BCD436HP/BCD536HP and Amtrak Frequencies

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NoClue48

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I should preface this by saying that I am quite new to digital trunking radio scanners, but have a nearly lifelong experience in radios and electronics (scanning, DXing, SWL, etc.).

I'd like to know if the digital scanners will perform as older analog scanners in legacy applications. For example, I have a list of some 37 railroad segments for Amtrak's Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle; all in the 160 MHz - 161 MHz range. Can I still manually program them into BCD436/536 in the older bank/channel method?

I would like to be able to have, say, Bank 55, Channel 4 as "Chicago - Milwaukee, AAR 44, 160.770 MHz"; and Bank 55, Channel 7 as "Mississippi River at LaCrosse - Mississippi River at Hastings, AAR 44, 160.770 MHz"; and yet another Bank 55, Channel 11 as "St Paul Union Depot...". There would of course be an additional 34 channels in Bank 55 with locations and frequencies; many duplicated as above but distinguished by their location names.

I don't have any experience yet with the zip code location programming, but am intrigues by its potential. I just don't see how to do the above with that method since the train will be constantly moving.

Please advise if I'm way off base here. I am open to any and all suggestions... Thank you!
 

bama9999

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You can create a favorites list in Sentinel and call it whatever you like, say Amtrak for example. Then you can add the channels as you like. Favorites list are similar to the older bank style programming, but are way more versatile in what all you can do.

I have a 536 and it works great in both analog and digital.
 

NoClue48

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Have a gander thru this... Might help a little.
They don't use a "Bank/Channel" setup.


Easier to Read BCD436/536HP Digital Scanner Manual


It will pickup analog and digital fine.
Thank you. I'll take a look at the link...

I have the manual and the Sentinel software downloaded, but without a radio, it's tough to make sense of it. Too much abstract thinking required.

I'm sure I'll get it hammered out once the radios arrive.
 

bama9999

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Thank you... sounds easy enough. I'll give it a shot as soon as my radios arrive.
You're welcome, and if you haven't already done so, you can go ahead and download Sentinel from Uniden and be getting everything ready to program into your radios when they arrive. I find it quite easy to use, and there are videos on youtube that can help you along if you have any problems with it.

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your new radios!
 

sparklehorse

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<snip>I don't have any experience yet with the zip code location programming, but am intrigues by its potential. I just don't see how to do the above with that method since the train will be constantly moving.</snip>
Are you talking about using the zip code function while you are on board a moving train? If so, the zip code scanning method would be of little, if any use. What can be done is connect a small GPS device to the 436 while traveling on the train to enable location based scanning. For that to work you will also likely have to enter in location data for each of your frequencies before your trip begins. For example, you'd have to enter the coordinates and a distance range for St. Paul Union Depot, and every other channel in your list. If you set your distance range for Union Depot at 10 miles, the scanner will unlock that channel when you're 10 miles from it as you approach, and will continue to scan it for 10 miles when you depart. I say you will likely have to enter this location data, because I doubt there is accurate data like that currently in the Radio Reference database for railroad channels. There is a lot of location data in the database, but it's more geared to public safety communications. Also, if you're on a train you'd have to use a battery powered GPS device, or else find a way to power Uniden's accessory GPS puck, which is designed to use a car cigarette lighter socket for power. I've used an old Garmin Geko for location based scanning before. They're small and run a long time on a set of lithium AAA's. The hardest part is finding the right cables and adapters. It's easier to use the puck if you can power it.

.
 

Nasby

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Well then, I guess I'll just break out the old trusty Radio Shack analog scanner and program them into it...
Good idea. Using the 436HP for only analog train scanning would be huge overkill.
 

Jimru

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Well then, I guess I'll just break out the old trusty Radio Shack analog scanner and program them into it...

I think that's your best bet. I use an Icom R-6 for train travel. It's small and the "earphone" antenna setting works well enough so I'm not walking around with an antenna sticking out in an obvious way. I have all the road channels plugged in for the Northeast Corridor.
 
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