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Radio Scanner for NYCT Sub


Acela Express

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Just purchased an radio scanner from RadioShack [model no. 20-164] to start listening into the radio waves on the subway. I've had this thing for almost eight hours and surprised by the amount of activity being transmitted between the trains and control center / towers.

 

I've been listening into the waves mostly on IRT, IND, BMT & SIRT lines. Now the issue seems to be, I can mostly hear the tower clearly, but not the receiver (train operator). [edited], but other waves are a bit iffy... though enjoyable nontheless. Also I was able to hear a few southbound A trains checking in with the tower.

 

How do I go about increasing the signal strength of my scanner to hear everything loud and clear throughout NYC? Possible?

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Thanks for the info; certain parts have been edited.

 

Cool, also you will not be able to hear every thing even if you have a TA radio. You only hear what is close to you. I live over an IND subway station and on my radio, I don't hear the IND at all, I hear BMT Coney Island channels better then anything else.

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Cool, also you will not be able to hear every thing even if you have a TA radio. You only hear what is close to you. I live over an IND subway station and on my radio, I don't hear the IND at all, I hear BMT Coney Island channels better then anything else.

I live between the IND Fulton Line and Eastern Pkwy IRT Lines. I've heard a few transmissions from the Culver line, and Brighton Lines. I even heard something from Ditmars Blvd, I'm guessing from the N line.

 

Nothing with IRT yet...

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It depends on where the train is, and where the repeater towers are for that specific frequency. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you would be able to hear anything at Coney if you're all the way at the top of the Bronx, for example.

 

The TA radio system is very odd. I can hear Lefferts Blvd, the Flushing Line, the whole BMT Southern Division, and some of the Eastern Division. I have never heard the IRT at all. For perspective, I live on the south side of Prospect Park near 9th Ave.

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The TA radio system is very odd. I can hear Lefferts Blvd, the Flushing Line, the whole BMT Southern Division, and some of the Eastern Division. I have never heard the IRT at all. For perspective, I live on the south side of Prospect Park near 9th Ave.

I've heard something with the Flushing line today, but very little. You're so right about the system being odd-- I was expecting to hear the entire Brooklyn division, majority of Queens and Manhattan.

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Frequencies for the NYC subways are mainly anywhere between 158.XXXX & 161.XXXX. These are just frequencies further up on the FM Radio Dial (88 to 108). These frequencies are also "line of sight" which is why FM radio stations use the Empire State Building to broadcast from since it is the tallest building and there transmissions can go to the horizon. If there is a mountain, a tall structure, etc, the frequency cannot penetrate around. I live in Edison, NJ. On a scanner I can only pick-up the Rockaways because there is nothing in my antennas way to the Rockaway lines. I cannot pick-up northern Queens or other parts of Brooklyn because Todt Hill Staten Island is in my way. This is why your FM radio stations in your car disappear and come back. Also in the tunnels there are antennas strung along the walls so the T/O's radio only has to reach that. In my neighborhood I can pick up New Jersey Transit, PATH, SIRR because nothing is in my antennas way blocking it from the dispatchers antenna which are located more along the right-of-way. If they broadcast from the Empire State you would hear it all. Remember what was previously said to you about listening to any railroad transmission. Never repeat what you hear. One day my crowded subway train in between stations had a fire a few cars back. Can you imagine what would have happened if I said something. Even if it's just something like a switch problem up ahead on the line. You cannot repeat it. I keep my scanner hidden in a vest pocket and use an earphone.

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Remember what was previously said to you about listening to any railroad transmission. Never repeat what you hear. One day my crowded subway train in between stations had a fire a few cars back. Can you imagine what would have happened if I said something. Even if it's just something like a switch problem up ahead on the line. You cannot repeat it. I keep my scanner hidden in a vest pocket and use an earphone.

What you just did now is a no-no. Can't repeat what you hear, regardless of when or through what medium.

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  • 2 weeks later...
ok so there's an antenna in the subways strung along so the T/Os can hear. but are there antennas we can buy for our apartments so we can hear?

 

This is where I turn to for scanner related issues.

 

http://www.radioreference.com/

 

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Category:Antennas

 

Acela Express: I have the same scanner as you. Radio Shack Pro-164. The rubber ducky stock antenna that comes with it is ok but you can do better. Best way to improve your reception is an outdoor antenna. It also depends on distance from the repeater(line of sight). Trees, tall buildings have an impact on reception.

 

I found that radio hard to program. I own a Uniden bc346xt,and it is a far superior radio. About the same price($215.00). I listen mainly to MTA Bus and NYCT Bus on the 800mhz/900mhz bands. Best way to program your scanner is through the computer, you need to buy a USB cable and software first though.

 

As far as reception goes MTA Bus comes in loud and clear, NYCT isn't as clear, it's a very old radio system. They really should upgrade their radio systems as communication is vital in day to day operations.

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  • 2 months later...
I can't answer your question, but do not tell people what was said on the radio. Listening to a scanner is legal, but repeting waht you said is illegal.

 

What you just did now is a no-no. Can't repeat what you hear, regardless of when or through what medium.

 

This interoperation of laws regulating the use of radios and scanners is presumably false. Otherwise, websites that allow you to listen in on police radio and air bands, that have been around for years, would be in serious hot water.

 

What Federal Law prohibits is the use of scanners or radios as assistance in criminal activity, or as a way to gain a certain advantage. For example, a tow truck company can't use the police band to get a jump on auto-accidents and you can't listen in on cell phone conversations (although they've mostly gone digital now-a-days anyway).

 

These laws are different in every country, and certain state laws, New York included, prohibit installing scanners in vehicles except with an FCC license (amateur radio, HAM, etc) or if it's required for your job (police, fire, air service, etc). There are also provisions that steepen penalties for crimes committed if eavesdropping on the cops was part of the plan.

 

Point being, this isn't a police state and you don't have to worry about getting in trouble if you want to repost something interesting that you've heard while scanning in the system. Personally, I haven't had time to go be the radio geek that I am in the subway, but do recall a funny conversation I overheard from the T/O to Rail Control regarding a tourist who pulled the emergency brake because he missed his stop.

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I'm only going off what I have heard many many times.

 

And you would be correct:

 

http://www.police-scanner.info/scanning/police-scanner-laws.htm

 

The bottom line:

 

* It is illegal to listen in on cellular and cordless phone calls.

* It is illegal to intercept encrypted or scrambled communications.

* It is illegal for scanner manufacturers to sell or import radio scanners that are capable of receiving cellular phone frequencies. (Note: This rule does not apply to sales by individuals and radio scanners made before 1985).

* It is illegal to modify radio scanners so that cellular phone frequencies can be received.

* It is illegal to use information you hear for personal gain. A common example is where a taxi driver listens to a competitor's dispatch channel for fare pick-ups and then races over and picks-up the fares.

* It is illegal to use information you hear to aid in the commission of a crime.

* It is illegal to disclose information you hear to other persons.

 

And from the relevant law:

 

Sec. 2511. Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or

electronic communications prohibited

 

...

 

(C)intentionally discloses, or endeavors to

disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or

electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that

the information was obtained through the interception of a wire,

oral, or electronic communication in violation of this

subsection;

 

 

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Ok, let me explain the rules in NYS. Its illegal to use a scanner or a radio that can pick up police frequencies in the event of commiting a crime. It is NOT ILLEGAL to tell other people what you hear on a NON-ENCRYPTED frequencie. NYCTA along with the whole city does not encrypte any of their frequencies. Therefore its 100% legal to post what you hear. Its NOT a crime.

 

(T)hank you :tup:

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