scanner antenna?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Ispolkom, Apr 22, 2010.

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  1. Apr 22, 2010 #1

    Ispolkom

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    Ispolkom

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    I finally broke down and bought a scanner. Is the "rubber ducky" antenna I got with my Uniden BC95XLT scanner good enough for listening on the train, or should I upgrade to something else?
     
  2. Apr 22, 2010 #2

    kevin

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    kevin

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    This works great in a roomette!

    http://bit.ly/8XU9E9
     
  3. Apr 22, 2010 #3

    ALC Rail Writer

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    I have the same model. I find that the rubber duck works fine-- it may not always have the best clarity but, let's be fair-- what are you going to do onboard?
     
  4. Apr 22, 2010 #4

    coachseats

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    I have found that the "rubber ducky" antenna is fine for listening to communications back and forth between the engineer and conductor, defect detectors, and when train crew communicates to the dispatcher. Sometimes you can't hear the messages from the dispatcher or other train crews, but you can usually get enough to figure out what is going on. It adds a fun element to a trip and is especially handy when there is a delay or if you want to know why you are stopped in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason. You get to hear the fun stuff they don't always announce such as "I think we just hit a shopping cart" or "the police are going to meet us at the next stop and search the train for a runaway" Scanners can be kind of annoying to other passengers so use headphones in coach or keep the volume at a reasonable level in a sleeper. I assume if you have already bought a scanner you know about where to find the right channels and frequencies for each route but if not let us know and I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction.
     
  5. Apr 22, 2010 #5

    zephyr17

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    While onboard trains, I've used just a rubber ducky for years and it works fine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2010
  6. Apr 22, 2010 #6

    OlympianHiawatha

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    OlympianHiawatha

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    You may want to run by Radio Shack and pick up their upgrade Ducky which if I recall runs about $20. It's a BNC connector which is fairly universal and works on the Unidens. It does make a difference if the source is a ways from you, as in my case where I live about a mile from a defect detector.
     
  7. Apr 22, 2010 #7

    PetalumaLoco

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    This is what I use on my BC95XLT, it makes a noticeable difference.

    Diamond RH77CA
     
  8. Apr 22, 2010 #8

    AG1

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    The crew uses rubber duckies, so it should be good for you too.
     
  9. Apr 22, 2010 #9

    RRrich

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    They are rubber duckies but are they tuned for Amtraks frequeccies? http://www.smileyantenna.com/index.php
     
  10. Apr 22, 2010 #10

    PetalumaLoco

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    Which Smiley is recommended?
     
  11. Apr 22, 2010 #11

    Ispolkom

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    Ispolkom

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll stick with the antenna out of the box for my trip next month. If that doesn't work for me, I can always upgrade. I agree with Coachseats about headphones use -- I always use them while listening to music even when I'm traveling in a sleeper.
     
  12. Apr 22, 2010 #12

    mucomix

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    1 x 5/8 Slim Duck 2 meter antenna with BNC base connector Freq 160. I bought mine last fall. $28.65 with shipping from Smiley. I get more road crews from the house with it.
     
  13. Mar 25, 2019 #13

    piedpiper

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    I have the regular Duck 2 meter from Smiley - makes railroad reception 3x better than the standard rubber duck that comes with your purchased scanner:)
     
  14. Mar 25, 2019 #14

    NorthShore

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    I'd agree that an antenna made for two meter ham radio would be better as it is better attenuated for the frequency range where railroads operate. Personally, I use two meter telescoping antennas on my scanners.
     
  15. Apr 8, 2019 #15

    daybeers

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    I have a Uniden BC346XT and mostly listen to railroad frequencies, but also trunking systems for police and fire departments. What would be the best antenna to get for an upgrade over the stock one?
     
  16. Apr 8, 2019 #16

    fixj

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    RailFan Danny has a nice YouTube video on this topic
     
  17. Apr 9, 2019 #17

    FrensicPic

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    I also use the flexible antenna for most of my scanning and find it performs adequately. I use the flexible antenna while on "day trips" on the train. While on longer trips in my sleeper room I go a bit further! I use a suction-cup antenna mount (Radio Shack) and a telescoping antenna adjusted a length suitable for 160 MHz mounted in the window. The antenna is behind the curtain out of sight. The "puck" hanging to the right of the scanner antenna is the external antenna for my hand-held GPS, a Garmin GPSMAP64s. The scanner is a Uniden BCD396XT Trunk Tracker IV, overkill for RR use but, I do a lot of non-rail scanner listening as well. This antenna set-up is used on cruises as well...monitoring marine VHF frequencies and listening to the on-board cruise ship UHF frequencies. You don't have to get too elaborate. As mentioned earlier in this thread, the "rubber ducky" will still serve you well while on the train.

    20190409_074041.jpg IMG_2330.JPG IMG_2315.JPG
     
  18. Apr 9, 2019 #18

    tommylicious

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    I upgraded to a Watson antenna and the results were pretty spectacular.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2019 #19

    piedpiper

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