Once you have entered
the server lists, save your ATCS file again ("my atcs map" or whatever
you fancy). Exit and relaunch ATCS Monitor and reload your "my
atcs map.ini" file. If you did this correctly, after a short
will be scrolling
down the screen, and if you click on "Dispatcher
Display", you should see something
. Control Point signals are either cleared (green)
or red. White lines are track, Green lines are tracks lined up
for trains, red lines are tracks with trains on them, small squares on
turnouts are an indication of turnout repositioning.
Red Control Point labels are actively receiving ATCS
data. White Control Point labels are not receiving any ATCS data,
almost always because the data is not being captured and re-broadcast
by any local railfans. On the above map, only 5 of about 35
Control Points are picking up ATCS data, (the lonely Elmwood one being
my contribution to the effort). In time, more ATCS Monitor
servers may come on line and more un-monitored white Control Points
will become red ones.
Now that we did so much work, save this file with a
file name, something like "my atcs map internet.ini" from earlier
the trains on the map via radio scanner input (no internet feed at this
For this example we need to tell the
ATCS program that the data stream is coming from our scanner radio
instead of the internet. Remember: The data can
come from an Internet connection, or
from the scanner radio. To use both sources simultaneously, the
scanner radio data input has to be set to a server and then fed to the
Internet connection (two instances of ATCS Monitor will need to run at
the same time to do that), more about that later.
Hopefully the scanner
is hooked up to the computer via the instructions from earlier
in this document. Don't forget to turn the scanner on, and have
the right frequency dialed in.
Load your recently made file "my atcs
map.ini" . Go to the "Options" tab again, click it, and then the
"Data Source" tab. Click on the "Sound Card
button. Notice that of the four possible Data Sources only one
can be used at a time and . Here we clicked on "Sound
" and some of the stuff on the menu box gets grayed out.
In the "Device" box, a short listing of things that the computer
recognizes as sound cards will be shown. In my case, we see a
"SoundMAX Digital Audio" entry for my sound card. If I were to
use a Griffin I-Mic USB sound card, the I-Mic would be listed as a
choice in this box. The "Sampling Rate" box shows 44100
automatically and I left that alone. The "COM Port" box is grayed
out. I unchecked
marked "No Routers" and this allows people with aggregate ATCS Monitor
servers to feed off my ATCS Monitor server.
In the big "Network Settings" box, I put a check
next to "Server Mode Listener" and used the Edit
button to give "Server Mode Listener" a TCP port a value of 4802 (I
have seen other ATCS servers with TCP port values ranging from 4799 to
4900 and many values between. I would recommend picking a TCP
port number between 4799 and 4900 but would perhaps avoid TCP ports
4840, 4843, 4847, 4894, 4899 as these may be reserved for specific
purposes.). And I also entered a "Base" of 30000,60 which
sets up my UDP ports. By specifying 30000,60 I am basically
specifying sixty UDP ports will be available, from 30000 to 30059.
Then check the "Actions"
button and then "Monitor MCP's"
begin monitoring the MCP's.
To see if your radio scanner is indeed transmitting anything at all to
your sound card, check the "Signal
" by clicking "View" and then click on "Signal
Analysis". With "Signal Analysis", you should see
something like this
. If the box has only a flat line, then
the scanner and the sound card are not communicating. If you see
a wavy line like in this "Signal Analysis" example, that is good.
That is the background radio static that we see between the occasional
bursts of ATCS transmissions. Note the little slider bar on the
bottom. Move it back and forth till the wavy line is almost
touching the top and bottom of the "Signal Analysis" box. The
wavy line should not be hitting the top or bottom of the box, that will
clip the signal, and the wavy line should not be to small in relation
to the "Signal Analysis" box. In this case, the slider is almost
all the way to the left. On other computers, or if I use a
Griffin I-Mic, I find the slider is usually sort of in the middle of
its left-right range.
Here is what the ATCS Monitor
shows when feeding only from the radio scanner
that the data is flowing mostly from the only MCP that is close enough
to me to reliably receive, "Elmwood
thus only Elmwood is displayed in red letters. After five days of
data collection a few other Control Points such as "RAM" and "RU
drawbridge" and an unknown MCP have contributed a few (17) blips of
data compared to the 7276 blips of data from the nearby "Elmwood"
Here are more screen shots of the ATCS Monitor
settings, since they work for me, they may be of help to readers of
Note that I put a check in the "Ignore
Decoding Errors" box.
Options Windows (ATCS)
Options Data Source
Save these settings with a unique file name,
something like "my atcs map scanner.ini"
Ports, TCP and UDP
What are TCP
and UDP ports
anyway? A home computer connected to the
internet needs TCP ports so that certain computer programs can
communicate to and fro with the internet. Port 25 is reserved for
SMTP E-mail protocols. Port 80 is reserved for an internet web
server, port 110 is reserved for POP3 Post Office Protocols for
E-mail. For ATCS Monti tor, I see that the TCP ports between 4799
and 4900 (avoiding TCP ports 4840, 4843, 4847, 4894, 4899) are often
used for allowing ATCS Monti tor to communicate with the outside
If you pick a TCP port, (I used 4802
that specific port must be opened in your network (DSL or
configuration, (more on that later).
ATCS Monitor data coming to and from the internet get funneled to the
particular computer on a home network that has the TCP port specified
(4802 in my case) and the ATCS Monitor program is instructed by the
Configuration to use that port. Basically, the TCP port is making
a doorway or a data pathway that links ATCS Monitor program on you
computer with the internet world.
The UDP ports are chosen as multiple slots in your
hosting computer that can be filled by visitors from the outside world,
sort of like seats in a theater. If you set up an ATCS Monitor
server and collect local information from your radio scanner, other
people running ATCS Monitor would most likely want to partake of this
data and thus fill in voids in their ATCS Monitor maps. By
setting up UDP ports, you can specify how many visitors or seats in you
theater you will permit. And by setting this up, the seats can be
defined in a small area (a limited number of UDP ports) instead of
spread out all over the UDP port world on your computer.
I figured sixty ATCS Monitor visitors or seats would
be a good start, perhaps I'll need more UDP ports at a later
date. So, I set up the UDP ports for sixty ATCS Monitor visitors (Base=30000,60
which means I have made UDP ports 30000 through 30059 available for
ATCS Monitor visitors. Till now, the most visitors I have ever
seen is about 16. The visitors can be seen on the Clients
window of ATCS Monitor, some are duplicates, indicating
that they are perhaps unwittingly running more than one instance of
Just like the TCP ports, the UDP ports must be
enabled in your network (DSL or Cable) router-switch configuration,
(more on that later). And when doing that, the router-switch will
need to be told which particular computer is running ATCS Monitor on
your home network. And that router-switch will need to make the
TCP and UDP ports enabled for ATCS Monitor directed towards that
(DSL or Cable) Router-Switch
If you are using more than one computer on a home
network, then you likely are using a network (DSL or
. In my case, I have an old computer
with only one mission, to
run as an ATCS Monitor server. This computer is on my home
network where several other computers are used for day to day things
like e-mail, Internet surfing, business stuff, gaming, banking,
Do your self a favor, assign STATIC
Local Area Network (LAN) addresses for your computers on your
network, or at least for the computer that is the ATCS Monitor server
. Why? If you do not, then your (DSL or Cable)
router-switch will use its built in Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
(DHCP) and give the computers their own (LAN) addresses, and these can
change depending upon the sequence of which computers are turned on
when. For example, the (DSL or Cable) router-switch on my network
is a Linksys E 1200, and by design, this (DSL or Cable) router-switch
itself will always be at LAN address
192.168.1.1 But, the computers on the LAN can
have LAN addresses from 192.168.1.2
So, if I turn on computer A, then computer B, and
then computer C, and the (DSL or Cable) router-switch's DHCP is
at its "enabled" setting, the computer LAN addresses will likely be:
computer A= 192.168.1.2
computer B= 192.168.1.3
computer C= 192.168.1.4
But if I turn the computers on in a different sequence, say computer C,
then computer B, and then computer A, and the (DSL or Cable)
router-switch's DHCP is at its "enabled" setting, the computers LAN
addresses will likely be different, such as:
computer A= 192.168.1.4
computer B= 192.168.1.3
computer C= 192.168.1.2
For our computer that is acting as an ACTS Monitor
server, we want a LAN address that does not change over time, otherwise
it will be harder to configure (DSL or Cable) router-switch ports that
refer to a specific computer at a specific LAN address.
What to do? Either fully disable the DHCP
feature on your (DSL or Cable) router-switch or set aside a range
of LAN address's
on your (DSL or Cable) router-switch that are not
subject to change. Here are some web pages that discuss this:
IP address setup Converting from a DHCP based LAN configuration
and dhcp at the same time
On my system, I have set my LAN address for my ATCS
computer to be 192.168.1.121 and on my Linksys (DSL or Cable)
have these settings for the DHCP
topic. Notice that I have
restricted my LAN automatic enabled DHCP address range from 192.168.1.2
through 192.168.1.51 Since my ATCS Monitor computer is at
192.168.1.121, the ATCS computer will fall outside the range of the
above, my ATCS computer will be in the area that static LAN addresses
can be used, i.e, 192.168.1.52 though 192.168.1.255
I left the "Subnet Mask" settings at the default
255.255.255.0 and set my "Keep Alive Period" to 180 seconds.
While we are setting up the (DSL or Cable)
router-switch settings, we might as well open up TCP and UDP ports that
will be needed for the ATCS Monitor server to communicate through your
LAN to the outside world's Internet. I set up TCP
and UDP ports here
, where the red arrow row shows the TCP ports
being set up 4800 though 4802 (I only am using 4802 now) and the blue
arrow shows the sixty UDP ports being set up, 30000 through 30059. Now,
look at what was circled in green. Enter your LAN address of the
computer running ATCS Monitor (mine is 192.168.1.212 ). Be sure
to put a check mark in the boxes on the right side of the column, or
your settings will not take place.
Another DSL or Cable) router-switch setting that is
optional, but I changed allows certain ports and applications to have
high or low priority.
Surprisingly, on another
of the (DSL or Cable) router-switch settings area, I did not
have to make any
changes nor entries for my ATCS Monitor server. This page can be
left at the default values. Note that another computer at
192.168.1.112 is an "HTTP" server for a music web page, and has a port
setting of 80. That computer 192.168.1.112, is completely
unrelated to ATCS Monitor.
Since my DSL or Cable router-switch settings seem to
work, I'll share them here for what it is worth. Here is a
complete series of snapshots of my Linksys
DSL or Cable router-switch settings, remember my computer
that is running the ATCS Monitor is at LAN address
We made changes here.
Setup-IP V6 Setup
I made changes here, but these changes don't really pertain to ATCS
Gaming-Single Port Forwarding
We made necessary changes here.
Gaming-Port Range Triggering
set the Local Area Network (LAN) address on your ATCS Monitor computer
In the above setion, we set aside Static
LAN addresses, 192.168.1.52
though 192.168.1.255 that could be used for an ATCS computer. My
ATCS computer was set at 192.168.1.121 by using Network Settings in the
WinXP Control Panel. This was done on this menu
where the green arrows point to the changes I made and the red arrow
points to what was de-selected. Note, my Linksys (DSL or Cable)
router-switch is 192.168.1.1
Here is a complete series of snapshots of my WinXP
network settings on my computer the is running the ATCS Monitor server:
We made changes here.
IP settings and Gateway
These default settings worked for my TCP
and UDP ports.
Your Server an Internet Name so it can Serve the World
By making it to this point, you may be at stage
where you can run ATCS Monitor on a home computer and you may want to
share your local ATCS Monitor with railfans from the rest of you home
town or the whole world.
If your ATCS Monitor is picking up valid signals
from a radio scanner and you have a connecton to the internet, you can
set up an ATCS
server. The type of internet connection does not seem to really
matter, it could be via a T1 line, DSL (which I have), cable modem, or
even a telephone dial-up modem. Most of us who use the internet
at home have one of the latter three choices.
An interesting thing about home internet connections
is that the internet provider (be it DSL,
cable modem, or telephone dial-up modem) provides you with your very
own dynamic numerical IP address when you are connected to the
internet. You can check this with many web sites that can report
to you your IP address. What is my IP address.com,
or IP Location finder.net, or
many others. At the moment, my numerical IP address assigned by
my DSL provider is 220.127.116.11 but this is not permanent.
Everytime you make or re-establish a connection to the internet, your
internet provider will likely give you a different IP
address. Sometimes, if you have a steady DSL or Cable modem
connection, you IP address may not change for days or weeks, but
sometimes it changes without you realizing it changed.
Why am I mentioning these changing IP address that
home internet users deal with? If you want people from the
outside world to make contact with your ATCS Monitor server, they must
be provided with an internet address to your computer running the ATCS
Monitor server. I could look up my IP address like in the above
paragraph and tell people to enter that into their ATCS
Monitor program. Since my ATCS
Monitor server is on port 4802, the IP address that I would give to the
outside world would be 18.104.22.168
and port 4802.
That is fine and dandy, but what happens when I get
an different IP address from my internet service provider? People
from the outside who try to use the same IP address as before rocky-river-ohio-mcp.dyndns.org:4802
and port 4802 will not get to my ATCS
Monitor server as my IP address will be changed (the port number stays
the same). What is needed is a way for my very own compter, that
has the ATCS
Monitor server running on it, to broadcast an unchanging alias of its
Many services provide a method just such a
tool. These services are called Dynamic Domain Name Servers
(DDNS) providers and many are free. After simple
registration, they work by installing a small application that runs on
your ATCS Monitor
server computer and
every few minutes this little application checks your IP address with
the DDNS server and matches that with an unchanging alias that you picked
when you first registered with the DDNS service. My alias for my
ATCS Monitor server is "rocky-river-ohio-mcp.dyndns.org"
with a port 4802 entered separately. When
visting people try to access my ATCS monitor they type the alias
address which is "rocky-river-ohio-mcp.dyndns.org". The DDNS
server, wherever that is, keeps track of my most recent IP address and
forwards the visitor's request to that numerical IP address. So,
when someone is looking for "rocky-river-ohio-mcp.dyndns.org",
the DDNS will forward that request to my real (but never permanent) IP
address that is currently 22.214.171.124
Every so often, my numerical IP address changes, and
a few minutes later, the DDNS application will pass that information to
the DDNS server, and thus visitors who are use my unchangine alias
address will be automatically guided to my newly changed numerical IP
address. In essence, the DDNS lets you assign a permanent web
address to your ATCS Monitor sever, even if that compter has a non
permanent IP address.
I have used both no-ip.com and dyndns.com, with good result.
With no-ip.com, you can get up to 5 free
alias addresses, and with dyndns.com, you can get one free
Let's watch the
trains on the map via the Internet and with our own scanner's
In earlier sections of this document,
figured out how to watch the trains on the ATCS Monitor map via radio
scanner input without an internet feed
. And we also figured
out how to watch the trains on the ATCS Monitor map at
this time via the Internet but without radio scanner input
Now we shall combine the two techniques and run an instance of ATCS
Monitor that has data input from the internet and radio scanner at the
To do this, first get the computer and file with ATCS
Monitor map via radio scanner input without an internet feed
running by launching the file that we set up earlier ("my atcs
map scanner.ini") . Leave that
Then open another instance of ATCS Monitor
(this can be on the same physical computer as int he last paragraph or
another computer on your LAN). Launch the file ("my atcs map
internet.ini") that we created in the section titled ATCS
Monitor map at this time via the Internet but without radio scanner
. This second ATCS Monitor instance should be now saved
with a different .ini file name so as to be distinct from the earlier
files. We shall call it "my atcs map scanner internet.ini"
In this freshly renamed file; "my atcs map scanner
internet.ini" file, data will be collected from the internet using the
setting that we estblished earlier in the ATCS
Monitor map at this time via the Internet but without radio scanner
section. But, we shall also tell the program to feed
from the data that "my atcs map scanner.ini" generates.
So, go to ATCS Monitor's "Options" tab again, click
it, and then click the "Data Source" tab. Here I figured we need
to enter the Web address one's own ATCS Monitor's server, in my case:
"rocky-river-ohio-mcp.dyndns.org" with a
to the list of other Web servers (not mine) that already
were listed in the
"Data Source" section
of the "my atcs map scanner internet.ini" file.
But this did not work for me. It
seems that my
network (DSL or Cable)
router-switch would not let me look out to the
internet and and then back into my my own LAN. So instead of
with a port 4802, I found out that I could use my LAN address of the
computer running this combined internet plus scanner instance of ATCS
with a port 4802.
Here are the
screen shots of the important changes made in
atcs map internet.ini" file that became "my atcs map scanner
shot 1 of Data Source
nothing new here
shot 2 of Data Source
nothing new here
shot 3 of Data Source
a new link back to my own
computer on my own LAN: ( "192.168.1.121"
with a port 4802.)
So, when running the
atcs map scanner internet.ini" file (while keeping the "my atcs map
scanner.ini" file running), I was finally able to have the data feed
from my own radio scanner merge with the data from the Internet.
After saving and re-launching
"my atcs map scanner internet.ini" file, and also having the "my atcs
map scanner.ini" file running simultaneously we are in business.
Here is a screen
shot of the Cleveland area with combined data from my radio scanner and
from the Internet. My radio scanner provides data to only the
Elmwood control point part of the map. The other control points
that are in red font are provided with data from the internet.
Here is a sceen
shot of the data that generates the above map.
And finally, here is a screen shot of the
"Servers Connected" window. Note there are three servers
listed, the first and third are feeding my data from the internet, and
the middle server is my very own radio scanner server that is running.
New, July 2015:
How to set up
ATCS Monitor server in a box (less likely to be stolen from a
New, February 2016:
Using FreedomPop Mobile Hotspot USB devices
to run ATCS Monitor on the road.
AKA "Automobile ATCS".
FreedomPop sells a variety of plug in USB WiFi devices that can provide
an internet connection to a Windows computer that is on the go.
The connections are 3G and/or 4g, and are plenty fast for running the ATCS
Monitor. If you are careful, you can wade through the The
FreedomPop web page and pick up a device that has adata plan that
basically is almost free for usage under 500MBb/month. Here is my
ATCS" part 1, and
ATCS" part 2.
New, February 2016:
Tips on using
Mobile Hotspot USB devices to run
ATCS Monitor remote servers.