Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Story of Big Red.......

Big Red is a Yard Locomotive or YL for short.  YL’s are something like railroad locomotives, but YL’s are like house pets – they never leave the yard.  They run on rails and haul heavy stuff just like other locomotives – they just don’t go very far.

Well anyway, YL-1 (as pictured here) had a problem.  They had a mobile type radio mounted in the engineers cab for communicating with on-site personnel equipped with personal 2-way radios.  The problem was that the engineer couldn’t hear anything over the noise of the locomotive.  Then along comes Falcon…..

We knew that the American Association of Railroads (AAR) had selected the VNB (6.25 kHz) technical standard for interchange rail vehicles (Click here for more information), but we decided that since we weren’t doing any interchanging that we could save some money by using conventional 12.5 kHz analog radios.  We looked at the AAR approved standard locomotive radio and found that it cost over $3,000.  By using conventional technology, we were able to bring the cost down to WELL under $1,000, but that’s not the point of this story.

You may recall that the problem was that the engineer couldn’t hear the radio.  The user came to us for a solution.  We used a desktop radio operating on 110 VAC since we had 110 VAC on the locomotive (You can see the window air conditioner just under the engineer’s windshield). It works like a charm with none of the operational problems associated with operating directly off the locomotives DC power system.  The use of an external speaker with internal amplifier gave us a significant boost over the audio output of most 2-way radios.

Can they hear now?  As Sarah Palin would say – You betcha!  Not only can they hear in the cab, they can hear outside the cab and even inside adjoining buildings!

If you’ve got a whole lot of need and not a whole lot of budget, you may want to give us a call at 205.854.2611 or drop us an email to  Simple solutions at reasonable cost is what we are all about!  Oh, by the way, if you are one those railroad users that need VNB capability, you may want to click here for some GREAT NEWS!