What is the deadline date for changing to narrowband radios? I heard it was 2013.
The FCC says that all commercial radios must be narrowband (12.5 kHz channel spacing) by January 1, 2013. That’s the deadline. Locomotives in interchange or run-through must be narrowband by July 1, 2010, per the AAR.
Do I have to replace all my radios?
No, only your radios that will not do narrowband. Most current radios will do both wideband (being used now) and narrowband. They will have to be reprogrammed to narrowband shortly before 2013.
What about changing to digital?
This is new technology (6.25 kHz spacing digital), so-called “narrow-narrow band.” There are digital radios on the market now and the FCC is encouraging digital development, but it won’t be used in general railroad service anytime in the near future.
Which radios do I replace?
See our GUIDE
Do I need to get radios that are “tri-band?”
No. The FCC mandate now is for narrowband. The AAR originally wanted to move quickly to the 6.25 digital, but has backed off that plan. There has been a lot of hype about this. Again, you do NOT need a tri-band radio.
Will I have to change my radio licenses when I change to narrowband?
Yes. They will have to be modified. We can do it, if you like.
Now that Motorola has discontinued its Astro Spectra, what locomotive radio do you recommend?
In our opinion, the Astro/Spectra was the best locomotive radio ever produced. For a basic, affordable radio, we recommend our Railcom TRAINMASTER. It is based on the Motorola CDM series radio and comes in 4, 64, or 160 channels. (Price range: $1150-1350) See our website for more details. For a full-size clean-cab radio, we like the Ritron RCCR ($2700-3000 range). We carry it. We are generally not impressed with the other clean-cab radios on the market.
FCC Changeover Q & A
Radios That Meet Specs