Did UP tone down their Defect detectors?

Status
Not open for further replies.

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
I use to listen to UP and KCS in the St. Louis Area a few years ago, and I was able to pick up about Defect detectors up and down the line. I recently got back into the hobby and have located all the old defect detectors using my hand scanner and car, but I can only pick up one from home now.

Has UP turned down the transmission wattage on them as a general rule?

thanks
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
I Havent looked up your area specifically, but in most that I hve looked up the answer is NO... I dont have any information on KCS
 

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
seems strange

it just seems strange that I could consistantly hear them before. However I live in a new house with a new antenna and new scanner. But the new house is twice as close to one detector as before and at a higher elevation than the old house. Same thing with my car. I have a new 5/8 whip magnetic mount on my car and from the same train station, I can't hear the old detectors anymore.

That was what was making me think they may have toned them down a bit so not to annoy everyone who was 20 miles away from the train.
 

icom1020

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
959
It used to be say, 15 -20 years ago they were higher powered. I know this from the BN and now Big New Santa Fe when you could hear them over flat terrain say 10-15 miles. Some of them were turned down to just a few watts, some of them are powered by handhelds hooked up to the DED as I was told by a UP radio tech. It only needs to cover the area of the passing train and near a terminal,or switching facility, this just adds to more chatter. A train or MOW 10-20 miles down the line doesn't need to hear a distant detector when getting a track warrant from the dispatcher.

Some have been physically relocated a few hundred feet or more, creating a better or worse reception depending on where you're at. Some of them may need upgrading as the coax or connector may be less than optimal and what works for a passing train may be marginal for you somewhere else.
 

E-Man

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Banned
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
840
Location
Global
I do not hear them anymore in my neck of the woods, could they have upgraded to a different system?
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
icom1020 said:
It used to be say, 15 -20 years ago they were higher powered. I know this from the BN and now Big New Santa Fe when you could hear them over flat terrain say 10-15 miles. Some of them were turned down to just a few watts, some of them are powered by handhelds hooked up to the DED as I was told by a UP radio tech. It only needs to cover the area of the passing train and near a terminal,or switching facility, this just adds to more chatter. A train or MOW 10-20 miles down the line doesn't need to hear a distant detector when getting a track warrant from the dispatcher.

Some have been physically relocated a few hundred feet or more, creating a better or worse reception depending on where you're at. Some of them may need upgrading as the coax or connector may be less than optimal and what works for a passing train may be marginal for you somewhere else.


But a train 15-20 miles away DOES need to hear the detectors go off... Well they dont need to but it makes our job easier... If you know where everybody is at in front of you, it is less likely you will run into his signals (PITA In iowa and Illinois cause of the cab signal system)
 

timkilbride

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Feb 9, 2006
Messages
1,779
Location
Iowa County, Iowa
icom1020 said:
It used to be say, 15 -20 years ago they were higher powered. I know this from the BN and now Big New Santa Fe when you could hear them over flat terrain say 10-15 miles. Some of them were turned down to just a few watts, some of them are powered by handhelds hooked up to the DED as I was told by a UP radio tech. It only needs to cover the area of the passing train and near a terminal,or switching facility, this just adds to more chatter. A train or MOW 10-20 miles down the line doesn't need to hear a distant detector when getting a track warrant from the dispatcher.

Some have been physically relocated a few hundred feet or more, creating a better or worse reception depending on where you're at. Some of them may need upgrading as the coax or connector may be less than optimal and what works for a passing train may be marginal for you somewhere else.
I agree with Burner, it is nice/helpful hearing them. When I worked MofW for CN, we would use the detector to know when a train was getting close and clear up our warrant or track and time to keep the trains moving. CN's detectors put out around 45 watts so they were heard for a ways. I never did once hear any complaints about how far you could hear them, if anything, we always talked about how it helps us.
 

icom1020

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
959
timkilbride said:
I agree with Burner, it is nice/helpful hearing them. When I worked MofW for CN, we would use the detector to know when a train was getting close and clear up our warrant or track and time to keep the trains moving. CN's detectors put out around 45 watts so they were heard for a ways. I never did once hear any complaints about how far you could hear them, if anything, we always talked about how it helps us.
So, why do you think that some of the railroads have turned down the power some of these?
 

timkilbride

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Feb 9, 2006
Messages
1,779
Location
Iowa County, Iowa
icom1020 said:
So, why do you think that some of the railroads have turned down the power some of these?
I have never heard of a railroad turning the power down on them. People all of a sudden lose or get a degraded signal from a detector that they used to get and just automatically assume the railroad turned the power down.
 

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
timkilbride said:
I have never heard of a railroad turning the power down on them. People all of a sudden lose or get a degraded signal from a detector that they used to get and just automatically assume the railroad turned the power down.
I don’t know if it was a conscience decision to cut the output, but I would bet my paycheck the UP detectors in my area are weaker than they were a few years ago when I actively listened. Unless we are going through some sort of solar activity that I’m unaware of? I’m just trying to figure why I can’t hear them anymore from my area unless I’m within a mile or two of them?

Next time I see the UP tech guy working the tracks I’ll ask him.

thanks
 

DPD1

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
1,991
I know signal guys that have mentioned they purposely turned them down. In fact, one guy told me he even started mounting the antennas sideways to make them even less efficient. On a busy line they can interfere a lot. If a guy is trying to get instructions from the DS and a detector for another train 5 miles away takes out the transmission, they get frustrated. Plus, on some urban lines with commuter service, they put detectors everywhere for extra safety. During busy hours it gets crazy with all of them going off. I know that metralink uses extremely low power... I've been a couple miles away and not been able to hear them. Excessive radio traffic is also why they've been setting them to talk on defect only as well.

Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Makers of the "TrainTenna" Monitoring Antenna
 

icom1020

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
959
Since I use only commercial radios, the signals are not what they used to be 10-15 years ago with a cheaper scanner.
I have heard this too when the DS says "the detector walked all over you". My reasoning is when they installed them years ago, they weren't sure of how effective a DED would be with a quarter wave whip covering a mile or more of train. My other guess is most technicians have probably found the lower output adequate and the installation runs cooler when it is turned down as the A/C inside the shanty may not protect the heat sink thoroughly.

It is convenient for crews to hear other trains trip the scanner, especially in ABS or dark territory, but it's not necessary to hear someone else's train, unless they fell asleep.
 

scanrrman

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Messages
361
I listen to the KCS Mexico Sub in the area of KC and they have a detector at MP 460.5 which is just east of Grain Valley in between Grain Valley and Oak Grove in Jackson County. It works just fine when I'm in the vicinity. I did notice about 2 years ago, they changed it from saying Gateway-Western railroad detector to KCS detector. The freq from KC to Mexico, MO is 161.2800. I think the freq changes east of Mexico to St. Louis.
I also hear detectors on the UP. The Sedalia Sub (Jefferson City Sub) and the River Sub.
Could they have installed directional antennas??? And thus causing your loss of reception?
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
well its not just the detectors, it is the radios too, And I KNOW they havent done anything to my handheld.

i was having trouble hearing people in places that I should have been able to hear them loud and clear...

We JUST began a new solar cycle, NASA says this one could be bad in a few years...
 

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
scanrrman said:
I listen to the KCS Mexico Sub in the area of KC and they have a detector at MP 460.5 which is just east of Grain Valley in between Grain Valley and Oak Grove in Jackson County. It works just fine when I'm in the vicinity. I did notice about 2 years ago, they changed it from saying Gateway-Western railroad detector to KCS detector. The freq from KC to Mexico, MO is 161.2800. I think the freq changes east of Mexico to St. Louis.
I also hear detectors on the UP. The Sedalia Sub (Jefferson City Sub) and the River Sub.
Could they have installed directional antennas??? And thus causing your loss of reception?
Hi,

I actually listen to that same line only farther east and south. It stays 161.280 until about Roodhouse Illinois, then changes to 161.460 down into St. Louis.

I can only pick up one Detector at MP 35.7 (somewhere near Jerseyville Illinois). I haven't tracked that one down and located it yet, but I need to.

The other one on this line is in Granite City, Illinois, and I can no longer pick it up from my location. UP and KSC both use this line.
 

kma371

QRT
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
Messages
6,190
In Sacramento area, the UP detector near my house (MP 124.7, Franklin) used to be on Road Channel AAR 08, now its on AAR 80. Make sure the frequency didn't move.
 

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
kma371 said:
In Sacramento area, the UP detector near my house (MP 124.7, Franklin) used to be on Road Channel AAR 08, now its on AAR 80. Make sure the frequency didn't move.
Hi,

thanks, but its there, I heard it when I drove near it, but from my house I can't hear it. This detector was easily heard 25 miles away in St. Louis a few years ago. Now I can't hear it from my house which is only 10 miles away.

I'll have to drive up to it and see if they replaced the large (80 foot tower) with a small box and antenna. That might explain it.

thanks
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
the 80' tower was probably not for the radio results being broadcast...


it was probably for the results to be transmitted to a microwave site so omaha could see them.
 

walterb

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
82
double checked it

I drove up there today. the tower is still there, but I can't confirm its actually doing the broadcasting. However Just as I was driving up to it an Amtrak came buy and the detector sounded off. I also listened for a UP freight train from about 10 miles away on flat terrain but didn't hear it which is consistant with the way its been acting since I begain listening agian a few weeks ago.

I'll have to wait until I see a UP guy and ask him whats up.

thanks
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top