Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Google Maps and railfan pictures and videos

A new feature on http://www.rtprailfan.com/, there is a page that allows you to mark your own photos and videos on google maps. I just started this so I'm not sure if its fully operational but feel free to give it a try. Here is the web address. Hope you enjoy it, I'm sure I will.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Site being update...

I'm in the midst of updating my site. I haven't done any Dreamweaver in a while so I'm relearning....

Friday, October 24, 2008

man...i'm bad at this

I just don't write in my blog enough. To be honest, I've been out of the railfanning for a bit. I got that Traintenna in that I paid $170 for and I can't get it to work. It operates horrible and I can't find a thing wrong with it. I gave up so in the mean time I built a new computer. Its pretty nice...

Intel 8500 dual core
4 gigs ram
G260 EVGA video card

It whups my old computer. I play Crysis at 1280x1024 at very high settings with no problem. Awesome computer. So pretty much all I've been doing is gaming for about 3 weeks. My railfan setup is currently using the original radioshack vhf antenna. I've just been recording stuff, not broadcasting but i really should kick it to broadcast because i don't even listen to it....I think I'll do that now.

Gotta love remote computer....http://www.rtprailfan.com....there is a link there to railfan radio. You just have to click that and then click on the "listen" link above...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Railfan Scanning

Well, I received my Traintenna LP but I haven't had much luck in getting it going. Well, by that I mean it seems to be working but it doesn't pick up any better than my VHF antenna from RadioShack. I'm don't think I have anything setup wrong, I just think it doesn't pick up any better and I'm fairly disappointed because that antenna was $170, my other VHF antenna was $25 and does just as good of a job??? That makes no sense to me. As soon as I get that thing setup the way I want it I'll put the RTPRailfan stream back online. Till then....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall is coming!

Time to get back to railfanning! This summer has gone by quickly. Had some good times and bad. LeeAnne's grandfather died back in July, that was not a good time. He is missed. On the positive side, both LeeAnne and I have gotten promotions recently. Its always good to feel like you are doing something right. Just this past week I got back from a Washington trip that included some railfanning sidelines to the longest tunnel in the U.S. (Cascade tunnel), hiked up some of Mt. Rainier, and checked out the raillines along the Columbia River. It was a great trip and I plan on updating it on www.rtprailfan.com. In addition I recently ordered my Traintenna from DPD productions and I will be getting the server back up and running now that it should be cooling off. See you at RTPRAILFAN!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I had never really done anything on Facebook but LeeAnne signed me up for it. Its kinda interesting. I've been playing around with that lately. Not much else going on. I think I'll try to update my website soon and we have the Seattle trip coming up. We went to see LIVE last night, that was really good. I'm ready for Fall.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


So I was thinking after the summer about putting an audio blog or something of that sort together for the scanner stuff down here. I'm not sure how I would do that, I guess my scanner feed would be good enough now. I was thinking more of something you can put on an ipod to hear the previous days action. This would be really great around my area given the scarcity of transmissions sometimes. I went walking around Morrisville today, up near where Park West Village is suppose to go in. Doesn't look like there is much going on, maybe the housing downturn has put that project on hold?? We had a big layoff last Monday but I survived. Hopefully I can make it though this recession. Just got back from a vacation at the Outer Banks. It was really nice to get away.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

RTP Railfan Radio Down

I had to take the railfan audio server down for the summer. For some reason the computer keeps shutting down (maybe cause its in the attic and its about 130 up there). In addition my power bill was very high in June so this will also save me some electricity. I'll probably pick it back up in September. Maybe by then I can get a Traintenna for better pickup. I haven't been doing much railfanning anyways. Talk more soon...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too hot for railfanning

Man, I have been really slacking on my railfan stuff. I got a promotion at work and I have even less time for railfan stuff. I guess I have also just been lazy about updating the site and blog. I'm planning on a railfan trip to the northwest this summer so that should be fun. Got the DPD productions map of the northwest so we just have to plan out a route. Should be fun!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Man, Slacking!

Work has been crazy. Seems like I am getting more people to the site and thats great. I have some free time this weekend, maybe I can get some work done on updating and more pictures. Radio is down now too, I think I just need a reboot. Power must have went out. See you later!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring is here....

That means lots of yard work to do. Thus the lack of posts, not to mention hectic at work. I haven't been getting out to see much lately, but I did catch a freight today at Clegg. Soon I hope to get a Traintenna for my attic setup. I don't really listen to it much but it seems to be working ok. I'm wondering if I'm going to keep it going through the summer because it gets pretty hot up there plus the cost of running the computer all the time. I'll let you know when I get the new antenna set up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

RTP Railfan Radio back online!

I went ahead and put the RTP Railfan scanner stream back online. Seems to be working so far. Let me know if you have any comments! Scanner Link.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Looks good so far

The new antenna seems to be working quite well. The only bad thing is it picks up more that is unintelligible. However, it does pick up further than my Yagi. Picks up Cary pretty well, the defect detector all the time. Its pretty nice.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Updated Website

I update my website with some small new stuff and got the links working at the top. Just did a page about the Yagi antenna I have in the attic even though I don't use it now. I'm using the RadioShack VHF antenna. It seems to pick up better than my 5 element Yagi. I still can't pick up the NS defect detector in RTP. I'll get a traintenna eventually and I hope I'll pick it up then.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Testing Railfan Scanner Feed

Currently the scanner feed is down. I'm testing a new VHF antenna I got from RadioShack. This is to replace the Yagi I build that was in my attic. This was the $26 VHF antenna from RadioShack. Seems promising right now, I could hear the Amtrak this morning at the Fairgrounds in Raleigh and all the way to Clegg on the H line in RTP. Eventually I will get the traintenna from DPD Productions but its about $175 for the log periodic. I also need to get the correct Maxtrac installed that allows audio out of the accesory connector. On another note, I heard the Moncure defect detector from Apex, some 20 miles away. First time I've ever heard that one go off.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll do more research next time...

Well, it turns out that I bought the wrong Maxtrac. I need the one with the 16 pin accesory adapter, not the 5 pin. So I have no way to connect this radio the the soundcard of a computer. Great. Well, I guess I'll have to get another one. Its ok, I think I would have gotten another one anyways. Hopefully I can do some more railfanning soon, haven't gotten to do much lately.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Motorola Maxtrac

I bought this Moto Maxtrac 300 because I heard commercial radios are better than scanners. I can belive that. So I got it and it does indeed have better receive sensitivity. I had to gather all the equipment to get it going, radio interface box (RIB), Rib to radio cable (I built), Rib to computer cable (came with the RIB). Then I had to find the software. Took me a while to realize that the way Motorola and others define pins 1-8 on an RJ45 connector is backwards. Anyways, to the good stuff. Last night I hooked it up in my car and I could almost hear a train in Raleigh and I could hear the Cary defect detector no problem. This is a far cry from my scanner where the best I could hope for was Apex. I'm not sure what people have that say they can hear 35+ miles. I can only hear 20 with my maxtrac and a antenna tuned to 160 MHz. How much better can you get than that. Anyways, I'm hoping to get another one of these on the cheap and install it in the attic with the Yagi. This will definitely get better range than my current scanner.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No more Western Digital Hard Drives

Well, I went to Hamlet, NC this weekend and caught the 92 Amtrak running 7 hours late. I was going to post some pictures but my external hard drive failed taking all my old pictures with it. This is the second WD drive to fail on me in the last 3 months. I have had it with them. And to top it off it failed just out of warranty. Of course thats easy to do with a 1 year warranty. The drive started making a wierd noise and now it just does 3 clicks two times in a row and doesn't try anymore. My computer doesn't pick it up at all. We are trying to freezer trick, but to no avail. I guess I'm just out of luck. I'll try to post a pic or two once I get that stuff back in order.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

RTP Railfan Radio

So, I have this server up in my attic connected to a Yagi antenna and scanner. Its not the best setup, I can hear Apex, Cary, Raleigh dispatch. I'm getting a Motorola Maxtrac so hopefully this will have better reception. Try it out. You will need WinAmp to listen to it. Doesn't seem like much is going on at night but during the day it picks up a fair amount of local traffic. I'll see how it goes with this server and see if I'll keep it up. Let me know if you have comments. It doesn't have nearly the traffic that the radio servers have around places like Hamlet but it still works.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Man, I have been slackin on the website. Went over to Raleigh and Selma over the weekend, caught some action. Couple freights, couple Amtraks. I will have to post some new photos to the website soon. I caught the lunar eclipse last night and got some pictures. I needed a telephoto lens for that though. Work is still keeping me busy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too much to do...again...

However, this time its work thats the hold up. The last three weeks have been crazy. I haven't had time to work on the website at all. Hopefully things will calm down soon. I got a GRE superamp but it doesn't seem to help the signals i'm picking up much. I'm trying to build a filter for the railroad band but its slow going.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Selma, NC

Caught some action in Selma the other day. Seems they were doing some repair work out that way and they had a lot of traffic caught up. I even saw the juice train coming up from Florida. Cool stuff.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Busy Week

This was a really busy week at work so I haven't worked on the website or done anything on the blog. Not much railfanning either. Its snowing here now, kind of a dreary Saturday. I'm going to go work on the website, see if I can get some stuff done.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Visit to Hamlet, NC

This weekend I spent Saturday visiting Hamlet with my brother. Hamlet is quite the railfan mecca. I saw at least 5 other people just hanging around watching the trains go by. We were probably only at the station 5 hours total and we must have seen 10-15 trains. They just kept coming and going. Its an ok place to walk around. We also went wandering in the woods west of Hamlet on the near the tracks by the Pee Dee River. That was very interesting. Our feet were caked with about 3 inches of mud and the briars were merciless. Worse so for me because I was wearing shorts. We did see two freights out there, but there isn't a good place to view the bridge. All i all a good weekend though.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

RTP Scanner Radio is ONLINE!

I finally got the RTP Railfan radio online. I'm having some problems with the intermods that find there way into the railroad band. Its pretty good though, I've only had it online a day and I can here the Cary, NC CSX detector. I would really like to be able to hear the NS detector up in Clegg, NC but I haven't heard anything so far. I need to work more on rtprailfan now that I have the railfan radio online.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Can't work on website, building Yagi Antenna

Well, I read online that some people were using Yagi antenna's for receiving talk over the AAR channels. I have two monopole antenna's but I thought I would try building a Yagi. I sort of got it working I guess but I still don't think its as good as it should be. I guess I'll give it a while and see how it does. Hopefully I can get it optimized and then I'll leave it be. I haven't worked on the www.rtprailfan.com site for a while because i've been wrapped up in antenna design. Hope to post some pics soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Its been a while

So I was on vacation and I haven't updated my blog in some time. I took some railfan trips, to Hamlet, Aberdeen, followed the Durham and Southern from Apex to Dunn, NC, went to Selma, NC on the old ACL mainline. It was quite a vacation. I have a ton of stuff to update http://www.rtprailfan.com/ with. Also, the search engine optimization we did is paying off, for some reason i'm highly ranked for "amtrak cary." I guess because of the one article I have on amtrak and Cary, NC. I went there also. I also am working on a video page but I did some stupid stuff the other night in Dreamweaver and I screwed up one of my CSS pages. I need to fix that tonight. Hope everyone had a good holiday and check out the page, I'll have new stuff soon.