Q re: 2-meter transceiver + RR scanner

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qed479

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Having retired, I expect to finally get my Technician license later this year. I'm looking for recommendations for a desk-top 2-meter transceiver that can double as a mobile RR scanner. Like my current Uniden scanner, I would like the transceiver to permit lockout of specific scan frequencies that are unwanted signals or interference. Thanks in advance for any and all recommendations.
 

ko6jw_2

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A caveat. A dedicated scanner will generally perform better as a scanner than a ham radio transceiver. As a long time ham radio op and even longer scanner listener, I can tell you that I've tried both. As long as the frequencies you want to scan are near a ham band, a transceiver will work very well. Even though many new ham radios offer extensive receive coverage, they don't guarantee their specs outside the ham bands. Example, my Icom 706 MkIIG can receive California Highway Patrol frequencies in the 39-42Mhz range, but the sensitivity is poor. On the other hand, it does very well with our local fire departments in the 153-156Mhz range. Other things that scanners do better include locking out channels. My Yaesu VX-6R requires that you stop scanning, select the channel to be locked out, press <f>+<Set>, select Skip, press Set again, select On, press PTT and then return to the memory made and resume scanning. On a scanner you just press the L/O key. Ham radios won't scan trunked systems or receive P25 etc. Long story short, I do use ham radio as scanners for small groups of frequencies close to the ham bands, but I use a dedicated scanner for everything else.

Good luck getting your license.
 

jaspence

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It depends on what you want to scan. If the frequencies are all FM, then no problem. If trunking or P25 systems are in the mix, you are out of luck. Some ham gear does airband great, some do not have the ability to receive AM needed for aircraft. For business band, MURS, FRS ham gear is good. For southeastern MI, you will get very lttle public service as many counties and the MSP are on the MPSCS. Check your area on the RR database to see what is available. I am in Washtenaw county, and most public safety is on the MPSCS.
 

slapshot0017

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He wants to scan the railroads that's what the RR stands for and also why he wants a two meter rig.

If you want to get fancy you can get into commercial gear to, but then it gets pricey and complicated. I'd stick with the Kenwood amateur gear. I personally love them.

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ko6jw_2

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A final word. Two meter receivers have their peak performance between 144-148Mhz. Railroad frequencies are in the 160Mhz range. The sensitivity of a two meter rig will not be optimum 10 or 15Mhz outside its pass band nor will a two meter antenna necessarily receive well at 160Mhz. Discones would be an exception, but with unity gain. I don't know about railroads in his area, but here the Union Pacific uses remote bases rather than repeaters and, therefore a good antenna and receiver are needed to hear the trains. Will the out of band sensitivity of a two meter radio be better than a dedicated scanner? Will he want a gain type two meter antenna? (The higher the gain the narrower the band width.) Since he wants to get a ham license, I think experimenting is the only way to find the answer and, certainly, the Kenwood will be a fine radio. If it all does the job for scanning too, so much the better.
 

slapshot0017

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Its funny you should talk about the sensitivity. My amateur gear actually performs better than the commercial to some extent on the rail band so I'll think he should be fine.

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k6cpo

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I live five miles as the crow flies from the nearest railroad, yet my Yaesu FT-7900 picks up their transmissions with no difficulties. I also monitor some of the Marine channels with the same radio and I can hear ships at sea that are 70 to 80 miles out to sea. I think that's good enough performance.
 

Eng3ineer

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No problem with the sensitivity of the three Kenwood TM-281 that, I use just for rail my feeds if anything they work too good, have to turn the squelch up or they end up picking up dispatchers on the UP & KCS from way out my area do to use of the same ARR channel. These radio easily pick up detectors and train crews calling out signals 18 to 30 miles away.
 
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