Issue listening to businesses and schools

kainixon2187

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Hello! I've been listening to emergency services, businesses, schools, etc. for a while now. I seem to keep running into the same problem. Often times if I have a scanner or radio and I'm listening to a business, grocery store, school the employees or staff members seem to get very upset about it. My first experience with this situation was at Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach. I heard them talking about someone with a radio listening to their channels on my radio one day and shortly after I had several employees tell me the channels are "private" and I'm not allowed to listen to them or have a radio. Some even tried to tell me it's illegal. I was then talked to by a lifeguard who told me to wait for his supervisor. More recently at the school I attend in VB I was told by an assistant principal that I'm not allowed to listen to the channel and it's against the rules, yet there are no rules that say I can't. He claimed I was "hacking into their radios." I was wondering if anyone had any similar experiences with this, I would love to hear them.
 

n3obl

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Well I would not openly advertise that I was listening to them. Sounds like you are walking around with a scanner and their comms are blaring out of the speaker. That's an easy way for a business to have you trespassed from the property and told not to return.
 

kainixon2187

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I usually keep it at a fairly low volume. A lot of the time they just see me with a radio and immediately start asking about it, they can usually figure it out for themselves. Earbuds could be a solution to this as well but I feel the same thing will happen.
 

libertydesigns

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I would strongly advise against exactly what you're doing. While, you're right, it's technically not "illegal", a business can have you trespassed from their property for any reason they like, whether you see it as valid or not... It's their business, and not publicly owned property. Along with that, having a radio on your belt is not a common thing (while something like a cell phone is). So it's reasonable for questions to arise, especially when an employee can hear their radio traffic coming from it. If you really want to monitor their communications, it would be far smarter from a "common sense" perspective to sit in your car and monitor. Once again, I strongly advise against bringing your radio into commercial establishments with you, for any reason.
 

kainixon2187

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I would strongly advise against exactly what you're doing. While, you're right, it's technically not "illegal", a business can have you trespassed from their property for any reason they like, whether you see it as valid or not... It's their business, and not publicly owned property. Along with that, having a radio on your belt is not a common thing (while something like a cell phone is). So it's reasonable for questions to arise, especially when an employee can hear their radio traffic coming from it. If you really want to monitor their communications, it would be far smarter from a "common sense" perspective to sit in your car and monitor. Once again, I strongly advise against bringing your radio into commercial establishments with you, for any reason.
That's what I assumed was the issue. Seeing someone with a radio is definitely something you don't see every day. Thank you for the reply!
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Welcome to the new America. Sad isn't it that you can't engage in a harmless activity and are accosted by the arm-chair lawyers (you're not allowed to listen, it's illegal, etc., etc.)?
Not if he is standing on the property belonging to the very folks he is listening to. He is trespassing the moment they tell him to turn it off and leave. It becomes a legal problem for him the moment he refuses. Private property rights. Look it up.
 

N1GAW

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You can't explain our hobby to those that are not interested in it, causing places to wonder what you are doing listening to them. with everything that is going on in the world today people are often overly suspicious. Actions like yours @kainixon2187 is just another reason we are seeing so many places going to encryption.
 

HavenBTS

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You can't explain our hobby to those that are not interested in it, causing places to wonder what you are doing listening to them. with everything that is going on in the world today people are often overly suspicious. Actions like yours @kainixon2187 is just another reason we are seeing so many places going to encryption.
What crap.
 

Scan125

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Well here in the UK you can only legally listen to:
  • Commercial Radio Stations
  • Shortwave
  • Amateur Radio Bands
  • CB (technically only UK/EU CEPT and not 11m freebanding)
  • PMR
Shops, taxis, air band, marine band, schools, life guards, emergency services, etc. are all licensed commercial or private frequencies and unless you are authorised to use/listen then you are breaking the UK radio laws.

Interestingly listening to Air Band is illegal however at Air Shows etc. the show organisers often publicly announce/advertise the frequencies they will be using so have given consent/authorisation.

Why international Air and Marine bands are included in the illegal scope I think is because to include them (they are licensed bands) would dilute any legal prosecution case the authorities might like like to bring against you for listening to all the other licensed frequencies.

The same/similar issues are becoming very common now in the UK with photography. To take pictures of kids playing football in a school ground can only be done with the schools permission. However is the kids are playing football in a public park/pitch you can legally and freely take pictures. HOWEVER expect parents and others to come and challenge you and say you can't take pictures of their kids etc. and get very aggressive.
 

dlwtrunked

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Not if he is standing on the property belonging to the very folks he is listening to. He is trespassing the moment they tell him to turn it off and leave. It becomes a legal problem for him the moment he refuses. Private property rights. Look it up.
Some businesses do not consider a radio harmless activity as someone could be talking with someone else comparing prices in another store. In addition, some feel you might be communicating with a co-shoplifter or montoring secruity. Or course, they ignore cell phones which could be used to do some of these things. But in general, they just do not know what you are doing. Monitoring radios of any sort are often banned at amusement parks.
 

chrismol1

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Dude, don't go around with a radio sticking out, blaring the comms low volume or not, of wherever you may happen to be. At your school in session? Really? You gotta lock that stuff down with an earpiece and conceal your radio. I get it, I was young and enthusiastic with interest in listening but realize what you're doing is what other people consider you're an outside party even if you think your the good guy. You'll hopefully realize these social norms as you get older. I won't even begin to dig into people who will see ill intent of you monitoring the comms
 

natedawg1604

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You have 2 problems which can be easily solved: get earbuds and don't have the scanner visible! If you are really into the hobby, you could even get a custom molded earpiece from a company like Westone that's really comfortable and discreet. That's what I sometimes use, it's works great. Put the scanner in a pocket, or clipped to your belt under a shirt where it's not visible. You might need to wear different clothing that helps with concealment, like an oversized shirt.

Once I brought a scanner to some huge event, security asked me what it was and I told them "oh that little box? It picks up sports stations " and they just nodded in agreement and let me through.

Of course what I said was true, pretty much every scanner can listen to FM radio stations including sports stations. Or call it a weather radio because it is, you can pickup all 7 NOAA frequencies on most scanners.

If random people do ask you about your scanner (they usually won't if you're discreet), as others have said do NOT try to explain what a scanner is. Use terms everyone is familiar with, like "sports channels", "weather radio" or whatever else.

Concealing the newer scanners like the SDS is a little more challenging, my tiny 396XT is much easier to conceal. But get creative and think outside the box.
 

Scan125

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Have not see this yet but was thinking of developing for PC but Android/I-Phone is even better:

USB Bluetooth Dongle plugged into scanner
Android App for controlling scanner

You just walk around with your mobile and ear buds. The scanner is in/under you coat. All people see if someone texting on their mobile phone :)
 

GB46

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Listening through the loudspeaker at close proximity is a mistake for another reason: If the person transmitting is close by, the audio from your scanner could possibly get into his microphone and cause a loud squeal from feedback. This would certainly make you more conspicuous. The fire department has been at this apartment building on a few occasions, and I've listened in, but either kept the volume extremely low, or used earbuds. That said, the firefighters themselves often have the truck radios on at full blast, so you can hear the proceedings all over the neighborhood.
 

GB46

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Sometimes I wonder about the legality of what broadcastify.com is doing. As I understand it, you're allowed to monitor public service communications, as long as you don't pass on what you've heard to others. Isn't Broadcastify making a lot of confidential information available to the public at large?

For example, they used to stream transmissions from the police in New Brunswick, NJ, which was where I was born, and why I was interested in hearing what was going on down there these days. That's no longer available however, as the police eventually adopted encryption.
 

n9lob

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All of the above advice is good if you're carrying a scanner. Looking at the sig line several transceivers are listed, that opens a whole new level of problems. If op was carrying a XTS5000 in school where the AP made the accusation of "hacking into their radios", that is a reasonable concern. At a minimum, only carry a scanner receiver and save the Motorolas for more radio friendly situations. I bet the Motos look a lot closer to their radios than a 125at. Give them as little legitimate reason for suspicion as possible.
 
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