Railroads and NXDN

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what are you guys using to monitor railroads with NXDN? I want to upgrade my mobile and my HT but so far Yeasu doesn't support the 6.25 step sizes and doesn't have NXDN last i gathered. I see on Radio Reference in the database there's at least two channels in KC in the yards that use NXDN now. so it's getting closer to home and i live 100 miles from KC and railfan there.
 

W2GLD

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First off, railroad channels are either 15.0 kHz spacing for standard NFM on AAR 007-097 and 7.5 kHz spacing on 107-196 NFM and 302-496 NXDN. Some receivers can fake this spacing by using other known spacing; the Icom R30 is like this, or some other receivers can have a custom spacing like the Icom R8600. In general, scanners like the Whistler or Uniden will handle the proper spacing but other functionality is broken.

For example, the Uniden scanners do not properly handle special digital codes like F7E for P25 or RAN 0 for NXDN. The purpose of these special codes is to allow the receiver to open for any and all codes but with front end protection from other sources and or modes. The only receivers that support this correctly are the Icom’s that I’ve found; but remember, Icom also makes many of the radios used by the railroads and has followed the NXDN specifications to the letter...
 
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First off, railroad channels are either 15.0 kHz spacing for standard NFM on AAR 007-097 and 7.5 kHz spacing on 107-196 NFM and 302-496 NXDN. Some receivers can fake this spacing by using other known spacing; the Icom R30 is like this, or some other receivers can have a custom spacing like the Icom R8600. In general, scanners like the Whistler or Uniden will handle the proper spacing but other functionality is broken.

For example, the Uniden scanners do not properly handle special digital codes like F7E for P25 or RAN 0 for NXDN. The purpose of these special codes is to allow the receiver to open for any and all codes but with front end protection from other sources and or modes. The only receivers that support this correctly are the Icom’s that I’ve found; but remember, Icom also makes many of the radios used by the railroads and has followed the NXDN specifications to the letter...
I was thinking 7.5 but you guys mentioned 6.25 so it threw me off. I haven't been keeping up in the last few years. my brain is a little rusty. Too many hobbies i switch around to. What is RAN? Are those like PL tones? What about the Icom ham radios? I am looking for a ham radio so i can do my own programming. I hate to get a commercial radio and have to find someone to send them to to get programmed every time i turn around. It's getting expensive for shipping!!! Costed me $11 for a box of something that was feather light. god forbid a heavy two way radio. I have some commercial grade radios for use with ATCS Monitor and had to send those off to get programmed. that costs almost $20 i think to ship those now if i remember correctly.
 

W2GLD

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Yes, RAN is the NXDN digital equivalent of a CTCSS tone. No, there are no Amateur Radio’s which presently support the 7.5 kHz spacing or NXDN digital protocol.

The best band for your buck is the Icom R30 as it pretty much can function just like a “real” commercial radio but allows you to receive DC to Daylight and various modes. It also can follow a small P25 trunking system as well, but no individual talkgroups. For railroad comma, though more expensive than some scanner options, it’s a top notch performer and super fast scan rates too.
 

W2GLD

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And this method created by Uniden is impossibly slow and takes far too long to actually capture the channels you want to hear. Conventional should have remainder in a single system, not OFT for digital and conventional for FM; tremendously dumb interface and it could have been implemented so much better; I know, I’ve owned countless Uniden and Whistler scanners throughout the years, including the SDS100; which BTW is a total dud outside of 700/800 MHz trunking, VHF IS USELESS on the SDS100. My R30 hears countless more activity in all bands; sadly it’s not a trunking receiver otherwise I wouldn’t own any more Uniden’s.
 

mmckenna

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what are you guys using to monitor railroads with NXDN? I want to upgrade my mobile and my HT but so far Yeasu doesn't support the 6.25 step sizes and doesn't have NXDN last i gathered. I see on Radio Reference in the database there's at least two channels in KC in the yards that use NXDN now. so it's getting closer to home and i live 100 miles from KC and railfan there.
Find a used Kenwood NX-200 or NX-210 portable. They'll do the 6.25KHz channel widths used by the "Very Narrow NXDN" standard.
For mobile, NX-700 is a good choice.
Not as easy to program as a scanner, but will likely outperform with their better receivers.

Yeasu likely will never support NXDN. Pretty much your only options are Kenwood, Icom, a few Alinco models and some Ritron stuff.

Or
 

JASII

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I just ran across this thread while searching for NXDN RAN Codes. Do I understand correctly that railroad NXDN doesn't use RAN Codes? So, if want to program a Uniden SDSD100, do I simply select squelch code 0 or I am totally misunderstanding this?
 

W2GLD

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In railroad radios, keypad entry of the AAR channels use RAN 1 typically; however, programmed channels can be any RAN. RAN 0 is suppose to answer ANY and ALL RAN’s but is not properly implemented in the Uniden scanners, so I’d suggest setting the channel as digital search unless you know the specific RAN code.

The Icom R30 receives RAN 0 correctly and is a far superior receiver than the SDS100 for the railroads; heck, so is the BC125AT as well; but that doesn’t track NXDN.
 

JASII

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Excellent. I ran across this. Now, my understanding is that just because it is licensed to use NXDN, it might simply be using analog yet.


EDIT: I put it in the Custom Search thinking I wouldn't hear anything right now, but I am getting it and it is still analog and carrier squelch.


160.23FB215Soo Systems Radio Communications CorporationSAINT PAUL
IG​
Common Carrier Railroad
 
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RRR

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Quote"
AAR backed off on the "requirement" years back.

They didn't back off the Class I RR's said we are not going NXDN and that's that. It was voted upon at a meeting sometime in 2014.

Quote"


As this other post suggests most RR's and agencies will NOT be going NXDN in the foreseeable future.
Funny reading these things back from 2017, to now. Nearly every radio on class 1's now are NXDN capable, NXDN is being used in yards, gangs, police, and have been tested on mainlines. PTC came in, and old equipment was removed, and replaced. Along with that, NXDN base radios were also installed, and radios are being programmed with Analog and NXDN for future use. Licenses are continuing to be updated for NXDN emissions as well.

Just because you don't know about something, doesn't make it so. Times are changing.....
 

N4DJC

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Funny reading these things back from 2017, to now. Nearly every radio on class 1's now are NXDN capable, NXDN is being used in yards, gangs, police, and have been tested on mainlines. PTC came in, and old equipment was removed, and replaced. Along with that, NXDN base radios were also installed, and radios are being programmed with Analog and NXDN for future use. Licenses are continuing to be updated for NXDN emissions as well.

Just because you don't know about something, doesn't make it so. Times are changing.....
Are you hearing any NXDN traffic on NS or CSX frequencies?
 

milf

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I have heard NXDN in use on CSXT police. And encryption on the special ops guys. There is also an grain operation using it on thier rail run. I also did monitor an accidental use of it by a signal maintainer last month. So yes the newer radios are spreading, bit more training is needed in operation of them it seems is needed.
 
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alcahuete

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Well they don't regulate railroad safety that would be FRA's job.

Only partially accurate. "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have primary responsibility for transportation security, with FRA providing support in the railroad sector. "

So if this is looked at as a national security issue (which it is) instead of a safety issue, it absolutely is DHS responsibility.
 

milf

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Add to this, that the Class I's have full on police departments, with K-9, SWAT/ERT, Special Investigations and all. With only AmTrak being on the lower end technologically speaking. They are the only Federal/Hybrid LEA that is not at the least testing digital, while pretty much all other Federal level agencies are P25, and mostly encrypted.
 

RRR

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The DTMF "Switch" (Turnout) locations are not on mainlines at timetable speed. You will see that in some yards or if on mainline locations where the train stops (or otherwise verifies switchpoint location) before proceeding, as per FRA rules.

Railroad police in the USA (Excepting Amtrak) are not "Federal", they are private police agencies, with the officers receiving state authority, with jurisdiction to cross state lines in pursuance of a Railroad investigation. I haven't heard RR police in the clear in a few years now.

TSA/DHS has security interests in basically all forms of transportation, railroads included, and rightly so.

However, the FRA has "Sole jurisdiction" over rule-making and enforcement over Railroads.

And there is NXDN on the Rails, been tested in a lot of places already for coverage. Has not been implemented for transportation on road or dispatch channels yet, but on class 1's, almost all radios are now NXDN capable, and are being (if not already) programmed with analog zone and NXDN zone. (And class 2, 3, regionals and shortlines, you can get a mix of everything)

Good thing is, what I have heard, sounds really good. YMMV, as with everything.
 
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