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.