I used a Panasonic RN-402 mini-cassette recorder hooked directly to my ham radio (Yaesu FT-411E) or Uniden scanner (BC-200XLT) to record. Setting the VOX on the recorder at medium sensitivity, it is very easy to capture rail traffic without having to listen continuously.
2/24/01 A humorous incident at Roseville, CA while photographing new Amtrak P42 locomotive #128. It was pouring rain and I borrowed my wife's umbrella which was medium blue with big pink butterflies on it. When the engineer saw this and noticed I had a scanner, he talked to me! (111K)
Listen to rail traffic live from my scanner! Click the "Listen" button at the top center of the page and enjoy! Hours of operation are M-Th, 5-10 PM; 24 hours Fri 5 PM to Sunday 10 PM. Service soon to run 24/7 based on pending equipment donation.
Detectors Heard From My House
With a 12db gain Discone antenna atop my roof, I can hear great distances which include railroad detectors. The most active channel is 161.550 with Roseville Yard operations close by. When my scanner is in scan mode, there is near-constant radio activity.
Milepost 111.9 - Roseville Subdivision, Freq: 161.550, 9 mi. away from my house. If I'm waiting to watch #5, the Westbound CA Zephyr, this is my cue to get my stuff together and drive over to my trackside railfan spot just a few minutes away.
Milepost 98.3 - Martinez Subdivision, Freq: 161.550, 3 mi. away from my house, the closest detector, can be heard with any hand held scanner.
Milepost 148 - Sacramento Subdivision, Freq: 161.550, 12 mi. away due West near the Del Paso siding.
Milepost 161 - Sacramento Subdivision, Freq. 161.550 25 miles NW of my house, half way to Marysville from Sacramento. This detector is rarely heard and very dependent on band conditions.
Milepost 130.6 - Roseville Subdivision, Freq. 160.320, 28 mi. away from my house up in the hills near Colfax. This detector can't always be heard reliably and it's dependent on band conditions.
Milepost 44.6 - UP Fresno Subdivision, Freq. 161.550, 20 mi. away about 6 miles south of Elvas in South Sacramento. It's not often that I can pick up this detector and my squelch must be set very low. Band conditions must be optimal and even then, the detector is barely audible. After having to record for several nights in-a-row, I was able to capture this detector with pretty high a audio signal.