Ham Operators Have Other Hobbies As Well

I noticed a lot of my Ham Radio friends have a keen interest in trains.   There must be a reason.  Let’s save that line of thought for some other day.

For my entire life (so far) trains have always “been there”.  And they have always looked pretty much the same.

When I drive to work in the morning many times I am greeted by a Norfolk Southern pulling a big load.  At the risk of appearing paranoid, I think that train knows my schedule because many times I meet him again at the same grade crossing on my way home late at night.

Frank Mellott, KB3PQT is the biggest rail fan that I know.  He sat down and wrote us a nice article about trains and how Ham Radio Operators can leverage aspects of one hobby to increase their enjoyment of their other hobby.

Here are the opening paragraphs of Frank’s article in the How Do I… series — Playing With Trains.

I love hobbies that cross over. Finding time and money for one hobby is tough enough.
But when that time or money can help you enjoy two or more hobbies, it makes it so
much easier to justify it!

I am a railfan. I’ve been one for over 35 years. I read once that a true “train nut” has
10,000 photos. Let’s just say I have more.  And that was in in the pre digital camera
days.  I started with the classical “train set under the Christmas tree” when I was in first
grade and never looked back.

Thank you for that introduction, Frank.

If you would like to read the entire article click on the first link below. 

Frank also shared with us a list of channelized frequencies used by the train crews.  Many of these frequencies are adjacent to the popular Ham Radio Two-Meter Band.  Many Ham Radio Two-Meter transceivers are capable of receiving the frequencies that Frank lists in the second link below.

The Norfolk Southern train tracks are about a mile from my home.  Last night, after reading Frank’s article, I tuned my Two-Meter Transceiver to the frequencies Frank mentioned.  I set the radio to SCAN and waited to hear some conversations.  Sure enough, there was a bit of discussion taking place.  I enjoyed exploring the train frequencies.

Download: Playing With Trains [PDF]

Download: AAR Railroad Frequencies [PDF]

I hope you enjoy reading what Frank has written.  If so, tell your friends.  If not, tell me what I should improve.

• Author:  Andrew Forsyth, AF3I