Monday, September 20, 2010

SoundBytes XXVIII

In this edition, we will re-cap the 30th National Narrow Gauge Convention. We will also shed light onto a couple of our SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models dealers, discuss future trips.

Narrow Gauge Convention Wrap-Up
We had a great time visiting with our customers and dealers who were in attendance. We were proud to show the newest pre-production samples of the C-19s, and decorated samples of the passenger coach and the tank cars. These were well received and whet the appetites of many HOn3 modelers! You can view these samples on our website, and
A great Honor was bestowed to our company’s founders, Steve Dominguez and Nancy Workman. These extraordinary individuals were honored at the convention by being inducted into the Narrow Gauge Hall of Fame! It is truly great to have them recognized for contributions in both the category of sound and revitalizing HOn3 with the introduction of the Blackstone Models division.
We also would like to thank those who opened their layouts to conventioneers. The layout hosts were very hospitable and we saw some fabulous layouts. In particular, we’d like to thank Jeff Boock, Eric Brooman, Chuck Graham, John Kalin, Herb Koening, Randy Meyers and Ron Schlueter- Your layouts were truly inspirational! Nearly all featured our Tsunami sound decoders and we even found one using our SoundTraxx S220-IR Steam layout sound system! We will post some photos at in a future post.
During our time there, we took the opportunity to visit Mark Twain Hobbies in St. Charles, MO ( If you are in the area, please stop by- this is an awesome store with a wonderful selection of items for all hobbies. It truly brought back childhood memories for all of us!

Look for us in your area!
George will be spending a week on the west coast in the coming weeks! Starting in Portland, he will visit with our dealers in the area with clinics at The Hobbysmith ( at 4:00pm and at the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad club ( at 6:00pm, on Tuesday, September 28th. Traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday, he will be doing public clinics at Bruce’s Train Shop along with the 26th Street Model Engineers ( in Sacramento, CA at Noon on Friday, October 1st and at Roger’s Railroad Junction in Lodi on Saturday, Oct 2nd at 10:30am. If you are in the area and can attend, we would love to have you! We are planning on visiting our dealers in the area as well, along with several clubs including the Carquinez Model Railroad Society ( Thursday evening at 7:00pm and the Alameda County Central Railroad Society ( on Friday evening at 6:00pm. On Sunday, Oct 3rd, we will be displaying at the Open House for Just Trains ( in Concord, CA. Please come by and say hello and see what’s new!

Dealer News:
From time to time, we like to give some special ‘kudos’ to dealers who are doing what they can to help serve the model railroad community. At this time, we would like to congratulate Johns and Nancy Thut of DCC Hobby Supply ( for expanding their services to their customers. In addition to almost always having the items asked for in stock, they now offer installation services for both brass and mass-produced plastic models. Give them a call and support them in their efforts to better support you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SoundBytes XXVII

It seems as though summer has just started, and here we are going into September and sending the kids off to school! Of course, that means time for railroading! In this edition, we will look at an annual occurrence here in Durango, Railfest at the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. We will also see our newest announcement from SoundTraxx. For our Tech Tip, we will look at an easy change to make to your Tsunami decoder, the Whistle or air horn!

This year’s Railfest at the D&SNG was bigger than ever. This is an annual celebration of railroading in the Colorado Rockies and visiting equipment stole the show. Railfest this year ran from August 19th through August 24th. Events included freight photo specials, special passenger photo specials, special excursions with the visiting equipment and more! This year, the D&RGW 315, a C18 consolidation, the Eureka and Palisades #4, a 4-4-0 and the RGS Galloping Goose #5 all were here running special trips throughout the Animas Canyon. One of the highlights of this year’s festivities was the Parade of Trains through Durango, featuring a train arriving at the depot about every 10 minutes, finally posing for a special photo shoot with some of the everyday D&S equipment! This kicked off the Railfest Banquet held in the Railroad Museum. This annual event seems to get better every year. If you are looking for a great railroad vacation, Railfest is hard to beat!

Upcoming Shows
If you are able to attend the 30th National Narrow Gauge Convention held this year in St. Louis, MO, be sure to come by the booth to see what’s new. We will have plenty of samples of our upcoming projects to show, including a few versions of the C-19 to look at as well as decorated samples of the passenger cars with the full detailed and painted interior and decorated samples of our frameless and narrow-frame tank cars.
George would also like to thank all who attended the clinic in Colorado Springs at Custom Railway Supply. Your questions and participation is appreciated. For those who were not able to attend, watch here for more clinic schedules and locations. We are looking to plan a few more around the country!

Mobile Decoders
We have been asked many times about speed matching Tsunami sound-equipped locomotives with non-sound-equipped locos. In response to this, we have introduced a non-sound decoder that features the same fine motor control and features found in the Tsunami decoders, just without the sound! This way, you can have a multi-unit consist that has each decoder is using the same set of CVs for controlling the lights and motor, including the popular F11 braking! No more will you have to look through many manuals to figure out how to get different decoder-equipped locos to run together smoothly.
The Mobile decoders will be available in many formats to facilitate an easy installation. The lineup can be found here:
These will be available soon from your favorite dealers.

Tech Tip:
One of the easiest and most distinct changes that can be made to a decoder is to change the whistle or horn. Each steam decoder is pre-loaded with a selection of up to 8 whistles and diesel decoders are preloaded with 16 air horns to choose from. Prototype locomotives carried many different whistles based on the railroad or region of the country, or even different class of locomotives! Diesels became more “standardized” with the railroad selecting the air horn of choice for all locomotive models. Each Tsunami decoder has a card enclosed in the packaging that denotes which whistles and air horns are selectable on the decoder. By reading the chart, you can determine the values to program into CV115 to select each air horn and whistle type. For example, on the EMD 567 diesel decoder, CV 115 should be set to a value of 3 of you want to hear a Leslie A200. On the Southern Steam decoder, set CV 115 to 2 if you want to hear the Norfolk & Western #1218 whistle.Using CV115, you can select a whistle or air horn that you like the sound of. After all, this is your railroad. By using the many choices available, doing a small bit of research on your prototypes can make for a more prototypically accurate running experience.