ATCS & Audio problems

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ATCS & Audio problems

Post by Greg46m » Tue May 12, 2009 11:00 pm

I know several people monitor the CSX Garrett Sub ATCS feed on here so I thought I'd update everyone on a new problem I'm having.

While in Deshler a couple weekends ago some users told me that my feed was very
unreliable at times and worked fine at other times. After some research I found
this to be true and it seemed like the data came in very good at night time but
I was only getting about 1 valid packet per minute during the day. Tonight I
made a house call to the server location and found the culprit.

The server and antenna for this feed sit atop a 14 story building in Ft Wayne,
IN. They reside in the elevator motor/mechanical room on the roof. This room is
cooled by a large exhaust fan mounted on the wall that runs off an automatic
thermostat like an attic fan. I found that as soon as I shut off the fan that
the valid data rate went from 1 per minute to about 15 in the first few seconds.
That explains why the server picks up fine at night because when the sun sets
and the room cools down, the fan turns off and kills whatever electrical noise
or magnetic field that it creates. My antenna cabling is several feet away from
this fan but I suspect that if I move it as far away as possible, that this may
solve the problem I'm experiencing (hopefully).

To everyone that tunes in, as soon as I get ahold of some coax tools I will work
on this to try and fix this problem. Since I installed the server setup in late
fall last year, I never had to worry about this fan until now since the weather
has warmed up.

Also while I was there I noticed that the antenna for the audio feed has been pretty badly damaged by the weather. There are two large 4ft elements that make up part of the antenna and 1 is bent severly and the other element is complely missing all-together. I'm going to start looking for a new antenna to hopefully replace this one. This antenna has served me well over the years and traveled from OH, to my apartment in Ft Wayne several years ago where it was the first antenna to bring the RR audio on the air. Since my 18ft antenna that Howard Pletcher donated to me was unable to be raised to the hotel's roof, this old girl was put back into service last fall. In the picture it is the antenna on the upper left of the poll. The element that is bent in this picture is the one that I repaired and is now completely missing. The lower element is now bent in a similar position. The other two antennas shown are the ATCS antennas that I'm using.
Trains 11-21-08 050.jpg
Trains 11-21-08 050.jpg (49.3 KiB) Viewed 3279 times
Greg Lavoie - Webmaster

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