New scanner user-problems with new scanner

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7express
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New scanner user-problems with new scanner

Post by 7express » Mon May 17, 2010 8:20 pm

This is probably a stupid question, but I'm interested in picking up a scanner before I go to Chicago in July. Do I just go into a radio shack or best buy and ask somebody that works there for a scanner?? Would it be illegal to listen on Metro North, LIRR, NJ Transit or Amtrak or would I be able to listen to the scanner on those rails??

Moderator's note: Separated from the "Scanners-What do you use when railfanning?" thread.

scharnhorst
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Post by scharnhorst » Wed May 19, 2010 11:39 pm

7express wrote:This is probably a stupid question, but I'm interested in picking up a scanner before I go to Chicago in July. Do I just go into a radio shack or best buy and ask somebody that works there for a scanner?? Would it be illegal to listen on Metro North, LIRR, NJ Transit or Amtrak or would I be able to listen to the scanner on those rails??
as along as its an 800ghz scanner you'll do fine I've railfaned with a scanner while on Amtrak and nobody has bothered me.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!

Steve W
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Post by Steve W » Fri May 21, 2010 11:55 am

What is an 800ghz scanner? is that somthing new, when did scanners becaome microwaves?

7express
Posts: 284
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Location: New Haven line

Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Post by 7express » Sun May 23, 2010 4:59 pm

So, I just purchased a pro-404 from Radio Shack. The only thing I can listen too is the NOAA weather channel. Even though the 404 has the preprogramed marine, police/fire, and airport, the only thing that comes in cleary is the weather, all the other channels, including frequencies are static. I've tried fiddiling with the squelch as well and that hasn't improved the situation at all. I live in Fairfield county, CT surrounded by a lot of power wires and trees. Can the transmissions be blocked by the power lines and trees, and in that case if I purchased an add-on atenna would that help combat the problem?

Aa3rt
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Re: New scanner user-problems with new scanner

Post by Aa3rt » Sun May 23, 2010 7:12 pm

7express-I just checked out the PRO-404 at the Radio Shack website.

Before you go investing in an antenna, may I suggest that you sit down with the instruction manual and familiarize yourself with the operation of the unit? I suspect that by relying on the preprogrammed bands you're picking up a lot of noise or intermodulation.

I have an old BC-350A that I use for a mobile unit that has those same police/emergency/marine/air band selection buttons. A big problem with relying on these is that it simply opens up the scanner to searching through a designated frequency band. While this may work in some areas, it also greatly increases your chances of picking up stray noise, interference or intermodulation, especially if you're in a populated area.

(For example, I am less than 10 miles from the Potomac River and enjoy listening to marine traffic on the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. The "Marine" band on the BC350A picks up a lot of noise and due to my proximity, about 30 miles southeast of Washington, DC, there are lots of stray or harmonic frequencies that constantly cause the scanner to lock up on "noise".)

While I'm not familiar with Connecticut, I'd suggest that you find some local frequenices and program them into a private bank and scan that exclusively until you become more familiar with the unit's operation.

You might try a "Google" search or go back to the Radio Shack where you purchased the unit and see if they have a frequency list for your area.

While you've already purchased a scanner, some of the information at this site may prove useful:

http://radio-scanner-guide.com/
Art Audley, AA3RT
Moderator: Railroad Radio & Communications, Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV and other Media, General Discussion: Fallen Trolley & Interurban Lines, General Discussion: Shortline, Industrial & Military Railroads,

Ken W2KB
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Post by Ken W2KB » Mon May 24, 2010 9:04 am

7express wrote:So, I just purchased a pro-404 from Radio Shack. The only thing I can listen too is the NOAA weather channel. Even though the 404 has the preprogramed marine, police/fire, and airport, the only thing that comes in cleary is the weather, all the other channels, including frequencies are static. I've tried fiddiling with the squelch as well and that hasn't improved the situation at all. I live in Fairfield county, CT surrounded by a lot of power wires and trees. Can the transmissions be blocked by the power lines and trees, and in that case if I purchased an add-on atenna would that help combat the problem?
Here is a listing of public safety frequencies in your county. Note that some may not be in use or used rarely. Try plugging them in manually (not scanning) to see what you can hear. Once you get that squared away you will be better able to program in the railroad frequencies you will need for your area and journeys.

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=304

As to your question as to legality of listening on the train, that is OK if you use earphones or ear plug. Not allowed on the train to use a speaker as it may disturb other passengers.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

scharnhorst
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Post by scharnhorst » Mon May 24, 2010 10:00 pm

scharnhorst wrote:
7express wrote:This is probably a stupid question, but I'm interested in picking up a scanner before I go to Chicago in July. Do I just go into a radio shack or best buy and ask somebody that works there for a scanner?? Would it be illegal to listen on Metro North, LIRR, NJ Transit or Amtrak or would I be able to listen to the scanner on those rails??
as along as its an 800mhz scanner you'll do fine I've railfaned with a scanner while on Amtrak and nobody has bothered me.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!

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