Need Advice Choosing Radio Type (Willis,TX)

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gaitkeeper

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Willis TX
My son is a firefighter for MoCo ESD1. I live a stones throw from main station 91 or about an eighth of a mile from I45 on FM1097 west. I'm primarily interested in listening to fire/EMS in my area but I want to be able to pick up as many of the transmissions as possible. Anything out of my area would be a bonus. I know a little bit about how trunking works. I don't want to blow a lot of money on a trunked scanner if I'm not going to be able to pick up much more than an $80 Bearcat. I'm retired so I'd be using it at my desk. With that said I understand running an outdoor antenna would be ideal. I might be willing to pay more for a quality indoor antenna if it saves me the trouble of having to install an outdoor one...if that's even a thing. Long story short I'm looking for a radio that would give me the biggest return at the lowest cost. Thanks in advance.
 

mfn002

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I would probably recommend a P25 scanner, considering that Montgomery County uses these systems:
Texas Wide Area Radio Network (TxWARN) (P25) Trunking System, Various, Texas - Scanner Frequencies
Montgomery County (P25) Trunking System, Conroe, Texas - Scanner Frequencies

Since both systems support P25 Phase II (TDMA), one of these scanners will be necessary:
BCD436HP - The RadioReference Wiki
BCD536HP - The RadioReference Wiki
BCD996P2 - The RadioReference Wiki
WS1080 - The RadioReference Wiki
WS1095 - The RadioReference Wiki

Granted, all of these scanners are fairly expensive ($400+), so $80 won't get you much, unfortunately.

As for antennas, it really doesn't matter all that much. I've had success with both indoor and outdoor antennas. I have the AOR SA7000 as an outdoor antenna, and it works pretty well. The one drawback I found of having an outdoor antenna is the installation. I had to drill a hole in my wall to get the cable in from outside.
 
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gaitkeeper

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Willis TX
thanks for the reply mfn. I knew a P25/Ph2 is what Id need for MoCo and that theyre a bit kinda pricey. My closest repeater is a simulcast tower about 6-8 mi away. Ive heard trying to tune to simulcasts are a bit tricky. I dont mind spending money on a good Phase 2 scanner but then to have to put more money tapping into that simulcast signal is what makes me leery. Oh yeah and the whole installation thing too.
 
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You can get dispatch and still alarm response on VHF without a P25 Phase II-capable scanner, but structure fire responses are on TxWARN only. Fireground is also on VHF but simplex, so you won't hear it unless you're close.
 

mfn002

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thanks for the reply mfn. I knew a P25/Ph2 is what Id need for MoCo and that theyre a bit kinda pricey. My closest repeater is a simulcast tower about 6-8 mi away. Ive heard trying to tune to simulcasts are a bit tricky. I dont mind spending money on a good Phase 2 scanner but then to have to put more money tapping into that simulcast signal is what makes me leery. Oh yeah and the whole installation thing too.
If you're only 6-8 miles away from the tower, then the stock antenna that comes with the scanner should work just fine.
 
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