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Railroad/Railfan Monitoring Forum - This is the place to discuss monitoring railroad communications.

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Old 07-13-2018, 5:27 PM
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Default Yaesu FTM-3100r for railroad monitoring?

All,

Is anyone using a Yaesu FTM-3100r to monitor railroad frequencies? The Kenwood TK-780 I had in the car finally died on me, and I need a replacement. Since i've gotten back into ham radio and ARES, I need to look at a ham 2m mobile instead of a commercial radio. I've looked at a Kenwood TM-281a, but the Yaesu has similar specs and 100 more alpha memories

Any opinions?
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Old 07-13-2018, 6:04 PM
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Warren...I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of both recently. I like the extra 100 memories of the 3100r but like the big heatsink, no fan, of the 281a. I’ve been lucky enuf to put each in my car sitting in the passenger seat n give them a try! I did scan thru the rail freq with both n on a strong signal sitting near a yard both sounded very good!

That said have you considered a commercial KW that encodes NXDN? While what I read says the rail migration to digital will be slow, you would be ahead of the curve! Add your county ARES FM freq as well and off you go!

Really interested in what you decide...
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Old 07-14-2018, 8:25 AM
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Hi Cleve,

My son has a TM-271a that really works great. I've been told that in a head to head test, the Kenwood has a hotter receiver than the Yaesu.

I've been leaning toward the Kenwood. However, I was able to get my TK-780 working this morning by updating the firmware! So, I don't have to purchase a new radio right nowl. But, when I do, I think i'll get the 281a.
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Old 07-17-2018, 2:07 PM
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Personally I'm a big fan of the FT-8800R and FT-8900R. True dual receive, great sensitivity. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for. I've played with the FT-2980R also, which had a damned solid receiver, a huge heatsink that kept it really cool. Heatsink is like 3/4 of the case on it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:20 AM
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I have an Alinco DR638 that, when I am on the road, is almost exclusively used to monitor the local Road channels. It is a very hot receiver but seems to be more immune to city noise that tend to affect the scanners.


One issue I seem to have is gas pumps. There is something in gas pumps that cause the Alinco to open squelch. The scanners seem to be less afflicted for whatever reason. As soon as I pull out of the gas station the noise goes away.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwhitby View Post
I've looked at a Kenwood TM-281a, but the Yaesu has similar specs and 100 more alpha memories.
Yeah the 100 alpha memory capacity is a pain but I prefer Kenwood over Yaesu gear.

More importantly, you'll get the 2.5khz, 6.25khz & 12.5khz steppings which are necessary if you monitor any VHF NBFM frequencies -- useful for monitoring future 6.25khz AAR channels assuming they move to that frequency plan. Obviously if they're using NXDN then neither radio will help you.

A lot of smaller police agencies around here have moved to the VHF narrow allocation and the 2.5khz steps will put you right on frequency.
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