Whatever reason you have for getting into this hobby, I'm sure you will find the niche that's just right for you. Don't get discouraged by the vast world of horns that's now unfolding before you! There are many people who enjoy the hobby, yet don't have a "collection" to brag about. Some hobbyists prefer to preserve the historical sounds of the railroads in the form of audio recordings. Others prefer to dedicate their time to preserving horns in-service, and have gone to great lengths to learn the art of horn construction and/or repair. There are even a few who do what they can to advance the development of new or improved horns for railroad use, including work for the Class Is. Nothing is ever too high or lofty if you set your mind to it!
However, there are also those of us who want to collect these wonderful devices to either display, or also sound off when appropriate. Some hobbyists collect the older and rarer horns to preserve a small piece of an age in diesel railroading that is already gone. I know a couple of these individuals who are even willing to loan these historical artifacts to certain railroads just so the wonderful sounds they produce may be heard once again. Then, there are others would like to be able to collect as diverse a base of horns as possible, wishing to learn all the nuances of each model. Another specialization is collecting personally significant railroadania, such as horns they remember from their childhood. Yet others are more interested in the sounds that are possible to make, and dabble in creating new horns and modifying existing horns. And this only scratches the surface!
No matter what you would like to accomplish, I've prepared a few resources to get you up and running. And, don't be surprised that as you start to learn, you find yourself pursuing "just one more horn" over and over again! That's part of what makes this hobby fun - the pursuit of your goal, and developing new goals!
In addition to the resources below, I strongly urge everyone to consider a subscription to the Horn and Whistle journal, and in-print magazine dedicated to horns, whistles, bells, and other industrial noisemakers. Some other wonderful resources are the Locomotive Air Horns message board, the Horn and Whistle message board, the Horn/Whistle Yahoo group and the Train Horns Yahoo group. In addition to providing a wealth of information, these groups are the best way to start communicating with other people involved in this hobby.
How They Work - the general concepts and ideas describing exactly what it is that causes a horn to make its sound
What's Needed - for those ready to jump into the collecting aspect of the hobby, here's what you need in order to get started and be able to sound off your prized pieces
Where to Get 'em - and when you're ready to go ahead and get that first horn, here are a few tips to get you started in your quest for that first prize
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