Upgrading to iCom from Radio Shack

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ViRoCo

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Hello!

Since the beginning of 2012, I have had a Radio Shack Pro-404 scanner. I want to upgrade to something stronger, and I heard some good things about the iCom IC-V82. What do I do with my scanner? I am a railfanner, meaning I am a fan of trains. Along with my Pro-404, I bought a 9v cord so I can plug it into an outlet into my house so I don't use the battery. I run my Pro-404 almost all day, scanning railroad frequencies, and I usually shut it off when I go to sleep. I keep my Pro-404 on my window sill in my kitchen. My question is: is the iCom IC-V82 worth the upgrade, can it be plugged into an outlet in my house?

Also, when I go to see trains, I use the scanner battery, and sometimes I am out there for many hours, will that stock battery do the work? And also, is there a stronger antenna out there so I can hear from a lot of miles away?

Thanks! Vincent
 

sloop

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ViRoCo you can save yourself a lot of time by 'googling' icom v82. That being said, the V82 is a 2 meter HT (amateur radio) it is not a scanner. It covers 136 to 174 mHz on receive and is almost as slow as a snail when scanning. It is battery operated and does not have a provision to plug into the wall except to recharge batteries. If what you want is a scanner, stick to the name brands such as AOR or Bearcat/Uniden. You will get a much better radio that is designed for what you want. As far as antennas...just about any outdoor antenna is better than a rubber duck. I may be wrong but at one time Radio Shack scanners were made by Bearcat, they just had a different case and name.
 

jaspence

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IC-V82

I am both a ham and scanner enthusiast. There is no ham radio made that can replace a good scanner. None of the amateur radios have the frequency range, very few scan with anywhere near the speed desired, and none can decode APCO 25. This question pops up frequently and the answer is always the same. Some say they scan 800 MHz with a HT, but that is not an amateur radio and it presents a separate set of problems. Back in the days of public service on VHF and UHF it was workable, but none of the modern radio services are amateur radio friendly.
 

K5MPH

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Stick with the scanner,ham radios are not meant to be radio scanners you are wasting you time........
 

ViRoCo

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Thanks for the advice! I actually heard about this scanner (radio) in a book called "Hot Spots Guidebook: Great Places to Watch Trains" from the "Trains" magazine, which is "The Magazine of Railroading." There was some tips in the beginning that was mentioning about owning a good radio. And the author had a Radio Shack scanner, and met with a fellow train fan who had the iCom IC-V82 that was picking up crew chatter that his Shack scanner wasn't getting a peep from. He got one, and he recommended it strongly. But I'm a tad confused of why he is recommending it if it isn't a scanner...

Also, what scanners do you guys recommend? Something under $200 that fits my "criteria" in my first post. And again, I am not a pro on the scanner side so bear with me! :)
 

eaf1956

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V 82

Shucks I kinda like my V 82 but I don't use it as a scanner. I use it on 2 meters for repeater work.
 

pinballwiz86

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OP, have you looked at the Uniden BC125AT? It's perfect for railfans. It even has a railroad search mode where it shows you the railroad frequency with the correct channel designator like:

AAR 110T/158R
Ch 110 160.9875 MHz
 

ViRoCo

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OP, have you looked at the Uniden BC125AT? It's perfect for railfans. It even has a railroad search mode where it shows you the railroad frequency with the correct channel designator like:

AAR 110T/158R
Ch 110 160.9875 MHz
Will this scanner be stronger than my current Pro-404? That is a big reason I am upgrading.
 

N8IAA

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Will this scanner be stronger than my current Pro-404? That is a big reason I am upgrading.
Will it receive better than the 404? Maybe. The V82 is used by a lot of railfans. The Yaesu FT-250R, FT-270R are also used extensively for railfanning. So are Motorola HT1000's. The reason being that the radios are band specific, 136-174MHz. Much better to hear the trains with:)

The RR ham radio police would like that you don't use 2m radios for fear you will transmit on the 2m frequencies. Just be a responsible scannerist:)
HTH,
Larry
 

ViRoCo

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I'm looking back to the iCom IC-V82. There are some on e-bay for under $100. I am kind of leaning toward that.

Since I won't be able to scan all of the time, I am looking into a desktop scanner. Something under $150 or so. I am looking at the Uniden BC345CRS, which is around the same price as the IC-V82 on e-bay.

How do these sound? (No pun intended)
 

ViRoCo

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Is the Yaesu FT-270R capable of being plugged into a wall? And that scanner is something you guys would recommend for a strong signal.

And is there any specific antennas anyone would recommend for reception up to 50 miles?
 

sloop

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N8IAA, it has nothing to do with a non-ham having a ham radio, what is is about is answering the gentleman's question. The V82 was designed for communications, not scanning. The scan feature is for convenience in operating. The scanner is designed for just that...scanning (receiving). A quick look at the specifications of the two (V82 vs. BC-125) will tell which one would be better. The V82 scans at a rate of 40 channels per second with a speaker volume of 300mW. The BC125 scans at a rate of 100 channels per second with a speaker volume of 0.8 watts. The two radios sensitivity is only 0.04 uV difference and their S/N ratio is essentially the same. "Band specific" has nothing to do with it. For a rail fan it is all about volume and speed of channels scanned. That way you miss the minimal and can hear what is received in a noisy environment. If all he wants is a cheap radio that will scan, you can pick up any of the Chinese amateur HT's for $50 or less. I have a Radio Shack Pro 79 that I use and it receives the rail frequencies better than does either of my HT's (Yaesu VX-170, VX-6R). I also use a BC-246T.
To the original post....go with a scanner, it will do more and do it faster than an amateur HT.
 

ViRoCo

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Thank you, sloop!

So I am going to cross the V82 off of my list. I'm going to say eveything again, just so it is in one place and in case I missed anything.

My original intention on a scanner was an iCom IC-V82, which was recommended from a widely-popular author from "Trains Magazine." I am now crossing the V82 off of my list since it is not built for scanning, but for communicating. This is what I need in a scanner:
-Capable of being plugged into a wall outlet for power (so I am not using the battery)
-Handheld
-Long-lasting battery
-Alpha Lettering (Not a priority)
-Fast scanning
-Scans the 160-161mhz range (for railroads)

More importantly is I want to upgrade to something from my current Radio Shack Pro-404. I don't want something that will preform the same as my 404, but much better. I will not be spending something that is over $200.

I am looking for suggestions! Suggestions on scanners and antennas. Something that will fit my needs!

And a reminder that I am not a pro at scanners! I am not too familiar with many things and confused by them!

Thanks! :)
 

pinballwiz86

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I'll say it again. Check out the Uniden BC125AT pair it up with the Radioshack BNC telescoping antenna. Works great and it fits all your criteria.

I run mine off AC power with an old Motorola micro-USB cell phone travel charger. You can find them for $5 on amazon or eBay.
 

ViRoCo

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I am just afraid that the BC125AT will work the same as my Pro-404. Which it may not, but it may.

Also, I failed to mention that I have a Radio Shack Center-loaded telescoping scanner/ham antenna (20-006). I only use this when I am home scanning and not when I am watching trains. I use my original rubber-duck antenna when I am out. I would probably get a stronger antenna besides the stock.
 

jaspence

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I may have missed this in the replies, but railroads are slowly but surely switching to the NXDN digtal mode which no scanner can receive. How quickly this will happen is a guess, but within two years is possible as NXDN is less costly than P25.
 

wa1nic

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If you are pretty much only interested in RR frequencies, consider getting one of these :

Amazon.com: TRAM 1610-HC 5-Ft VHF Marine Antenna: Electronics

It is a low cost ($30 bucks) marine band antenna. It is easy to mount - 4 screws will put it just about anywhere.

The marine band and the railroad frequencies are both interspersed in the same spectrum, so it will work just fine listening to RR frequencies. It will work reasonably well over the entire VHF band for receive only.

I am using one on an MURS base station with great results for the price. Installation took me all of 15 minutes to drill a hole and screw it to the side of my house. I have a short to medium range range need on MURS (Dakota Alert perimeter sensors) and this antenna met it where a telescopic antenna on the back of the radio stood no chance whatsoever.

For more money there are even better antennas out there, but for $30 bucks this one is a keeper. Of course, if you want to spend more, I can point you in the "more" direction. ;-)

Rick
 
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