• Historical question

  • 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 steamal
After the advent of radio and before the railroads converted to diesel, did the railroads use radio?

  by Aa3rt
Steamal-there was a post on the previous version of this site regarding an experiment the New York Central did in the early 1920s for locomotive to caboose communications. I also unearthed some photos a couple of years ago of some Union Pacific equipment, equiped for radio communications in that same time period, that I presented at a meeting of my local amateur radio club.

I think the drawbacks of HF communication and the power requirements of vacuum tube technology did not allow for effective (and widespread) use of radio communication. World War II provided the impetus for the development of FM communication and smaller, more shock resistant types of radio. The post-war period, when dieselization was rampant, coincided with the adoption of radio by more railroads.

I'll see if I can uncover those photos and provide a link, if it is still active. In the interim, I'm sure there are more knowledgeable folks who frequent this forum that can provide a better answer than I have.
Last edited by Aa3rt on Thu Mar 25, 2004 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by Aa3rt
Found my source for the historical photos-its from the UPRR website! Actually, some of these photos pre-date WWI. Follow the link to:


and scroll down to "Wireless Technology". One of my favorites is of an 0-6-0T taken at the Omaha Shops in 1913! Check out the antenna on this!

http://www.uprr.com/aboutup/photos/misc ... 0-18.shtml

  by w1jpc
In the late'30s and 40s a system of using the tracks in "Carrier Current " fashion was tried with moderate success. An inductor was placed down close to the tracks just ahead od the pilot. Carrier frequencies in the 5-10 KHZ range were used!! This is similar to the cab control systems in use today.



  by va3ori
I believe that the first radio experiments may have been as early as 1910. The equipment would have been primitive, to say the very least and would have, in any case, been extremely cumbersome! We have indeed come a long way.

73, Ori