Houston Area Newb

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NewbieTexan

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Humble, Tx
Hey everyone.

I've recently taken an interest in scanning and radio in general and was wondering if there were any shops in town worth going to to ask some questions and potentially buy a scanner.

I am currently living in the Houston area but plan on a move down near Victoria at some point and will probably need an antenna down there, yes?

Any advice you have would be really appreciated.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
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Katy, TX
I am thinking there was a place in town that sold scanners as a main part of the business but I can't remember the name. As for questions, it depends on what information you are looking for. This forum will get most of the information to you, although just a little slower than a conversation. Some of the stores sell scanners (like Fry's) and there is always RadioShack; however, I think that you will get your best deal and without a doubt a wider selection online.

As for moving to Victoria, well you will hear the things in the area down there just as easily as you hear the local stuff in Humble right now. If you plan on trying to listen back to Houston from Victoria, 130 miles is a pretty big stretch for public safety comms. I would not count on that, indeed from Victoria, I wouldn't count on listening to anything but the Victoria local area stuff. Corpus and San Antonio are also too far away for anything.
 

NewbieTexan

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Thank you so much for the reply.

I would like a digital/trunking scanner than can pick up all of the local action. From what I've been reading it seems like police departments are now encrypting their radio transmissions? Does this mean that no one is able to hear it other than PD or that a certain scanner needs to be purchased in order to hear it?

I realize this may belong in another forum, but as you're in Katy you'll know what will work best for someone in our area.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
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Sorry for the delay in responding but I have been pretty busy with HLSR activities for the past several weeks, but since that is (for the most part) done here we go.

No, I would say that the vast majority of police traffic is not encrypted. There are some exceptions and you can hear a lot of folks wailing about it if you lived in Orlando, FL for example, but where you live (the great state of Texas :D ), you don't have much to worry about right now. What is happening is folks are moving to digital formats, mostly P25 for which you can buy scanners, although they cost in the $500 range. All of TX DPS is now P25 digital, I am not familiar with the Victoria area directly, but maybe someone down that way can jump in and address the local use of P25 down there.

Looking in the DB at Victoria County there appears to be just conventional analog and one TRS (also analog) down that way. But, once again, I maybe someone local to Victoria will jump in and confirm that.

In the local area here, there is a mix of P25 and analog stuff to listen to. You didn't say what part of the area you were in but for the most part Harris Co. is analog, but will be moving to P25 as funds and budgets dictate. Houston PD/FD are both analog and conventional. Visit the appropriate pages in the Database to see what is there; Harris Co. and the surrounding area is just too dense (radio wise) to discuss in general with any real meaning.
 

NewbieTexan

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Thank you everyone for your input. I think it's time to start shopping around.

If you had a budget of around $500 and were to purchase a scanner, what would it be? I am interested in hearing as much as possible and would like to buy as little "extra" stuff as possible.
 

scanfan03

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Houston, Texas
PSR-500, it follows patches and has very good digital audio. Harris County SO always patches dispatch channels together and when they do if they don't patch it to the dispatch channel you are monitoring your radio won't pick up any traffic.
 

FlashSWT

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Galveston/Houston, TX
Personally I'm a fan of the Uniden models, either the handheld BCD396XT or the base BCD996XT (which will be my next purchase later this spring).

.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
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One of the first questions you have to ask yourself is do you want a mobile/base type radio or do you want a handheld? You will find fans of both the GRE models as well as the Uniden models, both of which will answer your needs. Use the Wiki (see link above) and review the radios capable of digital reception. Then when you have some specific questions, ask away.
 

dieselwiezil

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Hassis County Precinct 5

My office is on Fry rd and I10 and im looking for the frequencies and trunk talk codes for this area sdo I can listen on my scanner
 

davidbond21

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New Braunfels, TX
My office is on Fry rd and I10 and im looking for the frequencies and trunk talk codes for this area sdo I can listen on my scanner
Here you go. Or at least I think this is what you were asking for. You'll have to peruse the talkgroups[i.e. trunk talk codes] to see which ones apply to you as I'm not familiar with the area. The frequencies are listed toward the top of the page, and there is a Pearland site so that's as far as you need to look in that particular section.

Welcome to Radio Reference. :) If you need help getting your scanner working right, make sure to tell us what model it is, and if you are programming it with a computer or by hand. Hopefully people from the area can make some suggestions as to what to listen to given your location you mentioned. Make sure to take a look around at the conventional and other trunking systems listed in the Harris County Database.
 

dieselwiezil

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hopefully my sig will work now. If not, im using a RS-PRO91 Trunk tracker. Im picking up Pearland's trunk system perfectly. I was just hoping that someone has the talk groups cause its tough monitoring all those channels. What im looking for is Harris County Precinct 5, metro patrol west and if Katy PD is trunked them too. I saw a couple users from Katy as I have been lurking this forum hopefully one will chime in.
 
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Fry @ 10 is patrolled by HCSO District 4 and Precinct 5 Constables. Both are on the HC Regional 2318 system and are very busy, to the point where you almost need separate scanners dedicated to each agency. Do yourself a favor and don't plug in all of the HCSO talkgroups, just District 4 Dispatch, Tac 4, and Tac Southwest-A. You'll want to load both the Downtown and Clodine site frequencies and see which one works better.

Fire is provided by West I-10 VFD and EMS is West Harris County EMS. They both use UHF conventional. You might as well plug in Westlake and Community VFDs too since they're all in the area and mutual aid each other frequently.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
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Katy, TX
hopefully my sig will work now. If not, im using a RS-PRO91 Trunk tracker. Im picking up Pearland's trunk system perfectly. I was just hoping that someone has the talk groups cause its tough monitoring all those channels. What im looking for is Harris County Precinct 5, metro patrol west and if Katy PD is trunked them too. I saw a couple users from Katy as I have been lurking this forum hopefully one will chime in.
You really don't want Katy PD unless you run west on I-10 from Fry & I-10. Katy PD do not start patrolling until around Grand Parkway. As motorola_otaku says, for around your office, you just want HCSO Dist 4 TGs and the Constables for Pct 5. I might add that HPD actually has jurisdiction on the Katy Fwy almost down to Fry although they seldom come west of Barker Cypress.

m_o: In reference to West Harris Co EMS, didn't they lose the contract? I might be getting confused on this, but I thought they lost the contract to West I-10 FD effective this past January.
 

dieselwiezil

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So I have added All of Clodine and all of Downtown Houston but 8(I rand out of channels in the bank) I programmed all the talk groups suggested and im not picking anything up...
 

tneff

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Jun 23, 2004
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Rosenberg, Texas
I live between Houston and Victoria, picking up HPD, HFD and most the others is no problem to the North. To the South, Wharton (digital) I pick up when they decide to talk most of the time. Not much else from the South, there are so many little towns that have their own local FD's backed up with county law enforcement that you should be able to find plenty to listen to. Just depends on what you want, DPS (digital) is pretty active from where I am down to Victoria and further South. With a decent antenna you should be able to pick up Wharton and El Campo, but you will need a digital scanner to do it as well. Pierce (DPS) is gonna be right in your back yard, it's gonna come down to what you wanna listen to. I know there are some other folks past me that can get a little more detailed, I'm no where near as educated on the proper terms as they are but plenty to listen to down here if you set it up right.
 

mario_verasso

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Houston/San Antonio/Dallas TX
For Houston's HPD you won't need digital or trunking. I have an old uniden bearcat 560XLT (only 16 chan.) and i pick up all of the HPD (not 460.225 car2car) Bellaire, Nassau bay, Tomball & Deer park. from almost anywhere in Houston. Because i only have 16 channels i can't pick up more.
 
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To the South, Wharton (digital) I pick up when they decide to talk most of the time... With a decent antenna you should be able to pick up Wharton and El Campo, but you will need a digital scanner to do it as well.
What's Wharton city and county doing these days? Have they fully switched law ops over to the 700 system, or are they still using VHF too? I know Wharton fire dispatch hasn't changed anything aside from the addition of the repeated frequency.
 
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