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Does anyone have any official railroad radios?

Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
92
#1
Just curious if anyone has any rail road radios that were auctioned off or just sold off? is there a market for those?
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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Dec 14, 2001
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Far NW Valley
#4
Years back a friend of mine bought a fully functional Railroad Spectra and set it up in his office connected to a VHF antenna about 100 feet up a tower. He was able to pick up base traffic well over 100 miles away reliably, the trains themselves almost as far.

I have run across various railroad radios in antique stores, hobby shops and hamfests over the years. Most of the time they are heat-stamped with the railroad name and a company serial number.

Like any business they will often trade in or sell used equipment when no longer required. I imagine a lot of the stuff ends up in a warehouse on a shelf someplace or perhaps parted out.
 

KC9LQV

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Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
103
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SW Indiana
#8
I have quite a few gems in my collection, ranging from an SBD MT500, to a Conrail MP500, to a complete MILW Railroad Micor including the control head. All of them are fully operational, and I fire them up every once in a while just for fun. I regret not picking up some N&W and Conrail stamped Maxtracs I saw a few years ago at a ham radio swap meet.

They're really only of interest because of their railroad use, as far as I'm concerned. I saw an actual NYC radio on eBay a while back that I would have loved to own, but the price was too steep for my means.

None of those radios are compliant with today's standards, and as such are completely useless. As mentioned above, it's only because someone took them home, or stuck them in a storage shed and forgot about them, that they weren't destroyed. Which is always amusing when someone plays the "OMG STOLEN PROPERTY!!!1!" card.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Messages
3,154
Location
So Cali
#9
KC9LQV's avatar reminds me of my Motrain radio. I changed the control head to the Motran/Motrac and used it on ham VHF.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
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Ohio
#10
I have quite a few gems in my collection, ranging from an SBD MT500, to a Conrail MP500, to a complete MILW Railroad Micor including the control head. All of them are fully operational, and I fire them up every once in a while just for fun. I regret not picking up some N&W and Conrail stamped Maxtracs I saw a few years ago at a ham radio swap meet.

They're really only of interest because of their railroad use, as far as I'm concerned. I saw an actual NYC radio on eBay a while back that I would have loved to own, but the price was too steep for my means.

None of those radios are compliant with today's standards, and as such are completely useless. As mentioned above, it's only because someone took them home, or stuck them in a storage shed and forgot about them, that they weren't destroyed. Which is always amusing when someone plays the "OMG STOLEN PROPERTY!!!1!" card.
I've got an N&W MT500 with the red case and DTMF keypad. The frequencies are still valid and it receives just fine. Looks mighty nice in the collection.

I used to have a Wabco 4 channel Conrail cab radio which was a great monitor radio too; only one channel at a time but when I got it, 95% of Conrail traffic around here was on Channel 1 (160.800 MHz). I donated it to Marion Union Station several years ago.

For regular rail monitoring out and about I use either an XTS5000 and/or Astro Saber depending on how the mood strikes me. At home I use an MCS2000. They're not railroad surplus but they work great.
 

wrr20891

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Nov 23, 2006
Messages
104
#11
Have a Spectra clean cab radio, a Micor with the four channel control head like in KC9LQV's profile picture, several HT200's and a HT220.

They still receive better than any other receiver/scanner I've used, although one channel at a time.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Messages
144
Location
Near the Biggest Little City
#12
I have a MCX-1000 from the now-closed Mare Island (CA) Naval Shipyard. According to the person I got it from it was originally installed in one of the small locomotives used all around the Yard. When that unit was retired and dismantled for parts the radio was used in a supervisor's office until the base closed in 1996.

I had originally planned to retune it for 2m use but decided not to because of its sensitivity as a railband receiver and awesome audio stage!
Programmed the local UP freqs and use it as a monitor to this day.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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Dec 14, 2001
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#13
I USED to have a real railroad radio, for a short time anyway.

Many years ago I was railfanning the old L&N in southern Indiana someplace and came across an MT500 labeled as L&N alongside the tracks in the ditch. The battery still had charge and the radio was on so I suspected the crew of the local that I was chasing had dropped it when they lined the siding switch nearby. I caught up with the job 20 or 30 miles down the line, walked up to the rear-end and waved the conductor down. Looking perturbed to be bothered by a railfan he was ready to chew me out but then I explained I found the HT and then he was all smiles. He had been having a bad day and had lost his portable radio and did not want to have to explain that.

Needless to say I had a great caboose ride for the rest of the afternoon and then the crew van drove me back to my truck and I went home with a bunch of timetables, a hat and other paraphernalia.
 
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
202
Location
Jefferson City, Mo
#14
I USED to have a real railroad radio, for a short time anyway.

Many years ago I was railfanning the old L&N in southern Indiana someplace and came across an MT500 labeled as L&N alongside the tracks in the ditch. The battery still had charge and the radio was on so I suspected the crew of the local that I was chasing had dropped it when they lined the siding switch nearby. I caught up with the job 20 or 30 miles down the line, walked up to the rear-end and waved the conductor down. Looking perturbed to be bothered by a railfan he was ready to chew me out but then I explained I found the HT and then he was all smiles. He had been having a bad day and had lost his portable radio and did not want to have to explain that.

Needless to say I had a great caboose ride for the rest of the afternoon and then the crew van drove me back to my truck and I went home with a bunch of timetables, a hat and other paraphernalia.
That's a great story, would love to have an experience like that.
 

wa8pyr

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Ohio
#15
Needless to say I had a great caboose ride for the rest of the afternoon and then the crew van drove me back to my truck and I went home with a bunch of timetables, a hat and other paraphernalia.
Doing nice things like that often pays off for us railfans. In my case, I once assisted a Chessie engineer in starting a balky GP9 on a local ("you stand here and push this starter button when I say to"); got me a cab ride for the rest of the day running from the B&O at Troy, OH to the end of the old P&E a couple miles west to switch the BF Goodrich plant (the old Waco biplane factory). Alas, the old P&E branch is now but a fading memory.

Another time, also in Troy, I gave the conductor a ride back to the head end of the local at the Troy depot; got me a cab ride on the P&T branch all the way up to the elevator at Eldean. Rode with them the whole rest of the day. Fortunately the P&T branch is still in service.

Didn't get any freebies but the cab rides were more than worth it (I suppose you could call a cab ride the ultimate freebie).

Back in those days I had not yet got my "manly" radios; I was still monitoring with a 16 channel programmable scanner at the time.
 
Joined
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Messages
2,628
Location
New York North Carolina and all points in between
#16
I would love to find a RR Micor, but I did pick up a few RR Motran's some years ago in Dayton. Put it on the bench setup used for today's junk radios and it worked perfectly. That's true interoperability which is required for the AAR standards. You can take a tube radio or a new microprocessor based radio put in the rack and they both work.

You can find the old radios sometimes on fleabay but they are getting fewer and far between. The only ones that might surface now are ones taken home by retirees and found later when they pass.

Getting rides on rail equipment these days are long over, too much oversight with camera's, FRA rules etc. I cannot even as an employee ride in the cab anymore. You have to be part of the train crew.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
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Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
4,232
Location
Ohio
#17
Getting rides on rail equipment these days are long over, too much oversight with camera's, FRA rules etc. I cannot even as an employee ride in the cab anymore. You have to be part of the train crew.
On the Class I roads, too true. Shortlines and even some regionals are a bit more forgiving. . . .
 

KC9LQV

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Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
103
Location
SW Indiana
#18
I'm really enjoying this thread and hearing about everybody's old radios. It's getting me inspired to get that Micor out of the closet, get some wire, some conduit, and get that control head wired in again. Unfortunately, neither of the SOO channels in it are in use around here any more, but it's got the old L&N road channel which is still in wide use.

I would desperately love to repaint the chassis and refresh the front panel, but if I could even find one, it would no longer have the serial number engraved on it. The MILW numbers are actually stamped into the chassis itself. The thing is built like a freaking tank.

chassis inside bottom.JPG front.jpg MILW.jpg
 
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
377
Location
Piedmont NC
#20
I have a few in my collection...

I have Southern Ry and N&W Motorola PT500 lunchboxes, a PRR/PC Westinghouse duophone lunchbox, and an old NS HT1000. I also have a Westinghouse drawer-only that is engraved for Reading.

Years ago I had some minty yellow Chessie MT500's but I sold them... I regret that. Would love to find a red N&W MT500.
 
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