what equipment needed to listen to Railroad radio?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by PennCentralFan, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. I would like to listen to the railroads. I understand they broadcast on VHF frequencies so what kind of radio/scanner do I need and what type of antenna (size and so on)? Can a small fold up and down antenna work?

    Can I get this stuff at radio shack?
  2. 77railer

    77railer Member

    I bought a scanner at radio shack that is supposed to work...I just can never find the freqs that they are running on....Kinda frustrating.

  3. lionelfan

    lionelfan Member

    I bought a scanner at Radio Shack years ago, still works although out dated, I am looking to get a new scannner. R/S has some for around 129.00. I also bought a book from Kalmbach Publishing ( they publish TRAINS and MODEL RAILROADER) that lists all the frequencys for the various railroads, this is definatly a must have.
  4. Big_Al73

    Big_Al73 New Member

  5. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    There is also Altamont Press that publishes multiple directories of frequencies, reporting points, mile posts etc., for various states and regions all over the US.

  6. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Just to emphasize what has already been said, any good scanner that can receive in the 160 mhz range should work. As with any radio, the better the antenna, the better your reception; but your location in relation to the railroad you want to listen to makes a huge difference, too. If you're in a busy metropolitan area, there is probably more than you want to hear. If you're out in the country (unless near a busy main line) you probably won't hear much of anything. I carry a small portable scanner with me when I travel by train; but I know that some more rabid chasers have mobile setups in their car. Finding the particular frequency is pretty chancy, but there are many lists available, also as noted earlier. Good luck and have fun.
  7. Thanks for the information. I'll give it a try. I've also listened to internet feeds.
  8. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Might you have a link for the internet feeds penn?

  9. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Railroad frequencies


    Here's the web site of ALL North American's Railroad frequencies. There is a total of 100 standard frequencies! There are a few odd ball's in the list. http://zippy.ci.uiuc.edu/~roma/rr-freqs/index-old.html#byfreq

    I am a Ham radio Operator. So I use my VHF/UHF radios and antennas. The most important part of radio is the antenna! I can't stress this enough! A good ground if you use a base antenna. You can use Radio Shack's scanner antennas. They have a discone for base. A couple of mag-mounts and glass mounts for your car. I would reconmend the Radio Shack 2 Meter (Ham) antenna for your car. It has a 5/8 wave at 3db gain over a quater wave. In other words. It can hear alot more! Oh yes, you will probbly need a SO239 to a BNC adapter.

    Hope this helps,
    Andy KF4JQD
  10. Yes, try this website.

  11. boppa

    boppa Member

    you have an amt lisc and can seriously say glassmounts and reception in the same sentence?

    mag mounts are bad enough-very average performance,even on rx only

    but glassmounts-do not waste your money unless your car is parked on the train imho

    id suggest a guttermount with wideband rx ant as a `barely' adequate minimum
    working up to (yes i know its not practical for most people) a dedicated cut to wave antenna on a extendible mast

    serious the supplied anttenna is `usable' but a quick glance at the internet and 2 hrs max later what wasnt even opening the squelch is now +30 db for less than a single meal..

    google is your friend :thumb:
  12. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Glass mount antennas are NOT the greatest!
  13. jkinosh

    jkinosh Member

    I to have my Amatuer Ticket and have never had a problem with a glass mount antenna, had one on my previous car, as long as you checked the way signal tranfers through the glass, there shouldn't be a problem. I currently use a 5/8 wave mounted on a home-made mount on the side of the Bed of my Pickup and have never had any probems with that, especially since I ran a seperate Ground wire from the antenna to the frame of the truck.

    Lorain, Ohio
  14. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Yeah, click this link and scroll down on the left to "Fostoria" thay are always busy :) :)

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