• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Does anyone have any official railroad radios?

KC9LQV

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
103
Location
SW Indiana
#21
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.
I'd love to see some pictures of the PRR radio, especially the ID markings. I should take some pictures of my Conrail lunchbox and post 'em here.

And I'd absolutely love to have either of the colored MT500s... but they get a little too pricey for me. I keep hoping some day I'll find one in an antique store or flea market that won't require four-year financing.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
3,845
Location
Far NW Valley
#22
I have a friend who lived across the street from a grade crossing that also happened to be the location of a radio tower and equipment hut for the CNW/UP's Kenosha Sub. His scanners would get blasted by the base transmitter there when used since it was so close.

One day he called me and told me that he had seen a crew working and wandered over and was allowed to peruse the hut's interior after having wondered about it for years. It was basically a couple Micor style radios for the Road and MoW channels with a few other items, much like a Motorola version of the MASTr 2 stuff we had at work.

Around the same time frame I was able to meet a WC maintainer at a hot box detector near my house and the cabinet there was a bit simpler, just a GM300 connected to an Astron power supply and a couple deep-cycle batteries, the antenna was a common NMO mounted VHF whip on the cabinet itself.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2018
Messages
197
Location
Land of entrapment
#24
Unfortunately our agency destroys all our old equipment. Thousands of portables and mobiles hundreds of bases last time.
Sounds like a division of BNSF. Could be wrong and you don't gotta say.

It is actually common with the time to remove programming or disable it to stopping a issue before one happens. Most I've seen is a industrial shredder.
 

cbehr91

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
265
#25
Speaking from experience, most companies get a tax break when they e-waste old electronics (computers, printers, etc.). Perhaps the railroads are the same way with radios?
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
2,638
Location
New York North Carolina and all points in between
#26
Most Goverments don't care, the radios I spoke about sat out in the weather for over 2 years before they were finally trashed. They could care less about auctioning off for money or if they get a tax break (they don't). If I rumage around in the radio shop I am sure I can find some old Syntor RR units, for both CC ops and in a conversion box for cab operation. All the MT1000's, 10-8's, GE MRK's Repco S radios are all gone, but I did find some Yeasu portables LOL.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
3,845
Location
Far NW Valley
#27
Our community was pretty strict about getting rid of old equipment. If it was purchased with any sort of grant from the county, state or federal government there were guidelines that needed to be followed to dispose of them, usually if they were transferred to another agency just a paper trail was needed, otherwise destruction or auction (depending on the type of equipment) could be done.

For non-grant equipment over certain values then a resolution from the Village Council was required to dispose of old radios.

We had replaced a large fleet of MastR-II mobile and base radios originally purchased under LEAA grants. We had dozens of radios and a dozen full size cabinets full of stuff we couldn't give away so eventually got permission to dispose of it. I stripped out the channel elements and called a scrapper who was more than happy to take that huge pile away. They offered to pay a small price for the scrap but it would have been more trouble to accept it as I would have then needed to get council approval to accept the money and that would have required solicitation of bids, that in turn would have cost more than the money they were offering.

Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to just landfill old equipment like this, but with a little bit of effort at least it got recycled instead. While railroads are not as constrained as government agencies usually are (when they do it correctly) the bureaucracy can be the same.
 

PJH

Global Database Admin
Database Admin
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
3,466
#28
Most, if not all, of the larger railroads will destroy the radios.

But in reality, most are not serviceable by the time they are replaced. Parts are NLA from Motorola and many these days are not as field serviceable as they use to be (for all you old farts with the MICORs, Spectras, MCX, etc).

SHOULD a fairly current issue radio hit the streets, its DOA or nothing too special. Or just plain so beat, that there is very little to no value (or work being on a shelf).

With the exception of BNSF, fielded radios are just standard off the shelf radios. BNSF has custom firmware that allows direct access to AAR channels - and if you have the way and means you can do this with any NX radio.

Some commuter agencies, that are either state sponsored or otherwise confined to state/government surplus rules is your best bet. Sounder surplused a bunch of analog railroad spectras several years back.

The MT1000 aka Genesis line was one of the last Motorola offerings geared towards the railroads. HT1250's were popular, but off the shelf.

I'd save up $ for old Chessie, NW, aka legacy radios.
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
97
#29
I do occasionally see Kenwood NX-210s land on eBay with “UPRR” or “BNSF” engraving on the side. There was also a Norfolk Southern up but it seemed to be a hot commodity as it went QUICK. Regardless, they are usually all beat to hell.
 

PJH

Global Database Admin
Database Admin
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
3,466
#30
I'll tell you for a fact, that those are still in service radios, and most likely were lost and found by someone.

Both BN and UP maintain a radio repair depot. Those deemed unrepairable are sold as scrap or thrown out.
 

JohnnyGent

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
84
Location
Chicago Burbs, IL
#31
Gave my 2 working yet "older" handhelds to a friend,whom is a ham, and could use on 2M. Too much "testing" for me with software and cable.
Scan On.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,370
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#32
Spotting this thread reminded me I have a mint condition Railroad Clean Cab Spectra lost somewhere in the garage. I should dig that thing out and put some 2m amateur freqs in it. Last time I did that I got lots of compliments on the transmit audio using the front panel mic.
 

KC9LQV

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
103
Location
SW Indiana
#33
I have a friend who lived across the street from a grade crossing that also happened to be the location of a radio tower and equipment hut for the CNW/UP's Kenosha Sub. His scanners would get blasted by the base transmitter there when used since it was so close.
That reminded me of this picture I had sitting in a folder of random junk. It's titled "CNW Yard Base Station RR". I don't even remember where I found it, but thought it was great. I'd love to be able to see more of that radio service van in the background, too. CNW Yard Base Station RR.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
2,887
#34
I have a PT400 here that will be for sale soon. But it is on 170.350 MHz, so it might have been from NASA/US Govt.
 
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
2,638
Location
New York North Carolina and all points in between
#36
There is another post some where where I described this equipment too. All of NYCTA 1960's era base stations were of this generation, except they interfaced their lines into a carrier type of wire line. The single telephone line was multiplexed with up to a dozen "carriers" on different frequencies from 500kz to 2000kz in AM.
I picked up one of those Motrans at Dayton some years back, and the guy was using it as ballast for his tent. I popped it into our AAR test set powered it up and it worked.
Overall Motorola doesn't make anything RR specific anymore, that's why the AAR went with the NXDN format instead of P-25. Icom makes some portables with RR specific firmware and a lot of RR are using off the shelf radios these days, our revenue cars have Orion, M7100, M7200 and M7300 radios, and AAR coach versions of Quest Rail CC radio.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
131
Location
Olive Branch, MS
#37
I'd always wanted to get my hands on a Clean Cab Spectra, I knew of one or two folks who had them in their cars (legally acquired) to railfan with. I had a buddy who used to work for a RR that always had his ear out for a working one when they were in the process of scrapping locomotives. If they weren't too beat up they'd usually just take them out and keep them for spares.

I was about >< this close once, but someone else he worked with was in the right place at the right time and snapped it up before he could grab it himself. Course I haven't had a vehicle in about 10 years that I could fit one of those beasts into anyway.
 
Joined
May 26, 2017
Messages
17
Location
SoCal
#38
My friends have some EX-BNSF radios. It isn't just old equipment that you can find on eBay... you can get ex-RR Kenwood NX-210G's and ICOM F3261DT's on eBay as well. They are all over. I have an ICOM F3161DS. It isn't ex-railroad, but I use it for railroad monitoring. It is also one of the handheld models carried by employees of LA County MTA (so I guess it is a railroad radio).
With the exception of BNSF, fielded radios are just standard off the shelf radios. BNSF has custom firmware that allows direct access to AAR channels - and if you have the way and means you can do this with any NX radio.
Icom RR firmware is used by other companies besides BNSF. Amtrak and Amtrak PD also use it.
 
Top