Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby Gadfly » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:40 pm

Where it would apply to the railroad is when employees couldn't hear their OWN radios because someone had a scanner (or music radio) turned up too loud thereby interfering with the safety and operations of the railroad. That would, as I said, be enforcable by local police or the railroad cops. :P


GF
Gadfly
 
Posts: 1156
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby JerseyShore16 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:33 am

Gadfly wrote:I've been seeing this topic creep in from time to time where overwrought "foamers" go so far as to purchase Motorola radios such as MT1000's in the hope of talking to the trains, or at least, ASK about the legal issues. I don't want to pour cold water on peoples' hobbies or avocation, but let me make something clear. It IS to your advantage to heed this advice. Do NOT be mislead into believing that you have some misguided reason for transmitting on railroad frequencies. This is strictly against the law, the railroads will NOT react kindly to it, the railroad dicks AND the Federal Communications Commission will aggressively seek you out and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law (which means FINES of up to $10,000 PER occurance and even JAIL time). This is NOT funny! It is NOT a "game". YOU do NOT belong on railroad frequencies if you are not an employee (or authorized contractor)! You are NOT Rules-trained, you are breaking railroad Union agreements that can cause time claim issues and cost the company money paying those claims. What the railroad is doing is NONE of your beeswax and you must stay OUT and OFF their channels. You are NOT invited to "play".
You can interfere with the safety and operations of trains and their crews!

And here's one railroader that if I ever hear a "bootlegger" on NS or CSX channels, I-will- actively-seek-you-out-and turn you in to the railroad police and FCC's Spectrum Enforcement Division! :( Harsh? Sorry, but this is something you MUST not do! it is perfectly fine to listen on your scanner, but you have NO business transmitting on the railroad's radio channels! Take this warning to heart!


Gadfly



100% AGREE!!
JerseyShore16
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:04 pm

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby wa8lgm » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:18 pm

Let's put it plain and simple for those foamers who don't have the brains that God gave a goose to take a c*** on Saturdays: If you don't have an actual license, or if you are not a member of a railroad society who does have a license; you are playing a game which you will not win. This is not a game to play anywhere, whether on the CB frequencies, GMRS frequencies or in any radio service which requires you to have a license. You will be looked for, you will be found, you will be fined, you will lose your radio equipment, and you might just get real lucky and only be put in Federal Prison for only a year.
Now, is carrying a radio and using it for "fun on the rails" really worth it???
If your answer is still "yes." then I pity you. I think I have a box of rocks in the back room somewhere which is brighter than you are.
Oh. By the way, I do use my radios on the amateur radio frequencies, and also on my museum's frequency. But then again, I've been a ham for over 40 years and I have permission to use the frequency for railroad business. But that is the only reason.
wa8lgm
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby Arrestmespi » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:11 pm

^is your radio type certified for Railroad Radio, on just some Ham job with extended transmit?
Arrestmespi
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby jmp883 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:12 pm

I, also, wouldn't hesitate to turn someone who is illegally using radios. For the last 18 years I've been an emergency services dispatcher. I'm also a licensed ham radio operator. Radios are a big part of my life and a big part of my hobbies. However I will not tolerate those who can't obey the rules. And just to show that it's not just railroad foamers who play illegally I offer the following:

During 2009 a US police department was charged by the FCC for illegally using amateur radio frequencies. Unfortunately I don't remember the details but it was documented in both Monitoring Times and Popular Communications magazines (I don't keep my back issues, otherwise I'd look up the stories again for all the details). When the department chief found out what his officers were doing he ordered the practice stopped immediately, which it was. Unfortunately the magazine articles never stated what punishment, financial or otherwise, was handed out by the FCC, but this story makes the point that no one, or no organization, is exempt from getting in trouble with the FCC when they're doing something illegal.

Now if you're one of those who operates illegally think of this....how would you feel if, by your illegal use of a radio, you were to cause death, serious injury, or loss of property to others? Would you be able to live with yourself? If the ramifications of that scenario aren't enough to scare you away from playing radio illegally then I don't know what else to say.
Joe P, KC2PJL

Charter Member of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club, NJ Chapter 15
Amateur radio....the only REAL radio left in the world.
Emergency Services Dispatcher
User avatar
jmp883
 
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:59 pm
Location: Northern NJ

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby mrtransportation » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:22 am

Hi All,

I read all responses from people on this topic and totally agree with all of you for not transmitting on railroad frequencies. I have few questions to ask all you.

I was thinking about buying this Kenwood TK-270G radio from a friend that had it for a while, which he used to just listen to railroad frequencies when he watched trains and did not transmit or did any other illegal activities with this radio. Yes, it can transmit, but button is not functioning. My questions is this if I bought this radio from him. Do I need to get a ham license or FCC license to own, have or just listen to(not transmitting) with? Is crime to have one of these radios in your possession, on you, etc? Any advice or useful comments would be great from some of you dealers, ham operator etc. Also if there is license that is required to have or must get. Please let me know.Thanks.
mrtransportation
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:19 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby jmp883 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:23 am

Mrtransportation,

While it isn't illegal to own that radio I would think about spending your money on a brand-new scanner. If all you want to do is monitor then a scanner will fit your needs perfectly. If his radio isn't already programmed with the frequencies you'll want to listen to you'll need to find either a commercial radio dealer or someone who has access to the software and have the radio reprogrammed. If you do opt for that Kenwood when you have it reprogrammed inquire if the PTT switch can be disabled. Most handheld radios, ham or otherwise, have this programming option. That will insure you don't inadvertently transmit. I really do recommend a scanner though. They are so much easier to have reprogrammed-scanners can be done via direct-entry or affordable software while land-mobile radios like the Kenwood are usually reprogrammed only via software that is usually available only to radio dealers. There are exceptions to that but a scanner will make your life much easier.

As for a license you won't need one just to listen. I might recommend you get your ham license. With that you can transmit on the various ham bands. Most all ham radios also have most of the same bands in them that scanners do so that you can monitor as well. My buddy and I are both railfans and hams and we use our ham rigs to monitor the trains and stay in touch. As an example we'll usually end up a mile or two apart from each other while taking rail pics and we use the ham radios to alert each other when the next train will be coming. The Technician-class license is the entry-level ham license and is very easy to get. The next class, General, which is what most us hams are, is also very easy to upgrade to, and there is no waiting period as a Technician before you can upgrade. The final class is Extra, and that class is a bit more technical. I've been studying for my Extra-class test for a while now.

Well I've rambled a bit here but I hope the information I've given you helps. Again, I think a scanner will be a much better purchase than that Kenwood would be. There are many places to buy a scanner from. If you PM me I can give you links to some great places to browse/shop.

Whatever you choose, good luck!
Joe
Joe P, KC2PJL

Charter Member of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club, NJ Chapter 15
Amateur radio....the only REAL radio left in the world.
Emergency Services Dispatcher
User avatar
jmp883
 
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:59 pm
Location: Northern NJ

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby keeper1616 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:39 pm

It may be illegal to have that radio. But in those cases, it would also be illegal to have a scanner. For example, NYS has a law on the books that any device capable of receiving police frequencies is illegal (with an exception for amateur radio operators). I would check your local laws to see what they are.
~~~Cyrus~~~
keeper1616
 
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:06 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby mrtransportation » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:18 pm

Hi,

Thank for the responses. This part of information I forgot to meantion on this radio was that was full programmed by kenwood dealer with two NOAA, three Conrail, two NS, two CSX channels and as well with ablility to scan channels from 159 to 161 frequencies increments on automatic or manual, 97 AAR channels. My friend also bought this radio new from dealer as well, so not stolen if some thinking that. The sound quality is awesome and can pick detectors before unidels, bearcats, radio shacks scanners can. Also to the radio is not program to pick up police, fire, rescue, etc. But does not mean that some towns might be on that frequency range or band. I know the scanner laws in NJ and some other states. I also know the NY law with scanners that not even allow to have them built into your car or have handheld scanner in your car period and there some other rules as well which I can not think of. Here is a link that I came across with scanner laws that I know of.

http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/scanner5.html
Last edited by mrtransportation on Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mrtransportation
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:19 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby EMTRailfan » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:12 pm

mrtransportation wrote:Hi All,

I read all responses from people on this topic and totally agree with all of you for not transmitting on railroad frequencies. I have few questions to ask all you.

I was thinking about buying this Kenwood TK-270G radio from a friend that had it for a while, which he used to just listen to railroad frequencies when he watched trains and did not transmit or did any other illegal activities with this radio. Yes, it can transmit, but button is not functioning.


MAKE SURE it can not transmit. If you pay the shipping both ways to NW Pennsylvania, I can disable the transmit through programming for you at no cost.

My questions is this if I bought this radio from him. Do I need to get a ham license or FCC license to own, have or just listen to(not transmitting) with?


You only need a FCC license to talk, not listen.

Is crime to have one of these radios in your possession, on you, etc? Any advice or useful comments would be great from some of you dealers, ham operator etc. Also if there is license that is required to have or must get. Please let me know.Thanks.


See keeper's post. In general, it is not illegal to have unless the radio is stolen itself (we were just discussing this elsewhere). I use a TK272 (programmed as 270 for more channels).
The trails are nice, but let's save the rails!!!
My Railpictures.net
My RRPA
My NON RR pics
User avatar
EMTRailfan
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 7:20 pm
Location: Horsethief Capitol Of The World

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby MNR's #1 Conductor » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:34 pm

AMEN, man!! As a railfan, and an avid one, I always knew there are lines that you do not cross, especially being you are not a qualified, authorized employee to be using a railroad radio frequency for any reason (on top of that fact I am a major speaker against those who trespass onto the property for the sake of the hobby!!). As a railroader, if I was to ever hear someone making unauthorized use of a railroad operations channel, I myself would report it promptly, especially in this day and age of people who intend to do harm, just as fast as I would if I observe a railfan entering onto railroad property for the sake of that awesome camera shot, or even if just finding a good vantage point as close as they can be. I support the hobby, but I support doing it LEGALLY, and playing around with a railroad's frequency is beyond unacceptable!!
Railroading is not a career, it's a lifestyle! Railroading........what other life would I wanna live? :-)
User avatar
MNR's #1 Conductor
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: Throg's Neck/Pelham Bay, NY

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby MNR's #1 Conductor » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:37 pm

jmp883 wrote:I, also, wouldn't hesitate to turn someone who is illegally using radios. For the last 18 years I've been an emergency services dispatcher. I'm also a licensed ham radio operator. Radios are a big part of my life and a big part of my hobbies. However I will not tolerate those who can't obey the rules. And just to show that it's not just railroad foamers who play illegally I offer the following:

During 2009 a US police department was charged by the FCC for illegally using amateur radio frequencies. Unfortunately I don't remember the details but it was documented in both Monitoring Times and Popular Communications magazines (I don't keep my back issues, otherwise I'd look up the stories again for all the details). When the department chief found out what his officers were doing he ordered the practice stopped immediately, which it was. Unfortunately the magazine articles never stated what punishment, financial or otherwise, was handed out by the FCC, but this story makes the point that no one, or no organization, is exempt from getting in trouble with the FCC when they're doing something illegal.

Now if you're one of those who operates illegally think of this....how would you feel if, by your illegal use of a radio, you were to cause death, serious injury, or loss of property to others? Would you be able to live with yourself? If the ramifications of that scenario aren't enough to scare you away from playing radio illegally then I don't know what else to say.


Very well said, and I 110% agree!!!
Railroading is not a career, it's a lifestyle! Railroading........what other life would I wanna live? :-)
User avatar
MNR's #1 Conductor
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: Throg's Neck/Pelham Bay, NY

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby MNR's #1 Conductor » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:40 pm

jmp883 wrote:Mrtransportation,

While it isn't illegal to own that radio I would think about spending your money on a brand-new scanner. If all you want to do is monitor then a scanner will fit your needs perfectly. If his radio isn't already programmed with the frequencies you'll want to listen to you'll need to find either a commercial radio dealer or someone who has access to the software and have the radio reprogrammed. If you do opt for that Kenwood when you have it reprogrammed inquire if the PTT switch can be disabled. Most handheld radios, ham or otherwise, have this programming option. That will insure you don't inadvertently transmit. I really do recommend a scanner though. They are so much easier to have reprogrammed-scanners can be done via direct-entry or affordable software while land-mobile radios like the Kenwood are usually reprogrammed only via software that is usually available only to radio dealers. There are exceptions to that but a scanner will make your life much easier.

As for a license you won't need one just to listen. I might recommend you get your ham license. With that you can transmit on the various ham bands. Most all ham radios also have most of the same bands in them that scanners do so that you can monitor as well. My buddy and I are both railfans and hams and we use our ham rigs to monitor the trains and stay in touch. As an example we'll usually end up a mile or two apart from each other while taking rail pics and we use the ham radios to alert each other when the next train will be coming. The Technician-class license is the entry-level ham license and is very easy to get. The next class, General, which is what most us hams are, is also very easy to upgrade to, and there is no waiting period as a Technician before you can upgrade. The final class is Extra, and that class is a bit more technical. I've been studying for my Extra-class test for a while now.

Well I've rambled a bit here but I hope the information I've given you helps. Again, I think a scanner will be a much better purchase than that Kenwood would be. There are many places to buy a scanner from. If you PM me I can give you links to some great places to browse/shop.

Whatever you choose, good luck!
Joe


And even with scanners, in some states, New York, my home state being one of them, simply having a scanner in your vehicle is illegal, unless you are a licensed radio operator, or any radio capable of listening in on police/emergency service frequencies. I would suggest to anyone who decides to get a scanner to also familiarize themselves with laws and policies regarding scanner usage and possession in your area, and when using them, use them wisely!!
Railroading is not a career, it's a lifestyle! Railroading........what other life would I wanna live? :-)
User avatar
MNR's #1 Conductor
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: Throg's Neck/Pelham Bay, NY

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby MNR's #1 Conductor » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:47 pm

mrtransportation wrote:Hi All,

I read all responses from people on this topic and totally agree with all of you for not transmitting on railroad frequencies. I have few questions to ask all you.

I was thinking about buying this Kenwood TK-270G radio from a friend that had it for a while, which he used to just listen to railroad frequencies when he watched trains and did not transmit or did any other illegal activities with this radio. Yes, it can transmit, but button is not functioning. My questions is this if I bought this radio from him. Do I need to get a ham license or FCC license to own, have or just listen to(not transmitting) with? Is crime to have one of these radios in your possession, on you, etc? Any advice or useful comments would be great from some of you dealers, ham operator etc. Also if there is license that is required to have or must get. Please let me know.Thanks.


I think you would be better off purchasing, as someone mentioned here, a brand new scanner. Radio Shack sells some damn good portable models, and for reasonable prices. I believe any radio shop or retail location that sells portable radios and electronics usually sell scanners. I always say it is better to start with brand new equipment than to waste money on "hand me down" used equipment.

The issue with purchasing that older radio is that someone can get their hands on it (i.e. if it gets stolen from you and the person realizes what it is and what can be done with it) other than you, they CAN get the button repaired, and that can open the door to someone other than yourself using it in an illegal manner that interferes with operations. Personally, I would not purchase it, and would stick to a nice, brand new scanner.

Just keep in mind, in some states, possession and use of a scanner is illegal, given that it can be used to listen in on police/emergency service frequencies, or in some places to have and use one, especially in a vehicle, still requires the user to be a licensed radio operator. Here in New York, you cannot possess one in a vehicle at all unless you are a licensed radio operator. I would say take time to familiarize yourself with your state/locality laws regarding scanner possession and usage. And if you get one, use it wisely. :-)
Railroading is not a career, it's a lifestyle! Railroading........what other life would I wanna live? :-)
User avatar
MNR's #1 Conductor
 
Posts: 584
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: Throg's Neck/Pelham Bay, NY

Re: Illegal Use or "Bootlegging" on Railroad Frequencies

Postby mrtransportation » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:37 pm

Hi MNR's #1 Conductor,

I read your past comments you posted and yes I totally agree with you on doing this hobby legally and not trespassing on railroad property and not interfearing with railroad communications. I know if I saw railfan, railbuff, etc. that was on railroad property and talking on railraod frequencies that interfeared with operations then I would report it as you would. I know certain states have strict laws on people owning, operating and using scanners, etc. I do agree you on not to transmit with this radio in any shape or form unless you work for the railroad, police, fire, ham operator, list go on and on... Then you need to have license to operate this radio or radios similar in design. The main reason why I rather get this then Radio Shack, Unidel, Bearcat is there reception and range they cover all suck period from the stories that I have heard from people who own them online. The ones that are better to own are Kenwood, Motorola, ICOM, Yaesu to name few of them. The reasons why there better 1)Design. 2) Quality. 3) Reception. 4) Listening range are longer. 5) More durable. But if people have the other brands scanners then I respect that they have them and they should stay with them as well. I know just open pandora's box with this topic. I hear the comments coming from all of you on this.
mrtransportation
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:19 pm
Location: NJ

PreviousNext

Return to Radio and Communications

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest