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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2014, 11:00 AM
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Ok. So it's a different road than the Summit Loop. I should look at a map to see what roads are available to get up there. My family used to go up there a lot during the late 70s/early 80s on Saturday evenings to watch the lights of Phoenix twinkle. It replaced going out by Sky Harbor on Sunday afternoons to watch the planes take off and land. It amazes me how simple family activities were back then.
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Old 02-28-2014, 6:57 AM
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Where do railfans go to watch and/or listen to trains in the Phoenix Valley?

Other than the cellphone lots, which have a 30 minute time limit, where can you go to listen to activity at Sky Harbor, whether it be air traffic, the Sky Harbor RWC intellirepeater, or any other on-airport (US Customs, Air National Guard, etc) radio activity?

Where can you go to listen to activity at the Papago Army National Guard base on McDowell Rd?

Where can you go to listen to aircraft or any other non-trunked system activity at Luke AFB? (I was thinking the Northern Ave dead end east of Litchfield Rd, but I'm not sure if that's where GPD/MCSO/Luke Police, whoever has jurisdiction there, would want you to be.)

Where can you go into downtown Phoenix to listen to any activity (specifically, free parking)? Is Hance park, atop I-10 between 3rd Ave and 3rd St, a safe place, or are there too many homeless or other people there to make it less than a safe place?
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Old 02-28-2014, 3:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KB7MIB View Post
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Where do railfans go to watch and/or listen to trains in the Phoenix Valley?
There's a switching yard in West Phoenix that I went to many years ago. My son (now grown and off to college) was even allowed up into one of the locomotives so he could sound the horn. I wish I could remember exactly where it was, but it's not far from 67th ave and Thomas area which is where we lived at the time.

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Other than the cellphone lots, which have a 30 minute time limit, where can you go to listen to activity at Sky Harbor, whether it be air traffic, the Sky Harbor RWC intellirepeater, or any other on-airport (US Customs, Air National Guard, etc) radio activity?
That's easy - "the pad" located at 40th street and Air Lane. Follow 40th street down to the end and turn left. There's a large parking area that overlooks the East end of the (correction, make that the NORTH) runway. Great place to monitor the airport AND watch the planes land.

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Where can you go to listen to activity at the Papago Army National Guard base on McDowell Rd?
Other than the occasional helicopter landing there, I've rarely seen anything of interest, so I don't know - never hung out there.

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Where can you go to listen to aircraft or any other non-trunked system activity at Luke AFB? (I was thinking the Northern Ave dead end east of Litchfield Rd, but I'm not sure if that's where GPD/MCSO/Luke Police, whoever has jurisdiction there, would want you to be.)
Years ago, I sat near the approach end of the runway and saw all sorts of aircraft coming and going. As long as you aren't parked directly underneath the incoming aircraft, Luke PD was fine with us being there, but that was many years ago. Things have probably changed. I was planning on scouting out some good spots next month when I go there for Luke Days.

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Where can you go into downtown Phoenix to listen to any activity (specifically, free parking)? Is Hance park, atop I-10 between 3rd Ave and 3rd St, a safe place, or are there too many homeless or other people there to make it less than a safe place?
I wouldn't hang out there with a scanner - as you said, way too many homeless types there who would see you as an easy target with a fancy expensive looking gadget that they could easily trade for a quick buck or a quick high. At the very least they will hit you up for every penny of your pocket change. Many of them have mental illnesses so there's no telling what they might do. I would definitely avoid it.

This begs the question: What are you hoping to hear downtown that you can't hear from elsewhere in the valley? If you want a place to sit and just listen to everything, the top of South Mountain is a great spot to hang out and scan stuff.

-AZ
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Old 02-28-2014, 3:42 PM
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Listening to trains around here is boring. They just talk really fast rattling off numbers etc. Same stuff all the time so I blocked them.
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Old 02-28-2014, 3:49 PM
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I wouldn't hang out there with a scanner - as you said, way too many homeless types there who would see you as an easy target with a fancy expensive looking gadget that they could easily trade for a quick buck or a quick high. At the very least they will hit you up for every penny of your pocket change. Many of them have mental illnesses so there's no telling what they might do. I would definitely avoid it.
Come on now...you're making downtown seem pretty scary. No, it's not the suburbs, but there aren't roaming packs of mentally ill homeless grabbing everyone's cell phones out of their hands in Margaret Hance Park.
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Old 02-28-2014, 4:00 PM
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Come on now...you're making downtown seem pretty scary. No, it's not the suburbs, but there aren't roaming packs of mentally ill homeless grabbing everyone's cell phones out of their hands in Margaret Hance Park.
I went there once, and once was enough for me. You can go hang out there with your $500 radio if you want. I'd rather prefer to keep mine (without having to get into a fist fight over it), so I'll avoid that area, thank you.

-AZ
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 02-28-2014, 4:05 PM
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I went there once, and once was enough for me. You can go hang out there with your $500 radio if you want. I'd rather prefer to keep mine (without having to get into a fist fight over it), so I'll avoid that area, thank you.

-AZ
Ok, but I think the meth heads all over the west valley are scarier.
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Old 02-28-2014, 4:13 PM
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Ok, but I think the meth heads all over the west valley are scarier.
Naah, usually the meth heads take one look at me and my scanner and think "cop" then high tail it away from me as soon as possible. Fine by me!

-AZ
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 02-28-2014, 5:25 PM
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As for downtown, I think there's some activity at the VA Hospital in both the VHF & UHF goverment bands, but I don't live close enough to hear their low level repeaters clearly to confirm it.
I'd also be interested in finding out what other simplex and low level repeater activity there is in the downtown area. I can't even hear ASU West realiably, let alone the downtown campus from home.

Thanks for the info on "The Pad" by Sky Harbor, I'll have to check it out some day.

Maybe with some luck, I'll catch a bunch of Guard helo's taking off on a training exercise or some such. I don't know how much advanced notice the public may be privy to, but when the news media helo's would air footage of them taking off prior to an overseas deployment, I always thought it'd be so cool to be close by to watch them all go at once. Or maybe I could catch a convoy leaving the base.

Atop South Mtn was fun, and I'd like to go again to see if I can hear Pinal County activity the next time, but there is still the RFI saturation issue to deal with. I don't know how much I may be missing due to desense from it.
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Old 02-28-2014, 5:31 PM
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There was an article in last Sunday's paper about how Phoenix needs a signature park, like NYC's Central Park, or Chicago's Millenium Park. Hance Park was the choice of the author, if Phoenix would make an effort to give it the attention it needed to become a signature park. Maybe then, it could become a go-to place for scanner hobbiests.
What about Steele Indian School park? I have yet to see the memorial for the media helo pilots and photojournalists who lost their lives there after the mid-air collision several years ago.
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Old 03-01-2014, 1:13 AM
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Atop South Mtn was fun, and I'd like to go again to see if I can hear Pinal County activity the next time, but there is still the RFI saturation issue to deal with. I don't know how much I may be missing due to desense from it.
Sometimes I would park in the lot of Rustler's Roost and have lunch in the car listening to the radio. It's up high enough to hear VHF fire mobiles all over the Central and East valley. There is not as much RFI as the top of South Mountain.
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Old 05-01-2014, 5:41 AM
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I'm off work today, and if I can, I'm going to try to check out The Pad at Sky Harbor, and maybe look for that rail switching yard on my way over. I see a UPRR running east-west between Van Buren and Buckeye Rds from the Tempe-Phoenix border into Tolleson, before it drops down to parrallel Buckeye Rd just west of 99th Ave, and over to Dysart Rd in Goodyear, where it drops southwest again. There's no indication of a switching yard on my map though, anywhere along the line.
I may also check out Steele Indian School Park, and the memorial there. And see if I can confirm some frequencies for the VA Hospital next door while I'm there.

Last edited by KB7MIB; 05-01-2014 at 5:43 AM..
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:42 AM
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There is also that rail that breaks off from the main line in El Mirage at Grand and Sante Fe. Looks like it eventually runs parallel to Olive after it crosses Thunderbird and Dysart and a huge warehouse. We may be talking about the same rail for all I know.
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Old 05-01-2014, 4:07 PM
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That's the BNSF line, yes. There's a large switching yard right there on the east side of Grand Ave. They load vehicles on & off double deck auto carriers there. A line off the spur also goes into the airbase.
There's a yard just south of Glendale Ave as well, and I think one further south in Phoenix. I'm just not sure where a railfan/rail scanner could sit and watch safely as well as listen. That's what I'm looking for.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:16 AM
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1) AZScanner, I never saw a switching yard bigger than 2-3 tracks wide, which I wouldn't really consider a yard, just sidings, when I was driving up an down 75th to 35th Aves, between Van Buren and Buckeye Rds. The one you recall may have been on the BNSF line along Grand Ave somewhere. I'm not sure why I was assuming you meant the UP line between Van Buren and Buckeye Rds, just because you said it was in West Phoenix.
2) As I was leaving "The Pad" by 40th St and Air Lane, I saw a Phoenix PD Tahoe driving on the perimeter road inside the fence, with what appeared to be a microwave dish on a telescopic mast, like you would see on a TV ENG van. I would expect something like that on a large command post vehicle, but not on a Tahoe. Has anyone else ever seen it?
3) I have a seperate thread for the VA Hospital frequencies.
4) I saw a Federal Protective Service police Tahoe in passing while in the downtown area. I didn't get over by the state capitol, so I haven't seen a capitol police vehicle yet.
5) I need a camera!
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Old 05-04-2014, 8:43 PM
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That's the BNSF line, yes. There's a large switching yard right there on the east side of Grand Ave. They load vehicles on & off double deck auto carriers there. A line off the spur also goes into the airbase.
There's a yard just south of Glendale Ave as well, and I think one further south in Phoenix. I'm just not sure where a railfan/rail scanner could sit and watch safely as well as listen. That's what I'm looking for.
As far as I know/remember there are two major switch yards in Phoenix. The Grand Ave. line (BNSF I think) has their yard on the west side of 19 Ave from about McDowell south to past Roosevelt. You can see their huge fuel tanks just north of I-10.

The yard for the East-West line is SE of downtown about a quarter mile south of Washington and pretty much stretches from 7 St. to 16 St.

Unfortunately I don't have any good suggestions for places to park to monitor.

Just about the whole way on Grand Ave from about 27 Ave to 59 Ave they have lots of sidings and places for loading/unloading, but no real switch yards that I know of.
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Old 05-06-2014, 5:21 AM
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Yea, the area just south of 59th & Glendale along Grand Ave has multiple sidings right there off Grand. Further south, the sidings start to get blocked from view by various structures.
The two sidings that go into the power plant just north of Northern Ave are very active. There's a decrepit building on the east side of Grand Ave, plus an access road behind it, between the northbound 67th Ave access road off of Grand & Northern, and Royal Palm Rd, underneath the 67th Ave flyover bridge there that one might be able to park in.
Then there's the automobile loading/unloading with multiple sidings in El Mirage between Thompson Ranch Rd and Greenway Rd, and there's several businesses on the west side of Grand Ave that one might be able to park in. Thompson Ranch Rd runs on the east side of this area, but I've never been through there, so I don't know what kind of view there may be, or if there's a safe place to park.
I've never been down 19th Ave off of Grand & McDowell, so I don't think I've ever noticed any yard or sidings there.
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Old 05-06-2014, 8:24 AM
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As for airports you will need to call first and exsplain what are you doing tell them this is for self pleasure and you just have a scanner radio
And this is not a non terrorist act
And you go in the terminal by the runways to monitor.your not allowed to park along the runway
Fences it is illegal and looks like a terrorist act.
I have called ahead of time for monitoring and videoing planes and copters and it has always work out well for me.
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Old 05-06-2014, 8:24 PM
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The other day when I went down to The Pad at the end of 40th St and Air Lane, there was already a PD Tahoe sitting there, outside the fence, next to the barricade. I drove past them, parked by some other concrete barriers, and s/he/they never bothered with me. They may have caught sight of my license plate as I drove by and ran it, but they didn't pull around behind and approach me to ask what I was doing or anything.
What phone number would you call, anyway? Who do you ask for?
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Old 05-07-2014, 9:33 AM
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Main terminal I call
For sky harbor airport security
Frankly i love small airports is better.
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