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" Scanner Radio Question "

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  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: west of Portland Oreg.( the city of Roses
  • 557 posts
" Scanner Radio Question "
Posted by TrainsRMe1 on Monday, September 20, 2021 1:51 PM

Hi Guys

My wife bought me this Scanner radio yesterday for our anniversary, it's pretty cool, it's a Uniden Bearcat BC125AT, now my question, Since I'm new to Scanner radios I thought I'd hear consent chatter but so far, dead air, is there something I'm missing?? I get NOAA radio no problem, I'm a weather geek, but I'm also a railroad Nutt lol, 

  • Member since
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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 20, 2021 2:05 PM

Checkout this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXDYgbQehv4



Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 13,075 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Monday, September 20, 2021 2:20 PM

Back in the days when I was listening with a scanner the best investment I made was in a good, magnet mount, antenna.

For example: https://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Original-RH77CA-Dual-Band-Handheld/dp/B00M1X73EA

There are others. The one I used was corded and the magnet mount could stick to a vehicle hood or roof. I recall it was from Antenna Specialists.]

 

     Here is a listing of frequencies in your area:

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=9353

 

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 6,230 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 20, 2021 3:27 PM

Use the Custom Search Range.


Programming Custom Search Ranges
You can define each search range used during a Custom Search.
1. Press Func then Pgm/E in Custom Search mode to view
the Search menu.
2. Turn SCROll CONTROl to Program Limits and press
Pgm/E.
3. Turn SCROll CONTROl to Search Bank 1-10 and press
Pgm/E. You will see the previously programmed lower
frequency. At Lower, press Pgm/E and use the keypad to
enter the lower limit frequency then press Pgm/E.
4. Scroll to Upper and press Pgm/E. You will see the
previously programmed upper frequency. Use the keypad
to enter the upper limit frequency then press Pgm/E.
55
5. Press . Clr to return to the Select Bank menu. Repeat for
each custom search bank you want to reprogram then
press Srch/Svc to start searching.

 

Set the scan range to scan from 160MHz to 161MHZ, you will only receive RR transmissions.


Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, September 20, 2021 3:36 PM

If you're in an area where the railroads have converted to digital, there may be nothing for your scanner to detect...

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 6,230 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 20, 2021 4:01 PM

Good point.

The SP radio tech working out of Bakersfield retired several years ago so no recent contact but he said he didn’t know of any plans for the UPSP or BNSF going digital.


Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,401 posts
Posted by wjstix on Monday, September 20, 2021 4:33 PM

If you're going to use it in your car, you may want to check out your state's laws. Some states discourage scanner use in vehicles, since it has been used to try to elude the police or highway patrol while speeding. I know here in MN, you can have one in your car but have to get a license for it - the license is easy to get and inexpensive, but you can be ticketed and fined for operating  a scanner in your car without one.

Stix
  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 6,230 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:07 PM

I got a hold of the tech that replaced my friend and he told me the UPSP and the BNSF have been NXDN digital locally for two years.  He said they sill do analog on the road.  The NXDN radios are dual mode, analog or digital.  I retired in 2007 so I’ve been out of communications for awhile, this is the first inquire into communications since I retired.

After working in two way radio communications for 49 years and 10 months when I retired I tossed everything even resembling a two way radio.


Mel



 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 8,310 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:41 PM

Another video that goes along with the previous link

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Canada
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Posted by cv_acr on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 12:34 PM

TrainsRMe1

Hi Guys

My wife bought me this Scanner radio yesterday for our anniversary, it's pretty cool, it's a Uniden Bearcat BC125AT, now my question, Since I'm new to Scanner radios I thought I'd hear consent chatter but so far, dead air, is there something I'm missing?? I get NOAA radio no problem, I'm a weather geek, but I'm also a railroad Nutt lol, 

You've got the appropriate local channels to monitor programmed in right? (I've been involved with tech support, I always ask the dumb obvious question first. ;) )

Depending on where you are, yeah, it can be pretty quiet for long periods. It's definitely not constant communication.

Amount of traffic will obviously affect things, as if there's nothing within 50 miles of you, you're not likely to hear any chatter. Type of operation as well; CTC most of the "dispatching" is done via the signals, so there's very little direct radio communication between trains and dispatcher except on leaving an initial yard where the crew calls the dispatcher and tells them they're ready for signals to get going.

Track warrants or similar type of operating systems are much more "chatty" with formal instructions given directly via radio.

If there's a large yard terminal with multiple active switch jobs there will be lots of local chatter, but if you're on a cross-country mainline in the prairies away from a large yard, there will be much less chatter.

 

  • Member since
    February 2007
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Posted by Graham Line on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 8:41 PM

Depending how far west of Portland you are, it may be hard to pick RR two-way radio. For Portland & Western, try 160.770, 160.845, and 160.085.

UP may be at 160.410, 160.515 or 160.740. For BNSF try 161.100 or 161.160. Someone else may have more up to date information.

The advice to use an antenna tuned for the railroad bands is very sound.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,489 posts
Posted by mlehman on Thursday, September 23, 2021 1:58 AM

All good advice. What will really help is to get the local channels prograammed in so you can scan just them, Scanning the entire band will find good freqs, but can take some time, so better to have a good selection of what you know will work. How to find that out? Go to RadioReference.com and look up your state's RR freqs, like here:

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=9353

That covers analog freqs. The new digital radios will require a digital capable radio to hear and the info for that is here:

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?stid=41&tab=trs

Not all digital systems can be monitored and I'm not sure of the status of RR digital systems in Oregon.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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  • From: west of Portland Oreg.( the city of Roses
  • 557 posts
Posted by TrainsRMe1 on Friday, September 24, 2021 12:26 PM

Hi Graham line,                                                                                                        I live in Tigard, I'm about a mile and a half from the OE dist of the Portland & Western,  and about 9 miles from UP Albina yard, so I should be fine.

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