CSX Rail Low Audio from Trains Bergen County

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Hamop54

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I've been monitoring CSX Rail here in Bergen County and noticing that the audio from the trains is very low but audio from the detector and dispatcher is loud & clear. I don't think they are on "narrow band" but believe they use some kind of hands free arrangement in the cab up front or just don't feel like picking up the Mic. Any info about this? 73 Dan
Frequencies are 160.98 and 160.62
 

cmdrwill

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Railroads got sucked into Narrowbanding. Is your radio receiver set to N? It may be as you get the dtector and dispatcher loud.

And yes some "operators " have piss poor mic habits. If the op's arm was longer, the mic would be even further away.....
 

Hamop54

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Thanks for getting back.

A quick check of the Kenwood TH-F6A shows that I have been receiving the railroad in the normal FM mode, which is (±5 kHz). Switching to Narrow (±2.5 kHz) has been inclusive because some audio sounds louder but not necessarily clearer. Weak or noisy signals sound worse and low audio still sounds low on 'Narrow.' You hear a low audio but then a much louder squelch tale. Also mobile flutter is about as loud as the voice speaking & the audio has no punch.

The only experience I have had listening to so called narrow band seems to have been with my town police because all of their audio sounds low on normal FM and there is another community up the road, but only 5 KHz away on the radio: That would be too close for normal FM operation. Switching to Narrow makes the cops sound louder but still not 100%.

All of my audio reports on the Amateur repeaters sound good on normal FM. So, your explanation about not speaking into the Mic sounds about right.
 

radioman2001

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Quote"Railroads got sucked into Narrowbanding.

Nobody got suckered the Feds demanded it for all users above 50 mhz to but not including 800 mhz yet. The reason for low audio from the trains a lot of times is the radios are Clean Cab, and they have a built in microphone and the train operator is too lazy to pick up the handset mic. The built in mic can be either too sensitive and pick up everything in the cab except the operator clearly or weak which means the operator has to actually talk into the front of the radio.
 

Hamop54

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Thanks for you reply. Perhaps I'll catch you on one of the Mount Beacon Repeaters some time. 73 Dan
 

cmdrwill

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The reason for low audio from the trains a lot of times is the radios are Clean Cab, and they have a built in microphone and the train operator is too lazy to pick up the handset mic. The built in mic can be either too sensitive and pick up everything in the cab except the operator clearly or weak which means the operator has to actually talk into the front of the radio.
Still equals very Piss Poor mic habits.
 

W9BU

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I'll echo Radioman's comments. In some cases, the rules require that signals be acknowledged over the radio, but I don't think the rules say that that acknowledgement has to be intelligible.

Also, I have a gut feeling that some CSX radio installations never got reprogrammed from "wide" band to "narrow" band. I hear some yardmaster base radios that are very "loud" compared to locomotive radios when listening with a receiver set for narrow band.
 

KC9LQV

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As others have said: they just won't talk into the microphone.

I've heard it happen a million times: trains calling signals where the voice is a barely audible mumblemumblemumble, but in the background you can hear the whine of the traction motors and the frame squeaking or the flanges banging.

Then, suddenly, the dispatcher calls, and the response is LOUD AND CLEAR.
 

radioman2001

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I know that at least in our agency the radio consoles have compression that makes any incoming transmission sound equal across a large range. When we we doing the narrow band updating the consoles had no trouble with narrow or wide reception with the audio sounding equal.

Getting the train operator to talk INTO the mic is the main issue.When i was working for M doing updates for NYCTA they had goose neck mics and we were trying to get the audio settings right with a panel mounted mic. There have not been microphones like in "The Taking of Pelham One, Two,Three" for a long time.
 
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