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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,376

    Police Scanner over Wireless Headphones?

    Anyone here more familiar with radio laws than I am?

    I spent a lot of time at my desk, and usually listen to music over headphones. I picked up a pair of wireless headphones a while back, after I got really annoyed with the cord always being in the way. (And because I got sick of getting a new pair every few months after I chewed through the cable... Tell me I'm not the only one? )

    Anyway, I'm also fond of keeping my police scanner (ham radio, really, but I don't think I have any ham frequencies in it right now) on. Lately, I've been feeding the audio out on the scanner into my computer's Line In, so I hear both music and the radio over the headphones.

    The headphones are on 914 MHz, in WFM. I was able to pick it up with my radio. So what I'm wondering is whether or not it's legal for me to be "rebroadcasting" the police police department on 914 MHz. Part of me thinks it should be (it's a pair of headphones, and the range can't be more than 50 feet), but part of me thinks it isn't at all. (If I set up a repeater to rebroadcast it with "real" power, this would be wildly illegal.)

    Anyone have any idea about whether or not this is legal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Montréal, Québec, Canada
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    1,428
    I doubt anyone's gonna find out.
    Can you be scared half to death twice?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    NY, NY
    Posts
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    call the police and ask for permission lol

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    1,168
    Are police scanners illegal?
    www.Yekaroo.com - Your Chinese Radio Online!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Cardiff, UK
    Posts
    375
    There is probably a rule regarding transmission power => range.
    I doubt a pair of wireless headphones will break this.

    As for being legal to listen to police, i have no idea.
    Peter Hall
    Tera Web Hosting
    UK Web Hosting and Backup Storage

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    261
    In general, at least in the US, it is legal to listen to police transmissions. Unless things have changed recently, the only transmissions specifically protected from third party listening are cellular phone and encoded transmissions. In the case of encoded transmissions you are prohibited from trying to decode them, IIRC.

    Note that portable phones, unlike cell phones, are not protected.
    Bob
    The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
    - African Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,168
    Portable phones as in the wireless phones that's used in a house?
    www.Yekaroo.com - Your Chinese Radio Online!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,448
    I know of a couple websites that rebroadcast the police scanner online. I wonder if that would be any different?
    You are unique, just like everyone else.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5,512
    It is legal to listen to police broadcasts but not legal to use them to your advantage, if you catch my drift

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Essex, England
    Posts
    548
    Hmm.
    I imagine the broadcast power is regulated for headphones, otherwise you'd have to pay fees to the artists for broadcasting their work.
    Last edited by Blapto; 12-04-2005 at 11:19 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    United States
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    1,435
    Nothing illegal about it, unless you are knowingly attempting to listen in on a secured channel. Secured channels (e.g. SWAT communications, etc.) are usually broadcast over a digital signal that is not easily obtainable unless you have a $500+ digital radio scanner, and even then, you'd be hardpressed because those channels are not broadcasted in the same way main dispatch channels are. Meaning, you'd have to know the specific frequency.

    A lot of departments are making the move to digital dispatching, which makes it harder to scan. But this is mainly a money issue with cities and whether or not they deem it worthwile.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    435
    If I can't hear my wireless headphones on the other side of my house, I highly doubt anyone will be able to pick up what the transmitter is transmitting.

    So I don't think this would be illegal... it would only be, I think, if it was strong enough for otther people to pick up.

    by the way, I have also ruined pairs of headphones by chewing through the wire. So you're not alone.
    He arose!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Extreme Central Iowa
    Posts
    10
    The FCC has (tactly/sp) given you, as purchaser of the equipment, permission to use the frequency, within the accepted power of the equipment. If you were to amp that up to say 10K Watts, you got some 'splanin to do'.

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