Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

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

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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby scharnhorst » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:00 pm

I gave up with using a scanner now that almost every railroad keeps there signal lights on there towers on. At one time the scanner came in handy when I used to spend my time sitting by the Conrail main line back in the 90's but with the new CSX Signal systems the lights are always on and don't turn on and shut off before and after the train passes.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby Plate C » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:07 am

Lost my trusty scanner the other week and am seeking suggestions of what to replace it with, staying around the $100 range give or take?
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby New Haven 1 » Sun May 08, 2016 9:14 am

My favorite is my Motorola HT1000. While it isn't necessary for listening purposes, I like the fact that these radios allow on a per channel basis to select bandwidth so all of my RR frequencies are set to receive @ the 12.5 KHz narrowband improving sensitivity while the 2 Meter ham Frequencies I use for talking to friends can at the same time be set for the 25 KHz spacing for ham use. You can't beat the military grade commercial quality electronics from durability to accuracy regarding staying on frequency. To boot, I love the transmit and receive range that the factory Motorola 8 1/4" tall wideband ( 136-174 Mhz. ) antenna affords. These radios can be found on ebay for incredibly cheap prices, but, if you get one you will understand why Motorola was selling them for $1000.00 apiece when they were in production. The VHF model I have has performed flawlessly for several years despite being dropped ( unintentionally ) a few times. My bearcat SC150 while decent is nowhere near as sensitive.
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby Plate C » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:08 pm

Thought I'd check back in here. Never replaced my lost scanner, about time I do. Again seeking suggestions around the $100-150 range. Someone had mentioned Wouxun to me but don't recall the model, and heard others say Uniden is what is mostly used now.
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby Aa3rt » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:50 pm

I picked up a BC75XLT a couple of years ago. This scanner has 10 preprogrammed banks in it, of interest to you would be the railroad bank (Along with weather, police, fire, marine, racing frequencies, air, ham AKA amateur radio, CB and one listed as "Other" that covers FRS, GMRS and MURS frequencies).

I've taken mine on trackside forays as well as while riding Amtrak and MARC trains and it performs well. I would suggest a different antenna to replace the supplied "rubber duck" and will advise you that battery life is somewhat limited (It only uses two "AA" batteries) so I generally get approximately 5 to 6 hours of use.

Here's a some information from RadioReference on the scanner:

A link to "Bearcat Warehouse" where the BC75XLT is selling for $80. (I've no connection to Bearcat Warehouse except as a satisfied customer.)
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:08 pm

Make sure the scanner can handle narrowbanded channels,Uniden/Bearcat scanners can be found at most major Truckstops
(T/A,Pilot,Flying J)
With Radio Shack now "Dead and Buried", most larger towns/cities have a retailer handling Shortwave Radios/CB radios.
Otherwise you wind up going the "online purchase" routine to purchase. :(
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Re: Scanners-what do you use when railfanning?

Postby csx8851 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:16 pm

I have a similar model to yours and have considered replacing the original rubber duck antenna. Anyone have any good suggestions on what I can replace it with? I am trying to get at least a few miles on a good day but with the old stock antenna, it only goes for about a mile tops.
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