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Old 03-27-2013, 12:32 AM
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Default Scanner apps while mobile?

Under state law it's illegal to be mobile with a scanner without an amateur ticket, but how about an app for a smartphone? Technically the app isn't receiving anything from the police frequency. What does everyone think ?

MN statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=299C.37
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Old 03-27-2013, 9:01 PM
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Default Scanner apps while mobile?

The law covers apps too in the section
"with any radio equipment or combination of equipment, capable of receiving any radio signal, message, or information from any police emergency frequency, "
Subdivision 1.Use regulated. (a) No person other than peace officers within the state, the members of the State Patrol, and persons who hold an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, shall equip any motor vehicle with any radio equipment or combination of equipment, capable of receiving any radio signal, message, or information from any police emergency frequency, or install, use, or possess the equipment in a motor vehicle without permission from the superintendent of the bureau upon a form prescribed by the superintendent
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Old 03-28-2013, 6:48 PM
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There was a case last year in mahtomedi where someone ran from the police and they found he had a phone running a scanner app that he was using to attempt to evade the police. They charged him with something or other. I think i posted in this forum about it. I'm not sure how that applies to just monitoring while driving. Though those apps would be pretty easy to shut down if youre pulled over.
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Old 03-28-2013, 7:28 PM
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The answer is really simple: Don't be stupid. If you're not doing something stupid such as getting yourself pulled over AND THEN letting the cops know you're listening in, who's the wiser?

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD0OTK View Post
Under state law it's illegal to be mobile with a scanner without an amateur ticket, but how about an app for a smartphone? Technically the app isn't receiving anything from the police frequency. What does everyone think ?

MN statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=299C.37
Illegal, but impossible to prove anything. Enough said.
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Old 04-07-2013, 8:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD0OTK View Post
Under state law it's illegal to be mobile with a scanner without an amateur ticket, but how about an app for a smartphone? Technically the app isn't receiving anything from the police frequency. What does everyone think ?

MN statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=299C.37
I listen recreationally like most everyone else and have my 996XT mounted in my car with an Austin Spectra Mobile antenna on the back trunk lid, and frankly never thought about it so to play it safe how would I go about getting a license? I'm actually moving to MT by end of June but just the same I'd like to be covered, thanks.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:08 PM
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There are really 3 options:
1. Get an amateur radio license which gives you the ok to monitor anything
2. Get an individual Permit- which requires an approval letter from every Law enforcement agency you intend to monitor
3. Get a Non Law Enforcement Permit- allows monitoring everything but Law enforcement - requires letter from Chief/Sheriff of you city /town.
BCA lists turn around of 4-6 weeks for permit.
below is the texts from the old BCA web page on Scanner permits:

Persons who have an amateur radio license do not need a permit from the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. If they have an amateur radio license they can monitor anything they want to monitor in their vehicle. They must carry the amateur radio license in their vehicle when they are monitoring the scanner.

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The Individual Permit holder is allowed to monitor only those agencies that he or she has authorization letters from. For example: if an Individual Permit holder has a letter from St. Paul Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department, State Patrol, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office and Anoka County Sheriff's Office, these would be the only law enforcement frequencies that the permit holder could monitor. If he or she was in northern Minnesota the Individual holder would not be able to monitor law enforcement frequencies there. These authorization letters should be submitted to BCA along with the Individual permit application form.

A Non-Law Enforcement Permit holder can monitor non-law enforcement frequencies throughout the state. Such frequencies include: fire, ambulance, weather, trains and airplanes. The permit holder must get one letter of authorization from the Chief or Sheriff in the town or district that they (the holder) live in. This letter should be submitted to the BCA along with the Non-Law Enforcement permit application form.

The Media Permit holder submits his or her Media application to the BCA along with a letter on station letterhead, (stating that the person is a full time employee of that station) and a list of frequencies they wish to monitor. The BCA sends a letter to each frequency holder on the list stating that (applicant’s name) from (TV station, radio station, or newspaper) will be monitoring their frequency(s).
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Old 04-08-2013, 7:47 AM
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To get your license go get the amateur radio license manual for the technician class license, read it, do the practice questions in the book and take some of the practice exams online. Once you're confident you'll pass go take the test. Theres no Morse code requirement anymore and the material isnt difficult so you should be able to do it fairly easily.
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Old 04-08-2013, 9:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wogggieee View Post
To get your license go get the amateur radio license manual for the technician class license, read it, do the practice questions in the book and take some of the practice exams online. Once you're confident you'll pass go take the test. Theres no Morse code requirement anymore and the material isnt difficult so you should be able to do it fairly easily.
Thank you Matt, I'll look into this.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stmills View Post
The law covers apps too in the section
"with any radio equipment or combination of equipment, capable of receiving any radio signal, message, or information from any police emergency frequency, "
Subdivision 1.Use regulated. (a) No person other than peace officers within the state, the members of the State Patrol, and persons who hold an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, shall equip any motor vehicle with any radio equipment or combination of equipment, capable of receiving any radio signal, message, or information from any police emergency frequency, or install, use, or possess the equipment in a motor vehicle without permission from the superintendent of the bureau upon a form prescribed by the superintendent
If you want to get technical, you would be in violation of this law if you bought a HH scanner at Radio Shack & drove home with it in the car. So, this means you can not transport a radio in a suitcase when visiting the area? I hope I am misreading this. This would also make the PSR 900, if it ever became available, illegal to install in an automobile without approval or possession of a ham license. Wow, I thought I lived in a police state here in Texas.

I'm curious about how they will enforce this law. I know some police departments possess Radar Detector detectors, the VG2. Reportedly, unshieled radar detectors will set this off. Could the same technology be used to find scanners in operation? Here is an interesting video of the search for a K40 Radar Detector: Trucker Versus Virginia State Police - YouTube
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Last edited by Ensnared; 04-08-2013 at 10:40 AM.. Reason: puntuation
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD0OTK View Post
Under state law it's illegal to be mobile with a scanner without an amateur ticket, but how about an app for a smartphone? Technically the app isn't receiving anything from the police frequency. What does everyone think ?

MN statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=299C.37
cellphone is basicly a radio in my book. anything that receives a signal. since your a ham theres nothing really to worry about.

granted if you have just a police scanner in your car that could tick off a cop. I would throw in a transceiver just to ensure that listening to ham bands is top priority.

I was at a pawnshop in pelican rapids,mn? The shop owner saw my bc396xt and told me dont let the local pd see that. He had a friend that got pulled over and the officer made him smash his radio.

seems far fetch! i think you can carry a scanner around but not in a car if i understand the law right.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:33 AM
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Default Scanner apps while mobile?

From the way the law is written, most business radios would be illegal without a permit, as they are capable of receiving a police emergency frequency. I have heard of occasional cases of people being hassled for the scanner, but most often the I have heard of it used as an enhancement to other criminal charges.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:42 AM
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So if I'm in my car talking to someone on my cell phone and they have their scanner on in the background and I hear it, that's illegal too?

The wording is open to interpretation in the case of a smartphone app. Better safe than sorry unfortunately.
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Last edited by bgav; 04-08-2013 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 04-08-2013, 9:11 PM
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With an amateur radio license you can listen to anything you want in your vehicle?
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Old 04-08-2013, 9:46 PM
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Kentucky has a scanner law quite similar to Minnesota. For all intents an purposes, using a scanner app for a smart phone makes that smart phone a scanner. Someone without having an amateur license or the appropriate state authorizations is running a risk.

Way back when, we had a member of a fire department carrying a hand-held scanner who was out of his vehicle. A state police sergeant saw that and confiscated the scanner. We did some hoop jumping and got his scanner back. (Ironically, this same firefighter became a police officer later on).

While the law is "the law" and we must follow it, scanners in vehicles can be beneficial for the police. A number of years ago, I was traveling near St. Cloud. I had my scanner running (and my ham license close by). The state patrol sent a car looking for a disabled motorist. The trooper could not find the vehicle. Right about that time, I passed a disabled vehicle matching the description about 4 miles down the road. So I called the state patrol and passed that information on, and they were grateful.

As others have said, as long as you are not calling attention to yourself, or keeping your distance from an incident, most likely one would not be hassled.

Last edited by ofd8001; 04-08-2013 at 9:49 PM..
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Old 04-09-2013, 6:31 AM
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Here is my question....What about not in a car. Say I'm just out walking around or on my bike or whatever. Is it illegal then? I have combed the laws and found nothing saying yes or no :/
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Old 04-09-2013, 7:40 AM
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Default Scanner apps while mobile?

Most of the laws curtailing scanner laws refer to use in a car.

If you are out walking, you can (and should) use earbuds to be discreet about your listening.

I don't know if you can wear earbuds on a bike, in fact it would be dangerous and is most likely illegal for that reason, but if you had one earphone in one ear, that might work.

As has been stated elsewhere here and many other threads through out these forums; being discreet and not drawing attention to yourself is always the smartest way to go in the monitoring hobby, whether it's an app or an actual scanner you are listening to.
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Old 04-09-2013, 8:15 AM
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I have never read anything about using a scanner outside of a vehicle being illegal as long as youre not using it in the commission of crime. Though personally I would try to keep it some what concealed. Put it on my belt and my shirt over it or something just to be safe. People/police tend to fear things they dont know about or understand and I just play it safe to prevent someone from freaking out. I stream my scanner all the time so I personally would just use my phone to stream it and then no one should have a question since its perfectly normal to be walking down the street listening to the scanner.

As far as the scanner in a suit case thing goes I suppose it could technically be illegal, but unless you do something that would cause your car to be searched it shouldn't be a problem. If you are searched who knows what a cop is going to do. Maybe they want to add it as an enhancing charge or something? If I have a scanner in the car and its not in use I try to keep it out of sight even though I have the amateur radio license and should be legal. I also keep a print out of the statute in my glove box and my license in my wallet just in case.
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Old 04-10-2013, 7:11 AM
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Default Re: Scanner apps while mobile?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBWayzata View Post
With an amateur radio license you can listen to anything you want in your vehicle?
Yes.

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Old 04-10-2013, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wogggieee View Post
To get your license go get the amateur radio license manual for the technician class license, read it, do the practice questions in the book and take some of the practice exams online. Once you're confident you'll pass go take the test. Theres no Morse code requirement anymore and the material isnt difficult so you should be able to do it fairly easily.
Matt, Is this the manual you're referring to?

http://www.amazon.com/Ham-Radio-Lice.../dp/0872590976
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