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Need Advice Choosing Radio Type (Willis,TX)

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Willis TX
#1
My son is a firefighter for MoCo ESD1. I live a stones throw from main station 91 or about an eighth of a mile from I45 on FM1097 west. I'm primarily interested in listening to fire/EMS in my area but I want to be able to pick up as many of the transmissions as possible. Anything out of my area would be a bonus. I know a little bit about how trunking works. I don't want to blow a lot of money on a trunked scanner if I'm not going to be able to pick up much more than an $80 Bearcat. I'm retired so I'd be using it at my desk. With that said I understand running an outdoor antenna would be ideal. I might be willing to pay more for a quality indoor antenna if it saves me the trouble of having to install an outdoor one...if that's even a thing. Long story short I'm looking for a radio that would give me the biggest return at the lowest cost. Thanks in advance.
 

mfn002

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Bryan, Texas
#2
I would probably recommend a P25 scanner, considering that Montgomery County uses these systems:
Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TxWARN) (P25) Trunking System, Various, Texas - Scanner Frequencies
Montgomery County (P25) Trunking System, Conroe, Texas - Scanner Frequencies

Since both systems support P25 Phase II (TDMA), one of these scanners will be necessary:
BCD436HP - The RadioReference Wiki
BCD536HP - The RadioReference Wiki
BCD996P2 - The RadioReference Wiki
WS1080 - The RadioReference Wiki
WS1095 - The RadioReference Wiki

Granted, all of these scanners are fairly expensive ($400+), so $80 won't get you much, unfortunately.

As for antennas, it really doesn't matter all that much. I've had success with both indoor and outdoor antennas. I have the AOR SA7000 as an outdoor antenna, and it works pretty well. The one drawback I found of having an outdoor antenna is the installation. I had to drill a hole in my wall to get the cable in from outside.
 
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Oct 31, 2016
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Willis TX
#3
thanks for the reply mfn. I knew a P25/Ph2 is what Id need for MoCo and that theyre a bit kinda pricey. My closest repeater is a simulcast tower about 6-8 mi away. Ive heard trying to tune to simulcasts are a bit tricky. I dont mind spending money on a good Phase 2 scanner but then to have to put more money tapping into that simulcast signal is what makes me leery. Oh yeah and the whole installation thing too.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
648
Location
Stinkadena, TX
#4
You can get dispatch and still alarm response on VHF without a P25 Phase II-capable scanner, but structure fire responses are on TxWARN only. Fireground is also on VHF but simplex, so you won't hear it unless you're close.
 

mfn002

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Bryan, Texas
#5
thanks for the reply mfn. I knew a P25/Ph2 is what Id need for MoCo and that theyre a bit kinda pricey. My closest repeater is a simulcast tower about 6-8 mi away. Ive heard trying to tune to simulcasts are a bit tricky. I dont mind spending money on a good Phase 2 scanner but then to have to put more money tapping into that simulcast signal is what makes me leery. Oh yeah and the whole installation thing too.
If you're only 6-8 miles away from the tower, then the stock antenna that comes with the scanner should work just fine.
 
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