IC-V8 Ham radio for train scanning

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

Moderator: Aa3rt

IC-V8 Ham radio for train scanning

Postby Malley » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:27 pm

A letter in the September '09 Trains seems to have elicited some questions and comments, but I can't seem to get a definitive answer. The writer claimed that his Icom IC-V8 ham radio performed much better than garden variety scanners (in terms of range and sensitivity), specifically because 2-meter ham gear is better tuned to railroad frequencies.
I have not been able to confirm or deny this, thru' an online search and by asking friends...all I've found is a decidely split decision.
Among the IC-V8's claims to fame are modest price (around $100) and mil-spec ruggedness.

So, what is the collective thought on this? Would the IC-v8 be a better alternative to a regular scanner; let me say that RR communication is my main interest. Be gentle with your explanations; I'm pretty much of a technodunce.
Malley
Malley
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:00 pm

Re: IC-V8 Ham radio for train scanning

Postby Gadfly » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:56 pm

I can't speak to the performance of that particular radio. I can only suppose it would work OK. I've had handhelds that performed (receiving) pretty well. One does need to remember that we cannot TRANSMIT either on the railroad frequencies OR the ham frequencies without license. Listening is FINE! Who knows, you might get the "bug" and stand for the amateur radio operator's test!


GF
Gadfly
 
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: IC-V8 Ham radio for train scanning

Postby Malley » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:16 pm

Gadfly, I saw your rant elsewhere, and no, I won't be transmitting. Put your mind at ease! :-D
Picking up a ham ticket is something I might consider; my dad was W3TF, and I was a radio operator in the service...a very long time ago.
But first things first; we have a scanner at our camp, with an aerial on the roof, and we still can only hear one signal west and none east...
I realize a handheld isn't likely to better that, but a visiting geek had a handheld that he said was hearing things ours, aerial and all, was not.
Anyway, opinions please!
Thnx,
Malley
Malley
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:00 pm

Re: IC-V8 Ham radio for train scanning

Postby DarkStar » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:47 am

Malley wrote:A letter in the September '09 Trains seems to have elicited some questions and comments, but I can't seem to get a definitive answer. The writer claimed that his Icom IC-V8 ham radio performed much better than garden variety scanners (in terms of range and sensitivity), specifically because 2-meter ham gear is better tuned to railroad frequencies.
I have not been able to confirm or deny this, thru' an online search and by asking friends...all I've found is a decidely split decision.
Among the IC-V8's claims to fame are modest price (around $100) and mil-spec ruggedness.

So, what is the collective thought on this? Would the IC-v8 be a better alternative to a regular scanner; let me say that RR communication is my main interest. Be gentle with your explanations; I'm pretty much of a technodunce.
Malley

As one that has experience in this field (KU7PDX), I'll tell you that it isn't the radio is better tuned for railroad frequencies. The secret is all in the antenna! (Well, some radios receive better than others, but the antenna can make all the difference though...)

The Icom IC-V8 is just a 2 Meter handheld transceiver and since the antenna needs to be "tuned" for the particular frequencies you transmit on, the antenna on the IC-V8 is "tuned" for the 2 Meter band (144 MHz to 148 MHz). Scanner antennas are "general coverage" antennas and really aren't any better than a random piece of wire poking out of the top of it. :-D

If you already have a scanner, the best thing you could get for it would be a dedicated 2 Meter antenna for it for about $15-20. You'll probably also see dual-band antennas for both 2 Meter and 70 Centimeter (420 MHz to 450 MHz) bands, and those should work fine also for your purposes.
DarkStar
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:26 am


Return to Radio and Communications

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest