Carolina Railfan Scanning
When I got into railfanning I use to just go hang out by the tracks and I would see what happened to go by. Then I read about using a radio scanner to listen for trains. I'm not a HAM so getting a full fledge receiver was not for me. I wasn't really interested in listening to the police or fire channels either, although my scanner allows that. Let me just lay out some basics. Scanners allow you to scan certain regions of the radio spectrum to see whats going on. You could get a scanner that costs $200+ dollars, but generally you are getting a trunking scanner which is not required for railfanning. The trunking radio's are generally used for police scanning. The American Association of Railroads defines 96 radio channels used for radio communication. With these 96 channels and two other EOT channels, you can listen to all the communications on the railroads. The radio I got is a BC72XLT scanner from Uniden. It has 100 channel memory so I can program in all 96 railroad channels and the EOT channels for scanning. I can also program my scanner to scan certain ranges of frequencies, for instance 159.0 to 162.0 MHz to scan the range of railroad frequencies. With these frequencies and the right antenna, I can hear railroad activity in a 15 or so mile radius.
Uniden Scanner