Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

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The S.P. Caboose

Post by The S.P. Caboose »

I use a PRO-76. 200 channels is more than enough for me.


Post by ironhorse1 »

I use a Motorola Maxtrac (32 channel) in my truck and a Visar trackside. I also have a Kenwood TM-271A that pulls the stream.


Post by chrisjz »

When at work on the railroad (NS) I use a Kenwood TK-290 but when out foaming I use either my VHF Motorola Astro Saber or VHF GE MPA. Both have excellent receivers and work very well.


Post by ColonyLine »

I use 32 channel GE phoenix radios in the base and mobile. Base has an Icom multiband transmitable discone antenna. Moblile has a commercial Antenna Spec. 150-170mhz magmount antenna. The portable is an Icom H-16 16 channel with a stock rubber duck antenna. Backup scanners are a Regency MX7000 20 channel and a Rat Shack PRO-2020 20 channel. The mobile antenna provides superb reception distance and the base antenna is fair to good. Base antenna will be replaced with a commercial 150-170mhz base antenna as soon as I can find someone to climb a big pine tree.


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Post by jmp883 »

I wrote:
Trackside I use a Sony Wavehawk handheld. In the car I have a Bearcat BC-780. In the house I have a listening post comprised of another BC-780, 2 BC-895's, and a BC-890 that are run through an antenna amplifier to a roof-mounted antenna.
Things have changed slightly since I made that post. I now have my amateur radio license and no longer have the 780 in my vehicle. That has joined the other 780 in the home listening post. In my vehicle I now use a Kenwood 2m/70cm transceiver that also receives VHF-Hi/UHF. I've also parked the Sony Wavehawk handheld in favor of a Yaesu FT-60R 2m/70cm handheld transceiver with the same capabilities.

An advantage to using amateur radios for railfanning is if you have radios with 'dual-watch' capability you can monitor the railroad and still be able to talk with each other about where the best photo spot is, etc. Simply stated, dual-watch allows you to select one channel you want to monitor while operating on another. Pick your railroad channel, then pick a simplex frequency and you're good to go. Gonna be trying this out this weekend on a railfanning trip. :wink:
Last edited by jmp883 on Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Charter Member of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club, NJ Chapter 15
Amateur radio....the only REAL radio left in the world.
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Post by tazman021706 »

An old Pro-46, VX-150 (both to listen to railroad and tx on ham freq's) and a FT-90 in the car

Antonio Luna

Post by Antonio Luna »

Just picked up a PR0-91 150 Channel Scanner.



Post by alex45 »

I dont use one when i railfan. But I do have a scanner radio in my house where I can listen to the trains


Post by danco »

Yaesu FT-8800R in the car, VX-7R on foot.

73 de Dan, KE7HLR

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Post by Conrail4evr »

Kenwood TK-760G mobile, Motorola GP68 portable.

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re; i use ....

Post by izzy1975 »

Uniden BCT - 8 , Uniden BCT-350C, and a Undien BC400XLT all are excellent scanners and set to different freqs. All three are hooked to a Workman discone Antenna when they are in the house and when they go mbile they all have there own antenna. Also i have Magnum S-9 Nitro Cb radiohooked to a Wilson 5k and texas Star sweet16

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Post by Conrail1990 »

I use a uniden 50 channel 800MHz radio scanner. Its easy to program train frequencies into it. Bad thing is that I lost the guide.


Post by hailster »

At home I use my IC-706mkiig, however I don't normally monitor rail frequencies at home since I use that radio for HF on the ham bands.
In the car I use my IC-207h. It's a dualband 2m/70cm ham radio.

And when I'm trackside or just out and about I use my IC-T90a.


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Post by Aa3rt »

Conrail1990 wrote:I use a uniden 50 channel 800MHz radio scanner. Its easy to program train frequencies into it. Bad thing is that I lost the guide.
Conrail1990-You don't mention which model you're using but you can go to the Uniden website and download or order the manual for your particular scanner. Try:
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,

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Post by Conrail1990 »

sorry. Its a Uniden BC80XLT. I bought it at a Nascar Nextel cup race.

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