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Use Of Radioscanners In The US?  
User currently offlineEdlw From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 37 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 10349 times:

Hello all,

just one or two questions for a friend of mine concerning the use of radioscanners in the US, especially near airports of course.

How are the official regulations (I think they are forbidden, aren't they?)
And how is it handled unofficial? Are they widely used in the spotter scene? Is there a big risk to get it confiscated if police controls you?

Thanks in advance & a Happy New Year 2003 to everyone!


12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineUnited_Fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7680 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 10280 times:

There are no regulations that I know of. The last time I was questioned at the airport I had my scanner on and the cop didn't care.

Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 10282 times:

The only restrictions are that the scanner cannot be able to pick up mobile phone frequencies (which in the USA are still largely analog and non-encrypted).

Apart from that, there are no restrictions though police might be interested in why you have one if you are questioned as they seem to be associated with drug trafficing (criminals use them to monitor the whereabouts of police patrols).

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineEdlw From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 10271 times:

OK, thanks. I think this helps.
I hope my friend has a small airbandscanner without the mentioned band of mobile phone - btw, can anybody tell me which frequency the mobile phones are using in the US?

Best regards,

Spottinglinks for nearly 80 airports in Europe, Links to airplane-fansites and more:

User currently offlineKCLE From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 686 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 10256 times:

806-956 MHz. I have two of the last models to be equiped with the mobile phone band, although if you look enough there are some new scanners that cover the 900MHz range, which is the 806-956, I believe.

Also, if someone tells me I must detroy these scanners because they can listen in on the guy yelling at his wife for cheating on him, or for the mother yelling at her kids to stop throwing things at the neighbors, then I'm going to tell you that you're full of crap.

Besides, there are fewer phone conversations to pick up on that frequency range. Why? Because probably like everywhere else, it's fashionable to get the newest cell phone, so new that the paint has practically not even dried on it yet, and all new phones are digital, so only a few convos can be picked up, mainly cordless phone conversations, like from the cordless phone in my house.

User currently offlineUnited_Fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7680 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 10242 times:

My Uniden Bearcat from '94 gets cell phone freq's,but it gets tiring listening to them as they fade in and out. Besides,alot of people went to dig phones.

Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (13 years 4 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 10227 times:

I have the Sporty's SP-200 NAV/COM and you can listen, transmit, and also pickup VORs and localizers. Its a handy tool to have inflight incase of radio failure.
Tell your freind not to worry about using them.

Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offlineBrentspeed From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 4 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10224 times:

I also agree that an aviation nav/com like Sporty's sells is a great idea if you plan on flying in actual. As far as picking up phone conversations, I had a cordless phone (a Vtech) in college a year ago that depending on where I stood in my house I could hear different neighbors on their phones while I was talking on mine. It was pretty funny some of the stuff I heard while I was just talking to my friends. I wouldn't worry too much about having a scanner.

User currently offlineSubzero From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 4 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 10186 times:

My older Radio Shack scanner picks up cell phones and cordless (lower bands) phones.. I've sat in the terminal before waiting to catch my flight listening to ATC nobody even approached me... Just had to turn it on and back off for security though (like they do with laptops)..

User currently offlineExnonrev From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 621 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (13 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10156 times:

There are no federal regulations other than the ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986) rules requiring all new scanners sold in the US since 1986 to have the cellular portions of the 800 band blocked out. It's not illegal to own a scanner made prior to that time which is unblocked. It is illegal to listen to cell or cordless phone conversations.

There are some state restrictions. Michigan, Indiana, New York, and Kentucky (to name a few) have laws forbidding the use of a scanner in a vehicle. Kentucky and Indiana tend to be the strictest. (you pretty much can't have one outside of your home) In most states you'll be OK.

User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (13 years 4 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10149 times:

Most of the restrictions in place have to do with intercepting public safety radio messages. Some areas have made it illegal to have a scanner in your car because some morons will just chase police/ambulance/fire calls. One thing for the press to do that, another for the guy who just gets in the way. (and they do.....)

User currently offlineFLAIRPORT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (13 years 4 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10128 times:

in GA at least, the law is that you cannot do anything to the scanner that would allow it to pick up cell phone broadcasts.... it is legal to listen if you "inadvertaly" (however its spelled... you know what i mean) recieve it... that is what i believe

User currently offlineFlightSimFreak From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 10141 times:

I was told, and the manual for the scanner I own confirms, that there is no law against listening to cordless phone conversations. It is strictly forbidden to listen to cellular phone conversations, and that is listed multiple times in the pages of the manual, but not once does it mention cordless phones.

A quick glance at the Scanner Laws webpage... confirms this... It is illegal to listen to cell phone conversations, but cordless phone conversations are ok... as long as you don't record them without telling both parties.

That page should have all the information you need about scanner laws, both federal, and in each state.

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