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Old 05-14-2017, 4:45 AM
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Default Fort Worth / Johnson County Area

Hello, I am moving to Texas and had some questions regarding the Forth Worth / Johnson County area.
I am using a 436HP, which I have never used in a phase 2 area... how well does this work with the scanner? I also saw that there were different layers... are these layer TGs associated with the layer frequencies listed at the top of the page (because thats the only thing I could infer from). And that Johnson County is on the Johnson County simulcast frequency table? And if I wanted to listen to the combined dispatch center (RH, NRH, Haltom City...) that I would have to program the layer 2 freq table? Do any FDs simulcast or tone page on a VHF or UHF in Tarrant or Johnson county?

Sorry for all the questions, just new to the area and it is different then what we have in Ohio.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:56 AM
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It depends on where you will be monitoring, and what you want to hear. Uniden and Whistler scanners generally do not perform very well on simulcast P25 systems like the Fort Worth Regional Radio System, especially on Layers 1 and 2. Layer 1 is primarily used by Fort Worth police and is encrypted. There are some other public works users on there, but not too much interesting stuff. Layer 2 has Fort Worth Fire, Tarrant County SO, NHRW fire, police, and Forest Hill Fire and Police, with some other interesting talkgroups. You'll here the Johnson County area stuff on that site. There are some talk groups that show up on more than one site, especially the interop stuff. I don't know about Johnson County FDs simulcasting an alert tone on a conventional frequency. Denton County does that for some departments, but it's not done in Tarrant Co. Welcome to the area.
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Old 05-14-2017, 9:47 PM
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BenScan, I PMed you.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefox89 View Post
Hello, I am moving to Texas and had some questions regarding the Forth Worth / Johnson County area.
I am using a 436HP, which I have never used in a phase 2 area... how well does this work with the scanner? I also saw that there were different layers... are these layer TGs associated with the layer frequencies listed at the top of the page (because thats the only thing I could infer from). And that Johnson County is on the Johnson County simulcast frequency table? And if I wanted to listen to the combined dispatch center (RH, NRH, Haltom City...) that I would have to program the layer 2 freq table? Do any FDs simulcast or tone page on a VHF or UHF in Tarrant or Johnson county?

Sorry for all the questions, just new to the area and it is different then what we have in Ohio.
As Ben has noted, what you may be able to hear will depend greatly on your location after the move. Fort Worth proper is not using Phase II, neither are the other users on Layers 1 & 2.

Johnson County is on a separate 'layer', as are other cities using the FWRRS system. Presuming you are in either southern Tarrant or northern Johnson County, you likely will be able to also monitor the Mansfield and possibly Arlington layers. Mansfield is P25 Phase I. Arlington is using Phase II, though the PD talkgroups are encrypted. Grand Prairie and Irving are also Phase II, but likely will be out of range for you. You might be able to hear Grand Prairie if in the southeastern part of Tarrant, or northeastern Johnson County.

One layer that is not active yet is one that will be used by Midlothian & Red Oak in S/W Ellis County. I suspect you'd be able to pull that in as well. I believe it will be Phase II when activated.

There is no need to program a table for Layer 2, or any of the other layers, though of course you would need to enter the site frequencies.
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It depends on where you will be monitoring, and what you want to hear. Uniden and Whistler scanners generally do not perform very well on simulcast P25 systems like the Fort Worth Regional Radio System, especially on Layers 1 and 2. Layer 1 is primarily used by Fort Worth police and is encrypted. There are some other public works users on there, but not too much interesting stuff. Layer 2 has Fort Worth Fire, Tarrant County SO, NHRW fire, police, and Forest Hill Fire and Police, with some other interesting talkgroups. You'll here the Johnson County area stuff on that site. There are some talk groups that show up on more than one site, especially the interop stuff. I don't know about Johnson County FDs simulcasting an alert tone on a conventional frequency. Denton County does that for some departments, but it's not done in Tarrant Co. Welcome to the area.
Ben,
In the last week to 10 days, I did catch one conventional tone out for Johnson County. My reception of them, even on an external antenna, is marginal, as they are "behind the hill" relative to my location. Other than that, I can't say that I have heard much activity on the Vhf conventional channels. I also can't get a good signal on their FWRRS layer, for the same reason (terrain). However, driving to Stephenville down Hwy 67, I was copying the Johnson County site until just short of Stephenville itself.
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Old 05-15-2017, 2:28 AM
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I plan on listening to Fire/EMS only, and I will be living in Crowley and want to hear the Combined Dispatch Center as well as Crowley, Fort Worth and Johnson County. I have a 436 as well as two conventional scanners (1 base model and 1 in my vehicle). As I look at it, I'm guessing if it isn't labeled a certain Layer (Take Crowley for example) then it would be under Layer 1 so I would need to Program Layer 1 in, but for Combined Dispatch Center, I would need to program in Layer 2 since its labeled Layer 2? Also, I am assuming that like other major radio systems, that Fort Worth FD main is on Layer 2, so I would program that in, should I program in Layer 1 the FWFD backup as well? And, I am just assuming, but FWFD is dispatched on Fire 1 like most FDs around the country? Just new to the area and trying to get everything right here....

Last edited by Firefox89; 05-15-2017 at 2:42 AM..
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Old 05-15-2017, 8:28 AM
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I hear Johnson County fire unit tone out on 154.145. However, I'm unsure if all county fire stations are toned on this frequency vs the FTW trunked system.
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Old 05-15-2017, 8:54 AM
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Crowley is now on the Johnson County site.

Generally speaking, if there's a talkgroup on Layer 1, there's a backup talkgroup that matches on Layer 2, and visa versa.

For example "Fort Worth PD Help" is 5001 on Layer 1 and "Fort Worth PD Help B" is 5002 on Layer 2. If one of the those sites/layers is down, then you're likely to find activity on the "B" talkgroup.

The Unication G4/G5 series voice pagers do a great job of receiving P25 Phase 1 talkgroups. For me, they do a significantly better job than the Uniden and Whistler scanners on pulling in Fort Worth Fire, NHRW, TCSO, etc. Supposedly, they'll be adding Phase II with a paid upgrade in a couple of months.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:14 AM
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Ben,

Is it similar to programming a scanner? I just looked them up ad was wondering about them being used as a scanner substitute.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:14 AM
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Yes, they are similar to programming a scanner. I wrote a review a while back that tells more about them. Please see the link below.
Unication G5 Voice Pager as a Scanner - Review
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:28 PM
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G4 works great on FTW FD. I got a second G4 last week.
Thats if my BK KNG2-P800 is not with me.
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Old 05-16-2017, 8:51 PM
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Thanks for that review on the g4 Ben. I'll look into it in the future.
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Old 05-19-2017, 9:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by favin View Post
I hear Johnson County fire unit tone out on 154.145. However, I'm unsure if all county fire stations are toned on this frequency vs the FTW trunked system.
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Do any FDs simulcast or tone page on a VHF or UHF in Tarrant or Johnson county?
154.145 is a simulcast of Johnson County Fire Alarm on Layer 4 of the FWRSS. All JoCo fire departments (except Burleson) are toned out on 154.145 / Talkgroup 6539 on Layer 4 of the FWRSS. Burleson is toned out on Talkgroup 6655.

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I am using a 436HP, which I have never used in a phase 2 area... how well does this work with the scanner?
I just recently purchased the 436HP and use it to listen to JoCo on the FWRSS among other things. I can tell you that for me at least, it performs very well. I carry it with me while traversing across Tarrant County every Monday and reception on the FWRSS for that area is very good as well too.

For Johnson County, you will need to program in the frequencies for Layer 4 and then the desired talkgroups you want to listen to.
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