cancel their original date of 2018 for mandatory 6.25 kHz Very Narrow Band (VNB) channel spacing. There was also a requirement for all VHF and UHF 2-way radio equipment manufactured in the USA (you've got to be wondering who that would be) or any 2-way radio imported into the USA would have to be capable of operating at 6.25 kHz channel spacing. This was later changed to 6.25 kHz equivalence for 12.5 kHz Narrow Band Channel spacing (i.e. two 6.25 kHz channels per 12.5 kHz "channel") Now, the FCC dropped the requirement for manufacturers to produce 6.25 kHz capable or equivalent equipment starting in 2011 and moved the date up to January 1, 2013. The bottom line is that 6.25 kHz has taken a SERIOUS hit! There are no established coordination policies for 6.25 kHz frequencies."

"The message from the FCC is very clear. The manufacturers who invested heavily in developing 6.25 kHz compliant technology as well as users trying to advance greater utilization of existing spectrum have just been rewarded with a Thanks but no thanks message for trying to meet yet another unfunded mandate. Shame on you FCC, and even more shame upon the special interest groups, lobbyists, and self serving bureaucrats who blocked the advancement of useful technology. For those that did the right thing - thank you for your effort, your investment, and your commitment for advancing communications technology."

"The good news is you can purchase 6.25 kHz equipment at reasonable cost that can still operate at 12.5 or even 25 kHz channel spacing in both analog and digital modes with some truly unique capabilities." (Which is what the RR's are doing.) Not my words - here again is the PDF- http://www.info4u.us/Analog_Planner.pdf. (see pp 5-6). Notice again, even the AAR on its site - http://www.aar.com/aar_rf_ms_info.php. - doesn't list a transition date, though they encourage buying 6.25 capable equipment.
 
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kc0kp

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Nxdn

I am sure there will be a thorough testing before implementation. Digital radio in other services was not tested as well as it should have been. P25 fails on the fireground due to high ambient noise swamping the encoder be it AMBE or IMBE. Rail yards are not low noise areas. Since NXDN uses an AMBE-2 encoder that is susceptible to this noise as well, I hope it works out for them.
Craig
 
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PJH

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There has been quite a bit of work done with the high noise enviroments making digital "more friendly" by use of audio algo's that some manufactures are building into their radios (ie Motorola with the APX line). The issue for railroads will be digital modulation, with high noise as well as simplex use over long distances with hand held radios.

WIth some of these trains being built (where I am) at 8000-12000ft long, metal + terrian + distance does not work too well. Now add in wind, noise, digital artifacts et al and it will become very difficult to work within the safety rules and get work done when a train has a problem over the road.

Many guys hate the Kenwood radios they have been issued (and wont give up the Moto's unless they have to) and its only going to get worse when they have to deal with digital voice.
 

icom1020

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Just curious, why do many hate the Kenwoods? I used to have a biased preference towards /\/\ and still own both MTS and Astro Saber models, along with Spectra's but the TK280/380/481 is pretty good in both audio quality, durability and ease of data up and downloading dumps. I hear these stories about Kenwood being crap but until I owned one, I can't find a reason to dislike it. Moto's are cool looking, but RIB and CPS programming can be sketchy and my 280 is just as sensitive as the /\/\'s. It's next to impossible to 'brick' a Kenwood.
 

PJH

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My observations-

Audio on the portables sounds like a scanner speaker, plastic is not as durable (also feels cheap), battery meter is never accurate, antenna design or RF design seems lacking compared to the replaced MT/MTS2000's, HT1000's (general Jedi series radios). I've seen more Kenwoods at work with tape around them after things came apart when dropped than any other radio.

Yes they are cheaper, a little more straight forward to program than the high tier Motorola's, but service life seems to be much less in rugged real world applications.

We still have guys who won't give up their MT1000's...and they seem to work the best out of all makes/models out there!

Now with that said, I like the 90 series mobiles, and work very well. I buy those for our fire departments but Motorola's for portables.

With the introduction of the XTS line, Motorola has basically sacked the RIB box and has fully embraced USB.
 

burner50

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FWIW, I got my TK-2180 new when I hired out in 2007, and have had zero problems with it. I've kept my speaker mic protected from water and I get good quality audio out of it still.

For awile I had a MTS2000, and I had vco problems.

I think the quality depends on how well the device is taken care of.
 

radioman2001

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The digital mandate is BS, you can quote stuff all you want over the internet, but it's not going to happen. We just replaced all our GE MASTR II and III bases and voters with new Harris MASTR III NB bases not NXDN ones.(personally I like the Icom FR-5000, but it lacks the power out put of the MASTR III).We aslo just bought nearly 2500 HT -1250 portables.
Besides the AAR has more pressing problems right now. Mainly PTSC, there isn't enough bandwidth available on 220 mhz to make most systems work, they have 900 mhz license's available nationwide, but for some reason everybody went 220 abandoning the 900 already in place. Now I am not talking about the boonies or out along the deserts, I am talking about in the cities and other congested areas. We have done extensive testing and the consultant we are working with doesn't get it. You cannot put 25 trains on a single frequency coming into a switch or multiple switches and have all of them work, and this is digital no less. There are other issues as well, but not for this discussion.
Sorry for pulling this slightly off topic, but I don't see any railroad going 6.25 digital voice anytime before my retirement. BTW we don't have to abide by the Class I rules as a commuter RR, and if they want to talk to us they can switch to NB analog.
As far as the Icom radio's the C&S department is using they are just OK. I am still not impressed with digital, it works nice over VOIP lines, but we still break it out to an analog simulcast. The audio quality is not there and as inteligable as analog in noisy enviroments.
 

burner50

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The digital mandate is BS, you can quote stuff all you want over the internet, but it's not going to happen. We just replaced all our GE MASTR II and III bases and voters with new Harris MASTR III NB bases not NXDN ones.(personally I like the Icom FR-5000, but it lacks the power out put of the MASTR III).We aslo just bought nearly 2500 HT -1250 portables.
Besides the AAR has more pressing problems right now. Mainly PTSC, there isn't enough bandwidth available on 220 mhz to make most systems work, they have 900 mhz license's available nationwide, but for some reason everybody went 220 abandoning the 900 already in place. Now I am not talking about the boonies or out along the deserts, I am talking about in the cities and other congested areas. We have done extensive testing and the consultant we are working with doesn't get it. You cannot put 25 trains on a single frequency coming into a switch or multiple switches and have all of them work, and this is digital no less. There are other issues as well, but not for this discussion.
Sorry for pulling this slightly off topic, but I don't see any railroad going 6.25 digital voice anytime before my retirement. BTW we don't have to abide by the Class I rules as a commuter RR, and if they want to talk to us they can switch to NB analog.
As far as the Icom radio's the C&S department is using they are just OK. I am still not impressed with digital, it works nice over VOIP lines, but we still break it out to an analog simulcast. The audio quality is not there and as inteligable as analog in noisy enviroments.
Your little railroad doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. While I don't believe that there is a mandate, I do believe that we will be seeing deployment in the not too distant future.

Oh wait...


Its already being deployed... even if you're not deploying it.

I believe that you will start seeing limited use, especially in areas where the is no trackage rights, and no reason to contact another railroad by radio.
 

N9NRA

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railroads going digital.

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.
And i would think that would be the best way to do the switchover to digital thingy for the short term, as not all the radios will be set up for digital, or they won`t be "digital activated" yet. Only little hangup there is that sometimes digital on analog sounds really bad, an LEO up north in my end of WI is doing the "analogized digital" thingy and it sometimes does sound REALY BAD. So i`m gonna be wondering how this`ll all shake out in the end. Guess we just gotta wait and see :). N9NRA
 

PJH

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"or they won`t be "digital activated" yet. Only little hangup there is that sometimes digital on analog sounds really bad, an LEO up north in my end of WI is doing the "analogized digital" thingy and it sometimes does sound REALY BAD"

A what? I have no idea what your trying to convey with "analog digitally"
 

N9NRA

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"or they won`t be "digital activated" yet. Only little hangup there is that sometimes digital on analog sounds really bad, an LEO up north in my end of WI is doing the "analogized digital" thingy and it sometimes does sound REALY BAD"

A what? I have no idea what your trying to convey with "analog digitally"
Hey there, what i was referring to is when a (usually) police or state patrol channel running in analog is rebroadcast on a digital channel/talkgroup, i`ve heard this going on when i`m up north, both analog to digital and the other way, to wit: digital to analog, the other bit i was getting at is (at least to me it did anyway) is that an analog system sometimes sounds worse when it`s simulcast onto a digital one. Sorry for not clairifying :). N9NRA
 

PJH

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Actually...doesn't really work that way unless someone is using improper equipment which I highly doubt in a new system buildout.

Even with console vs CEB patches, the audio was the same. We patched an analog repeater into a digital talkgroup for about a year and the audio was flawless. In fact, the analog side repeating the digital patch almost sounded better.

The more logical reason is that the new system isn't fully built out yet and coverage is not where it will be and your hearing units at good distance from the tower and getting the digital artifacts from a high BER.
 

The_Kid

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Some of the guys I work with have been issued kenwood 2180s. They sound tinny, and the range sucks. I was standing about 50 cars away from a guy the other day and couldnt hear him talking to the engine but I heard the engine just fine. And that was with my HT1000 thats been tuned up real good and had the squelch break lowered to around 2. Now a few guys have been issued icoms and them little jokers willl talk.
 

Allan_Love_Jr

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Now I was told that this new Radio change over was to be put on hold by the FCC. Is this true. Or will this change still occur on January 1st?
 

PJH

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Narrowbanding for all licenses between 136 and 470 must be done by Dec 31st. No exceptions and they have made it VERY clear.
 
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