Scanners and Railroading
One of the most popular tools in a Railfans arsenal is a scanner, and as a rule most hams own one.
Scanners play an important part of the railfanning experience, and to many are as indispensable as a camera. Scanners allow one to monitor multiple channels and when activity is present it will allow you to hear the radio traffic.
Most railroads in the US and Canada use a set of 97 frequencies between 160 and 162 MHz. Most operations are in “Conventional/Analog” mode, that means they do not usually use trunking, digital or other modes. Most railfans will want to have a handheld scanner that you can use while standing trackside. This is the most convenient method of listening, as you are not then tied to your vehicle.
Although I have a several scanners in my radio arsenal that I can choose from to scan the rail frequencies that interest me, I recently acquired an inexpensive Uniden BC125AT as seen here, and it is proving to b ideal for listening in on the goings on trackside, the main class 1 railroads operating in my area
. I also like this scanner because it allows you to tag frequencies with a description as to the content.
. Of course it goes without saying, this scanner would be a good choice to scan the railroads located throughout North America.
With your scanner in hand, you might be new to railfanning, and bewildered by all the different locomotives you come across, and how to identify them.
The book shown here "Guide to North American Diesel Locomotives", by Jim Wilson released in 2017, offers more than 300 pages of detailed information on diesel locomotives produced in North America from the 1930s to today.
It has proven to be an essential guide for myself, and this comprehensive reference book includes:
All-time rosters for more than 100 major railroads in the U.S. and Canada through the 1970s.
Spotting features on all major locomotive types produced.
Characteristics and operation of diesel locomotives. with text, charts, that include 400 color and black&white photos
This book is a valuable resource if your new to identifying North American diesel locomotives, and is available from Amazon.
Expand the photo for a closer look.....