October 2, 2016

Secret Frequency 16

Whew, what a weekend! It was a fun time. On Saturday morning my mom and I drove to Falmouth, VA to attend the MARPM 2016. It is always fun to drive past road signs on the highway that relate to spots on my civil war layout such as Aquia, Potomac Creek and Falmouth.

Norm and crew had the hotel set up for a great show. Attendance was down from previous years, but the show was still a lot of fun. The clinic line up was great. Butch, Marty and others did small hands-on clinics in the display room, while a long line of speakers presented talks in the theater. The hotel had a new projector that was excellent. It had great image quality. I did a talk on marine terminals and wharves. At least one person, my mom, said it was interesting. Daylene Wolf and her helpers catered the lunch, which is a great idea for an RPM as it saves time during the day for more mingling and RR events.

Vivian, Attila and Alexander operate the USMRR layout. As usual the kids got
the biggest kick by driving the trains through the tunnel. Alexander really enjoyed running the layout.
Joel and Len running the USMRR all afternoon.
Mom and I  returned home on Saturday evening. I had some work to do on the PoLA layout to get it ready for the open house.

On Sunday my helpers showed up early, so they were drafted to work. A big thank you to Leonard who helped mom make the cream puffs, while regaling us with stories of his late dad that lived just around the corner from us, when Del Ray was still a home to many professional railroaders.

More thanks go to Ben Hom, Marty McGuirk, Stic Harris, Paul Dolkos, Doug Gurin and Joel Salmons who ran trains through out the day. Leonard and Joel get special meritorious service medals as they stayed at their posts even after the MARPM guests left, but when my neighbors and kids showed up to run trains.

Ben Hom offered to be a car knocker and confined  himself in the staging closet. There he worked on swapping Atlas couplers with Kadees. In a humorous moment, he grabbed cars off the train that Paul and Doug were switching not realizing they were part of the active session. That caused a small bit of consternation when Paul realized a third of his train disappeared!

Several wives of my helpers also attended, Linda Dolkos, Doug Gurin and Chris McGuirk. Special thanks to them for helping out and keeping my mom entertained. Thanks to Chris for bringing cookies too.

Brad Trenkamp, who I learned is a fellow Del Ray resident,
was one of the guests who stopped by to visit the layout.
Special thanks to my mom, and my wife, Alicia for all their work to get ready for the open house. The snacks were great including Venetian three-layer cookies, fresh Profiterole(Italian cream puffs) and chocolate brownies.  I am so blessed to have such great supporters.

We had about 30 visitors to the layout. They included (these are the ones that signed the guest list) Fred Scheer, Steve Hudnut, Roger Boyce, Steve Samul, Brad Trenkamp. Jeff Mutter, Tom Potthast, Terry Terrence, Glenn and Mary Downing, John and Marget Huntzinger, Chris Williams and his daughter Bracklin, Dave Thompson, Attilla Koccis and his children Vivian and Alexander.

The layouts ran well, but we did have some trouble.  In my haste to get the paving by the Borax factory installed, I had accidentally caused two of the turnouts to the Borax factory to be stuck. That was an easy fix.

One of my Easy DCC throttles refused to work properly. With fresh batteries and rebooting, all it did was light all the LEDs and refuse to accept any commands. Luckily we had one other RF1300 that worked. Later I did a test and found out that the throttle works even though all the LEDs are lit.  I don't know what that means. The throttle may have problems.

On the USMRR, the Whiton battery died about 5 minutes into the session. So we ran Fury and McCallum. Joel reported that Fury ran "flawlessly" for about 3 hours on battery before going dead. Whiton has gone through several batteries in the past. The lack of a battery charge indicator is a serious drawback to this system. I am planning on switching the battery locos back to DCC with keep alive circuits. McCallum uses regular DCC with all-wheel pickup and runs quite well.

After about 30 minutes I remembered that the T5000 radio throttle I have needs to be set on radio frequency 16 to work the Stanton Battery locos. This is not documented in the version of the Easy DCC manual that I have, it is a "secret" frequency. However, newer versions of the T5000 manual do mention that Frequency 16 can control Stanton Battery powered decoders. Once I remembered that, that throttle was available for use to power the Stanton locos.

Paul and Doug operated the PoLA layout. They had several instances where the locos lost control. I think that may have been due to us accidentally creating interference from the other Rf1300. Later  Stic and I finished the PoLA session and the throttle ran great, without any loss of control.

After most of the MARPM guests left, my colleague Christopher Williams and his daughter Bracklin and my neighbor Attila and his children, Vivian and Alexander stopped by. The kids got to run trains with Joel providing some unobtrusive supervision. I always enjoy watching kids run the layout.

Dave Thompson, who runs Harbor Belt Lines, also does DCC installs. He agreed to install a Tsunami Sound Decoder with a keep alive in my PHL Atlas Genset. Tsunami has the correct sound decoder in this loco, but getting the keep alive circuit installed with a speaker could be tricky. That's why I was glad to have Dave, a professional DCC installer take care of it.

1 comment:

  1. We can't thank you enough for your support of MARPM! Your talks, including impromptus, have been a talked about bennie to our show!
    Glad Momma K (Violet) had a good time, as we always love to see her.
    See you in 2017!

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