A zoom meeting group only
Train Identity Detection! Perhaps a black art to some and, quite possibly, avoided by many members as being a bit too far for their needs. Whilst DCC can encompass Railcom as a feedback mechanism for establishing the broad whereabouts of a train, that's not a lot of use if you don't use DCC…and quite a few members don't.
However, nearly all of us now use RFID for everyday activities, reading of credit and debit cards being possibly the most widespread. If you have a travel card and use it to board a bus or train then it uses RFID. So the technology is no longer that arcane and if such technology can be applied to model trains then it opens up a wealth of control opportunities surpassing basic train detection using ToTIs, DTC modules or IR-based Hectors. It can add actual train identification to the 'train in section' or 'train passing this point' message.
MERG has had RFID kits for over 10 years now but many found their performance difficult to get reliably working and the elements such as readers are expensive. In the interim, things have moved on and an operating frequency of 13.56MHz has joined 125KHz as a potentially more reliable technology.
Many MERG members have been experimenting with RFID but their successes or failures have not been easily tracked within the Group. This SIG therefore provides a discussion and presentation point to gather and display their industry and provide the opportunity to spread better understanding of how it all works.
Not a MERG member? then
and sign up to this Special Interest Group. If you are already a MERG member
Select RFID from the drop down list in Other SIGs and press the Subscribe to SIG button.
The group meets online using Zoom and members join the meeting from around the globe.
To join in you may need to add a headset with microphone and optionally a camera to your device, if they are not built in. You will receive a link which will get you into the meeting, automatically installing Zoom on your device if necessary.
Calls are scheduled and topics announced in advance.
Zoom provides thumbnails of each video participant and any shared presentations or desktops. The call host facilitates the meeting/questions/discussion. Zoom has developed a lot during Covid and I can't describe all the features here.
Usually everyone mutes their microphone to avoid a lot of noise from phones, clocks chiming, family activity etc. To speak you can just press the spacebar to (after a slight pause) temporarily unmute.
You can select among several icons to, for example raise a hand, clap, agree, vote etc. Useful for questioning.
You can also type “chat” either with everyone or with a selected participant. This is quite a good way to have a one-to-one conversation without involving/annoying everyone else. It can also be used to distribute weblinks etc although there are many other ways to “share” (with permission) screens, documents, open apps, whiteboard and so on.
If you would like to try out Zoom, then there is a test meeting service where you are the only participant and you can experiment with the various options available.
This link is available to anybody, not just members.