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Radio Frequencies

This Section Talk about the various radio frequencies of the various Radio Control system used for train control including NCE.   All of these frequencies are allocated for use as ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) application as controlled and defined by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission).  ISM bands are FREE radio frequencies meaning no operator license is required to use them.  Many commercial applications use this bands today such as WIFI, Bluetooth, Cordless Phones and MicroWave ovens. 

Likewise they are used for radio based Model Railroad throttles which is what this section is all about.  This section will help you understand if you might be having radio interference problems by seeing what else might be using the same frequencies bands or more accurately and useful, the same CHANNELS within band.

To learn more go here: ISM bands.

This section contains.
1) 900MHZ Band
2) 2.4GHZ Band
3) Other Bands.


1) 900 MHZ Band (902MHz to 928MHz with the center frequency being 915MHz
Today 900MHz system is ONLY allowed in Region 2 countries which is the North and South Americas and Australia and Greenland.   It is not allowed in any other countries.   Designing new radio system for world wide usage will require them to go to the 2.4GHz band.  Some day in the future, this band will go away making is illegal to use.

The color of the frequency number will tell you if there is potential interference with the NCE system.

ManufactureRadio
Product
Name(s)
In production
?
Frequency
Channels
Used

Used
with DCC?
Notes
NCE
RB01
RB02
RPT1
Yes
2004-
Present
916.5
MHz
Yes

EasyDCC
RX904
Yes
903.37
906.37
907.87
909.37
912.37
915.37
919.87
921.37
Yes
to
All
Note A
Digitrax
UR91
Yes
915
MHz
Yes
One way radio system.
Lenz
XPA
No

Depends
on
Phone

Yes
Note C
See cordless Phones
LGB
(USA)


916.5
MHZ
No

Any
Cordless
Phones
No
Varies
No
Legacy
Note B
AnyTrain Cameras
916
MHz
No
Depends on camera.







A) The User chooses the frequency manually.  As long as 915.37 is NOT used, your OK.

B) Legacy Cordless Phones.  All 900MHz phones have been discontinued.   Early phones had fixed frequencies.  If the frequency was the same as NCE, it would interfere.  If not it would be OK.  Latter version of the phones used "frequency hopping" which means it used all the channels but never sat on one all the time.  It may or may not cause problems.  

C)  Lenz did not actually release a self contained stand alone radio throttle system.  Instead they released a phone adapter that hooks up to any cordless phone in which the phone become the radio throttle.  The radio characteristics of the cordless phone determined what frequencies are used and how.  It is assumed this route was chosen so Lenz could avoid the costly time involved in testing the radio system for acceptance in every country around the world.  In other words, by leveraging an existing locally available and approved cordless phones they have eliminated the entire radio qualifications problem.


2) 2.4GHZ Band (2.412GHz to 2.484GHz with the center frequency being 2.45GHz
2.4GHZ is a world wide ISM band.  All new radio system should switch to this frequency band.

ManufactureRadio
Product
Name(s)
In production
?
Frequency
Channels
Used
Used
With
DCC?
Notes
Digitrax
UR92
Yes
??
Yes
Two way Radio System
LenzXPA
No
All,
Frequency
Hopping
Yes
Note A
See Cordless Phone
Zimo

Yes
All,
ZigBee
Standard
Yes
Note A
ESU

Yes
All,
WLAN
Standard
Yes
Note C
Lionel
Legacy
Yes
2.4040
2.4122
2.4204
2.4286
2.4368
2.4476
2.4584
2.4692
2.4800
No
Note D
Crest
2.4 Train Engineer
Yes
??
No
Same as Aristocraft
Aristocraft
2.4 Train Engineer
Yes
??
No
Same as Crest.
Any
WiFi
Yes
All,
Frequency
Hopping.
No

Any
Cordless
Phones.
Yes
All, Frequency
Hopping.
No

Any
BlueTooth
Yes
All,
Frequency
Hopping
No








A)  Lenz did not actually release a self contained stand alone radio throttle system.  Instead they released a phone adapter that hooks up to any cordless phone in which the phone become the radio throttle.  The radio characteristics of the cordless phone determined what frequencies are used and how.  It is assumed this route was chosen so Lenz could avoid the costly time involved in testing the radio system for acceptance in every country around the world.  In other words, by leveraging an existing locally available and approved cordless phones they have eliminated the entire radio qualifications problem.

B) Zimo has chosen to use the ZigBee standard for its 2.4GHz band.  Each link between devices uses one of the available channels withing the 2.4GHz band.  The frequency is never repeated in the chain of ZigBee devices.  For more information go here: ZigBee Standard

C) ESU has chosen to use the WLAN standard for its 2.4GHz band. For more information go here: Wireless_LAN

D) The User chooses the frequency manually.


3) Other Bands.
433MHz is a public radio band in Region 1 countries of Europe and Former Soviet Union.  433MHz is not general purpose radio frequency in the USA.   FCC rules for consumer use severely limit transmitter power constraining its usefulness.

Almost everyone has moved or will be moving out of these "other bands" to the 2.4GHz band.

Manufacture
Radio
Product
Name(s)
In
Production
?
Frequency
Used
Frequency
Channels
Used
Used
With
DCC?
Notes
MRC
Part Number
0001412
Yes
433
MHz
??
Yes
Unless you buy the wireless throttle, all Radio adapters are external to the throttle.
ESU

No
433
MHz
??
Yes
Replaced by 2.4GHz
 systems.
ZIMO

No
433
MHz
??
Yes
Replaced by 2.4GHz system.
Lionel
TMCC
No
455
KHz
??
No
TMCC Command Stations discontinued.  New Legacy system can support TMCC devices.
CrestTrain
Engineer
No
27
MHz
??
No
Same as AristoCraft.
Raplaced by "2.4 Train Engineer"
Keithco
LocoLinc
Status
Unknown
75.41
MHz
1
No