Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by cpr_boy, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. cpr_boy

    cpr_boy Member

    Can anyone tell me about scanners and how to use them when railfanning? I know the train crews and RTC communicate via radio frequencies that can be picked up by using a scanner. I've read the Canadian Trackside guide and see all these radio frequencies for different subdivisions. Can you pick up a radio at Radio Shack? How much are they? Are they illegal?

    I've spent many hours sitting and waiting for a train. Often they do not come. I just want to be smarter!

  2. siderod

    siderod Member


    I have a radio-scanner, made by Uniden. They're some of the best, IMHO. Yes, i think you can get them at SOME Radio-Shacks (my name for Radio Shack can not be typed in a family forum). However, they're usually a lesser quality, and most likly have less channels and a lower frequency.

    I assume you want a mobile unit, as opposed to one you might set up on your computer desk at home?

    As far as i know, laws about radio scanners vary from state to state and province to province (i note your a canuck). In Nova Scotia, i usually have my scanner on whenever i leave the house, as i live near a shortline, and about an hour away from VIA Rail and CN mainlines. I have never been hassled by cops, even when walking into a Timmy's (canuck-insider-joke) filled with cops. The only way i KNOW for sure it is illegal EVERYWHERE is if you use them to "hack" into cell-phone calls. Yes, some scanners can do it, but it IS illegal!

    Any more questions, just ask
  3. cpr_boy

    cpr_boy Member

    Thank you siderod. You were alot of help. I'll look into it.
  4. siderod

    siderod Member

    Your quite welcome, CPR_Boy....
    I got an address for Uniden for you,

  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

  6. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    The only time that a scanner is illegal in Canada is if you use it for personal gain, ie: ambulance chaser or tow truck trying to get business ahead of everyone else, with intercepting cell calls that falls under the privacy act. Radio shack in Canada does not sell scanners any more, as Siderod says they are of poorer quality but you pay for what you get, although a local railfan just purchased one of RS's new digital scanners for $300 cdn, got it brought up from the US, it has more channels that one could imagine. Check some pawn shops they sometimes have used ones if you are willing to take the chance. Ihave uniden and works for what I require. Ron..
  7. cpr_boy

    cpr_boy Member

    I picked up a Radio Shack scanner on Ebay from a guy in the US. I used it a few times this week watching trains in and around the area. It's quite neat to hear the conversations btn RTC and train crews. It's proven quite useful when setting up for taking pictures.

    A scanner is a must have for any railfan!


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