Best mobile for rail receiving

Status
Not open for further replies.

pinballwiz86

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
1,490
Location
Missouri
My handheld of choice is a Yaesu FT-60 dual band. I'm going to be taking Amtrak's Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles next month and I'm planning on programming the appropriate railroad channels into the FT-60 for the trip. This way, I don't have to carry an HT for ham use and a scanner for the railroad. I can do both with the same radio.
That sounds like a fun trip! Enjoy it.
 

tunnelmot

Member
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
260
Location
Conroe, TX
Wide band receive is one of the nice features of the current ham mobiles and handi-talkies.

I have two Yaesu FT-7900 dual-band mobile radios, one in my truck and one in the house. I have both programmed for a number of the local ham repeaters and simplex frequencies. In addition, I have local railroad channels, several marine band channels and some of the VHF frequencies used by CalFire and USFS.

My handheld of choice is a Yaesu FT-60 dual band. I'm going to be taking Amtrak's Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles next month and I'm planning on programming the appropriate railroad channels into the FT-60 for the trip. This way, I don't have to carry an HT for ham use and a scanner for the railroad. I can do both with the same radio.
The Yaesu's are good too. A lot of their mono-band stuff share platforms with their commercial line(Like the Kenwood 281).

I've wanted to take the family on the Sunset Limited. Way back, when I was single, or when it was just me and the wife(then girlfriend), it was much more feasible. Now with a family of 4, car rental, hotel and food, it is pretty much a dream vacation. I remember the days(late 90's-early 00's) when the wife and I would just jump into the car with a few hundred bucks and take off for points westward. Railfanning SoCal, the Grand Canyon, or whatever. I would love for the kids to experience the trip before they get too old and dont care about that stuff anymore.
 

iceman977th

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Dec 25, 2009
Messages
324
Location
Catlettsburg, KY
Thanks for the replies all. Based on recommendations I'll be ordering a TM281 on Tuesday for my truck. I have seen a couple people talk about the Yaesu FT60, how fast do they scan and can you set up scan banks? I'm wanting a cheap portable to monitor rail with, and am still keeping an eye out for a second hand NX portable to prepare for the NXDN switchover.

Also, best place to get an FT60 from price wise, and any antenna recommendations? Preferably a high gain
 

iceman977th

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Dec 25, 2009
Messages
324
Location
Catlettsburg, KY
Update, I ordered the TM281a from the site listed above and a Larsen 5/8 wave antenna from The Antenna Farm. Should be here by Saturday. Another friend of mine ordered one as well and we're both looking at mounting it in the overhead console in our Silverado's. It looks like it should fit once the plastic inset is popped out. I also was able to score a demo Kenwood NX 200 for a pretty good price on eBay, so that is on the way as well, along with all it's accessories. So I shouldn't have a problem monitoring the rails now.
 

sloop

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
271
Location
Millers Creek, NC
I use a Yaesu VX-6R for my 'travel' radio. The radio covers 144,220,and 440 amateur freq. as well as having a wide band receive (0.5 mHz thru 998.99 mHz) it receives am, nfm, & wfm. With 900 channels I have all SERA (South East Repeater Association) 144, 220, and 440 repeater pairs programmed in (computer program) and still have room for special 'banks' set aside for my frequent destinations, all standard AAR frequencies, as well as Search & Rescue freqs. I have NOT modified the radio so I don't have to worry about accidentally transmitting where I don't need too. When I travel I take the radio, charger, and a 'AA' battery case (would not but a HT without this accessory) and have never had any problems at the airport.
 

Eng3ineer

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Messages
141
Location
Southwest Arkansas
Update, I ordered the TM281a from the site listed above and a Larsen 5/8 wave antenna from The Antenna Farm. Should be here by Saturday. Another friend of mine ordered one as well and we're both looking at mounting it in the overhead console in our Silverado's. It looks like it should fit once the plastic inset is popped out. I also was able to score a demo Kenwood NX 200 for a pretty good price on eBay, so that is on the way as well, along with all it's accessories. So I shouldn't have a problem monitoring the rails now.

You'll like the 281a... I've already got a couple of my rail friends that have switched over to 281a after hearing and using mine.

It's a set of steps over and over to get the channels programmed into memory channels, but easy going once get them down.
 

scottyhetzel

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
1,409
Location
Palm Springs Area / OrCo
Keep in mind that the Kenwood TM-281A is an amateur band only radio when it comes to transmitting. For that reason, it will be useless as a backup for your other services. And even if it were capable of transmitting on fire frequencies, it likely it isn't FCC certified for that service.

As far as personal use is concerned, you're going to need an amateur radio license (if you don't already have one) to use it for that.

Wrong, actually you just cut one resistor inside with 4) screw to remove cover. Than you can TX on any of the Public safety bands under VHF. Mine works great! Including marine channels...
 

k6cpo

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
920
Location
San Diego, CA
Wrong, actually you just cut one resistor inside with 4) screw to remove cover. Than you can TX on any of the Public safety bands under VHF. Mine works great! Including marine channels...
I'm aware that's possible but be prepared to pay a sizable fine if the FCC catches you. They take a dim view of using radios in a service for which they are not certified.
 

wallhd

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
1
Location
Plattsburgh NY
Rail is the one thing I can't listen to anymore. It's always the same thing. Two guys rattling back and forth numbers really fast and they have to spell out every word. Nothing personal, but it gets old lol. If I worked for the rail that would be different I suppose.
Another Wally here LOL. What you are likely hearing is a dispatcher (or operator) issuing a track warrant or a track and time permit to a train or a maintenance of way employee. Dating back to the days when everything on railroads was done by wire-line telegraph, all place names and numerals have to be both spoken and then spelled out letter for letter or number for number and then repeated back from the receiving employee in the same manner. This was-and is-done for reasons of safety to be absolutely certain that the correct information was copied and understood. Even one digit mispronounced or spoken or copied incorrectly could have disastrous consequences.

To my mind, listening to such, while a bit tedious at times, is all part of why I enjoy the pursuit of rail fanning.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,275
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
Wrong, actually you just cut one resistor inside with 4) screw to remove cover. Than you can TX on any of the Public safety bands under VHF. Mine works great! Including marine channels...
And most don't do narrow band, as is required in the US. Many can't do splinter channels. None of the amateur transceivers have the necessary Part 90 that would be required to be legally used.

Yes, it can be done, but it isn't the right way to do it. That's why I recommended one of the many used MCS-2000's that are on E-bay. They'll do everything necessary. Many can be purchased with the AAR channels already programmed, and adding LMR channels can be done easily and legally.

This BS about using amateur gear on part 90 frequencies really needs to stop. There are a reason the laws exist. Not understanding them isn't a good reason to ignore them.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆSØ
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,292
Location
Sector 001
Wrong, actually you just cut one resistor inside with 4) screw to remove cover. Than you can TX on any of the Public safety bands under VHF. Mine works great! Including marine channels...

Lol, yea... Works great... Check and see how fast the power falls off as soon as you move much north or south of the ham band... Current draw does not... Guess where all that energy is going...

I had an IC-2100h years ago that I bought modified, for ****s and giggles I stuck it on a service monitor. At 173.370 the radio put out 13w on high power while drawing north of 10A...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Tom_G

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
11
Location
Newington, CT
I have to admit, those MCS-2000's look pretty nice... Especially with the remote head capability.
The model 1's are nice with the front firing speaker.
 
Last edited:

k6cpo

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
920
Location
San Diego, CA
This BS about using amateur gear on part 90 frequencies really needs to stop. There are a reason the laws exist. Not understanding them isn't a good reason to ignore them.
I have an amateur HT that's been modified like that, but with the advent of the all these cheap Chinese radios that are supposedly certified for Part 90, it isn't necessary any more.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top