Train or RailFan? – Net or Talkgroup?

It was expressed that there are hams to are rail fans. So should there be a Railfan group on PNWDigital?

Interesting idea…a quick look through the Google box showed no DMR talkgroups for railfans, Only thing found was EchoLink that supported railfans with a node. IO Groups has 20 railfan groups. AllStar may have some support as well as many standalone FM repeaters. No rail on BM either and they have 667 published TG’s. It would seem that DMR would be a shoe-in for a dedicated talkgroup. Likely to be a dedicated BM TG at some point.

So should be make an effort to support Railfans in some form? Possibly on an existing talkgroup and should there be a weekly net? Or create a new BM TG for railfans or just use their Net 1 or Net 2 group?

Open to ideas…

First Published: January 7, 2022 Last Updated: 11 months ago by Mike – NO7RF

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Mike - NO7RF

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Dale - N7KLT

    Interesting post Mike!
    While I would probably be described by others as a “rail fan,” I don’t actively go chase them now. I was working with a couple companies that transported RR crews and got to work in several states with both BNSF and UP crews.
    I think on your idea that, if there was going to be “support” done on PNWDMR that a separate TG would be that best idea. The amount of activity that would be on it would make Net 1 or 2 pretty much useless for anything else. Especially if it’s opened up to BM as well as there are a LOT of rail fans nation wide.
    I don’t remember running into many crew members that were hams but, I wasn’t really advertising mine either so….
    That being said, I still have all of the USA RR channels in my radio for fun. LOL

  2. Mike - NO7RF

    The chasing is where the little bit of ham radio comes in and that is local and likely off repeaters. I think in our case would be more general than expeditions.

    Net 2 would only be for a net, Net 2 can hold any nets, it is just a TG that links to other TG’s, with or without BM, but only for the time of a net.
    But otherwise a TG will be dedicated, BM might actually do it this weekend.

    I doubt any professionals would bother with ham. I think it is mostly the chasers, photographers, and Mem n Boys who just love everything about trains.

  3. I’ve had a long time interest railroads, rail industry technology, and even the trains themselves. And although I’m not a ‘foamer’ I’d probably utilize a railfan talkgroup now and again. If ‘rail hams’ were chasing trains I’d think that they’d use repeaters on a local TG, at least sometimes. A brandmeister TG makes sense, not sure about carrying it (a BM TG) on PNW-D repeaters, but maybe with a short PTT timer.

  4. Dale - N7KLT

    Sadly I ran across a listing that shows that the RR’s are switching their comms to NXDN. BNSF already has the radios / ID’s and they are slowly updating their network. CP has already gone digital. Unsure of others.
    So far in Wenatchee at least, they are still running narrow analog for now but, sometime in the future that will change.

    1. Mike - NO7RF

      Nothing back from BM yet on creation of a RailFan TG. I know zero about the TGIF network and don’t know if they support sharing of TG’s or how beyond a personal hotspot. So I don’t know how to go about that effort. If it requires another server for us to install, likely not going to happen with TGIF.

      28476 seems to be the TG closest match to our effort or discussion.

      Maybe someone with a hotspot can take a listen or inquire of that TG’s contact for more detail.

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