Who's got a narrowband scanner? Like it?

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mrbbq

New Member
Looks like I will be retiring my old RS Pro-97 multi system trunking scanner for something more up-to date.

Anyone in Oregon's Willamette Valley have recommendations for a digital, narrow-band scanner that's fairly easy to program (without having a PhD in radio electronics or computer programming)?

I need to make this purchase fairly soon. I am losing out on too much RR traffic to facilitate my rail fanning. Thanks for your assistance!
 

Cliffs

Fallbridge Sub MP 118.6
I got one of these GRE PSR-310s last winter. Works pretty good. They are available at Ham Radio Outlet, Scanner Master, and probably most other places where scanners are available.

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/PSR-310

You really don't need a computer to program it. I was able to use the keyboard to enter everything I needed. The instruction manual is easy to understand.

A couple of nice features are:
1) You can program the indicator LED at the top of the radio to illuminate any of 8 solid or flashing colors whenever a particular frequency is picked up.
2) It doesn't use scan iists. you just program the frequency into the brain and then designate which bank of frequencies you want that entry to be active in.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

laredosub

MP 314.1
When you get ready to sell the Pro-97 let me know.


Looks like I will be retiring my old RS Pro-97 multi system trunking scanner for something more up-to date.

Anyone in Oregon's Willamette Valley have recommendations for a digital, narrow-band scanner that's fairly easy to program (without having a PhD in radio electronics or computer programming)?

I need to make this purchase fairly soon. I am losing out on too much RR traffic to facilitate my rail fanning. Thanks for your assistance!
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Nice rig. Wish I had the cash to pick up something on that level.

I am curious though. My father called me saying that the rail bands may have changed out to the 220 MHz band. I have not been able to verify that through my normal sources. Could anyone clue me into if the change from 160 to 220 is in effect. My information is 7 years out of date so I thought I would ask.
 

Cliffs

Fallbridge Sub MP 118.6
There is some good info here about the "big picture" regarding RR frequencies and narrow-banding. There is also a nice table that has the wide and narrow band frequencies listed.

Fellow RRF member otlocal recommended this site to me last winter when i was looking into getting a new scanner and antenna after I lost my 1994-vintage Radio Shack model.

http://www.dpdproductions.com/page_rrfreqs_newplan.html
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
Actually I had seen that once but wanted confirmation. Thanks for doing that. Looks like my scanner is going to be horribly out of date and in essence useless. Oh well.
 

Crow

Member
Nice rig. Wish I had the cash to pick up something on that level.

I am curious though. My father called me saying that the rail bands may have changed out to the 220 MHz band. I have not been able to verify that through my normal sources. Could anyone clue me into if the change from 160 to 220 is in effect. My information is 7 years out of date so I thought I would ask.
PTC will utilize the 220MHz frequency range, but that is going to be data transmissions. Voice radio is staying on the 160-161 range in analog narrowband for the near future.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Thanks for clarifying Crow. Though I am curious by wha you mean by in the near future. MCtrlsys---there are some reasonably priced narrowband scanners out there. But like any new technology, the new stuff costs $$$.
 

B_Kosanda

Outstanding In My Field
Looks like I will be retiring my old RS Pro-97 multi system trunking scanner for something more up-to date.

Anyone in Oregon's Willamette Valley have recommendations for a digital, narrow-band scanner that's fairly easy to program (without having a PhD in radio electronics or computer programming)?

I need to make this purchase fairly soon. I am losing out on too much RR traffic to facilitate my rail fanning. Thanks for your assistance!
That's funny, I was just going to post a question about getting a narrow-band scanner.

How can I tell if a scanner is updated to 12.5 kHz spacing? I have looked at the technical specs of several Uniden and GRE scanners, including the GRE PSR-310 shown in Cliffs' response and there is no indication that these are updated to narrow band. In fact, the GRE scanner listed here says it has 7.5 kHz spacing in the 161 MHz range. I'm a little confused and just want to get the scanner off my ear. Can someone give an explanation of how to tell if a scanner is narrow band from looking at the specs?

thanks,
Bill
 

Andrew Kim

Amateur Radio/Photo Geek
That's funny, I was just going to post a question about getting a narrow-band scanner.

How can I tell if a scanner is updated to 12.5 kHz spacing? I have looked at the technical specs of several Uniden and GRE scanners, including the GRE PSR-310 shown in Cliffs' response and there is no indication that these are updated to narrow band. In fact, the GRE scanner listed here says it has 7.5 kHz spacing in the 161 MHz range. I'm a little confused and just want to get the scanner off my ear. Can someone give an explanation of how to tell if a scanner is narrow band from looking at the specs?

thanks,
Bill
Bill,

According to the specs of the GRE PSR-310 from ScannerMaster, it can receive AM and NFM modes. The main key is that NFM stands for Narrow FM mode, meaning that it can do narrowband monitoring that many railroad radios are in as well with wideband. It should be able to do 12.5 khz spacing on all bands as well with all other spacing at all bands. Pretty much most, if not all, of the scanners that Radio Shack, GRE, and Uniden are currently selling are Narrowband capable and can do 12.5 khz spacing. Even if you don't have a narrowband compatible scanner, you should be able to hear railroad radio traffic with little to no problem. You may need to increase the volume a little bit more in order to hear them.

http://www.scannermaster.com/GRE_PSR_310_Police_Scanner_p/30-501543.htm
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
PTC will utilize the 220MHz frequency range, but that is going to be data transmissions. Voice radio is staying on the 160-161 range in analog narrowband for the near future.
To I am assuming that train to dispatch and maintenance will be voice like always. How about hotbox detectors? Also have they changed how the radio transmissions propagate or is it still broadcast omnidirectional? (I need to know what type of antennas to design)
 

Crow

Member
To I am assuming that train to dispatch and maintenance will be voice like always. How about hotbox detectors? Also have they changed how the radio transmissions propagate or is it still broadcast omnidirectional? (I need to know what type of antennas to design)
PTC is still underdevelopment from my understanding, and the data that PTC transmits is going to be encrypted.

Voice is all going to stay the same as I understand it, except all narrow band by the end of the year.
 

MP 6.7

needs to get a life. ;)
The main key is that NFM stands for Narrow FM mode, meaning that it can do narrowband monitoring that many railroad radios are in as well with wideband.
Not necessarily. I have a couple scanners that use the abbreviation NFM for narrow bandwidth FM as opposed to wide bandwidth FM, i.e. broadcast FM radio and analog TV audio. The narrow/wide differentiation serves to separate the 5KHz deviation/25KHz channel spacing communications FM mode from the 75KHz deviation/200KHz channel spacing broadcast FM mode. Listening to broadcast in NFM mode causes severe audio distortion, while listening to communications in WFM mode results in extremely low if not almost non-existent audio.

I'll say here again what I keep trying to tell people...your old scanner will still work with narrowband (2.5KHz/12.5KHz) signals, you'll just have to turn up the volume a little more. Have a listen to any radio on UP's system and you'll be listening to narrowband. They completed their system wide cut over months ago.

With a narrowband receiver, you'll get slightly better signal to noise ratio, as well as squelch crashes that don't rip your ears off ;)
 

MCtrlSys

New Member
:) The information is appreciated and understood. For me personally I just have an obsession with making new equipment. Anything to justify constructing a new antenna.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Mr BBQ's new scanner

Pulled the trigger today on a Radio Shack PRO-164 triple trunk (double scoop with sprinkles) scanner. Going to order a SMILEY 5/8th wave tuned antenna to go with it. Decided on RS because it is similar to the 160 I have, and that one's worked well for me. Also, I am familiar with the funcitons and features, and decided to stay within my comfort zone.

THanks for all of your feedback and suggestions. I am sure that I will be looking for another upgrade in the not too distant future with a subscription to Radio Reference dot com for downloading and updating freqs, etc.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Trust me. You don't need all that junk just to monitor the Rail band.
Allen---I am curious as to what sort of "junk" you use to monitor railroad radio traffic. Please enligthen us.

I chose to purchase Smiley anntennas after reading the many positive posts on this very forum about them. If it can help pull in better radio reception, then I am all for it. It will be interesting to compare the standard duck antenna with the Smiley.

Thanks.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Reply to Allan Love, JR

Sorry. I mean you don't need trunking nor digital just to monitor the rail band.
Thanks! I am aware of that. But ya know, it's good to have the best products possible to help you enjoy your hobby more. I can notice a big difference in how the new scanner pulls in with great audio quality the rr action here in the mid-Willamette Valley.

I ordered the Smiley antennas today. Will be VERY interested to see how they perform compared to the standard "duck" antennas.
Allan---I admire your dedication to the hobby of railfanning, and all of the postings you do. Hope to meet you in person one day.
 

MP 6.7

needs to get a life. ;)
If you're looking for the best products possible, get yourself a VHF commercial radio. A narrowband Motorola or similar will blow the socks off any scanner in receiver performance and audio and build quality. I've been using Motorola for years and I haven't touched a scanner for anything but aviation since. It's hard to beat what the railroads use on a daily basis.

In the portable department, a Motorola MT2000 with front display will cost you about $150 these days. Tough as a tank and LOUD audio. For the road, an M1225, CDM1250 or MCS2000 will work wonders. I've used all three and it pretty much comes down to what you want to spend and how many channels you need.
 




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