Scanner Freqs for Amtrak Railfans

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piedpiper

Train Attendant
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Here is a speadsheet that lists the most used top 10 long distance trains. Most mobile scanners have 10 banks to use. I combine some routes this way - Northeast covers all routes from Boston to Washington; Florida covers the 2 Silver routes and the AutoTrain. The chart is current as of 18OCT21. Use what you need and enjoy your next trip. Coast Starlight corrected.
 

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piedpiper

Train Attendant
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
64
Location
New Hampshire
This is also a great source that's kept up to date and lists locations for each channel.
I used OTOL for the info, I was trying to simplify the programming process for those wishing to use a scanner.
 

TinCan782

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Here is a speadsheet that lists the most used top 10 long distance trains. Most mobile scanners have 10 banks to use. I combine some routes this way - Northeast covers all routes from Boston to Washington; Florida covers the 2 Silver routes and the AutoTrain. The chart is current as of 18OCT21. Use what you need and enjoy your next trip.
Suggestion: Add the AAR channel numbers. That is how crew refers to the frequencies and those numbers are also useful to "tag" the frequency entries in the scanner for quick access.

AAR 96 - 161.5500 (which, BTW is missing from your Coast Starlight column)
 

Devil's Advocate

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Outside of cities and interchanges you can set a scanner to monitor the entire range of AAR frequencies until it finds the next transmission. This is often included as part of the default range selection options. When it hears something you tell it to hold that channel until the defect detectors are no longer received and restart the scan again. If you're going to program each channel I would recommend getting a scanner (and cable) that connect to a PC to speed things up over that dinky child sized keypad. Some scanners include text descriptions for each programmed channel that make it easy to tell where they are active on a given route.
 
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piedpiper

Train Attendant
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
64
Location
New Hampshire
Suggestion: Add the AAR channel numbers. That is how crew refers to the frequencies and those numbers are also useful to "tag" the frequency entries in the scanner for quick access.

AAR 96 - 161.5500 (which, BTW is missing from your Coast Starlight column)
Ooops, me bad. Corrected. As far as AAR numbers, if your scanner is scanning the route bank only, the average scanner scans 60 plus channels a second, so you should not miss any transmissions.
 
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TinCan782

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Ooops, me bad. Corrected. As far as AAR numbers, if your scanner is scanning the route bank only, the average scanner scans 60 plus channels a second, so you should not miss any transmissions.
"Tagging" your channels with the AAR number does not affect scanning. It does allow you to quickly go to a channel by punching in the number. Conductors and engineers refer to the channels using the AAR number. Once you are on the proper frequency you don't need to scan. When a frequency change occurs, you simply go to that channel. If you don't know what channel to go to, then you need to scan until you find it. Once found, "hold" on that frequency (channel).

If you are scanning, even just the one route, and the scanner finds an active channel other than the intended one, it will stay there until the transmission ends. While its there, you may miss a transmission on the proper channel.

I use the BCD325P2 (my BCD396XT is now in secondary use).
Happy rails and scanning!
 

piedpiper

Train Attendant
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
64
Location
New Hampshire
"Tagging" your channels with the AAR number does not affect scanning. It does allow you to quickly go to a channel by punching in the number. Conductors and engineers refer to the channels using the AAR number. Once you are on the proper frequency you don't need to scan. When a frequency change occurs, you simply go to that channel. If you don't know what channel to go to, then you need to scan until you find it. Once found, "hold" on that frequency (channel).

If you are scanning, even just the one route, and the scanner finds an active channel other than the intended one, it will stay there until the transmission ends. While its there, you may miss a transmission on the proper channel.

I use the BCD325P2 (my BCD396XT is now in secondary use).
Happy rails and scanning!
To those looking for scanners with more than 10 storage banks, try Bearcat BC2500xlt or BC3000xlt, or Radio Shack PRO-94 - each of these have 20 banks and can be found on ebay and other websites.
 
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