KYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 7 Posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2157 times:
I have heard that having an aviation scanner on in your vehicle is illegal in the USA. Can anyone confirm this? I have also noticed that there seems to be more static in the transmissions when the engine is running. Any thoughts on this?
Thanks for your response!
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
AZO From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 765 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2118 times:
Any kind of radio scanner is illegal, however in Michigan you can get a permit for this, from the state police. Search around http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scan_michigan/ and you should be able to find out more information on this, including how to get a permit, cost, and wait period. I personally do not have one, so I don't have all the info but I hope some of this helps. Good luck!
I have an Icom analogue scanner and have not noticed any difference with the engine running or not.
Wagz From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 509 posts, RR: 18 Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2100 times:
I've never heard of scanners being illegal before. Maybe it varies according to state law, but there are dozens readily available at your local Radio Shack. Maybe the permit you're thinking of actually refers to a transceiver, which can transmit as well as receive.
I'm pretty sure that scanners are completely legal here in PA. I don't know about any hidden clause prohibiting their use in vehicles, but anything is possible. The local police, fire and emergency services around here have switched over to a trunking system recently that can be received by only one scanner that I know of.
Also, I've never noticed any static with a car engine running before.
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Jhooper From United States of America, joined exactly 12 years ago today! , 6197 posts, RR: 13 Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2087 times:
It's possible that it might be illegal to listen in on police frequencies, but I'm pretty sure it's perfectly fine for aviation frequencies. Like Wagz mentioned, these devices are widely available commercially, so it'd be hard to believe that they're illegal. My handheld GPS/COM can also function as a scanner.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
HaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2081 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2084 times:
When I got my first scanner years ago, I looked into the legalities a bit. It was not illegal to listen to the police/emergency crews/fire, but it was illegal to use the scanner to follow up such situations. Another words, passevily listening was fine. My scanner also picks up cellphone and cordless phone conversations. From what I remember it was fine to listen to them, but not to record or relate the contents of those conversations to anyone else.
That being said, I've always been a bit worried about what a cop would do if he saw the scanner in a traffic stop. Fortunately, I only have airport frequencies programmed in and I have a pilots license, so if the situation ever arose I would just turn it on and he would hear that the frequencies it is scanning are aviation related and nothing else.
I used to have the Daytona, South Daytona and Port Orange Police frequencies in the banks, but they have since moved to trunk and so that is not a factor anymore.
I'm sure the laws vary state to state, so I'm only familiar with Florida's rules and I haven't checked them in a long time. Suffice it to say that as with most vague laws, it probably has a lot to do with your attitude and the cops discretion.
FlightSimFreak From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 720 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2079 times:
There is no national law prohibiting scanner use, except for listening to encrypted communications or to cellular phones. There may be state laws prohibiting the use of scanners, some say no to scanners altogether, some say no to scanners in cars altogether, and some say no to scanners installed in cars. The way to get around most of these laws is to get your amateur radio license.
GEEDO From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 366 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2082 times:
I spot at PDX, and once last summer I was given the shakedown by a Port of Portland police officer. I made sure he saw all of my gear; my binoculars, my cameras and my scanner. No mention was made of any wrong doing having the scanner. It was even on while he was taking my identifcation, so he knew full well I had ears on the flight world.
As long as you are not using a scanner to chase emergency vehicles to crime scenes or use it to thwart police efforts to maintain traffic laws, there is nothing illegal about using them. Yes, I know there are certain regional exceptions, but that's the basics of scanner law. The other big no-no with scanners is that you are not allowed to quote anything you hear while listening to it.
5T6 From United States of America, joined exactly 10 years ago today! , 283 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2036 times:
I've never run into a problem with a scanner in my vehicle, either when I was living in Michigan or here in Texas and New Mexico (of course, not getting pulled over helps, too ).
As for your other question regarding the "static", remember that airband signals are AM and are thus subject to pulse interference from you vehicles ignition much more so than the FM signals used by police, fire, ham radio, etc. As a suggestion, use an external antenna to improve the signal/noise ratio (I use one of my old VHF amateur radio mag-mounts...not an exact "fit" in terms of frequency, but it sure helps!)
Hope this helps,
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AZO From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 765 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2023 times:
Sorry, I should have specified that it is state law. No it is not illegal to listen to a scanner, however doing so in a car is. I have never had a legal problem listening in my car either, but then again I have never been caught. IF you are, there is quite a fine to pay as I understand. The rules are different for every state.