• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Police scanners should be ILLEGAL PERIOD

Token

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Now that cell is encrypted it is not possible to listen, so it is not necessary to block out that portion of the spectrum.

(there is nothing to listen to in the blocked out segment )


I don't know how difficult it is for manufacturers to do so, but I assume it is easy with algorithms.


Members often say in the forums: "it is illegal to listen to enc communications"

I find this somewhat amusing as it is not possible to break AES 258 encryption.


So, there is a law making something illegal that is impossible to do anyway. Silly?
To modify a John Adams quote; A capability once lost, is lost forever.


At the time of the ECPA cell signals were analog FM and really in the 800 MHz band only (in the US), and such a restriction made some sense, whether one agreed with it or not.


Today no cell signals in the US are analog FM, all are digital and encrypted, and the 800 MHz band is only one small band among many. Yet the regulation has never been changed to remove the frequency limitations and the regulation has not been widened to include all the cell phone bands. On one hand there is an obvious recognition that including the newer cell phone freqs as taboo in no way enhances cell privacy, but no concern on releasing the current, severely outdated and no longer applicable, restrictions.


So yeah, there is no need to restrict scanners to not receive the 800 MHz cell freqs anymore, but we are not getting that back anytime soon. And so scanner and wideband receiver makers continue to have to produce "US" versions and "outside US" versions.

T!
 
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To be clear, I am not for outlawing any form of radio receiver. But, just for the sake of discussion....


You have picked the wrong comparison from the ECPA. The ECPA made it illegal to listen to cell conversations, that is true. It is arguable that it was unneeded in this aspect as it was probably already illegal to listen to these conversations under other regulations, but that is a different discussion. So the ECPA made it specifically illegal to listen. Pretty much unenforceable except after the fact in some cases.


However, another thing the ECPA did was to make it illegal to manufacture or offer for sale any "scanner" capable of receiving 800 MHz cell transmissions. What was a scanner was specifically defined. And in this way it had a much greater impact. Later it was amended to make it illegal to make a scanner that could be easily modified to receive such transmission.


The upshot of all of that is that today, and it has been that way for over 30 years, you cannot purchase, legally, any scanner in the US with such coverage. And you essentially never see them for sale as new equipment.


It very affectively made it very difficult to find/purchase a new scanner with this capability. Sure, you can, illegally, import one from outside the country. You can build an external converter and tune to these frequencies, illegal, but possible. This reduced the number of new scanners in the country with these abilities to a trickle, at best.


If a law was passed today that made police scanners (any scanner capable of receiving police transmissions) illegal it would be similar to that impact, however much worse.


If it was illegal to offer for sale a scanner capable of receiving police transmissions, with the same kind of limitations as 800 MHz cell transmissions, that would mean no scanner hardware sold in the US today would be legal. You can find Part 90 freqs in HF, VHF-Lo, VHF-Hi, and scattered through UHF.


Of course, it might not stop people from using the equipment they already have, but getting new equipment would become much more difficult. It would kill the scanner hobby (even for those who do not monitor the police) in the US, or at least reduce it to a few die-hards using existing equipment (until that died) or illegal imports.


A law making it illegal to listen is hard to enforce, a law making it illegal to sell or own the equipment is much more enforceable. Still not fool-proof, no law is, people will find a way to break every law you make, but it would kill the hobby and the industry.

T!
Other receivers not classified as scanning receivers per the FCC's definition are unaffected. For example, my brand new 9kHz - 1.5GHz RF spectrum analyzer (test equipment) has full uncensored 800MHz coverage. It also has AM and FM demod capability. There are currently no restrictions on who can buy this equipment....yet.

ECPA'86 and the cell frequency censorship set dangerous and grave legal precedents that say banning radio receivers and regulating what people may listen to based solely on content is OK in a free society. The courts however have long held that there is no implied privacy while transmitting on the public airwaves, for the airwaves are public and transmitting is a physically PUBLIC act. Radio listeners are not being nosey. It is the people who do the transmitting that are being exhibitionists in public. While we (scanner listeners) technically don't have a right to listen to radio communications meant for others, not having a right to listen and having to specifically avoid listening are two different things. Common sense suggests that communications privacy is best safeguarded by the party doing the transmitting.

A loophole in ECPA'86 allows for monitoring communications that are "readily accessible to the public" while attempting to legislate the laws of physics by declaring some communications "not readily accessible to the public". Be sure to only monitor communications that are readily accessible to the public as a direct result of physical laws at work and don't listen to anything I wouldn't listen to. :)
 
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So yeah, there is no need to restrict scanners to not receive the 800 MHz cell freqs anymore, but we are not getting that back anytime soon. And so scanner and wideband receiver makers continue to have to produce "US" versions and "outside US" versions.
I agree.
I have "open" receivers as well as spectrum analyzers that cover everything from 0-7GHz. There ain't anything to listen to in the old 800MHz cell bands. Not unless you just want to hear wide band buzzing. Pointless to keep it off limits, but nothing that a scanner listener can do there anyway.
 
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I have "open" receivers as well as spectrum analyzers that cover everything from 0-7GHz. There ain't anything to listen to in the old 800MHz cell bands.
For that matter, there's really nothing to listen to above 1.3 GHz. It makes me wonder what people have in mind with receivers that go up to 3 GHz or so. I have receive capability up to about 22 GHz, and there are plenty of signals, and not a one to listen to.

Not unless you just want to hear wide band buzzing. Pointless to keep it off limits, but nothing that a scanner listener can do there anyway.
The lament about blocked receivers is kind of amusing. At this point, there's nothing to be done either way. Keep it off limits, or allow full coverage, people aren't going to be able to add to what they're able to hear.
 

nmelfi

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What about patient addresses when ambulances are responding? I've rethought scanning and haven't been doing it for several months now. Enjoy it if it's your hobby but sure is no longer mine. I don't even go on this site very often nowadays - less and less frequently.
Thank god I scan still. Last month my best friend went into cardiac arrest. All his family is out of state. I heard the address and went there. Not only was I able to be there for him, I also took care of his pets for a few days. If not for the scanner he would have had nobody.
 

poltergeisty

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Not to offend anyone, but I now think scanning is complete nonsense! Look at countries like Germany - they don't allow people to listen to emergency services on a scanner going as far as to build an encrypted network to make sure NO ONE can listen.

Why can't the US and Canada do the same? Build P-25 networks that are fully encrypted and make it a FEDERAL crime to listen in to emergency services like countries like the UK and aforementioned Germany.

NOT GETTING ANYONE IN TROUBLE. Just saying my $0.02 for the day.

I wasn't ever going to comment in this old man troll thread, but I'll bite like the tavern piranha I am.

So you're saying we should carbon copy other countries never mind the fact we escaped that nonsense over there circa 15th century and then fought a revolutionary war for OUR Independence? Point being we are no way in any way shape or form like other countries and how they do things and thus should not heed to those who do things ass backwards. Especially concerning the ability to monitor one's public safety in times of a real crises where live in real time information can make a difference.

I'm afraid your post does offend because you made it here in a scanner hobbyist forum. You don't think there will be any backlash? I think you're myopic about the subject matter and quite frankly sound like a perfect candidate for the UN's own scanner ban committee since you're pro-Euro and can circle jerk with all your UN drone pals.

Did you know that the UK doesn't even have a damn Constitution, but rather operates on a very old piece of parchment called the Magna Carta? Sure you did, after all, you seem very astute and very knowledgeable about how the United States should follow other countries. Never mind we are in fact the "new world."

What's next? Let China dictate how we do business, etc? Perhaps they also have anti-scanner laws.


NOT GETTING ANYONE IN TROUBLE. Just saying my $0.02 for the day.
Not getting anyone in trouble, but the gold in my mouth is worth more than your two worthless copper coins.
 

Token

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That's nothing to brag about. All that gold in your mouth is from taking sh**ty care of your teeth.
That is a pretty bold assumption. I have 4 gold caps in my mouth, I could have done porcelain, but they are molars, in the back of the mouth, not seen under many conditions, and gold holds up better/longer. Your assumption appears to be I must have those caps because I did not take care of my teeth, however that is incorrect. None of those 4 teeth ever had a cavity, but were damaged in a car accident that was not my fault. There was nothing I could have done to prevent this particular situation, and how I took care of my teeth, or did not, played no part in there being gold in my mouth.

Assumption can leave you with the wrong opinion or answer.

T!
 

Token

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My comment has less to do with teeth and more to do with treating poltergeisty in the manner that he treats others here in the Tavern. I'm sorry you took offense. That was not at all my intention.
Don't worry, I was not offended. I think it would take a good bit more than words in a forum to offend me, I honestly can't think of anything anyone would say or do in such a forum that would truly upset me in any way...although I have been known to play along when it might lead to a good time.... Just setting the record that not all teeth problems are the fault of the teeth holders, although of course a large percentage of them are.

T!
 

Token

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For that matter, there's really nothing to listen to above 1.3 GHz. It makes me wonder what people have in mind with receivers that go up to 3 GHz or so. I have receive capability up to about 22 GHz, and there are plenty of signals, and not a one to listen to.
1.3 GHz is roughly where I draw the line between "listening" to signals and "monitoring" signals. There are lots of signals above 1.3 GHz, but few meant for human monitoring. Radars, telemetry, SSFH signals, etc, tend to be the more common above 1.3 GHz. I still find those of interest. And then of course there are ham signals up there also, but they tend to be more point to point.

The key to monitoring above 1.3 GHz is the antenna. It can be difficult, more effort than many people are willing to put into it, to have an antenna and feedline that really works at those freqs. I use several, including various dishes, for those bands. My general purpose 500 MHz to ~6 GHz antenna is a 30" dish with a Tecom wideband feed on a EL over AZ poisitioner. The feedline is 7/8" heliax and roughly 40' long, so the loss is not horrible, even at 6 GHz.

T!
 

poltergeisty

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That's nothing to brag about. All that gold in your mouth is from taking sh**ty care of your teeth.

It's a bridge and a cap. It happens. But it's porcelain coated. And just so you know, I have family member that had to get teeth implants and my very own dentist has a tooth implant. So your medical/density knowledge sucks!
 
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1.3 GHz is roughly where I draw the line between "listening" to signals and "monitoring" signals. There are lots of signals above 1.3 GHz, but few meant for human monitoring. Radars, telemetry, SSFH signals, etc, tend to be the more common above 1.3 GHz. I still find those of interest.
Yes, that makes sense. I'm quite into beacon chasing. They don't have much of interest to say, but it''s fun to track them down. Same thing with other signals that don't have much to say. Especially interesting to me is watching a piece of microwave spectrum on a waterfall display, and seeing the signature Doppler shift of some spacecraft flying overhead.

The key to monitoring above 1.3 GHz is the antenna. It can be difficult, more effort than many people are willing to put into it, to have an antenna and feedline that really works at those freqs. I use several, including various dishes, for those bands. My general purpose 500 MHz to ~6 GHz antenna is a 30" dish with a Tecom wideband feed on a EL over AZ poisitioner. The feedline is 7/8" heliax and roughly 40' long, so the loss is not horrible, even at 6 GHz.
I currently use a variety of horns and LP arrays on camera tripods for that sort of thing, all with appropriate filters and LNA's.
 
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