First of all, seriously, wayside horns ARE for dummies. They are basically fake horns that are put in "quiet" zones, which are also for dummies. But, if they are going to put these up in a "quiet" zone, then they might as well not make it a quiet zone. They are no-good boxes of ear-pain. Little or no railfans come to crossings with wayside horns, here is why:
1. The sound quality is horrible. My cat could make a fake horn better than wayside can.
2. They are supposed to warn drivers, just like train horns would. And cause ear pain, even with all windows shut tightly? Yeah, right.
3. They don't even use the correct sequence. Regular trains do a crossing sequence of long, long, short, long. Simple. These just go HOOOOOONNNNNKKK, HOOOOONNNKKKK, from the time the signals start up until the train comes. I have even been to a few places where the horn even honked ten times before the train came, and twice after. What does it do when the crossing malfunctions? I don't even want to know.
4. They take away the joys of railfanning. This does not just pertain to quiet zones, either. Railfans want to hear real horns, not a tape recorder inside a megaphone. The K5HLL is my least favorite type of horn. I find it better then these artificial horns.
Stay tuned for our next episode: Quiet zones for dummies!