CSX lower watt locomotive radios?

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ncrailfan

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A friend and I were doing a little afternoon railfanning last weekend while testing out a new camera lens and we were discussing on whether CSX had cut down on the amount of power a Clean Cab Radio puts out. Can anyone determine on if that is true? We were listening on 160.590 AAR 032/032.
 

PJH

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Standard 45watt radios.

All the clean cabs with the exception of the RITRON's and GE's use standard mobile radios interfaced with the custom interface to the control panel. Most are Kenwood or ICOM mobiles.

The Motorola clean cabs were the same way.
 

KR4BD

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They may sound weaker as a result of the FCC now requiring Narrowband FM (NBFM). This was done to wedge in more channels. MOST OLDER scanners, by default, are set to Wideband FM (WBFM) will still receive NBFM signals but the audio will sound somewhat "anemic". Most newer (and a few older) scanners can be set to receive NBFM. If set to NBFM, the signals will sound more "full" and stronger.
 

radioman2001

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All the new Clean Cab radios built on the Kenwood RF chassis and I am sure the Icom's too can be lowered to 10 watts or less even down to possibly 1 watt. We had to lower power on one channel due to licensing in our Quest Rail radios (Kenwood chassis). The Mot Clean cabs were Spectra or Astro Spectra mobiles inside, and the old Motorola Spectra or Astro Clean Cab's didn't like going below 20-25 watts.

The Syntor Clean Cab/Coach was a strange brew, looked more like the insides of a MCX-1000, and the very old NYCTA lunchbox radio (HT-200) made by Mot were 1 watt (don't need much power when the radiax cable is less than 10 feet away from your antenna), with the newer GE versions at 20 watt.

So it really depends on what manufacturer built your radio, and when. It is also possible the radio shop has lowered the power to cut interference to the PTC radio.
 
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PJH

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It's more accurately that it's a radio that doesn't get any service until it fails and transmits into an ineffienent antenna on an ultra high RF environment.

Unless turned in by a crew, it will stay that way. You see all the rust on rail cars, you should see it on the roofs.
 

radioman2001

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Clean cabs should give "BAD ANTENNA" in display if coax or antenna give a high SWR. Coach radios that we have give an audible beep after transmission if SWR is high, and yes I agree maintenence is an issue. I have only found one or 2 actual bad antennas over the years, and they were physically damaged. It usually is the roof panel whether is is steel or aluminum that corrodes and no longer gives a good contact for the needed ground plane.
 

ncrailfan

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Thanks for the responses. I guess it is train crews that are speaking really low and mind you my radios are set to NarrowBand 12.5khz or a bunch of bad handsets.
 

cbehr91

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A lot of crews calling signals are too lazy to pick up the handset and instead will use the built-in mic on the clean cab radio...but not talk into it...so it sounds like they're whispering.
 
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PJH

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Well not completely there but close.

-On most railroads, the engineer is prohibited (or discouraged) from calling signals. It's the job of the conductor. It doesn't mean that the engineer isn't covering for him if he is using the bathroom etc.

-The radios are mounted on the engineers control stand or overhead console. So the conductor wouldn't be using that control head. Only one control head (actually the whole radio is installed). The installation of the last dual radio control was used by SP in the SD70M and AC4400 with the ASTRO Spectra Railroad radios.

-BNSF, NS and CSX are still major users of the "telephone handsets" but Motorola and now Otto handmics are very prevelant.

-Speaking with the mics still on the mic hangup and not directly into it is the usual suspect. The built in mic on the radio itself had a bunch of gain. Depending on the locomotive model it can pick up a bunch of rattle.
 

Coffeemug

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Both Engineer and Conductor can receive repeat back Form D's from the dispatcher. As far as calling out the signals and mile posts, yep it's only the conductor who's authorized to notify dispatch the where abouts of the train. It's only the conductor's who request premission from the dispatcher to make all moves on the railroad.
 

Nasby

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Well not completely there but close.

-On most railroads, the engineer is prohibited (or discouraged) from calling signals. It's the job of the conductor. It doesn't mean that the engineer isn't covering for him if he is using the bathroom etc.

-The radios are mounted on the engineers control stand or overhead console. So the conductor wouldn't be using that control head. Only one control head (actually the whole radio is installed). The installation of the last dual radio control was used by SP in the SD70M and AC4400 with the ASTRO Spectra Railroad radios.

-BNSF, NS and CSX are still major users of the "telephone handsets" but Motorola and now Otto handmics are very prevelant.

-Speaking with the mics still on the mic hangup and not directly into it is the usual suspect. The built in mic on the radio itself had a bunch of gain. Depending on the locomotive model it can pick up a bunch of rattle.
Yep. Lazy railroad employess (which are so prevelant these days) is often the reason the mic is left on the hook and not properly utilized resulting in an inaudible transmission.
 
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