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Date: 05/18/21 20:07
Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: qed479

Hello, All.  I'm a lifelong railfan and I'd like to get back into RR scanning after being away for several years. Will a standard narrow-band FM alanog scanner still receive and demodulate the 96 AAR channels, or has RR comms technology moved on to require a more sophisticated digitized signal scanner or made scanning impossible because of signal encryption?  Thanks in advance.



Date: 05/18/21 20:13
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: TCnR

Old-Tech is still working. even the decades old wide band will pick up todays analog FM stuff. don't know what will happen next though, lots of speculation. A simple way to check out your radio is to tune to the National Weather Broadcast in the 162 range.

Not sure who is using Digital modulation, seems like some big City Transit operations but I'm not into those kinda things.



Date: 05/19/21 12:09
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: qed479

Thank you very much for the quick reply. Greatly appreciate the courtesy.



Date: 05/19/21 13:36
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: TCnR




Date: 05/19/21 20:45
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: qed479

Once again, thank you very much for the follow-up and the link to the complete list of AAR frequencies.  The "splinter" channels, 107-196, set in between the standard channels, must be what I read about some time ago.



Date: 05/29/21 13:54
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: jdavida10

OK.  Without knowing your area, I can't give you exact answers to your question.  So, if you still have an older scanner, you should be able to pick up much of what is available.  If you have a newer scanner, that is narrow  banded, then you can pick up more, if the "splinter" channels are in use.  And, if you have an even more advanced scanner, with digital, then, it might have NXDN, or, could be updated to NXDN.  A scanner that can pick up most of anything used by any railroad would be a Whistler TRX-1, which is a portable scanner, with all of the above already in it.  Most major class 1 railroads are still using the same 97 channels they always have, but, are all narrow band.  So, if you do have an older, wide band scanner, it will pick up these channels, but, the audio level will be lower.  If there RR's using the "splinter" channels, you might get them, but, you can not set your older scanner fro them.  And, if they are in use, as well as the normal channels, they will interfere with each other, in an old scanner.  But, not in the newer scanners.  Some of the different railroads have started to use the splinter channels, for in areas where there are several different railroads, in the same area.  Along with some short lines, etc.  So, they use these splinter channels, since most of the rest are already in use, and, they need more.  As to NXDN, probably there only use would be by a light rail system, that does not need to talk to the other mainline RR's.  Still almost all communications are simplex, and, on one frequency.  But there are some that are split, for repeater usage.  Check RadioReference.com for lists of railroad frequencies in your area, so you know what you can receive, and, what scanner level you will need.  And, with any of them, get a better antenna.  Either one cut especially for RR use, or, for coverage of this band of frequencies.  The antenna that comes with a scanner is almost useless.



Date: 05/31/21 09:36
Re: Current Scanner Tech Question
Author: WW

I have made a multitude of posts about this, one just a couple of days ago.  Please do a search of the forum.  As to the  Whistler TRX-1 NXDN-capable scanner, I have not personally used one, but it has gotten very mixed reviews and is quite expensive.  It is possible to buy a commercial NXDN portable radio and have it programmed as a receive-only radio for about the same of less money and get what I suspect would be superior performance.  Getting a "do-everything" scanner with NXDN really only makes sense if you are going to use the radio also for non-railfan purposes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/21 09:37 by WW.



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