Way back when I had my first two Fillmore operating sessions, everything was working just right, until my guests arrived! Go figure – if anything’s going to fail that’s the time when it is most likely.
I run Digitrax Duplex Radio. During the first operating session the signal was very intermittent and it was the same for the second one, only not as bad. When testing the layout, I did not have any trouble maintaining contact with the locomotives I operated.
I sent off an e-mail to Digitrax and received a very typically fast reply from Rich suggesting that there might be some interference since I am in a condominium apartment. It was recommended that I change channels to number 26 – the most wifi “friendly” channel. I did this after the first operating session and had no trouble operating locomotives, until the second one!
Just as I had everything running, ready for my friends, I started having trouble again with an intermittent signal. My first thought was that maybe somebody is running something fairly powerful every Sunday at this time. But then, I realized it was me all along!
When testing the layout, I did not need my blackboard (a spreadsheet for the engine terminal locomotive servicing schedule) broadcast on my television so I did not have my MacBook running. For ops, I need the blackboard so the computer is on. Bingo! The wifi was on and that was causing the interference (the distance between the laptop and the Digitrax antenna is about fifteen feet). Turning it off allowed a very trouble-free session.
Now I remember to turn-off the wifi when starting up my MacBook for operations.
However, after the first operating session woes and still not knowing the cause of the trouble (I assumed that any interference was beyond my control), I made up a set of drop cables so that my radio throttles can be hooked into the UP5 plug-in panels to operate tethered. My DT402D throttles have a short cable, so the four foot long drop cables allow an operator better freedom of movement.
The drop cable is attached to the throttle short cable by a 6 pin 6 conductor double-ended receptacle. I got these from the local electronics store.
I have these emergency cables ready for use in case the radio signal isn’t good. Of course, ever since I discovered the true cause of my trouble, I have not had to use them 🙂