We're always looking for additional defect detector recordings! Older recordings of defunct railroads and antiquated detector models are
highly desired as they get harder & harder to find as time goes on, but we certainly welcome recordings of contemporary detectors as well. Just as with locomotives, they'll
all be retired some day; and with the advent of PTC & increased use of talk-on-defect only, their voices may become a thing of the past within our lifetimes.
If you have recordings on old cassette tapes, we can help. We have a cassette-to-USB converter and can convert them for you. If you prefer to convert them yourself, check out this link.
If you have recordings you would like to contribute, you can submit them via this form.
To see a list of defect detectors for which we need audio, click here.
We have assembled some tips for producing the best possible audio recordings. We understand that circumstances may not always lend themselves to following these, but they are good general practices to try to follow:
- Minimize Background Noise
Background noise (train horns, crossing bells, the train itself passing by, cars accelerating away after the train clears, wind, etc.) all degrade the audio quality. While we do possess software to help combat these, it isn't always possible - and frankly, it's much easier to start with a clean recording that doesn't require much (if any) work. Something as simple as recording inside your car with the windows up instead of outside the car can make a tremendous difference.
- Turn Off The Scan Function
One of the biggest reasons we decline to include a recording is that the beginning of the message is clipped off, or that scan priority is on which causes short burts of silence throughout the recording. Turn off the scan function and turn off scan priority to ensure you get a complete, uninterrupted recording.
- Proper Volume Level
Volume level that is so low that it can barely be heard, or completely blown out & distorted is very difficult to save. A little on the quieter side is fine provided there is no background noise to compete with. Audio that is blown out & distorted is virtually impossible to recover a natural sound from.
- Don't Change The Volume Level
A consistent volume level throughout the duration of the recording is much easier to work with. The position of your recording device matters too - if the device is facing away from your scanner/radio at the start, then is moved closer to it, the volume change is dramatic in the resulting recording. When possible, set everything up ahead of time and don't move it.
- Stronger Signal Is Better
A strong, clear signal is always going to be preferred to a weak, static-filled one. We understand that it's not always possible, but the closer you can get to a detector, the better. The added benefit of this is that you're much less likely for a stronger signal from a train or dispatcher to "step on" the detector's transmission.
- Record Directly
The single best way to produce excellent quality recordings is to record directly from your radio/scanner, either via an audio cable to a digital voice recorder, or on a scanner/radio equipped with a MicroSD card to automatically record audio. More information on this method is outlined below.
The easiest way to produce audio recordings of excellent quality is to remove all of the external factors and record the signal directly to a memory card. Many contemporary
scanners & radios have this capability from the factory, a list of which can be found below.
Please note that integrated MicroSD cards with audio recording abilities are still generally considered a premium feature (and priced accordingly). A much cheaper alternative is to utilize a 3.5mm audio cable and a digital voice recorder with any scanner that has a 3.5mm headphone/speaker jack. We have personally used & had great success with the Sony ICD-PX370 for this purpose.
MicroSD Recording Scanners/Receivers
|GRE COM||PSR-700||RadioReference||No Longer Produced|
|GRE COM||PSR-800||RadioReference||No Longer Produced|
|Icom||IC-R30||Manufacturer||No Longer Produced|
|Radio Shack||Pro-668||RadioReference||No Longer Produced|
|Uniden||HomePatrol-1||RadioReference||No Longer Produced|
MicroSD Recording Amateur/Commercial Radios
** Do not, under any circumstances, transmit on any railroad frequencies! **
|Kenwood||TH-D74A||Manufacturer||No Longer Produced|