What frequencies should I have

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  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: US
  • 591 posts
Posted by petitnj on Monday, December 28, 2020 11:15 AM

Some scanners have a RR setting that automatically scans thru the AAR channels. i have a Uniden/Bearcat TrunkTracker III that will to that. You can lock out channels that have interference. Railroads tend to talk a lot in yard areas, but less and less on the mainline. Signals and Automatic Train Control will put most main line radios out of business. 

If you have a radio that scans a frequency band, the railroads are on assigned AAR channels from 159.910 to 161.610 Mhz. Big railroads will have 10 or so channels in busy areas and the little ones usually just one channel. The locomotive radios are 50 watts or more with the antenna mounted atop the cab and get out quite well. The brakemen on the ground will have hand helds that will cover maybe 1 mile depending on terrain. 

Some railroads (eg CN) require the main line trains to call out their location every 10 miles at milepost markers ending in 5. Also they may acknowledge trackside detectors. Amtrak will acknowledge detectors and signals (other than green/clear) from the engine to the conductor on the passenger cars. 



  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 9:04 AM

Welcome to the addiction.


Here is a good place to start.

  • Member since
    December 2020
  • 1 posts
What frequencies should I have
Posted by Svoit1 on Thursday, December 10, 2020 2:55 AM

Hello all I am new to train watching and from Mankato MN and was wondering what frequencies I need to listen to so I know when a train is coming 

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