• B&P radios switching over to NXDN

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by videobruce
Yard conversations on the B&P in S. Buffalo were using NXDN this AM. Anyone else heard them making the switchover? Audio quality was terrible, excessive levels and garbled. I had trouble understand them using a Uniden BCD996P2.

This was on their Yd channel 160.53 MHz.
  by New Haven 1
My condolences to the users and listeners of these systems.

I manage the radio system for my employer and deliberately won't use any of these digital radios due to the poor audio quality and enormous expense of them.

I liken the sound to listening to someone trying to talk through a paper towel tube.

Both a friend of mine who is a radio tech that has to deal with these systems and other friends who work at employers that bought the hype from the dealers can't stand it.
  by videobruce
Ouch! That is a good description of when it is working properly.
Hype is putting it gently. This is the 1st RR conversation I have heard. The only other NXDN I have heard is from our city Zoo. Not that great, but no way as bad as what I've heard in the past hour or so from the B&P. I assume it's growing pains.

The biggest difference is 'no squelch tails' ! Really don't like that. I've been monitoring since the late 60's and not to have a squelch tail after the carrier drops is a void by itself. Add the poor audio, :wink:
  by videobruce
I have heard bits & pieces of 'digital' activity on this frequency many weeks ago, but dismissed it to interference from other services.
The problem here is apparently the weaker signals don't trigger the NXDN circuit decoder in the radio, so the xmission comes thru as it would on a analog radio.
  by videobruce
Update. I haven't heard any more 'digital' communications for some time now. Maybe they gave up on it. There is very little conversations due to the limited activity and I don't monitor the two channels they use separately.
  by clearblock
You may have been hearing CN MacMillen Yard which is NXDN on 160.530 and 160.230, plus many other frequencies, due to enhanced radio propagation at times.

The wide use of NXDN in the Toronto area has limited what we have been able to do with our Broadcastify rail feeds in the Western NY area. The Erie to Buffalo feed was originally planned to cover B&P and WNYPA as well as CSX and NS. As soon as we put it in service, 160.230 and 160.620 were getting hammered with NXDN so we had to give up on B&P and WNYPA. We also found interference on 161.520 CSX from Metrolinx NXDN was intolerable so that also had to be deleted. So the feed only covers CSX 160.800, 160.860 and 160.950 and NS 161.070 and 161.085.

CSX Railroad Erie to Buffalo - https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/37641

The 160.620 from CN was also causing intermittent problems that prevented plans to include NYSW at our Rochester to Syracuse site. Our Southern Tier site does have 160.230 and 160.620 and is far enough away from Toronto that the interference is rare. But the site is primarily just NS Southern Tier coverage since it is too far away from most B&P and WNYPA action.

Introduction of NXDN is a real problem since most analog rail communications are carrier squelch so there is no way to avoid hearing the NXDN noise on the frequency. The problem is minimal for the railroads themselves since their base stations are usually about every 20 miles along the ROW with relatively low tower height often with directional antennas. The dispatchers use tone-up so they don't have to listen unless specifically called. But it is a major problem for our ARS-NET system of wide area Broadcastify feeds from high tower sites and carrier squelch receivers.
  by videobruce
Understood and thanks for the reply.
But what I heard was the B&P yard making switching moves. Toronto is too far away to receive even with more than one roof top antennas at my location.
  by clearblock
I got the impression from your original post that the reception was garbled but, if it clearly was the B&P Yard, then that is what you heard. But, even though Toronto reception is not normally possible, with extreme ducting under the right weather conditions over Lake Ontario, Toronto area units can be heard in Western NY even on a portable.

MacMillen 160.230 and 160.620 are solid reception at all times at our Arkwright tower site and 160.620 was heard frequently enough to be an unacceptable nuisance at our Savannah, NY site that is about 150 mi from MacMillen Yard. This is also a case where much of the path is over Lake Ontario. The problem is rare and very weak when it does occur at our Alfred - Southern Tier site, although it is approximately the same distance to MacMillen, since most of the path is over land and hills.

While NXDN is a nuisance, distant analog railroad reception under special conditions can be interesting. We have heard trains in a yard at Gary, IN on occasions with the path over Lakes Erie and Michigan from Arkwright and our Marine feed at the site often hears ships in the Detroit river.
  by videobruce
I tried more than once to call the B&P, but the numbers in the local phone book (yes there is still such a thing) were either wrong or no one answered.
The problem is, there is so little activity on the B&P here it's very hard to catch them. I guess I'll have to set up their two channels on a separate scanner in a separate bank and let it scan by itself.
  by clearblock
You can check out their web page for contact numbers: https://www.gwrr.com/bprr/contacts/

Most railroads have been buying NXDN capable radios with both the analog and NXDN channels programmed so they may have decided to try NXDN and then switched back to analog.
  by videobruce
Thanks, I sent a e-mail to Mr. Hutcheson. I'll see if he replies.