Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

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Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Wed May 16, 2018 9:15 pm

Howdy folks,

Trying to listen in on the Amtrak road channel, specifically 161.5050, and it comes through garbled most times. Is there a different channel I should be listening to, or is it just luck of the draw?

Also, I heard someone talking to I believe 354 saying “markers in place”. Would this have been GDLK or was there another Amtrak in the area?
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Re: Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby Saturnalia » Wed May 16, 2018 9:43 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:Also, I heard someone talking to I believe 354 saying “markers in place”. Would this have been GDLK or was there another Amtrak in the area?

Markers in place would be part of a roll-by inspection, which is given by any train crew or MOW worker capable of making such an inspection if conditions allow. Basically confirming that the required markers are lit.
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Re: Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby hoborich » Wed May 16, 2018 9:56 pm

Trying to listen in on the Amtrak road channel, specifically 161.5050,

It's possible your scanner is stopping either side of 161.505, such as 161.500, or 161.510. Have you manually locked it on 161.505. I have had scanners stop on an adjacent channel to the one I'm listening to, and sound garbled.
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Re: Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Wed May 16, 2018 10:50 pm

hoborich wrote:
Trying to listen in on the Amtrak road channel, specifically 161.5050,

It's possible your scanner is stopping either side of 161.505, such as 161.500, or 161.510. Have you manually locked it on 161.505. I have had scanners stop on an adjacent channel to the one I'm listening to, and sound garbled.


At the time in question, my scanner was scanning all the channels I have programmed into it. It kept flipping between Portage PD and Amtrak. I don’t usually “hold” it on a channel because I’m not quite knowledgeable in all the local rail frequencies yet (for example, what I had labeled as “CN RD SHRLNE” (CN Road, Shoreline Sub) was also being used around here). Figure it would help keep up with everything that’s happening. When 355 called out the signals at 145, they were quiet but clear, which is originally why I thought maybe it was luck of the draw.

My scanner is a BC125AT if that also has a factor in it. It’s not the default rubber ducky antenna, but another one. Got it as a gift so I’m not sure of the exact specs for it.
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Re: Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby hoborich » Thu May 17, 2018 10:41 pm

When 355 called out the signals at 145, they were quiet but clear, which is originally why I thought maybe it was luck of the draw.


It probably was right on frequency when it was clear. Sometimes when a signal is strong a scanner will stop on an adjacent channel but the signal will be garbled, especially since they have gone to narrow banding.
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Re: Amtrak Radio Channel Question/Issues

Unread postby Jim_c » Thu May 17, 2018 11:34 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:
hoborich wrote:
At the time in question, my scanner was scanning all the channels I have programmed into it. It kept flipping between Portage PD and Amtrak. I don’t usually “hold” it on a channel because I’m not quite knowledgeable in all the local rail frequencies yet (for example, what I had labeled as “CN RD SHRLNE” (CN Road, Shoreline Sub) was also being used around here). Figure it would help keep up with everything that’s happening. When 355 called out the signals at 145, they were quiet but clear, which is originally why I thought maybe it was luck of the draw.

My scanner is a BC125AT if that also has a factor in it. It’s not the default rubber ducky antenna, but another one. Got it as a gift so I’m not sure of the exact specs for it.


It the scanner was in search mode, it may have stopped on an adjacent frequency. If it is in channel scan mode, that shouldn't happen. It may be any number of issues, but if the guy doing the transmitting is speaking too loudly the filters will "clip" off the part of the voice. That may have happened.
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