Those of you who know a little about using scanners to listen in on radio communications while railfanning know that the industry is changing with CSX is poised to lead the way.
However, this may come at a hefty price to railfans – the adoption of FCC emission designator 4K00F1E, otherwise known as NXDN digital format – something that is not available in any current scanners (not even the high end digital ones).
The NXDN realization hit home early in 2011 here in Lafayette as callsign KEX475, otherwise known as CSX’s license for Shops Yard, was modified to include the new NXDN digital format. This same format is utilized by Christian County for all of it’s public safety communications, and will soon be utilized by Hopkins County public safety. The format is proving very prevalent as a cost alternative to the more universal APCO-25 (like that used by Kentucky State Police and numerous other states).
So is this the end of railroad scanning? No, not yet. The switch is still a ways out, but there’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat… There is a software application that allows listeners to decode the NXDN format – a similar type setup like myself and Steve Miller utilize to decode the ATCS signals used on CSX’s CTC system. - Chris Dees