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 Post subject: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 897
Location: MA
I know more of a few of you perked up when you read the subject name.
So anyways what does your organization do for radios? What are your policies, can members use there own or, do they have to supply there own or do you have to use the organizations. Do you have a dedicated frequency or do you use those cheap walkie talkies you get at K-Mart? At the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, we were using the cheap K-Mart or (bubble pack) radios until a Ham joined our group and upgraded us to large Motorola radio using Red Dot (if I recall correctly). For personal and museum use I got a Baofeng UV-5R (I know I am going to get flack from the radio guys on the board for this). The radio is under $30 and has a lot of amazing features and is easy to program as well as small. I have given a smaller Baofeng UV-3R to "Pump Car Polley" for her 90th birthday (and yes she still runs the handcar). And I turned on another member who volunteers with us as well as a place up in North Adams to the UV-5R and helped him program it. So what have you guys been using?

P.S. I am in no way paid or sponsored by Baofeng

 Post subject: Re: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 949
Location: New Franklin, OH
Our organization has ten Motorola CP-200 portable narrow band radios for use by members. Members can also use their own narrow band radios if they are tune-able to our frequencies (we run on three). The CP-200's have been great little radios - rugged and decent range. The locomotive has it's own programmable Motorola cab radio.

Eric Schlentner
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey

 Post subject: Re: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:06 am
Posts: 245
Mid-Continent Railway Museum is licensed for 2 VHF channels in the railroad service. This means we had to move to narrow band radios when the FCC shuffled things again. We have a base station and a number of hand-held radios for crew use as well as mobiles in the engines.

Museum policy allows personal radios only if the owner files a copy of the type approval from the manufacturer stating the radio complies with the necessary standards for commercial narrow-band use. That copy is filed in the Museum office.......mld

 Post subject: Re: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:15 am
Posts: 569
For a while, at the Ct Eastern RR Museum, we used the GMRS radios that you can get at Walmart, BJs, Cabela's, Bass-Pro, etc... They worked good, got about a 1.0-1.5 mile radius out of them (flat land). A couple years ago we decided it was time to go official, and one of members owns a communications company and supplied us with Hytera (HYT) TC-610P radios, they are programmable for 10 frequencies (IIRC, maybe 6).

Just like the GMRS radios they use digital squelch (speaker doesn't open till radio received the digital code it has been programmed with) this allows multiple radio groups to use the same frequency at the same time, without interrupting the other conversation. Only drawback of the digital squelch is that you have to wait 1-2 seconds after pressing the button before talking, while the radio is sending out the code for the other radios to lock onto. 1 of our 6 radios is configured to always be in scan mode, and jumps between the channels on a constant basis, only pausing and locking in when it hears a signal. The museum president will usually carry this radio so that he can hear and talk to both the docent and train crews as needed.

The radios are good, usually can get 2 days out of a charge, they are light and rugged (a.k.a. a few have been dropped onto ballast from waist high).

Hope that helps,
Rich C.

 Post subject: Re: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Illinois
My unscientific opinion and experience is: the Wal-Mart walkie talkies, located in the camping section, will work well for a short train, 5 cars or so. If you are one of the groups that operate 20-car excursion trains, they aren't strong enough to reach end to end of the train.

The Motorola 5-watt radios are what Bluewater NRHS used. We also had the red dot, which as I recall was 151.625mhz. They are very rugged, and could survive drops out of the vestibule as well. You are supposed to be licensed to use this frequency, and to use these radios in transmit/receive mode. These were $400+ radios 20 years ago, but now sell on Ebay for much less. I do suggest permanent organizations get licensed, and look for these radios on the secondary market.


 Post subject: Re: RADIOS!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:30 am
Posts: 708
Those Baofeng radios are great for the price. Don't let the price tag and the fact they are Chinese made fool you. They are certainly not in the same category at Motorola, but for $60 or $70 you can't go wrong. We've used them for about 4 years now with no problems. And with just a little computer knowledge they are relatively easy to program yourself too.

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