You should be able to. There are towers all over the state, not just in the dispatch cities. As far as an antenna goes, if you find the stock one isnt good enough, i recommend the diamond RH77CA. Works amazing for me on the NSP frequencies.
If you can, hold off on the 996xt though. Both Uniden and Whistler will be releasing new scanners in the first quarter of 2014. (i sure wouldnt want to spend $400-500 on something that will be "outdated" in a couple months)
Uniden BCD396XT, Uniden BC125AT, Uniden BC700A, RS Pro-83, Motorola HT1000, (3) Motorola JT1000