Setting up current generation scanner (BCD-996XT) for railroad scanning

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Canvoodoo

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I'm planning to install a new scanner (most likely a BCD-996XT) this spring/summer, and one of the things that I'm interested in monitoring is the railroads (as I am a railfan, as well as being a radio enthusiast/ham radio operator).

I would be interested in hearing how other rail scanning enthusiasts set up their equipment. I have some ideas (from reading posts on here about the programming of modern generation scanners in general), but they're all theoretical, and not based on any actual operating experience with the equipment.

I would be interested to hear how other scanner fans/railfans set up their equipment. I should also add that while I'm thinking of mobile scanners for the moment, I'm also considering a handheld down the line. Your thoughts and ideas would be greately appreciated.
 

Nasby

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Apr 4, 2004
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I just program the local rail channels in my scanner and I don't bother with putting in the entire AAR list of frequencies. Railroads typically use a group of channels for a certain area and just stick with them (ie: yard channel, dispatch channel, etc.). One thing that's very important, is a good antenna. Railroad transmitters tend to be low power without repeaters so a good antenna is a must!
 

dispatcher812

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Aug 8, 2009
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I have been playing around with different ways to program my 796D. Since I don't listen to much else beside railroads any more I now have 1000 channels to use. I have all 97 AAR frequencies in Bank 10 with my local railroads from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Mass, alpha tagged on their appropriate channel. Each scanner channel corresponds with the AAR frequency, IE scanner number 936 is AAR Ch 36. Here is where i am undecided. What to do with the other 9 banks. I thought about one bank per major RR, CSX, NS, Amtrak. However with so many different subs and such trying to label every channel would be impossible. I then tried by state. This seemed to work a little better. Label is a challenge but not impossible. So far I have done the above states plus Maine Vermont and Hew Hampshire a bank and New York on another. NY was a little harder to label as sever different RRs operate on the same frequency. I will also be programming one bank with the new narrowband frequencies.

My thinking on this is that should I travel, I already have everything set for where ever I go.
 

iceman977th

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I don't know what your plans are for an antenna but I use my 106 for everything, and since I can't afford a nice mag mount or NMO mount I use two RS multiband antennas with a T-adapter. I get about 20 miles of coverage even in the hilly terrain of southern Ohio. (MP 51.3 on CSX's Northern sub & I can hear the detector about 20 miles south on the line.)

Just a suggestion. Good luck & happy rail fanning.
 
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