Scanners Illegal in LA?

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GrandpaFrank

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Apr 14, 2008
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My grandson asked me if scanners were illegal here in los angeles and I told him they weren't and told him that they are illegal only for 3 reasons. 1 being that you cannot drive around with one unless you have a special permit. 2 being that you must not use to aid in the commission of a crime. 3 being that you cannot repeat what you hear to any 3rd party that was not present at the original time of the transmission.

He insists that 2 people he saw had their scanners confiscated due to 1 being an ex felon and the other guy got it confiscated just for walking around with it at an active crime scene after stating he was neighborhood watch. I have always assumed it was within my legal rights as a tax paying citizen to listen to any unencrypted transmissions at my sole discretion. Am I correct on this? I have searched all the current California laws, los angeles in particular and I see nothing there that mentions the police department being legally allowed to confiscate police scanners. Maybe someone here more experienced with the technicalities invloved here can shed some light on this vague subject.
 

cousinkix1953

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Oct 14, 2007
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There is a law against chasing police calls in LA unless you are the media or something of the sort. Convicted felons shouldn't have a police scanner either; but nobody makes any attempt to stop them from buying one in the stores. We are still a long way from requiring a "gun store" background check at Radio Shack.

A convicted felon cannot be licensed as a ham radio operator; so there is not much chance that he will become a problem. New Jersey cops used to seize broad-band VHF / UHF transceivers, from owners licensed to use them. So the FCC decided that a device capable of transmitting a RF signal is not a scanner any more. They can't do much about somebody's 2M / 70CM transceiver which tunes into the adjacent police bands.

A lot of people are in areas, where standard FM analog repeaters still provide most of the police and fire traffic. These transceivers should be fine from Santa Cruz down to Ventura county and points inland. Convential systems dominate from the Oregon border south to Marin county too. Ham gear won't be much good in the city of Los Angeles; where they're using digital "P-25" radios. Forget about some of those other counties on 800 mhz trunking systems too...
 
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