ICE Radios

 
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I have started this thread after an unsatisfactory exchange in the discussion elsewhere about R766.
Let me start by saying I know little or nothing about radio operation.
One correspondent wrote a detailed treatise on ICE radio for which I was grateful. Another then wrote that the first poster was "WRONG".
Naturally; I asked what was wrong, and what was the correct detail, but received no answer except criticism that I was ignorant; something I had already acknowledged.
It is not a crime to be ignorant of something, and I think is worthwhile to try to learn.
Is there anyone who is prepared to write how ICE radio operates, and why it can't be built in Australia?

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  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

and why it can't be built in Australia?
Valvegear

From what I understand, they are made in Queensland.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Is there anyone who is prepared to write how ICE radio operates[?]
Valvegear
Here's a good start:
http://www.base2.com.au/Mobile-Communications/ice-radio.html
https://ara.net.au/sites/default/files/u16/John%20Hall%20-%20ARTC.pdf (pdf warning)
  cuthbert Train Controller

It is not a crime to be ignorant of something
"Valvegear"


Depends if you have broken a law or not! Wink

Ignorance of I.C.E. and it's H.M.I. certainly is not - though I will say H.D.I. would have been a more appropriate acronym than H.M.I.! The only Mechanical things connected to the ICE "Device" are switches, microphones, speakers and fans, therefor I don't consider it to be much of a Machine (if it was a machine, it would need oil or grease).
  apw5910 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
I think the HMI was inspired by the sort of interface you used to see on a machine like a CNC mill...
  ivahri Train Controller

I will attempt to give a history of how this technology developed. That may help to give people an understanding as to why & how this technology was developed.

First... my background. Rapidly approaching 40 years as a radio systems specialist. For more than 20 years I've been the radio system developer for a large government agency. I have designed large radio networks for nudging 30 years.

There are a number of government agencies and public utilities that for years have complained about the need to work across multiple geographic boundaries or having to communicate with multiple other agencies. For decades vehicles and trains have been fitted with multiple radios and phones which take up space & require the user to know which one to use and when. That has often put people at unnecessary risk and cost far more than it should.

A number of people then went to bodies & suppliers asking that they develop a single "black box" that contains all of the radios & phones needed and appear to the user as a single control interface. Service providers such as Telstra had often expressed interest in doing this... I know technology vendors such as Motorola, Tait, Siemens, Simoco, and I'm sure there were others... also were keen to develop a product but were fearful of the potential barriers to jump getting "Vendor A radio" talking to "Vendor B phone" however the evolution of IP connectivity has helped to break down some of these barriers.

In parallel with all of this the railway industry were looking at carrier based standards, in particular a variant to the GSM mobile phone standard, GSM-R, which was developed to cater for rail's peculiar needs for both voice and data with security. GSM-R leant itself to the move away from rail operators providing the networks, and more of a carrier network provided technology. GSM-R still would not work everywhere, particularly where traffic is light. That is where satellite came in. The system still needed to be able to talk to the old radio systems... so over time this black box developed into what there is today.

The most important feature in all of this is that no longer does the driver or user need to decide which to use. If there is GSM-R coverage available then pressing the microphone will broadcast out via GSM-R. If that isn't available, or not working for some reason, it will choose LTE or 4G or 3G or satellite... automatically.

This approach to radio communications is not unique to rail. It is also starting to roll out in a range of emergency services in multiple states. It will eventually see a reduction in individual radio networks and an expansion of shared whole of government networks combined with 4G/LTE provided by the likes of Telstra, and satellite provided by others but controlled from a single operator console.

I hope this hasn't put anyone to sleep...


Richard
  ivahri Train Controller

Anything can be built in Australia... so long as it is financially viable to do that. Why has car manufacturing gone off shore? Radio manufacturing is much the same... to generate the R&D investment requires volume, something 25 million people can't generate. What can still happen in Australia is value adding- taking something made for a world market (like a radio) and make it do something more. Aussie companies are good at that... When it comes to radio technology all of the suppliers are overseas based and mostly large multinationals (Siemens & Motorola in particular). They are the only ones with the deep pockets, but they often work with a local company with the nous to make their product do what Aussies want.


Richard
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I will attempt to give a history of how this technology developed. That may help to give people an understanding as to why & how this technology was developed.

(snip)

I hope this hasn't put anyone to sleep...


Richard
ivahri
On the contrary.
I as a hot oil, steam and kerosene lamp era dinosaur found it helpful.
Thanks.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I agree with YM-Mundrabilla. I am also of the dinosaur variety and found both of ivahri's posts very interesting. It's a good day when you learn something new.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

I will attempt to give a history of how this technology developed. That may help to give people an understanding as to why & how this technology was developed.

(snip)

I hope this hasn't put anyone to sleep...


Richard
On the contrary.
I as a hot oil, steam and kerosene lamp era dinosaur found it helpful.
Thanks.
YM-Mundrabilla
Plus one. When you can spare the time, give us more. If you have the time to educate, I'd guess there are plenty here happy to learn.
  railscan Locomotive Fireman

Location: Beside a railway line somewhere
I didn't know you were closet rail enthusiast Richard.

R
  cuthbert Train Controller

Richard - The gunzels are excited with your scratch of the surface and that's all they need to know I'm guessing.

Talk to Queensland Police about a similar thing and they will tell you for "life or death", it's better to use a mobile phone than the radio in some locations.
  ivahri Train Controller

I didn't know you were closet rail enthusiast Richard.

R
railscan
Closet?

I was out of that closet many years before the vote!


Richard
  ivahri Train Controller

Richard - The gunzels are excited with your scratch of the surface and that's all they need to know I'm guessing.

Talk to Queensland Police about a similar thing and they will tell you for "life or death", it's better to use a mobile phone than the radio in some locations.
cuthbert
Thanks Cuthbert. To be honest if someone wanted a more in depth technical write up it would be better for someone working in the railway communications field to do that.

Queensland & NSW are good candidates for this type of technology because no single network or technology is going to work everywhere (even if some will make that claim). The states are just too large and there are too many people free areas that still need some form of communications for public safety but no resident population to pay for it...


Richard
  M636C Minister for Railways

I don't think many people have a good idea of just how bulky the radio fit of a locomotive prior to the ICE system.

I remember going into the cab of 42220.

There were doorways on both sides of the cab leading to  the electrical cabinet. The one behind the driver had been filled up with radios and power supplies, at least three radio different systems. I can't remember who owned it at the time and whose radios were involved....

Peter
  cuthbert Train Controller

I don't think many people have a good idea of just how bulky the radio fit of a locomotive prior to the ICE system.

I remember going into the cab of 42220.

There were doorways on both sides of the cab leading to  the electrical cabinet. The one behind the driver had been filled up with radios and power supplies, at least three radio different systems. I can't remember who owned it at the time and whose radios were involved....

Peter
"M636C"


CountryNet radio rack back then - apart from the huge regulated power supply, there is more technology in your latest mobile phones in your pocket these days!

For the sake of sturdy and rugged equipment to survive in the harsh environment of a loco - things still need to be big. Specially when some older loco Drivers have fingers and thumbs that will outweigh the fattest Gynecologist! (I have attended an appointment with a past GF - I have seen fat fingers)

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