Can't pick up Katy or Ft. Bend Sherrif on Harris County Radio System

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Premium Subscriber
Aug 25, 2009
Houston Texas
I have a Pro-164 scanner, and don't hear any traffic for the Katy PD or Ft. Bend Sherrif's talk groups. I listen to Harris County Sherrif and Constables with crystal clear reception.

I'm within range of the Downtown Houston and Tamina towers, and wonder why Harris County Sherrif and Constables come in from those towers, but Katy PD and Ft. Bend Sherrif doesn't. Am I missing something, or is the traffic for Katy PD and Ft. Bend Sherrif isolated to a specific tower I"m out of range on? I thought all talk groups are transmitted across all towers in the Harris County Regional Radio System.

Example talk groups I can't pick up.

Katy PD 1 09456
Katy PD 1 09520
Katy Police 3 Ta 23536

FBSO 2,3 02256
FBSO 5,6,7,8 02384
FBSO District 4 03888
FBSO Patrol 4 02416
FBSO Tactical 45744
FBSO Tactical 1 02480
FBSO Tactical 2 02512
FBSO Tactical 3 02448
FBSO Tactical 4 02432

And on that note, I never could pick up Coast Guard or DPS talk groups either.


Mar 11, 2005
Galveston/Houston, TX
Hey InHouston,

No, all talkgroups are not broadcast across all towers. This comes down to the basic operation of how a SmartZone system works. The part in this article about "Dynamic Site assignment" touches on it:
Motorola Type II SmartZone - The RadioReference Wiki

Basically, this means that a TalkGroup will only be broadcast on a site if it really needs to be. We can assume that "users" of the Galveston talkgroups are for the most part mainly within range of the Galveston tower (and a few others nearby) and as such NOT affiliated with any other sites. This means their TGs will only be broadcast on the Galveston (and nearby) towers and no where else. However if for example a Galveston officer heads to downtown Houston for some reason, when they leave range of the Galveston tower their radio will automatically affiliate with (switch to) other towers along the way north and as such whatever TG they are on will begin broadcasting on Texas City, Alvin, League City, Pasadena and finally Downtown. Once they return south their radio will switch back and the system will intelligently stop broadcasting the GPD TalkGroup downtown to free-up the frequency for other users.

Hopefully that makes sense. Obviously this is a generalization and sometimes you'll hear distant agencies on towers near you but be prepared for them to stop broadcasting at any time.



Jun 2, 2003
Houston, Texas
Basically when anyone with a legit radio "affiliates" with the downtown tower, you will hear that specific talkgroup talk on that tower. Ex: if a Katy or Fort Bend LEO goes to IPC to drop a prisoner off, they will most likely switch to the Downtown tower and you will be able to hear those talkgroups on that tower.

You should be able to hear Fort Bend Co SO and Katy PD on the Clodine tower all the time.

Edit: the DPS talkgroup is vary rarely used (Except for in Waller County and probably others, but in that case you would only be able to hear it on those specific towers)
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