Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Product Test - GRE 800 MHz Rubber Antenna

By Jonathan Higgins

Product Tested: GRE 800 MHz Rubber Antenna
Cost of product: $19.95

Looking to improve your reception on the 800MHz? Over the past month Scanner Expert Greg Jolly and I tried out the "GRE 800 MHz Rubber Antenna". Not only did it improve on the 800MHz reception we saw improvement on VHF-Hi and UHF system as well. This antenna comes with BNC connection you can convert this to a SMA with an optional "SMA to BNC adapter" for Uniden units. For $19.95 you can't go wrong with trying this antenna!

Product Spec:
  • 800MHz Rubber Antenna
  • Straight design
  • 7 inch size
  • BNC Connector
  • Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Riding the Rails into Baltimore, MD

    If you like trains and railroading, like I do, bring your scanner with you the next time you take a train trip. It will give you an exciting behind the scenes look at railroading! Last weekend I took a trip on Amtrak Northeast Regional from Providence, RI to Baltimore, MD for a mini weekend vacation with my wife. I thought this would be a great opportunity to monitor railroad communications on the move rather than from my hobby room.

    My gear for the trip:

  • Uniden BCD396XT
  • Shadow Earpiece
  • Leather case with swivel belt loop
  • AC Adapter
  • AA Lithium batteries
  • Small notebook

    This was the first time I used an ear-piece for scanning, the Shadow Earpiece was very comfortable plus I could enjoy listening without disturbing anyone else. This was the first time using AA Lithium batteries with my scanner... I put in a fresh set of batteries at the start of my trip and I never had to change them.

    I was able to find a few frequencies here and there online. This was a great opportunity to use the scanner "Railroad Service Search"and the (Uniden) Close Call feature.

    Below I found the Road Channels for each region along the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington DC:

    Boston, MA – New Haven, CT
  • Road Channel - 160.9200 ARR Channel 54

    New Haven, CT - New Rochelle, NY
  • Road Channel – 160.5450 ARR Channel 29

    New Rochelle, NY – Philadelphia, PA
  • Road Channel – 161.0100 ARR Channel 60

    Philadelphia, PA – Washington, DC
  • Road Channel - 160.9200 ARR Channel 54

    What are Road Channels?
    For Amtrak these channels are used for the train crew and for train to dispatcher communications.

    Monitoring around Baltimore, MD:
    Once I got into Baltimore I switched gears from rail to public safety communications. The city of Baltimore has a 800MHz Motorola Type II Smart Zone Trunking system with 98% of the talk groups using digital (P25) voice communications. So a digital scanner is a must for this area. I was getting great reception in most area.

    Who is on the City of Baltimore Trucking System?
  • Fire
  • Police
  • Public Works
    ***As of right now this system is not rebanded.***

    I was able to monitor both Security at Camden Yards and B & O Railroad Museum from my hotel room a little over a mile away. I could also hear a lot of CSX Railroad communications as well.