Help Scanning in Houston

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Hello everyone,

I'm new to radio, and trying to learn as quickly as possible. I decided to start with scanning.

I bought a used Uniden HomePatrol from a retired Harris County Sherriff with all of the local PDs already programmed into it. He reset the user settings to factory, but kept the HCCO/HPD/HCSO/etc databases.

He also gave me a PCTEL Maxrad MLPV430 430-480 Low Profile Antenna, and maybe that's where I'm having my issues:

While this antenna covers the range of most of the services I'm interested in listening to, I don't seem to catch many transmissions. In fact, just monitoring HPD dispatch, I'll go a few minutes of scanning before I catch something. Seems odd to me...I feel like I should be catching more noise. I mean, I live quite close to one of the stations and I still don't hear much out of them.

If I listen to 454.1125 (Metro Police, I think) it's pretty much constant traffic, but that station uses voice inversion so I can't hear anything useful.

430-480 is really the only range I need to hear...but am I doing something wrong? Using the wrong antenna? I just feel like I'm not hearing very much considering all of the services I'm scanning.

NOTE: I know there are whip-style scanner antennas...I can't use those. I'm limited to the "phantom" style low profile antennas.
 

AndrewGS

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Unfortunately the HP-1 is not able to pick up the new Phase II digital systems that the City of Houston and Harris County have moved to. HPD and Harris county are all on 700/800MHz trunked systems that require a Phase II compatible scanner like the new Uniden BCD436HP or BCD536HP.
 
Joined
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TX
Unfortunately the HP-1 is not able to pick up the new Phase II digital systems that the City of Houston and Harris County have moved to. HPD and Harris county are all on 700/800MHz trunked systems that require a Phase II compatible scanner like the new Uniden BCD436HP or BCD536HP.
Hey Andrew -

Maybe you could help me with some radio knowledge here, as I'm a little behind.

I am still able to pick up transmissions from HPD Central Dispatch, North Shepherd, Beechnut, etc...as well as most of the HCCO/HCSO stations, they're just more quiet than I expect. I guess I'm just getting some dispatch and some cars responding to dispatch. Are they just repeating onto the old 4XX mhz stations? How would I be able to pick up some transmissions with my antenna/equipment if they were all already PII Trunked on a different frequency?

The Radio Reference database still shows them on the 4XX mhz range - http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=2623 - can you help explain what I'm not understanding here?
 

AndrewGS

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Humble, TX (Houston)
Hey Andrew -

Maybe you could help me with some radio knowledge here, as I'm a little behind.

I am still able to pick up transmissions from HPD Central Dispatch, North Shepherd, Beechnut, etc...as well as most of the HCCO/HCSO stations, they're just more quiet than I expect. I guess I'm just getting some dispatch and some cars responding to dispatch. Are they just repeating onto the old 4XX mhz stations? How would I be able to pick up some transmissions with my antenna/equipment if they were all already PII Trunked on a different frequency?

The Radio Reference database still shows them on the 4XX mhz range - Harris County, Texas (TX) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference - can you help explain what I'm not understanding here?
The UHF frequencies shown in the database are HPD Tac channels that may still be on UHF for backup use. They could be simulcasting some traffic on UHF, but I don't have a list of the old frequencies to try out.

HCSO and HCCO have been exclusively 800MHz trunked for years, but on an analog system. I'm not sure of the status of these services though because like you I was monitoring the analog sites and noticed a severe drop in traffic yesterday.

I plan to try out a couple of digital sites today to see if that's where all the HCSO and HCCO traffic went.
 
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The UHF frequencies shown in the database are HPD Tac channels that may still be on UHF for backup use. They could be simulcasting some traffic on UHF, but I don't have a list of the old frequencies to try out.

HCSO and HCCO have been exclusively 800MHz trunked for years, but on an analog system. I'm not sure of the status of these services though because like you I was monitoring the analog sites and noticed a severe drop in traffic yesterday.

I plan to try out a couple of digital sites today to see if that's where all the HCSO and HCCO traffic went.
Andrew,

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately it would probably be cost prohibitive for me to buy a new fancy Bearcat since I JUST got this homepatrol, so I might just have to take what I can get. I also have an Icom 208H that I plan to set up in my home office to listen to other stuff at home, that might keep me entertained. But honestly, I don't want to hear constant radio traffic so maybe that's alright. But yes - over the last few days it seems like I have heard fewer and fewer transmissions...I used to hear a decent amount from North Shepherd, but now almost nothing. Let me know what you find!
 

AndrewGS

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Apr 3, 2007
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Humble, TX (Houston)
Andrew,

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately it would probably be cost prohibitive for me to buy a new fancy Bearcat since I JUST got this homepatrol, so I might just have to take what I can get. I also have an Icom 208H that I plan to set up in my home office to listen to other stuff at home, that might keep me entertained. But honestly, I don't want to hear constant radio traffic so maybe that's alright. But yes - over the last few days it seems like I have heard fewer and fewer transmissions...I used to hear a decent amount from North Shepherd, but now almost nothing. Let me know what you find!
I don't know what has happened to the traffic but I'm listening now to Harris County on the PII system and I'm not hearing anything either. The scanner should be non-stop traffic but it's just silence.

HPD traffic on the PII system is also way too light.

Is nobody else noticing this?
 

KevinC

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Somewhere other than home :(
I don't know what has happened to the traffic but I'm listening now to Harris County on the PII system and I'm not hearing anything either. The scanner should be non-stop traffic but it's just silence.

HPD traffic on the PII system is also way too light.

Is nobody else noticing this?
See my question on HoustonScan.
 

cmdcomm

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HP1

Your HP1 will listen to everything on both the Houston and Harris county systems you are looking to monitor that are not encrypted. All traffic is Available on P25 phase I and all Harris county traffic is still on the analog system as well. You will need to get a 7/800mhz antenna.
 
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Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
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Location
TX
Your HP1 will listen to everything on both the Houston and Harris county systems you are looking to monitor that are not encrypted. All traffic is Available on P25 phase I and all Harris county traffic is still on the analog system as well. You will need to get a 7/800mhz antenna.
Ok, I have a 430-480 Maxrad antenna in use right now, but a 740-870 at home that I could switch to...

Are the 7/800 mhz frequencies listed somewhere? I didn't see them on the RadioReference scanner charts here:

Harris County, Texas (TX) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
 
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