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Scanners In Vehicles?  
User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2362 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
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAZO From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 770 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2323 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.



Kalamazoozoozoozoozoozoozoo
User currently offlineWagz From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 517 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2305 times:
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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.

Joe Wagner



I think Big Foot is blurry, Its not the photographers fault. Theres a large out of focus monster roaming the countryside
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6206 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2292 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.
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2124 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2289 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.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineFlightSimFreak From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2284 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.

The web site I use to get info on scanner laws in the state I'm in is http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/ although it seems to be down.

I generally back this up by talking to a state trooper and documenting it.


User currently offlineGEEDO From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2287 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.



I've got Titanic hopes and they aren't sinking
User currently offline5T6 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2241 times:

KYIP:

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  Big grin ).

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,

Mike



I see my Cats as Companions. My Cats see Me as Furniture!
User currently offlineGEEDO From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2241 times:

"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!"

Great advice! Only fitting it should come from a fellow ham!



I've got Titanic hopes and they aren't sinking
User currently offlineAZO From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 770 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2228 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.


Kalamazoozoozoozoozoozoozoo
User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1661 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2207 times:

The noise that you are hearing is from unshielded spark plugs; this used to be a problem in early radio-equipped piston aircraft, as well, especially with low- freq radios.

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