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About the SIG Group

The HO Module Special Interest Group (SIG) was conceived by Geoff Hoad, Ken Edmier and David North in 1997. They were discussing the difficulties faced by members who either did not have the space for a layout, were unsure of their skills, didn't have the tools and/or had the desire to learn more about DCC and operations.
The intent of the SIG is to provide an environment within which individual members would be inspired and challenged to continually improve their prototype knowledge and practical skills and apply new technology and ideas as they evolve.

THE STATED AIMS OF THE SIG ARE:

  • To promote the hobby of model railroading in general, and both the NMRA and Module SIG in particular, by constructing and maintaining an attractive and reliable modular layout.
  • That the modules should look smart and be uniform in appearance. When assembled they should give all the appearances of a single layout.
  • That DCC would be the operating system of choice.
  • That uniform standards would be maintained. This would ensure proper interfacing of modules to provide mechanical and electrical continuity (i.e. track and wiring). Locomotives and rolling stock would comply with existing NMRA standards and recommended practices to ensure reliable operation
  • That the highest quality of modelling would be encouraged.
  • That the various skills of the members would be pooled and shared to improve everyone's enjoyment of their hobby.
  • The concept of a Modular Layout was presented to the NMRA Australasian Region Board and official approval was granted for a Module SIG to be established within the Australasian Region.
  • Meetings were held to discuss and determine what materials to use and to establish common standards to ensure ease of construction, consistent ease of set-up and reliability of operation.
  • The SIG members started constructing modules in 1998. All new members paid a joining fee to cover the costs of common property (Ends, corners, crossover modules, wiring looms, joiners etc).
  • We all had some fun and frustrations due to our initial lack of knowledge on the DCC operating systems (eg. 2 digit and 4 digit decoder addresses). Plus we quickly learned that the coordination of arrival time, and prior planning of how the modules would be laid out, was rather important if we were to be able to start operating within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Early meetings were held in an undercover carpark at North Ryde. Gary Spencer-Salt of Model Railroad Craftsman loaned the SIG a SystemOne DCC operating system each time we set up and John Baker later generously allowed us the use of his large shed for a more permanent setup. This evolved into the current use by the HO Module SIG of a smaller but still good-sized layout set up at Kellyville.
  • We have collectively learned much to pass on.

THE STATED AIMS ARE ACHIEVED BY:

  • Establishing uniform standards for both the modules and their interfaces to ensure mechanical and electrical reliability.
  • Promoting the use, understanding and acceptance of DCC operating systems and sharing experiences learned from using DCC.
  • Providing practical help and advice on using, fitting and programming decoders.
  • Providing a hands-on opportunity for modelers to control a train using the SIG's DCC system.
  • Providing an environment for both running trains and realistic operations.
  • Providing practical hands-on help and advice to new SIG members.
  • Providing the environment for teaching, learning and practicing high quality modelling skills that may later be applied to members home layouts.
  • Making welcome all NMRA members and guests and inviting them to share in our activities.
  • Fostering good fellowship, camaraderie and having fun.

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