Help with a Home Partol II not picking anyting up in Spring, TX 77379

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Hello from Spring Texas outside of Houston. I have had a HP 2 for between 3 and 4 years and I am really upset with what I have. I even sent it in to be checked out and paid for the 2 county update. I cannot pick up anyting at all, except for some occational random traffic. I cannot pick up the Harris County law enforcement or fire/ambulance. Is this an antenna issue or do I need to cut my losses and try a different radio. It just has the stubby antenna it comes with. Really concerned with the amount of money already spent on this. Thank you for your time and assistance.
 

hiegtx

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Hello from Spring Texas outside of Houston. I have had a HP 2 for between 3 and 4 years and I am really upset with what I have. I even sent it in to be checked out and paid for the 2 county update. I cannot pick up anyting at all, except for some occational random traffic. I cannot pick up the Harris County law enforcement or fire/ambulance. Is this an antenna issue or do I need to cut my losses and try a different radio. It just has the stubby antenna it comes with. Really concerned with the amount of money already spent on this. Thank you for your time and assistance.
I'm presuming that you have updated the database in Sentinel, & written the update to the scanner. Are you using one or more Favorites list? Of just a location & range, along with the main database.

The system that you are trying to monitor, TxWARN, covers your city, as well as Houston, Harris County, and the majority of the cities in the Houston Metro area. Unfortunately, from a scanner monitoring scenario, a great many of the transmit sites used are Simulcast. In a simulcast area, the same radio transmission, for a given talkgroup, is being transmitted from multiple locations, at the same time, all using the same frequency. Even though the time differential in those various signals arriving at your location is small, the 'echo effect' is still enough to impair, or even negate, the scanner's ability to monitor a given system.
A more complete explanation of Simulcast, and the problems it causes, can be found in the Wiki.
Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

You are in Spring, in the northern part of Harris County,
This is a map showing the tower sites for Harris County Central Simulcast.
1614038905652.png
Link to that page: Harris County Central Simulcast Site Details (Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TxWARN))
Each of those bullet points is a tower location. These are at various distances from you, and the out of synch signals give your HP-2 serious problems.

If you are trying to monitor Houston, the Houston Public Safety SImulcast is another one that may be problematic:
1614039469395.png

You likely would have better luck with the Houston Public Safety Spring site:
1614039560749.png
I've circled the Spring site. The other markers are for other sites, that are on the same license, but using different frequencies. But that site is not going to carry as much radio traffic.

The only actual scanners that are able to handle the simulcast problems are Uniden's SDS100 & SDS200.

Other receivers that can deal with simulcast include the Unication pagers, as well as the Blue Tail receiver.

See the Wiki page I linked above. In some cases, you might be able to get better reception with your HP-2 by using a directional antenna, aimed at one specific site, or "less" antenna, so that maybe the out of synch signals would be too weak to cause a problem.

Hopefuly, someone from the greater Houston area will respond, if they have a better, or alternate, method to try.
 

jonwienke

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Simulcast is particularly problematic for the HomePatrol models.
 

CHHTX

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hiegtx

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@hiegtx
Should he monitor the Harris Co NW Simulcast instead of the Harris Co Central Simulcast maybe? Would that help? Looking at the two, it looks like NW has a little further reach although Central is quite big.
NW Simulcast site - Harris County Northwest Simulcast Site Details (Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TxWARN))
Harris County Central site - Harris County Central Simulcast Site Details (Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TxWARN))
You probably are correct. As I'm not in the Houston area, that's why I added that hopefully someone in that area would respond.
 

hiegtx

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Thank you everyone. I wish I had checked here before ordering the HP2
I will look at purchasing a radio that will work with Simulcast in the future.
Brent
The HP-2 is basically a good scanner (I have one myself), but simulcast systems are it's Achilles heel.
 

mass-man

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You said you’ve had the HP2 3-4 years! Simulcast was just getting to be a thing then...it may have worked well with whatever you were listening to then!!!
 

letarotor

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I grew up and my family house is in the old 77373, currently 77388, zip code. I haven't been down there in a few years, but I know that even with my BCD436HP a few years back, from the Enchanted Oaks subdivision close to Cypresswood and I-45, I had problems receiving sites on a rubber ducky type antenna. I could tell that an outside antenna would definitely be needed if I was to be staying down there for a while. I know there are a lot more sites now and I see that there's even one in Spring. But to monitor the simulcast traffic without any issues unfortunately might likely require something like an SDS100 or SDS200, or even the Unication G-Series pagers that are much better receivers.They are built to work with simulcast systems. Good luck on getting things working.

Brian
COMMSCAN
 

CHHTX

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Thank you everyone. I wish I had checked here before ordering the HP2
I will look at purchasing a radio that will work with Simulcast in the future.
Brent
I have to agree w/ the others. You can't blame yourself for what you ordered. When you did order it, it was what was needed for the time. Technology changes and we're all constantly chasing it. Welcome to the never-ending race!
 
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