Mash-up: Fort Worth System (Ellis/Johnson Co Sites) | Heart of Texas/McClennon | Hill County

texaskeystone

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I have a SDS100, SDS200, BCD436HP, BDC536HP and a HP2 in my fleet, so one would think I would have a better understanding of some of this stuff than I do, and my apologies if the answer to my situation is obvious. That said, here we go. I live 6 months out of the year on Lake Whitney near the dam. I have SW Johnson, Ellis, Johnson and Mansfield sites turned on for the FW system. Here by the lake, I can only get good data on the Johnson County site, and from that I am able to monitor most of the Johnson County fire channels that are in the clear, along with Mansfield PD/FD and Burleson FD - also in the clear. Unfortunately, I can't grab the Ellis County site, so I am not hearing Ellis SO, Waxahachie, Midlothian, etc. here at Lake Whitney.

Today I had the occasion to journey up I-35 for some TexMex in Waxahachie, so I brought the SDS100 w/Remtronics antenna along. Unsurprisingly, once I got to Hillsboro and all the way up I-35E to Waxahachie, I got solid data from the Ellis Co site and started receiving the expected Ellis County agencies. Also unsurprising, I lost data on the Johnson site as I moved further north. However, I continued to receive Mansfield PD, which I normally (at Lake Whitney) would hear on the Johnson County site, on the Ellis County site. I have never been able to hear the opposite Ie: Ellis County agencies on the Johnson Co site. QUESTION: Is this simply a situation of Mansfield simulcasting on more than one site where, perhaps, the Ellis County agencies are only using the Ellis site?

I'd really like to pull in Ellis at Lake Whitney but have been unsuccessful with any of the receivers above with any indoor antenna combination I have tried. I think ultimately I am going to need a mast and outdoor antenna here.

Semi-related commentary to this area and a question: Waco & McLennon County on the Heart of Texas system throws solid data decently here on the Waco site unless you go down by the Whitney lake shore. Hill County, on the other hand, is an antique hot mess altogether. Word is the county is now looking to use a Fed grant to go from their current VHS digital band-aid to a full blown new system, but it sounded to me like it was going to be home grown by an vendor from South Texas and not a tag on to either the Fort Worth or the Heart of Texas system, which seemed like a miss to me. That is all I could decipher from the county commissioner minutes a few weeks ago. QUESTION: Does anyone know anything more detailed about future plans in Hill County?
 

BenScan

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Yes, many of the Mansfield talkgroups are on multiple sites including Mansfield, Ellis Co, Fort Worth Layer 2, and Johnson County.

QUESTION: Is this simply a situation of Mansfield simulcasting on more than one site where, perhaps, the Ellis County agencies are only using the Ellis site?
 

texaskeystone

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Yes, many of the Mansfield talkgroups are on multiple sites including Mansfield, Ellis Co, Fort Worth Layer 2, and Johnson County.

QUESTION: Is this simply a situation of Mansfield simulcasting on more than one site where, perhaps, the Ellis County agencies are only using the Ellis site?

Thanks Ben. That is what I suspected, which explains why I was hearing Mansfield but not other JC agencies on Ellis County. I guess my problem is one of altitude. Ben, is there anywhere in the database resources that indicates when a TG is available on more that one site? Thanks again.
 

BenScan

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You're welcome, and not that I know of as far as multiple sites go. The interop channels are the most common ones, Mansfield, and then a handful of NETCOM talkgroups are on both the NETCO site and Fort Worth Layer 1.
 

hiegtx

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I have a SDS100, SDS200, BCD436HP, BDC536HP and a HP2 in my fleet, so one would think I would have a better understanding of some of this stuff than I do, and my apologies if the answer to my situation is obvious. That said, here we go. I live 6 months out of the year on Lake Whitney near the dam. I have SW Johnson, Ellis, Johnson and Mansfield sites turned on for the FW system. Here by the lake, I can only get good data on the Johnson County site, and from that I am able to monitor most of the Johnson County fire channels that are in the clear, along with Mansfield PD/FD and Burleson FD - also in the clear. Unfortunately, I can't grab the Ellis County site, so I am not hearing Ellis SO, Waxahachie, Midlothian, etc. here at Lake Whitney.

Today I had the occasion to journey up I-35 for some TexMex in Waxahachie, so I brought the SDS100 w/Remtronics antenna along. Unsurprisingly, once I got to Hillsboro and all the way up I-35E to Waxahachie, I got solid data from the Ellis Co site and started receiving the expected Ellis County agencies. Also unsurprising, I lost data on the Johnson site as I moved further north. However, I continued to receive Mansfield PD, which I normally (at Lake Whitney) would hear on the Johnson County site, on the Ellis County site. I have never been able to hear the opposite Ie: Ellis County agencies on the Johnson Co site. QUESTION: Is this simply a situation of Mansfield simulcasting on more than one site where, perhaps, the Ellis County agencies are only using the Ellis site?

I can't directly receive the Mansfield site from home here in Dallas. But I was hearing a lot of Mansfield TGIDs on the Ellis County layer. Midlothian's site on the southwest side of the city is near the edge of that ridge where the terrain drops off into the areas around Venus, Chapparal Steel, & the TXI concrete plant, so it may well be getting better signals, from Mansfield units, than Mansfield's single transmit tower. I ended up adding Mansfield's talkgroups to my Ellis County file, then setting that department to Avoid.

I'd really like to pull in Ellis at Lake Whitney but have been unsuccessful with any of the receivers above with any indoor antenna combination I have tried. I think ultimately I am going to need a mast and outdoor antenna here.
If you could put up an external antenna, above the roof line, you might be able to snag Ellis County. The southernmost site on that layer is in Forreston.

Semi-related commentary to this area and a question: Waco & McLennon County on the Heart of Texas system throws solid data decently here on the Waco site unless you go down by the Whitney lake shore. Hill County, on the other hand, is an antique hot mess altogether. Word is the county is now looking to use a Fed grant to go from their current VHS digital band-aid to a full blown new system, but it sounded to me like it was going to be home grown by an vendor from South Texas and not a tag on to either the Fort Worth or the Heart of Texas system, which seemed like a miss to me. That is all I could decipher from the county commissioner minutes a few weeks ago. QUESTION: Does anyone know anything more detailed about future plans in Hill County?


I see comments in the Jan. 11, 2022 Commissioners Court minutes that there was a 'presentation from L3 Harris concerning up to date telecommunications". If they are working with Harris, then they are looking at a P25 trunked system, probably Phase II.

Adding: Looking at the minutes for the June 22nd, 2021 meeting, comments are that they approved an interlocal agreement with Waco for Waco's 800MHz trunked radio system. So, if they follow through, then apparently they will be joining Waco's HOTRRS.
 

texaskeystone

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Looks like Mansfield is no longer simulcasting on the Johnson County and Ellis County layers. They had been earlier in the year before I left the area for the summer months but now that I am back, I have noticed they are only on their own site now. I had also heard from an insider earlier in the year that a far southern Ellis site was going to be added beyond that Foreston tower) but doesn't look like that happened.
 
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