Legal question?

Status
Not open for further replies.

KI4LIV

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
316
Location
Melbourne, FL
I got my ham ticket a few years ago to legalize me having my scanner in the car when I heard that Florida was changing the laws to make it illegal without meeting certain criterias or being a ham.

Of course, back then it was just to get my scanners legal... Little did I know that I would enjoy being a ham!

At the bottom of this post is the verbage of the statute covering scanners in a vehicle in Florida.

Anyhow, my question is, if I don't meet any of the criteria for legally having a FM radio receiving equipment so adjusted or tuned as to received messages or signals on frequencies assigned to law enforcement or fire rescue personnel, and if I were not a ham, would it be legal for me to listen to a scanner that is being streamed over the internet via my cell phone with in my vehicle? After all, I believe a cell phone works over FM waves, although it's digital, but still FM.

My cell phone that I have runs on Windows Mobile 6.0 , and has Windows Media Player on it. At home, I have a scanner attached to a PC, which runs Windows Media Encoder, which then allows me to use Windows Media Player on either a desktop PC or a cell phone and listen to the streaming audio. So, I can listen to my scanner that's in Merritt Island pretty much anywhere in the country. As well, anyone else who I give the info to can listen!

If it's illegal to listen in that manner, I guess they need to bust everyone with a cell phone running Windows Mobile that has Windows Media Player on it and has internet access, as they are FM transceivers (part of that word comes from the ability to receive!) capable of allowing them to recieve messages or signals on frequencies assigned to law enforcement or fire personnel !

I'm interested in your thoughts on this!

Here's that statute:


843.16 Unlawful to install or transport radio equipment
using assigned frequency of state or law enforcement officers;
definitions; exceptions; penalties.--

(1) A person, firm, or corporation may not
install or transport in any motor vehicle or business
establishment, except an emergency vehicle or crime watch
vehicle as herein defined or a place established by municipal,
county, state, or federal authority for governmental purposes,
any frequency modulation radio receiving equipment so adjusted
or tuned as to receive messages or signals on frequencies
assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to police or
law enforcement officers or fire rescue personnel of any city or
county of the state or to the state or any of its agencies.
Provided, nothing herein shall be construed to affect any radio
station licensed by the Federal Communications System or to
affect any recognized newspaper or news publication engaged in
covering the news on a full-time basis or any alarm system
contractor certified pursuant to part II of chapter 489,
operating a central monitoring system.

(2) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Emergency vehicle" shall specifically mean:
1. Any motor vehicle used by any law enforcement officer
or employee of any city, any county, the state, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, or the Armed Forces of the United
States while on official business;
2. Any fire department vehicle of any city or county of
the state or any state fire department vehicle;
3. Any motor vehicle designated as an emergency vehicle by
the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles when said
vehicle is to be assigned the use of frequencies assigned to the
state;
4. Any motor vehicle designated as an emergency vehicle by
the sheriff or fire chief of any county in the state when said
vehicle is to be assigned the use of frequencies assigned to the
said county;
5. Any motor vehicle designated as an emergency vehicle by
the chief of police or fire chief of any city in the state when
said vehicle is to be assigned the use of frequencies assigned
to the said city.

(b) "Crime watch vehicle" means any motor vehicle used by
any person participating in a citizen crime watch or
neighborhood watch program when such program and use are
approved in writing by the appropriate sheriff or chief of
police where the vehicle will be used and the vehicle is
assigned the use of frequencies assigned to the county or city.
Such approval shall be renewed annually.

(3) This section shall not apply to any holder of a valid
amateur radio operator or station license issued by the Federal
Communications Commission or to any recognized newspaper or news
publication engaged in covering the news on a full-time basis or
any alarm system contractor certified pursuant to part II of
chapter 489, operating a central monitoring system.

(4) Any person, firm, or corporation violating any of the
provisions of this section commits a
misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided
in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
 
Last edited:

k8tmk

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Messages
315
Location
Stevensville, MI
Well, from what I was taught and found in the FCC's Rules and Regs, in my opinion streaming audio is not legal. It appears streaming audio is violating the so-called "Secrecy Act" provision of the Rules. If this is true, then your question of listening to streaming audio in a vehicle is a moot point.

I'm sure you will also hear from those are are streaming audio, it an attempt to make it sound like what they are doing is legal. Some people tend to "flip out" when you criticize something they are doing. But the law is the law.

In short, ask a real attorney for the correct answer.

Randy
 

KI4LIV

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
316
Location
Melbourne, FL
Any attorneys in the house? :)

Either way, I'm just looking for opinions from the "street lawyers" - but if there are any legal eagles on this forum, I would love to get their input!

I got to thinking about the whole scenario last night and it really bent my noodle a few times!

Either way, I'm legal , it was more curiousity than anything else!
 

mkh

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
221
Location
Jacksonville, FL
Not sure if it is legal but is sounds like "equipment so adjusted
or tuned as to receive messages " would apply to you (minus the Ham ticket).

Congrats on the Ham ticket. If you get up towards JAX give me a shout on 145.210.
 

ElroyJetson

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Messages
2,453
Location
Florida, where you wish you were!
How would anybody even know if you ended the call before an officer got near enough to your
vehicle to hear it?

Think, man! Don't ask, don't tell, don't reveal secrets, and you can ignore laws that should
be ignored if you do so in a totally discreet and unobtrusive fashion.


Opsec. Maybe you've heard the term?


Fact: Most serious crimes are solved because the perpetrator tells someone what he did.
Secrets aren't secret if you tell anyone else.


Elroy
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
Joined
May 11, 2002
Messages
7,736
Location
Eclipse, Virginia
Elroy,

Try telling that to a FL Judge when you attempt to get your confiscated scanner returned.
 

ElroyJetson

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Messages
2,453
Location
Florida, where you wish you were!
Exactly. It's a computer device, not a scanner, not any more so than this PC is, though I can
use it to tap into streaming audio from some department's radio systems.


And as I said, HOW are they going to catch you? When's the last time you were even
pulled over or a cop looked at you for more than half a second?


Mind your business, don't attract attention, and you can do practically anything you want,
if you keep a low profile.

Covering your vehicle with antennas and doing your best to make it look like an unmarked
unit (or better yet, a marked one!) is not following the path of unobtrusiveness.

I've been a ham now for I guess about 18 years. Not ONCE have I ever had a single
question asked of me by a police officer on the very, very small number of times I've
been pulled over, regarding any radio equipment I have, and I've never attempted to
hide it. There's USUALLY a radio tucked up on my dashboard or on the seat next to me,
if there's not one installed in the vehicle. (Always a remote mount installation, when I
have one installed.)

The only time I ever got hassled about a radio, I wasn't even in a car at the time, I was
walking with a friend of mine at a park. Dumb cop sees our radios and thinks he's got
a hot one. Well, we both pulled out our xerox copies of the very page of the Fl. Law
Enforcement Handbook that he works from, with the scanner law, PLUS copies of our
ham tickets, and he still didn't get it. But when his supervisor dropped by, the supervisor
took one look at us, shot a disgusted look at the idiot officer, said to the officer, "They're
legal. Can't you READ?" and then said good evening to us and invited us to continue on
our way. The officer looked like he'd been kicked. Which I guess he had been, in a
manner of speaking.

Idiot cops ARE a problem, but a MINOR one. These days, every cop (should) know if
his system can be scanned by the general public or not.


Elroy
 

ElroyJetson

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Messages
2,453
Location
Florida, where you wish you were!
To add:


any frequency modulation radio receiving equipment so adjusted
or tuned as to receive...

Your PDA, cell phone, whatever...is not technically a frequency modulation receiver.

If it's GSM, it's a GMSK (Gaussian Medium Shift Keying) receiver/transmitter. NOT FM.

All "modern" mobile electronics data services operate on principles that are definitely NOT
traditional FM.

Technical win!

As a matter of fact, an AM receiver, tuned "on the slope" of the FM signal will technically pass the legal test.


Elroy
 

k8tmk

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2004
Messages
315
Location
Stevensville, MI
Elroy:

Are you saying that breaking the law is okay as long as you don't get caught? That brings up a whole series of questions about your character in my mind. Such as, I wonder what other more serious laws you might be violating. You opened the door to these questions yourself, sir.

Randy
 

ElroyJetson

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Messages
2,453
Location
Florida, where you wish you were!
To quote the wisest man whose writings I ever read:


"Laws are for the blind obedience of the sheep, and the informed guidance of the wise man."


I subscribe to the simple theory of law which goes as follows: If your actions, though technically
against a law, cause no harm to anyone or anything, and has no potential to cause harm, then
I can not seen any reason not to do it if you're not likely to get caught.

The primary purpose of laws is to give our legal system a way to punish people who do harm to others.
If no harm is done, then, pardon the simplicity of the statement, what's the harm?


I don't violate ANY "serious" laws. But when the action in question that's illegal as per a lesser law
is one that has no potential to cause harm to others, why go out of your way to obey it?


Never think for one moment that all laws are good ones. Frankly, a fair percentage of them are
nothing but insane meddling in the private affairs of the people. Busybody politicians had too much
free time on their hands and it was a full moon on the day they decided to pass those laws.


Now, as for myself, I'm a ham radio operator, fully legal with any radio I can install in a vehicle,
and I've got paid-up software licenses right from the manufacturer for every radio I handle,
including M/A-Com's ProGrammer v. 20 and RPM, V. 2, and Motorola's Astro 25 software.

My only limits on listening are defined by ESK, encryption, and system keys.
And it's all LEGAL. For me.

Elroy
 

KC4RAF

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
1,594
Location
Davenport,Fl.- home to me and the gators and the s
Elroy, you are correct.

Every living human has broken a law somewhere along the line of life. And they KNEW it when they did it. I concur with you in large part. Are we harded criminals because we speed at 70 in a posted 65 mph zone? Many will not agree with ya Elroy, but I do in part and I understand where you're coming from and going to....lol
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top