Analog to Digital on BNSF?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Capt-Brigg

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
5
Location
Vancouver, WA
I am planning some railfan trips on the BNSF Stampede pass sub in north central Washington this summer and just purchased a RS 20-164 scanner. I have read about the mandated conversion from analog to digital starting 12/31/2012, and also that railroads may be exempt from the conversion at least temporarily. If anyone has reliable information on this conversion or non-conversion I would be very grateful for an update and suggestion on my new scanner. Capt. Brigg
 

godfollower

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Messages
7
Location
Carrollton, TX
Stampede and BNSF radio conversion..

I am planning some railfan trips on the BNSF Stampede pass sub in north central Washington this summer and just purchased a RS 20-164 scanner. I have read about the mandated conversion from analog to digital starting 12/31/2012, and also that railroads may be exempt from the conversion at least temporarily. If anyone has reliable information on this conversion or non-conversion I would be very grateful for an update and suggestion on my new scanner. Capt. Brigg
The BNSF around here (I live on the Scenic Sub, north of Seattle) is using narrow band radios, but they aren't using the new channels very much. The only time I've had problems with the narrow band conversion (using an older non-narrow band scanner) is when the MOW guys are out working. Sometimes those gangs use one of the new channels and my older scanner misses that conversation. All the mainline channels for dispatch etc (including on Stampede) are still the older channel numbers, meaning older scanner can hear them just fine, and a new scanner isn't really required. The RS Pro-164 should work just dandy for ya, all over Seattle and on the east slope of the Cascades.

Also, if you don't know about data intercepting with a computer program called ATCSmon, you might want to look into that. Both the Stampede/Yakima Subs are using digital radio to control the main turnouts (ABS) on the sub, and if you get up to the Scenic Sub, it too is using digital radio CTC. Search for ATCSmon, on the internet, for more info. And note that the BNSF Seattle, Stampede/Yakima, Scenic, Columbia River, Fallbridge, Lakeside, Kootenai, and Bellingham subs can all be monitored through ATCSMon.. and they all have internet feeds as well. If this is greek to you, I can correspond with you offline about the details (for security/safety reasons on this part of the hobby) about ATCSMon and what is can do here in WA State.

Respectfully,
Paul
Trackside near MP 1768.5 on the BNSF Scenic Sub
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
I am planning some railfan trips on the BNSF Stampede pass sub in north central Washington this summer and just purchased a RS 20-164 scanner. I have read about the mandated conversion from analog to digital starting 12/31/2012, and also that railroads may be exempt from the conversion at least temporarily. If anyone has reliable information on this conversion or non-conversion I would be very grateful for an update and suggestion on my new scanner. Capt. Brigg
I'm curious to know where you heard this information.


There is no requirement to go digital, and certainly no requirement to go digital before that date.

They will likely be in analog only for awhile yet, with the digital converstion starting within the next couple years.


The BNSF around here (I live on the Scenic Sub, north of Seattle) is using narrow band radios, but they aren't using the new channels very much. The only time I've had problems with the narrow band conversion (using an older non-narrow band scanner) is when the MOW guys are out working. Sometimes those gangs use one of the new channels and my older scanner misses that conversation. All the mainline channels for dispatch etc (including on Stampede) are still the older channel numbers, meaning older scanner can hear them just fine, and a new scanner isn't really required. The RS Pro-164 should work just dandy for ya, all over Seattle and on the east slope of the Cascades.
Assuming that you're not trying to listen to one of the new splinter frequencies (which some scanners cannot tune), you should not have any problem monitoring narrowband transmissions. In fact, you probably wouldn't notice a difference.

My Transformer approved this message using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

jeatock

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
589
Location
090-45-50 W, 39-43-22 N
I have read about the mandated conversion from analog to digital starting 12/31/2012, and also that railroads may be exempt from the conversion at least temporarily. If anyone has reliable information on this conversion or non-conversion I would be very grateful for an update and suggestion on my new scanner. Capt. Brigg
Just to clarify, the 12-31-2012 mandate ONLY requires that VHF-Hi and UHF users switch from wide-band to narrow-band emissions (approx. 20 KHz to approx. 11 KHz occupied bandwidth on VHF with a corresponding reduction of maximum voice deviation, aka modulation). There is NO mandate whatsoever to convert to digital operations. The FCC mandate has been coming for about ten years and the FCC is very very unlikely to exempt anyone as it would seriously impact users who are already using the new narrow-band channels.

The railroad industry switch to NXDN digital will take place over several years and the digital conversion was by their choice. The NXDN format was chosen based on the availability of compatible equipment from multiple manufacturers.

Most newer scanners will monitor narrow-band analog just fine, although the voice may be lower in volume because of the reduced deviation. Older scanners may not be capable of centering on the new half-channel spacing (such as 151.1375).
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top