Help with determining which scanner will work with my area

Erock7625

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Hello, trying to find a scanner that will work to listen in on police/fire/ems in my area. I live in a rural town/county and from what I can tell from the database it is not digital or trunked but I’m not sure if I am interpreting it correctly. All the modes are listed as FM, does that mean any basic analog scanner like a BCS75XLT or BC365CRS or SR30C will pick them up?

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

thanks!
 

N1GAW

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Based on what I see, you are correct, they appear to be analog with no trunking.
 

hiegtx

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Hello, trying to find a scanner that will work to listen in on police/fire/ems in my area. I live in a rural town/county and from what I can tell from the database it is not digital or trunked but I’m not sure if I am interpreting it correctly. All the modes are listed as FM, does that mean any basic analog scanner like a BCS75XLT or BC365CRS or SR30C will pick them up?

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

thanks!
For now, one of those scanners would work for your home county.

However, four of the counties along Madison's eastern & southern borders are using the TxWARN system.

While two other adjacent counties, Houston & Robertson, are not currently on the TxWARN system, they have one or more channels that are using digital radio traffic. That's the P25 that you see in the mode column.
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So while the scanners would work for your home county, at least for now, you would be unable to monitor some of the counties south & east of you, and also be unable to monitor certain specific channels in two other neighbors. If you want to have the option to hear some of these agencies, the scanners you list will not be able to do that.
 

GlobalNorth

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While your area may be conventional analog now, narrow band digital radios are taking over. If you are going to buy something to carry you forward for years, I'd buy a digital capable scanner. If you aren't certain if the hobby is for you, buy a used conventional model.
 

hiegtx

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While your area may be conventional analog now, narrow band digital radios are taking over. If you are going to buy something to carry you forward for years, I'd buy a digital capable scanner. If you aren't certain if the hobby is for you, buy a used conventional model.
You're dead on with that.

Here in Texas, even in the sparsely populated rural counties far west of Dallas/Fort Worth, the trend is for agencies, especially dispatch channels for the Sheriff's office, to move to digital.
 

Kingscup

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I think I am going to have an unpopular opinion here but for now, a non-digital scanner will be fine. He wants to monitor a small county with a small population (15k). I don’t see that county going digital anytime soon as I doubt they have the money or infrastructure to do it.

If he wants to monitor outside his county or plans to move within the next couple of years, then digital would be a better way to go. I would also hate that he buys a digital scanner then finds out he is not really into scanning.

Also look at the BC125AT. For $20 more, you get some good feature upgrades that might be worth it to you.
 

KK4JUG

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Public safety communications is always in a state of flux. I would try to get the best radio I could afford so you can sort of "future-proof" your listening. And, if you decide to travel with your scanner, I can guarantee you'll miss out on a lot without digital capabilities.
 

hiegtx

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While
I think I am going to have an unpopular opinion here but for now, a non-digital scanner will be fine. He wants to monitor a small county with a small population (15k). I don’t see that county going digital anytime soon as I doubt they have the money or infrastructure to do it.

If he wants to monitor outside his county or plans to move within the next couple of years, then digital would be a better way to go. I would also hate that he buys a digital scanner then finds out he is not really into scanning.

Also look at the BC125AT. For $20 more, you get some good feature upgrades that might be worth it to you.
While I agree that, for now, a relatively cheap, analog, scanner will cover the OPs county, don't bet too much that his home county will not upgrade because population is so low. I can direct you to several Texas counties, with less population than Madison, that have converted to using digital. Quite a few are less than one fifth of Madison's counties size (based on population), with several with a population of less than 1,000. Terrell, population listed as less than 800, not only uses P25 conventional channels for their S.O., but fire & EMS as well as the Sherriff's Office use talkgroups on GATRRS, a P25 Phase I system.

So while a cheap analog scanner may be a path for the OP to get his feet wet, and see if scanning actually interests him, his options on who to hear will be significantly limited. For that matter, there is an audio feed for Madisonville Fire, which does not require buying any scanner.
 

lu81fitter

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To the OP. ---> IMHO, one of the best analog scanners on the market is a Uniden BCT15X. It will do conventional analog along with other analog trunked systems (various Motorola and EDACS). You can program it with the keypad on the front or you can use free software to program it on a computer (ie. Freescan). I have 2 of the radios and they have worked flawlessly for at least 8 years. Brand new, they can be had for $145-160. They are worth the investment if you are interested in learning the scanning hobby. Furthermore, if you decide that you are interested in continuing and get into the digital side of things, the BCD996P2 is a good scanner for digital that has almost the same programming arrangement, with the addition of the digital format for that model. Hope this helps and I hope you enjoy getting in to the scanning hobby!

Edit: The BCT15X is a base/mobile model. It can be used at your home or in a vehicle. It is not a portable type. The 125AT that was mentioned above is a good unit as well and is also portable but does not handle trunked systems. The BC346XT will handle trunked systems and is also a good option.
 
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hiegtx

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To the OP. ---> IMHO, one of the best analog scanners on the market is a Uniden BCT15X. It will do conventional analog along with other analog trunked systems (various Motorola and EDACS). You can program it with the keypad on the front or you can use free software to program it on a computer (ie. Freescan). I have 2 of the radios and they have worked flawlessly for at least 8 years. Brand new, they can be had for $145-160. They are worth the investment if you are interested in learning the scanning hobby. Furthermore, if you decide that you are interested in continuing and get into the digital side of things, the BCD996P2 is a good scanner for digital that has almost the same programming arrangement, with the addition of the digital format for that model. Hope this helps and I hope you enjoy getting in to the scanning hobby!

Edit: The BCT15X is a base/mobile model. It can be used at your home or in a vehicle. It is not a portable type. The 125AT that was mentioned above is a good unit as well and is also portable but does not handle trunked systems. The BC346XT will handle trunked systems and is also a good option.
While the BC346XT and BCT15X are good scanners that can handle trunked systems, they are strictly analog. The TxWARN system, used by several counties adjacent to the OP's home county, Madison, is a P25 Phase II system, though the agencies near the OP are still using Phase 1. There are no listed analog trunking systems shown for Madison County, so there is no advantage to buying an analog trunk tracker.

The scanners that he was considering are all analog scanners, as is the BC12AT that has also been suggested. The analog scanners mentioned, BCS75XLT or BC365CRS or SR30C, plus the BC125AT, would work for now on Madison County; analog trunking capability is not needed. As has been suggested several times in this thread, those analog scanners would give the OP a starting point to see if monitoring local agencies is a solid enough interest to pursue futher at a later date. Any of these would allow him to monitor his home county, plus selected agencies in adjacent counties that are neither digital nor trunked.
 

iMONITOR

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I think I am going to have an unpopular opinion here but for now, a non-digital scanner will be fine. He wants to monitor a small county with a small population (15k). I don’t see that county going digital anytime soon as I doubt they have the money or infrastructure to do it.

If he wants to monitor outside his county or plans to move within the next couple of years, then digital would be a better way to go. I would also hate that he buys a digital scanner then finds out he is not really into scanning.

Also look at the BC125AT. For $20 more, you get some good feature upgrades that might be worth it to you.
I agree with your analogy. If he out grows the analog scanner he can always sell it as they're still popular for monitoring aircraft. Should he decide to upgrade to a digital scanner at a later dates they may be less expensive at that time or with any luck something new and better might come out!
 

mc48

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Get a digital scanner, if you go analog and the county changes to digital you are SOL, and if you don't like scanning and try to sell, it will be easier to sell a digital scanner than an analog one. Stay away from the HP2 and go for a BCD436HP or SDS100 great radios and easy to sell if needed.
 

hiegtx

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Get a digital scanner, if you go analog and the county changes to digital you are SOL, and if you don't like scanning and try to sell, it will be easier to sell a digital scanner than an analog one. Stay away from the HP2 and go for a BCD436HP or SDS100 great radios and easy to sell if needed.
While I am not trying to get the OP to overspend his budget, especially since he is unsure, so far, as to whether or not he wants to get into scanning, it appears changes are in the works in his area. Hence, the suggestion to try the Broadcastify feed for Madisonville Fire Rescue as a zero cost try out. There are a number of feeds, including some for law enforcement, in the counties surrounding Madison.

The low cost analog scanners being discussed may work for now, but that window may close earlier than expected. I did some searches regarding Madison County and their communications. The attached file is an article from the local newspaper in Madisonville. This discusses upcoming changes for Madison County, and their intention to migrate communications to a new system. Reading the comments in the article, and also reading the minutes from Commissioners Court meetings in Madison County, the county is moving to a system that interconnects with neighboring counties, Brazos Valley Wide Area Communications. The counties specifically mentioned in the news article, Brazos & Walker, are on TxWARN. While I did not completely read every line of all the commissioners court sessions, in February (this year) the county gave approval to start the process to upgrade. Additional approvals were in May meetings minutes, 05/11/2020 and 05/26/2020. For the May 26th meeting, discussion includes that the Department of Public Safety (Texas state policing agency) will be providing a "Six Pack Repeater System" (their terms) to be installed on a county owned tower. I presume that means a six channel site. The state is providing the repeater, with the county responsible for installation & antenna costs. Reference is also made that there are subscriber costs, $16.71, or less, per radio per month, and states that those costs will have to be included in the next budget year. The budget year starts October 1st, so it appears that the change will be in place sometime between now & possibly next spring.
 

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Texoma24

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I'd recommend digital also, DPS is digital and most businesses are going digital. Scan smart and be ready for when the agency makes the switch its only a matter of time. The BCD996P2 would be a good starter, its low cost and can be upgraded for NXDN and DMR later if needed.
 
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