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Date: 04/05/20 09:51
Good basic scanner
Author: mustrev

I'm new to railfanning and would like to know any recommedations for a basic or entry level radio scanner.  Suggestions?  What are the minimum requirements to be effective?



Date: 04/05/20 11:40
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: cchan006

mustrev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm new to railfanning and would like to know any
> recommedations for a basic or entry level radio
> scanner.  Suggestions?  What are the minimum
> requirements to be effective?

This is a common question, and there are knowledgeable TO members who'll provide info, including links from past discussions which should address this issue.

I bought an entry level scanner more than 10 years ago, and I still use the same setup to this day, with aftermarket antennas to improve reception (one for the scanner, and another to magnetically attach on the car), which I bought just months afterwards.

If you are the type of railfan who likes to stay at one spot, you might consider a setup for better reception and signal selectivity, Receiving radio chatter from far away is good for reducing anxiety while waiting for trains to show up. For some people, they are interested in radio chatter only, staying at home and just listening, and having a good setup (more expensive) is worthwhile.

I stuck with my cheap setup because I chase way more than I stay, which means I'm focused on nearby trains that I want to hunt down, and my setup is "good enough" to pick up the relevant radio chatter nearby, including "chirps" from FRED/EOTD (End of Train Device). When railfanning, I'm usually moving around.

I compared my cheap scanner (Uniden BC72XLT) to other makes (Yaesu VX-150) side-by-side few years ago, and performance-wise, you do get what you pay for. In fact, newer version of the same model (Uniden) demonstrated noticeable improvement in performance. FYI, BC72XLT is no longer in production, so if you are buying new, BC75XLT is the cheap one on the market now.

Whether you go cheap or not, having an antenna suited for railroad frequency (160-161 MHz) is probably the minimum requirement to be effective. Mated to a cheap scanner, you can run into signal quality issues, but in my case, I'm more concerned with trains nearby, so I have been able to deal with that.



Date: 04/05/20 12:14
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: mojaveflyer

I would echo what cchan006 says. My basic scanner (I own three) is a Uniden BC125AT. Some will tell you the railroads are looking at going digital but I don't see that happening very soon. I bought Butel software to program my 125AT out of convience sake. I use the Butel software for all of my radio except two that do no accept th eButel software (www.butel.nl). I also would agree with cchan006 on the need for an aftermarket scanner. You don't say where you live or if you will be out in hte car after the virus lockdown is over with. A magnetic mount antenna greatly extends the ability of a radio to hear distant stations...

I'm an licensed amateur radio operator and I've played with scanners for 40 years. Have fun! 

James Nelson
Thornton, CO



Date: 04/05/20 12:49
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: mustrev

Some more info for those answering:
I live about a block from a CSX line north of Savannah in Rincon, GA.
I don't see myself chasing trains, but enjoy the ones that go by the house.  I'd like the scanner to help me know when one is coming and try to figure the pattern of when they come through town.
Thanks to all who have or will answer.  I appreciate it.



Date: 04/05/20 12:56
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: TCnR

Here's a basic scanner recommendation ( $125 ) and a number of supporting comments, it all seems to be current info:

Date: 09/03/19 11:53
Radio scanner recommendations
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?9,4860165,4860174#msg-4860174

There's also a discussion a few posts below about using a PC to load frequencies into this model.  I don't have one but they seem to be a pretty good choice.



Date: 04/05/20 16:51
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: bodkin6071




Date: 04/06/20 09:59
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: D0wnt1me

I love my BC75XLT. I would highly encourage purchasing a Diamond RH77CA antenna to go along with it.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M1X73EA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

-Dean



 



Date: 04/07/20 10:18
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: WW

The BC-125AT is a much better radio than the 75 and doesn't cost much more.  Put a Smiley Slim Duck tuned to 160 mHz or a Laird EXH-160 on the 125 and it will perform even better.  



Date: 04/07/20 12:27
Re: Good basic scanner
Author: TCnR

WW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The BC-125AT is a much better radio than the 75
> and doesn't cost much more.  Put a Smiley Slim
> Duck tuned to 160 mHz or a Laird EXH-160 on the
> 125 and it will perform even better.  

" What he said ".
Bought one and was embarrassed I had.



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