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Peter Dougherty

Crew radio question

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Hi all,
It's been a while since I last visited this topic, but can anybody advise me what the current channel plan is for the crew radios? The last time I took notice was about 15 years ago. I see there's a good supply of Motorola and Icom commercial radios now in use, and I'm wondering how these are set up.

I have all the old road and yard frequencies themselves, but what I'm after is how the channel selectors are set up -- i.e. what is in Ch. 1, Ch. 2, etc. Is it A, B1, B2, Yard only or something else? Are there other interoperability frequencies in there as well? MoW/signals? LIRR or NY&A interop? NYPD Transit?

Also, is the keypad used for anything (where one is provided)? Some form of signaling, operator ID, etc? I'm also curious about what the signaling tones are used for that are transmitted right after keydown. I'm guessing a unique ID number of the radio itself, but I'm not sure.

Thanks in advance.

 


Cheers,

Peter Dougherty,
Author/Publisher
2013_cover-web-1.jpg

2013 Revised Edition Now Available

 

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It's still A, B1, B2, and Yard and they're trying to get everybody Icom radios in preparation for going completely digital (hopefully before I retire). Don't count on getting answers to any of your other questions on here since that falls into the "OMG 9/11!" need-to-know category.

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It's still A, B1, B2, and Yard and they're trying to get everybody Icom radios in preparation for going completely digital (hopefully before I retire). Don't count on getting answers to any of your other questions on here since that falls into the "OMG 9/11!" need-to-know category.

 

It'll be a sad day for me at least when they go digital. I keep a scanner in my work bag to know what's really up when delays get super lofty. It's 16 years old and I'm pretty sure it doesn't know what digital means. 

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Yeah I think that's part of the idea. It's half "get a clearer, easier to hear signal" and half "don't let the TERRORISTS know what the actual police investigation is"

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Digital does not necessarily imply "unmonitorable. P-25 is quite monitorable with current scanning technology and is relatively common. However, given the nature of digital's all-or-nothing presence, I would say going that direction would be problematic in the extreme. If anybody wishes to contact me off-list about this topic I would be much obliged. Since everything's currently still unencrypted and analogue, there's nothing of a sensitive nature involved. It's more just curiosity and keeping things accurate than anything else. Interop would make sense, but since when does anything makes sense in RTO?

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It'll be a sad day for me at least when they go digital. I keep a scanner in my work bag to know what's really up when delays get super lofty. It's 16 years old and I'm pretty sure it doesn't know what digital means.

They do have digital radios on the commercial market now that can be purchased, however the signals can be encrypted I'm pretty sure. But we will have to wait and see how the digital radio market, consumer end, advances on this new technology in the coming years. Speculation on my part as I am not into that aspect of the transit enthusiast deal and not that familiar on it. But being in the IT field for a sec now I know how wireless technology, VPNs, etc works so thats my guess.

 

 

Digital does not necessarily imply "unmonitorable. P-25 is quite monitorable with current scanning technology and is relatively common. However, given the nature of digital's all-or-nothing presence, I would say going that direction would be problematic in the extreme. If anybody wishes to contact me off-list about this topic I would be much obliged. Since everything's currently still unencrypted and analogue, there's nothing of a sensitive nature involved. It's more just curiosity and keeping things accurate than anything else. Interop would make sense, but since when does anything makes sense in RTO?

Beat me to it. Basically what he is saying. But with that technology it can be encrypted, it's doable.

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Digital does not necessarily imply "unmonitorable. P-25 is quite monitorable with current scanning technology and is relatively common. However, given the nature of digital's all-or-nothing presence, I would say going that direction would be problematic in the extreme. 

 

Sure sure - I'm not nearly as much into scanning (DX'ing, if you will) as I was in my younger years, so the point was I don't want to/wouldn't buy a digital-capable trunk-tracking scanner just to find out that the police investigation is some trash left on a platform that looks like an abandoned parcel, or a belligerent yahoo on the platform. 

 

Regarding the all-or-nothing nature, I have noticed that in some areas the repeater coverage is, shall we say, spotty. An intermittent analouge signal is usually mostly intelligible, however digital is - as you aptly noted - all or nothing. Now, sure, the wideband whip antenna on a scanner is nowhere near as good as the band-optimized antennas on crew radios and mounted on the trains, so I'd bet those who NEED the signals recieve them clearer than I do. (also, as I said, the scanner is OLD.)

 

But - I'd imagine a hearty overhaul of the repeater network would be needed before any digital transition could be made. Correct me if i'm wrong (and if you're allowed :P  )

 

Also, to get signals underground the NYPD transit division uses railroad frequencies that can be carried by the NYCT repeaters. Either, they would have to go digital, or additional analog repeaters would be needed as well as the digital ones. 

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They do have digital radios on the commercial market now that can be purchased, however the signals can be encrypted I'm pretty sure. But we will have to wait and see how the digital radio market, consumer end, advances on this new technology in the coming years. Speculation on my part as I am not into that aspect of the transit enthusiast deal and not that familiar on it. But being in the IT field for a sec now I know how wireless technology, VPNs, etc works so thats my guess.

 

 

Beat me to it. Basically what he is saying. But with that technology it can be encrypted, it's doable.

 

As both a railfan and a very active amateur radio operator and scanner enthusiast, I try to keep abreast of two-way radio technology as much as possible. To break this all down, what they currently have now is a network of VHF repeaters that operate on the old and now obsolete 15 kHz spaced wideband channels. Almost every major agency in the country was forced to switch over to narrow-band 6.25 kHz spacing channels, but NYC Transit was given a waiver that will ultimately expire.

 

Analog repeaters are monitorable by even old technology scanners from 20 years ago. You plug in a frequency and listen away. They care piped underground by Radiax, a leaky transmission line. The transmitters are not synchronized, which is why, when two or three transmitters are on at the same time, you get a hetrodyne squeal.

 

A "digital system" is most often part of a trunked radio system. Let's back up a little for that explanation. In an old analog system, imagine a bank line with 5 tellers open, and a line behind each one. That's how a 5 channel analog radio system works. A trunked system is like having 5 tellers but only one line, and someone to direct you to the next open wicket. In this case, the audio link can be either analog or digital. If it's analog, it's easy to listen to. If it's digital, and using the same scheme as most public safety systems in the U.S., then it, too, is somewhat easy to monitor, but the scanner you'll need is fairly expensive. There are some systems, like iDEN (ConEd uses this) and others that are unmonitorable, and it's possible they could go this route. I haven't heard what they're planning, to be honest.

 

Now, lets take it one step further. If they go to a P-25 (Project-25, also known as APCO-25) system, the audio CAN be fairly easily encrypted, if they purchase the corresponding encryption modules for each radio and have a good system of maintainers to ensure the correct keys are loaded into each handset. Unless you're dealing with very sensitive information, This is insane and very expensive to do for any agency except extremely sensitive operations, like detectives, warrant squads, SWAT teams, etc. Yes, it can be done, but it's somewhat pointless in the railroad service, where intelligibility is key.

 

As was pointed out earlier, there are currently many dead spots on the system and "scratchy" transmissions occasionally do get the message through, albeit with some difficulty. In a P-25 or other digital system, if you're in a rough spot, nothing gets through to the dispatcher, nor will you hear anything from command back to the portable radio.

 

The NYPD currently has a problem with transit (or at least they did a few years back, when I still lived in the city and monitored them regularly). Patrol cars operate on frequencies in the 476 to 482 MHz range. SOD and other citywide radios are in the 470-471 MHz range. All analog, easily monitorable. However, those frequencies do not (or at least DID not) get carried into the subway, again, in the 5 years I lived in the city, 2000-2005. This MAY be changed by now, and hence my original post, trying to ascertain if anything's changed. At that time (and I believe even now) the NYPD Transit division operates on the VHF railroad band (160-161 MHz range) . Transit PD does/did not have an easy way to get in contact with their bretheren on the street, since most commercial radios are either VHF-only or UHF only, but not both.

 

I own some older commercial grade equipment that I use on the 2m ham band, and I currently have one such Motorola radio with the 4 transit frequencies programmed in. It will beat a scanner hands down, every time. Icom also happens to make some of the best amateur radio gear on the market for the VHF an d UHF bands, and I have a V85 that also has the receive-only frequencies programmed in. It's better than a scanner, although not as good as the Motorola HT-1000 or the commercial-grade transceivers the crews are carrying.

 

The point of this exercise is to update my book with the current channel plan of the new ICOM handietalkies, and give an wide overall view of radio technology that exists for the system. The actual frequencies are well known and have not changed in at least 40 years. I'm just curious how the modern radios are set up. Unlike the old equipment they had years ago, these HTs are capable of hundreds of "modes" and can be programmed for 100 channels as easily as they can be for 4.

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On a related topic, I always wondered in NYPD Transit cops can cut directly into the TA's radio lines. It seems like that would be useful during an investigation. Or do the TA and NYPD dispatchers need to call eachother on the phone to relay info?

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Their older radios did not have interop capabilities. Not sure what the current equipment is capable of.

This is the old channel plan: http://www.n2nov.net/transit.html and as far as I know, it hasn't changed, at least at the patrolman level. Supervisory level may be different, but I'm not sure and have never seen anything on RadioReference that says otherwise.

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Hi all,

It's been a while since I last visited this topic, but can anybody advise me what the current channel plan is for the crew radios? The last time I took notice was about 15 years ago. I see there's a good supply of Motorola and Icom commercial radios now in use, and I'm wondering how these are set up.

 

I have all the old road and yard frequencies themselves, but what I'm after is how the channel selectors are set up -- i.e. what is in Ch. 1, Ch. 2, etc. Is it A, B1, B2, Yard only or something else? Are there other interoperability frequencies in there as well? MoW/signals? LIRR or NY&A interop? NYPD Transit?

 

Also, is the keypad used for anything (where one is provided)? Some form of signaling, operator ID, etc? I'm also curious about what the signaling tones are used for that are transmitted right after keydown. I'm guessing a unique ID number of the radio itself, but I'm not sure.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Peter Dougherty,

Author/Publisher

2013_cover-web-1.jpg

 

2013 Revised Edition Now Available

You can get the frequencies on Google. I'm out of range to hear BMT and IND but IRT comes in loud and clear.

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As both a railfan and a very active amateur radio operator and scanner enthusiast, I try to keep abreast of two-way radio technology as much as possible. To break this all down, what they currently have now is a network of VHF repeaters that operate on the old and now obsolete 15 kHz spaced wideband channels. Almost every major agency in the country was forced to switch over to narrow-band 6.25 kHz spacing channels, but NYC Transit was given a waiver that will ultimately expire.

 

Analog repeaters are monitorable by even old technology scanners from 20 years ago. You plug in a frequency and listen away. They care piped underground by Radiax, a leaky transmission line. The transmitters are not synchronized, which is why, when two or three transmitters are on at the same time, you get a hetrodyne squeal.

 

A "digital system" is most often part of a trunked radio system. Let's back up a little for that explanation. In an old analog system, imagine a bank line with 5 tellers open, and a line behind each one. That's how a 5 channel analog radio system works. A trunked system is like having 5 tellers but only one line, and someone to direct you to the next open wicket. In this case, the audio link can be either analog or digital. If it's analog, it's easy to listen to. If it's digital, and using the same scheme as most public safety systems in the U.S., then it, too, is somewhat easy to monitor, but the scanner you'll need is fairly expensive. There are some systems, like iDEN (ConEd uses this) and others that are unmonitorable, and it's possible they could go this route. I haven't heard what they're planning, to be honest.

 

Now, lets take it one step further. If they go to a P-25 (Project-25, also known as APCO-25) system, the audio CAN be fairly easily encrypted, if they purchase the corresponding encryption modules for each radio and have a good system of maintainers to ensure the correct keys are loaded into each handset. Unless you're dealing with very sensitive information, This is insane and very expensive to do for any agency except extremely sensitive operations, like detectives, warrant squads, SWAT teams, etc. Yes, it can be done, but it's somewhat pointless in the railroad service, where intelligibility is key.

 

As was pointed out earlier, there are currently many dead spots on the system and "scratchy" transmissions occasionally do get the message through, albeit with some difficulty. In a P-25 or other digital system, if you're in a rough spot, nothing gets through to the dispatcher, nor will you hear anything from command back to the portable radio.

 

The NYPD currently has a problem with transit (or at least they did a few years back, when I still lived in the city and monitored them regularly). Patrol cars operate on frequencies in the 476 to 482 MHz range. SOD and other citywide radios are in the 470-471 MHz range. All analog, easily monitorable. However, those frequencies do not (or at least DID not) get carried into the subway, again, in the 5 years I lived in the city, 2000-2005. This MAY be changed by now, and hence my original post, trying to ascertain if anything's changed. At that time (and I believe even now) the NYPD Transit division operates on the VHF railroad band (160-161 MHz range) . Transit PD does/did not have an easy way to get in contact with their bretheren on the street, since most commercial radios are either VHF-only or UHF only, but not both.

 

I own some older commercial grade equipment that I use on the 2m ham band, and I currently have one such Motorola radio with the 4 transit frequencies programmed in. It will beat a scanner hands down, every time. Icom also happens to make some of the best amateur radio gear on the market for the VHF an d UHF bands, and I have a V85 that also has the receive-only frequencies programmed in. It's better than a scanner, although not as good as the Motorola HT-1000 or the commercial-grade transceivers the crews are carrying.

 

The point of this exercise is to update my book with the current channel plan of the new ICOM handietalkies, and give an wide overall view of radio technology that exists for the system. The actual frequencies are well known and have not changed in at least 40 years. I'm just curious how the modern radios are set up. Unlike the old equipment they had years ago, these HTs are capable of hundreds of "modes" and can be programmed for 100 channels as easily as they can be for 4.

 

Wow you know your stuff. I got schooled. 

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You can get the frequencies on Google. I'm out of range to hear BMT and IND but IRT comes in loud and clear.

 

It's not the frequencies themselves I'm after--I've known those for decades. What I'm after is the channel plan in the new radios. If the T/O turns on his radio with the channel selector set to channel 1, what channel is he on? A division? Yard? B1? B2? Something else? Ditto for channel 2, and so on.

 

And each radio has a keypad on it. Is it in use, and if so, to what end? Even just in general terms.

Edited by Peter Dougherty

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It's not the frequencies themselves I'm after--I've known those for decades. What I'm after is the channel plan in the new radios. If the T/O turns on his radio with the channel selector set to channel 1, what channel is he on? A division? Yard? B1? B2? Something else? Ditto for channel 2, and so on.

 

And each radio has a keypad on it. Is it in use, and if so, to what end? Even just in general terms.

The icom radios do not have key pads other than 4 buttons under the LCD screen. P0 is for the List or banks, P1 is unassigned, P2 is scan and I don't remember what P3 is at the moment.  There are 4 channel banks in the new Icoms, RTO, RTO NEW, MOW, and MOW NEW. As for the actual lists for RTO, I think its A CMD, A Tr/Tr, B1 CMD, B1 Tr/Tr, B2 CMD, B2 Tr/Tr, A YARD, B1 YARD, and B2 YARD. Only A YARD is in use. As for what is in the MOW list, I have no idea.

 

Someone also asked bout NYPD radios being used on NYCT Channels, their not set up for that.

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