Anyone use a police/fire scanner on the road?

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jymbee

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We had a portable scanner when doing some work for a local newspaper and it was quite interesting to monitor the activity from various agencies.
 

Isaac-1

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I have one, though I find I rarely use it on the road.  Mine is a Uniden BCD 436HP which allows location to be set by zip code, it also can be connected to an optional external ($75) GPS receiver, there are also people offering internal GPS upgrades for about $150 (last time I checked). 
 

John From Detroit

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jymbee said:
We had a portable scanner when doing some work for a local newspaper and it was quite interesting to monitor the activity from various agencies.

You know. Many reporter like the fictional "Night Stalker" on the TV show use scanners to listen in so they can get a "Jump" on police calls

You do know you just confessed to a federal crime right.> Communications act of 1934 applies. Police transmissions are considered POINT TO POINT and though nobody can stop you from listening in. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THE INFORMATION IN ANY WAY...

That said. I don't tell police where to go any more.

Some states may still prohibit scanners in vehicles...  (I happen to carry a letter of exemption with me. ok, a Ham License.. I just do not carry a police scanner.. After 25 years on the dispatch desk last thing I want to hear is police traffic).
 

NY_Dutch

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Actually, between scrambling and cell phones, I've found most police traffic to be pretty boring over the past several years. Fire service calls can still be pretty exciting at times though.
 

jymbee

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John From Detroit said:
You do know you just confessed to a federal crime right.> Communications act of 1934 applies. Police transmissions are considered POINT TO POINT and though nobody can stop you from listening in. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THE INFORMATION IN ANY WAY...

I assume you're joking.
 

firewall

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I have had a scanner in every vehicle I have owned since I started driving. NY DUTCH is correct many larger departments are now encrypted or have the ability to do so. Fortunately smaller departments still transmit in the clear. You almost have to have at least a digital capable scanner as many public safety agencies are switching to this platform. It can be interesting to tune into the campground you are staying at too! And as stated Broadcastify can be an excellent resource and can be listened to on any smart phone or computer.

There are of course legalities and you should be aware of each states laws although I don't think it is high on law enforcements daily ticket campaign!
 

John From Detroit

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jymbee said:
I assume you're joking.

Bad assumption.. Communications act of 1934.  At least used to have specific language. it has been amended many times (For example it has amendments that apply to the internet which did not exist in 1984) but another act was passed that restricts use of intercepted information.
https://it.ojp.gov/privacyliberty/authorities/statutes/1285

The basic rule is you may not use or repeat what you hear on Police/Fire/EMS or selected other frequencies. Even ham radio operators have had their logs confiscated by the government under this act for perfectly public communications on Ham Bands..  However the good news is that it is a law rarley enforced and with today's administration you can argue any law should be null and void. after all. they consider all laws null and void as applies to them.  This will change soon.
 

jymbee

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What Sarge said re. "rabbit hole".

For the record, your statement that I somehow "just confessed to a federal crime" is totally without merit and makes a number of assumptions that have no basis in fact. If simply listening to scanner conversations (which is all I did) violates any federal law, then there's tens of thousands of folks out there who in a whole heap of trouble.

Perhaps my reference to working at a newspaper led you to the wrong conclusion somehow. In reality, we working on producing a regional wedding guide for that paper and were not in any way "reporting" on anything. Heck, even my barber who is a local volunteer fireman keeps his scanner on all the time in his shop. 

As for ham radios, that's an area I've threatened to get into for years but have never gotten around to actually doing it. I actually was fairly proficient at Morse code decades ago while in the military but that was then. As I understand it, code is no longer a requirement for obtaining your license? Do you have a portable setup that you use while on the road?


John From Detroit said:
Bad assumption.. Communications act of 1934.  At least used to have specific language. it has been amended many times (For example it has amendments that apply to the internet which did not exist in 1984) but another act was passed that restricts use of intercepted information.
https://it.ojp.gov/privacyliberty/authorities/statutes/1285

The basic rule is you may not use or repeat what you hear on Police/Fire/EMS or selected other frequencies. Even ham radio operators have had their logs confiscated by the government under this act for perfectly public communications on Ham Bands..  However the good news is that it is a law rarley enforced and with today's administration you can argue any law should be null and void. after all. they consider all laws null and void as applies to them.  This will change soon.
 

HappyWanderer

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Morse code hasn't been required to obtain an amateur radio license in quite some time. Nor is there a requirement to keep a station log.

Ham radio and camping complement each other very well. I frequently set up HF and VHF equipment while traveling. It's a great way to meet new people around the world.
 

Larry N.

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As I understand it, code is no longer a requirement for obtaining your license? Do you have a portable setup that you use while on the road?
That's true, though code (we often call it CW for Continuous Wave) is still in use by a lot of folks, both HF and in some segments of the VHF/UHF spectrum as well. There are some band segments in HF set aside basically for CW (some digital modes, that is, using computer communications of one form or another, get down there, too).

There are portable HF rigs such as the Yaesu 817, which puts out 5 watts and can run on batteries. There are also portable antennas, such as the Buddipole. Of course there are also plenty of mobile rigs and antennas that range the entire ham radio spectrum.
 

jymbee

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Larry N. said:
That's true, though code (we often call it CW for Continuous Wave) is still in use by a lot of folks, both HF and in some segments of the VHF/UHF spectrum as well. There are some band segments in HF set aside basically for CW (some digital modes, that is, using computer communications of one form or another, get down there, too).

There are portable HF rigs such as the Yaesu 817, which puts out 5 watts and can run on batteries. There are also portable antennas, such as the Buddipole. Of course there are also plenty of mobile rigs and antennas that range the entire ham radio spectrum.

Interesting info-- thanks! Obviously I have a lot to learn. Perhaps I can find a reasonably close by user group as that might be the best way to get started.
 
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