• Fall sked

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by va3ori
Okay, fellas, no more messing around! Let's get a sked going sometime this fall, say November after the US elections. I would recommend 20 meters in the General band, frequency t.b.a. on a Saturday. Any thoughts?

Not to leave out the Novices or Tech+ ops, you've got a two-month heads up so get going on your upgrades!!

Let's get something going 'cause it would be nice to meet on the bands.

cheers es vy 73, Ori

  by kr4bd
I'm In!

Just let us know what frequency and time. I already meet with a friend (WA9NGO) who is connected with the Hoosier Valley RR Museum (HVRM) in NW Indiana on most Monday evenings at 7 PM Eastern/6 PM Central Time on 3930 kHz +/- depending on QRM. Feel free to join us. Others, mainly from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, join us for general discussion, but RR subjects are usually part of the QSO.

Tom, KR4BD
Lexington, KY

  by Richard Y
Sounds like it would be fun to give it a try, Ori. I work, here in San Jose, Calif, every other weekend. Don't get home until 9PM local time (does that translate to 11PM your time there in Toronto?)? So, could probably only listen for you every other Sat night.
I would like to see if I could make contact with your Indiana group, Tom, but, again, I have to work until 9PM so probably not be able to.
Anyway, I was wondering about the best time and frequency. I may be wrong, but it seems most members of the forum (although only a few, I am sure, are hams) are from the eastern part of the US and Canada. Wonder if they would be able to hear each other on 20 meters, especially if they live relative close to one another. Maybe you could work 20 meters the first half of the sessions then go down to 40 meters for the other half?
I believe I have worked a ham in the Toronto area on 40 meters..but I admit you would expect 20 to be better. I am, of course, refering to late at night. I would think 20 meter would be best earlier in the day.
By the way, the new novice licensees, once license restructuring becomes a reality, will get phone privilges from 7.2 to 7.3 mHz, so they could get on 40 ok. I don't think there will be phone privilges, for the novice license, on 20 meters with the new proposal.
What time of night were you thinking of?



  by Aa3rt
Ori, thanks for taking the initiative to start this ball rolling!

As far as a time goes, I really have no preference. Inevitably someone is going to be unable to participate and be left out. I learned this the hard way when I started scheduling a semi-annual get together of southern Maryland railway enthusiasts in the La Plata Train Station Museum. Once you start trying to accomodate everyone you'll never get anything started.

Don't mean to step on toes or hurt anyone's feelings. In fact, I work part time for a heating and air conditioning company as a dispatcher. My winter weekends are usually quite busy.

Just pick a target time, date (day) and frequency. Let's see if there's enough interest to get this on the air!

If I can be there I will, if not, no hard feelings.

Thanks again, 73, de AA3RT
Last edited by Aa3rt on Sun Sep 12, 2004 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by va3ori
Well, I'll look forward to you, Art, or anyone else who can make it! I work shifts - we're a 24/7 company and I look at it this way. Either I make it or I don't. With luck, it won't be a "one-off" thing and if someone can't be at one, he'll be at another! I'll collect information from anyone who posts to this or who e-mails me privately and I'll set a date, time and frequency with plenty of time to get the word around.

cheers es vy 73, Ori

  by w2dsx
Post it if you folks attempt it!!! I'm still stuck on the extra list and have a 16 month old to boot, but if you guys try, I'll still attempt to make it! HF or VHF if anyone's in the NYC area, cw or phone, I'm there.

If you're on VHF in the NYC area, pay a visit to the Nassau County VHF Traffic Net, you'll be welcome and I need the QNI :wink: 146.805 136.5 at 7:30pm local.

73 y'all...

Jim w2dsx
[email protected] Asleep at the switch zzzzzzz
  by Richard Y
It has been a while since your initial posting regarding a sked on 20 meters, I believe on Saturday nights.
Have you started yet? If so, what time and freq?



  by kr4bd
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

If you live in the upper Mid-West (OH, IN, MI, PA, KY, IL, WI, MO, IA etc) you might try to join a small group of rail enthusiasts on 3930 kHz+/- (75 meter band) at 7 PM EST (6 PM CST) on MONDAY evenings. While most of the ops in this group are rail buffs, other subjects may be discussed as well. Feel free to join us. Some of the callsigns to look for are WA9NGO (IN) , KU4A (KY), N8CSZ (OH) and myself. You will need a minimum of a Amateur General Class License to talk on this frequency, but anyone with a shortwave radio can tune in to listen. We operate using Lower Single-Side Band (LSB).

  by CRail
Not to sound like a complete rookie (ive been in the business for 9 years but ive just started getting serious about it for 2 or 3 years now [im talking about railroading in general]) but what is a sked?

  by kr4bd
A "sked" is a schedule. This is a ham radio term that dates back to the days when most hams used Morse Code to communicate. Many words, especially long words, had accepted abbreviations to expedite the communications. Many of these abbreviations remain in use today by ham operators.
  by Richard Y
Thanks for the information, Tom (KR4BD) regarding your schedule on 75 meters..sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I don't, right now, have an antenna for the 80 meter band. Also, my QTH is San Jose, Calif so probably could not hear you on 75 meters, anyway. All I have is a 40 meter dipole and a "Mosley Mini 33" compact tribander for 10-15-20 meters.
Because of past problem with telephone interference with some of my neighbors, I am a little leery about getting on the radio during hours from around 4PM through 11PM. However, I don't go to work until 11:30AM and I have all Wednesdays off. Maybe a day-time sked on 10 or 15 meters..Wednesdays would be good, especially in the afternoon, or any other weekday morning. I have a regular sked,starting at 12 Noon, with a bunch of guys on 40 meters.We almost always wind up at 1pm.
Maybe I could post a freq on 10 meters, or 15 meters, and plan to call CQ at 1pm, on Wed. Others could check when they are on 10 or 15 meters, which freq and at what time, and post that information on this bulletin board.
It would then be sort of an informal sked. If you hear someone in a QSO, you could break in. I think 10 or 15 meters would be interesting..it could mean hams on either coast could possibly hear each other, as well as a lot of Canadian hams, assuming, of course, the band is open.

What do you think?


Dick :-D

  by kr4bd
Richard Y...

As you probably know, there will never be an ideal schedule for railfan hams to communicate when they are spread out all over the country and working different schedules. I am sure you would probably not hear us from the mid-west on 75 meters in California, either, due to distance and time-of-day (at 7PM EST or 4PM PST). It is still daylight out there and 75 is a night-time band. Regarding 10 and 15 meters, both bands are somewhat depressed for long distance on many days due to low sunspot activity right now. When these bands are open, the skip is usually too long for stations within 500 miles (or so) to hear each other. 20 meters also would have problems with close stations as the skip is quite long most of the time. By the way, my schedule the last few weeks has been such that I have not made the Monday evening group on 3930 kHz at 7 EST. Two weeks ago, heavy auroral activity was so intense, even 75 meters was DEAD at night for several days. Anyone who studies radio wave propagation knows conditions can vary significantly from band-to-band, day-to-day, season-to-season, time-of-day, sunpots activity, auroral conditions, etc. That's what makes ham radio so much fun and challenging at the same time!

  by kr4bd
Richard Y...

Sorry you have trouble with telephone QRM (interference). I have found that some in-line filters work well to abate this problem. They cost less than $20 each and I have them on my neighbor's phones. I run up to 750 watts here at times (on all HF bands) and this can cause some problems. I want to keep peace in the neighborhood, so I bought these filters for the neighbors. I am NOT required to do this. The FCC has ruled that any phone that picks up radio signals is DEFECTIVE. A telephone is NOT a radio and should not pick up radio signals. Many modern phones are cheaply designed (no filtering) and as a result, will pick up any nearby radio signals. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) used to publish a list of telephones (model numbers) that are properly designed and do not pick up radio waves. You might point this out to neighbors...
  by Richard Y
[ KR4BD ] I tried the in-line filters on the neighbors' telephones..they did not work. I even offered to send their phone to an outfit, in Texas, that inserts filters into the phone circuitry and tests them for rf immunity. No neighbor agreed. I wound up buying a new telephone, from the outfit in Texas, having them put in a filter, then shipping it on to me to give to them. I was hoping the neighbors would split the cost, but I wound up paying for everything! I guess they figured the whole thing was my problem, not the fact that that their telephone should, but was not, immune from ham transmitter rfi.
I think, Tom, you are right. 40 and 80 meters are probably the best bands for a schedule for train/RR buffs. It might be fun, however, to try 15 or 10 meters when the sunspot cycle climbs back up.