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Identifying MCPs using signal strength

Obviously you can wait for a train and watch the mnemonics change as the train rolls by (assuming there's only one train moving in the area), but what I do for high-speed ID only is to use two scanners. One is always hooked up to the computer collecting data with a good antenna. The other I only use a duck and scanner is tuned to same frequency. When I start to get in range of an MCP and hear the bursts, off comes the duck. When I start to hear the MCP with no antenna, I know I'm very close. Then the squelch knob goes up. If I'm still hearing it, I should only need to open my eyes to figure out where it is! If I hear a burst on the lame radio and see an address pop up at the same time, it's a lock. I do have to watch closely at some sidings or dense areas, as the polling is often in sequence, allowing the possibility of recieving more than one MCP on the lame radio. If your radio has a signal strength meter, that helps too (ham radios typically do).

If your target is a dense area, go out to a more remote location along the railroad and try to find MCPs there to determine an ascending/descending address trend.

Guessing MCPs based on switch count

Also, if you know the CTC region pretty well and know the number of switches per CP, you can simply plot a long term log file and watch for the telltale signs of a switch. The data plot will show something like K11 most of the time and when it isn't on, K13 will be --- so K11/K13 is a single switch mnemonic pair (crossovers count as one pair, each turnout is one). Count up your pairs and see if it matches the layout. -- Main.GaryHahn - 31 Aug 2008