RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby CarterB » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:18 am

jgallaway81 wrote:As with the Federal mandate for the conversion of the TV stations to go digital, the time is coming where even teh railroads will be mandated to a conversion to digital. Part of that is the implementation of PTC.

The BIGGEST factor for the mandating of digital spectrum is the increased bandwidth capabilities. If more frequencies become available for licensing in the same spectrum range, the FCC gets to make more in licensing fees. Like everythign else, it comes down to the all-mighty dollar.


Please cite for me any mandates, now or proposed, by the FCC that railroad must go digital. The 'refarming' of the frequencies from 25KHz to 12.5KHz band widths is mandatory by Jan 1, 2013, analog....however I know of NO mandates of any kind by the FCC that would require railroads to also go digital. Now as to PTC, if the ARA or DOT are mandating radio accessability for digital signalling/encryption....that's another story...but pleas cite such a mandate.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby kitn1mcc » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:18 pm

Narrow banding was an Easy upgrade. seeing how the fcc said all radio after 1997 had to be able to go Narrow band it gave comapny time to Upgrade as they needed to. i could see all Radio mandated to be able to do Digital From the Factory but not mandatory for use. RR jus like fire Fighters and a few other Digital could cause issues and Problems. most FD and other who use digital go to Analog for Fire Ground use seeing how Digital is not a quike as analog
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby jgallaway81 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:58 pm

I'm sorry if I implied it, but I did NOT mean that the mandate had been issued.

What I meant was that eventually the mandate will be issued, and it will be issued for the same reasons as the digital TV mandate was issues.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby kitn1mcc » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:36 pm

not going to happen
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby keeper1616 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:56 am

jgallaway81 wrote:The BIGGEST factor for the mandating of digital spectrum is the increased bandwidth capabilities. If more frequencies become available for licensing in the same spectrum range, the FCC gets to make more in licensing fees. Like everythign else, it comes down to the all-mighty dollar.


Digital radios still have 12.5khz spacing, so the cost to the operator is the same as a narrowband analog frequency. I could see the railroad eventually going digital, but I highly doubt it will be before they stop making analog radios, and most certainly not within the next 10-15 years.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby CarterB » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:53 pm

Being in the Radio business (Dealer) and licensing dozens of my customers each month with the FCC, and therefore being in touch with the FCC, I see absolutely NO reason for any mandate by the FCC to go to digital anytime in the near future. For band width considerations, yes, they will someday (next ten years) mandate going from the now "narrow band" 12.5KHz splits to the 6.25 splits which are already available, and some equipment manufactures already supplying (I-Com, Kenwood)

I am unaware of any plans to mandate the movement from analog to digital even under consideration.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby EMTRailfan » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:52 pm

CarterB wrote:Being in the Radio business (Dealer) and licensing dozens of my customers each month with the FCC, and therefore being in touch with the FCC, I see absolutely NO reason for any mandate by the FCC to go to digital anytime in the near future. For band width considerations, yes, they will someday (next ten years) mandate going from the now "narrow band" 12.5KHz splits to the 6.25 splits which are already available, and some equipment manufactures already supplying (I-Com, Kenwood)

I am unaware of any plans to mandate the movement from analog to digital even under consideration.


Speaking off of the RR topic, but go figure. Everyone had wideband radios. FCC mandates narrowband (12.5). Everyone replaces or updates their radio systems, and within the next 10 years, they need to replace or update again to 6.25. It does not make any sense other than $$$ to the radio mfgs/dealers. It's like the highway dept. painting the lines on the road, and a week later they decide to repave :-/
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby CarterB » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:00 pm

EMTRailfan,

Well not exactly. The FCC has had the 'refarming' plan out for at least ten years now. Many who now have the older "wide band" 25KHz equipment are going directly to the 6.25 or 6.25 capable equipment. Those with the 12.5 equipment pretty much are 'staying put' until/unless mandated to change, unless for some reason they need/want to go digital. If so, they are either plannning on 6.25 digital now, or phasing in from analog to digital. So it's not really as much a matter of planned obsolescence, as it is the growing need for more radio frequencies for users, that has exploded since 9-11.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby Ken W2KB » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:00 pm

here's an interesting article from a few months ago:

". . .locomotives at interchange or run-through service must be equipped with narrowband capable clean cab radios to meet the railroad industry’s self-imposed deadline of July 1, 2010, and after January 1, 2013, no wideband operation at all is allowed, as mandated by the FCC." and "Railroads must also factor into their decision the longer-term transition to digital operation, which the FCC has outlined but has not yet set a deadline for."

Full article appears at below link:

http://www.masstransitmag.com/web/online/Industry-Announcements/Short-Line-and-Regional-Railroads-Benefit-From-Affordable-Narrowband-Solution--/1$9807
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby CarterB » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:29 pm

Well the article is partially correct. No one can manufacture the 27kh split radios as of Jan 1 this year. Transition to usage of same is indeed Jan 1, 2013. However there is NO known plans by the FCC or any other regulating body to force usage of digital compared to analog. The railroad agencies may WANT digital for other reasons, such as digital data transmission or GPS into to or from the cab.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby kitn1mcc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:54 pm

thats the same article that was in the latest flyer i got from tessco trying to sell that ritron clean cab radio
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby Ken W2KB » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:50 pm

kitn1mcc wrote:thats the same article that was in the latest flyer i got from tessco trying to sell that ritron clean cab radio


I wonder if tessco would be willing to point out any FCC statements indicating plans to go digital? That seems to be the missing piece in the equation, though the trend is certainly for critical infrastructure companies and agencies to go digital for the security that mode provides.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby AgentSkelly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:47 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
kitn1mcc wrote:thats the same article that was in the latest flyer i got from tessco trying to sell that ritron clean cab radio


I wonder if tessco would be willing to point out any FCC statements indicating plans to go digital? That seems to be the missing piece in the equation, though the trend is certainly for critical infrastructure companies and agencies to go digital for the security that mode provides.


I know ICOM said that NXDN was going to be the AAR standard; however, when I contacted the AAR, they said nothing has been announced nor planned.
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby kitn1mcc » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:47 pm

yeah icom has been pushing that i-dash system i hope they go with p25 like everyone else
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Re: RRs changing to digital (vs. analog) radios

Postby MarkDobronski » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:38 pm

Our railroad has purchased the Ritron RCCR radios for all of our locomotives, including the NXDN digital upgrade, and we are extremely pleased with the quality and the performance. The Ritron product makes the former Motorola "Clean Cab" radio look like an amateur experiment. (Motorola ceased making the Clean Cab a couple years back and has not offered a "replacement" product to the railroad industry. Frankly, the Motorola "Clean Cab" was OVERPRICED!) The audio quality from the Ritron is far superior to that of the Motorola "Clean Cab." The Motorola always made the engineer sound like he/she was in an echo chamber, whereas the Ritron manages to deliver fairly clear audio from the engineer even with the noisy environment of the locomotive cab.

The railroad industry (through the AAR) has adopted the NXDN digital protocol as the de facto standard for the industry.

We are operating with Ritron RCCR radios in the locomotives, ICOM F3161 handhelds for train crews, and ICOM F5061 mobiles in vehicles and on-line equipment. We are using the ICOM FR-5000 base stations/repeaters. We have switched to full digital (NXDN) operation. Range on the analog 12.5 KHz narrowband channels dropped significantly from that realized on the 25 KHz wideband channels. We found that the range on the 6.25 KHz digital channels is SUPERIOR to that realized with the 25 KHz wideband channels; plus, our communications are now somewhat more secure from casual eavedropping via scanners. The NXDN digital functionality has also allowed us to add GPS location reporting.
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