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Aaron 09-08-2005 01:29 AM

Radios
 
Well guys,

Its been a long time since I have left a message on the forum, and for that I appologize. Now I would like to start a little conversation about what radio equipment everyone is using and what kind of results people are getting from their equipment!

I have two radios. Two radios that I am very pleased with.

First I have an ICOM-R5 which is a wideband radio scanner. it has 1250 memory channels. I get good reception with it when I use my external antenna. The ducky antenna supplied with the radio does not have very good reception.

My newest radio, and one that I am extremly happy with, and encourage every railfan to purchase is the Vertex Standard VX-150! The VX-150 is not a radio scanner. It is actually a VHF transceiver. because it has suce a narrowband it is extremly sensitive to the VHF freq band. Which is a very good thing with railway listening. it has 209 memory channels which is more than plenty for storing channels. (I have the entire AAR in mine) You can label all your channels so you can remember what they actually are. It sweeps thru all 98 channels of the AAR in 6seconds which is also a fairly quick scan. Not to mention that the radio can transmit on 144-148Mhz (please remember to obtain an amature license if you intend on transmitting) However all in all the VX-150 is probably the best thing around for railfan radio. the radio sells for around $150 CAD. Just a side note the VX-150 with its ducky antenna receives better than my ICOM-R5 with its 3dBi gain external antenna. Imagine what this puppy can do with a gain antenna!!!

Anyways What are your success/horror stories with radios!

Aaron

busyEMT 09-08-2005 02:05 AM

I have a RadioShack Pro95. It really helps to know your equipment. Over a year ago, there were some threads regarding scanning and recommended models. I thoght this scanner was sub-par, but it was operator error.

Initially I just punched in every frequency available to railroads. Lets just say, I missed a lot. Now I have limited the channels and made one priority. Works wonders.

SD70MAC 09-08-2005 03:01 AM

I have a radioshack PRO-94 hooked up to a railcom antenna. Railcom antenna makes a world of diffrence to.

E.M. Bell 09-08-2005 03:32 AM

Almost everything I have is used GE comercial gear. I have a GE MVS mobile in the truck for railroad stuff..132 channels, all AAR channels programmed with extra banks for odds and ends.. A Kenwood Dual band for ham stuff, a GE Delta trunk mount for 6 meters (ham) and a old Radio Shaft scanner that hardly ever gets turned on. There is a Motorola mobile in my wifes van (comes in handy on those family outings) .. The GE's have good front end filtering and rejection...keeps out the intermod in urban areas.

In the handheld Dept, I have Three GE MPA's, Two VHF and one UHF...100+ channels with all the AAR stuff, ham stuff and weather...the MPA is one of the best handhelds I have come across..rugged and realiable with a hot reciever.

Here in the house, I have a mess of stuff. On the computer desk I have a kenwood Dual band (VHF/UHF) and a Kenwood TS690-S 6 meter/HF/SW for ham stuff, A Radio shaft Trunk scanner and a Motorla Spectra (locomotive radio that was brought back from the dead) to listen to the NS on.. A old Rock bound scanner in the kitchen, and a scanner in the bedroom.

4kV 09-08-2005 03:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E.M. Bell
Here in the house, I have a mess of stuff. On the computer desk I have a kenwood Dual band (VHF/UHF) and a Kenwood TS690-S 6 meter/HF/SW for ham stuff, A Radio shaft Trunk scanner and a Motorla Spectra (locomotive radio that was brought back from the dead) to listen to the NS on.. A old Rock bound scanner in the kitchen, and a scanner in the bedroom.

That darn near covers everything but the bathroom. There's nothing like listening to a train set out bad orders while you are setting out a bad order of your own.

Aaron 09-08-2005 04:05 AM

Whats this railcom antenna? Where do you buy one? is it good? What gain does it have? What Freq bands does it cover? mount?

Ween 09-08-2005 04:10 AM

I use the Pro-94 as well. Stock everything, so nothing fancy...

Pat Lorenz 09-08-2005 04:20 AM

I use a Uniden BC92XLT, with a MFJ- 1717 (144/440 MHz) High Gain rubber duck antenna, about 15 inches long. The setup is the best one that i have worked with so far. I should note i havent worked with alot, but it works really nice. I get good reception where ever i am at in town. Here are the links, i would highly recomend the MFJ antenna products, for the money they are really good. Also the railcom antenna is basically the same thing as the MFJ, Railcom is advertised in Trains Magizines (pg 25 in October 2005 trains magizine).

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/produc...rodid=MFJ-1717

http://www.uniden.com/product.cfm?product=BC92XLT

SD70MAC 09-08-2005 04:25 AM

A railcom antenna is one specially tuned to the railroad band. Now I know people say oh well you can make your own tuned antenna for the railroad. Well that maybe so but I've done that and it comes nowhere close to the reception that the Railcom picks up. There a bit pricey but worth every cent. Heres the website.

http://www.railcom.net/WSFF/home.asp?vCompID=3630

jmp883 09-08-2005 05:11 AM

Spending 15 years as an emergency services dispatcher and one year as a train dispatcher has definitely made me a radio/scanner buff. My listening post consists of 2 BC-780's, 2 BC-895's, 1 BC-890, and 1 Sony WaveHawk handheld for when I'm trackside.

Living in northern NJ I listen to NJ Transit, NS, CSX, and NYS&W. I dispatched trains for NJ Transit for a year but went back to emergency services dispatching. Like railfanning, once the radio bug bites you you're hooked! :shock:

willie6622 09-08-2005 01:37 PM

Antenna
 
I have found the J-Pole tuned to VHF-HI Railroad band specs. is an awesome base antenna. I also have one that I can mount on PVC pipe & take with me when going shooting. This antenna doesn't look like it would perform like it does, but I'm telling you for $20.00 it is one fine antenna.

Here is a link to where I got mine at: http://www.martechsys.com/kb9vbr/products.htm

busyEMT 09-08-2005 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmp883
Spending 15 years as an emergency services dispatcher and one year as a train dispatcher

What do you find more stressful? The latter?

jmp883 09-08-2005 07:01 PM

busyEMT,

Train dispatching was far more stressful, but not due to the duties of the job. The stress that was there came from NJT management. The year I spent with New Jersey Transit was probably the worst year of my life. Ironic since I considered train dispatching my dream job.

Here's just one example of many I could give you during my year with NJT:

All the dispatchers I met in the NJT office were great, save for one. They were very helpful and went out of their way to show the new guy the ropes. The trouble in paradise was with management. Except for 2 managers, all of them treated myself, and the two others I hired out with, crudely. Now I understand that this is the real world and I don't need to have my hand held or to be treated like a baby. If I was thin-skinned I never would have been able to go 11 years as an emergency services dispatcher before I hired out on the railroad. But by the same token I shouldn't have to be treated like I was a pain in the ass....which was the attitude that most of management had towards us. As an example...I was on the job only a short while when a storm knocked out the signal system on the Southern Tier line, a 60 mile line between Suffern, NY and Port Jervis, NY. One of the bosses comes out and wants to know why no signals are pulled up on the Tier. We tell him why, he tells us to pull the signals and when we tell him we can't because the storm knocked them out he calls me 'f*cking useless'. That was his name for me the rest of the time I was with the railroad. Nothing like being called that in front of everyone else in the office, every time, all the time! Let me tell ya, he's a great morale builder! And that is only one of many stories I can relate to you. The sad thing was that there was no one for us trainees to turn to in those cases. We weren't in the union yet so we couldn't file a grievance, our only course of action was to go to management. Well after that story I just related, would you want to go to management?? I hired on with 2 others, both with prior transit experience. They both quit within 6 months, citing management as their main reason for leaving, lack of training was the 2nd reason. I made it through most of 2002, but come mid-December of that year I came as close to a nervous breakdown as I ever want to get. I quit for the same 2 reasons the other two did. A good friend of mine who still works in the dispatch office tells me that things really haven't changed all that much. They've hired a number of new dispatchers and lost several of them for the exact same reasons I left.

It's obvious that NJT is very over-managed in the dispatch office. When there is a problem on any desk, all the managers come out to the desk involved to find out what the problem is. Then there is discusssion on how to best solve the problem. There were times that the discussion got heated because the bosses couldn't agree among themselves on a solution and they usually wouldn't listen to the dispatcher's idea. That always struck me as ironic....you had to be a train dispatcher in order to get promoted to a train dispatcher supervisor position. You'd think that since they used to sit at a dispatch desk themselves that they'd listen to the dispatcher for a possible solution to the problem. No such luck.

Anyway, I quit the job, took a $20,000 pay cut (that's right-$20,000) and was fortunate to get hired back by the police department I had dispatched with for years. Been back going on 4 years now and it still hasn't become a job. It's never the same shift twice in a row when you dispatch PD/FD/EMS for a 30-square mile township....I guess that's why it still hasn't become a job yet, even after 15 years!

Forgive me for rambling...... ;)

Joe P

busyEMT 09-09-2005 02:19 AM

(This isn't railroad related, so I will keep it short)

I believe it. Having worked as a courier and at a private Critical Care ambulance service, dispatch doesn't compare to the 911 service I work for now. It must be something about scheduled services.

With NJT, the track has limited usage, so your bum... I mean boss had pressure from inside and outside the railroad. Too bad you had to put up with it.

E.M. Bell 09-09-2005 03:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SD70MAC
A railcom antenna is one specially tuned to the railroad band. . There a bit pricey but worth every cent. Heres the website.

http://www.railcom.net/WSFF/home.asp?vCompID=3630


Total and complete BS!! Nothing aganst the railcom folks, but there is a sucker born every day...and they seem to know it! $72 bucks for a larson or maxrad 1/2 wave whip a magnetic base is highway robbery..

You can go to any ham radio store (and there are lots of them) and get the same exact thing for 30 or 40 bucks tops. Snip the whip off around 48 inches (for a 1/2 wave) and there you go! I guess that fancy "railcom" sticker on the coil must be worth the extra cash or something.

Oh yea...if you want to bring the price down even more, and increase the range of the antenna, loose the magnet and get a mounting kit. Drill a hole and mount to your vehicle. I have 6 on my truck done that way, and have never had the first problem. For a car or van, a trunk-lip mount will also work fine.

bnsf sammy 09-09-2005 04:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4kV
That darn near covers everything but the bathroom. There's nothing like listening to a train set out bad orders while you are setting out a bad order of your own.

LOL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

SD70MAC 09-09-2005 05:30 AM

Well the past is past. Hell I didnt even buy the damn antenna. Got it for X-mas and I have been very happy with it. Maybe if I would have known what Emmett said it might have been a diffrent story.

Save The Wave 09-10-2005 02:45 AM

Mobile: Radio Shack Pro-2008
Home: Radio Shack Pro-2036


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