Author Topic: Need Help With Scanner Related Things  (Read 1996 times)

RailfanJ-Ro22

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Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« on: April 03, 2014, 03:29:30 PM »
Refresh my memory on a few things. I know there is a scanner law in Indiana. Does it apply to EVERY type of scanner? What if it's a handheld? Everything's just so confusing and too technical and I get lost. lol I've had cops tell me that my 20 year old analog scanner is fine. But I need a new one and I don't believe analog scanners are made anymore. So what happens if I go digital (handheld)? And would I go to the local courthouse to get a license if one is needed? Also, I've heard that Uniden scanners are really good but do they have a tendancy to bleed the weather broadcast in downtown areas? My Radio Shack scanner always has the weather broadcast bleeding over the railroad frequency. I've been told an attenuator would help but maybe I won't need that with a new scanner. Thanks in advance!
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arcticrail

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 10:26:02 PM »
I think we all have brand preferences for scanners but as far sa being legal (and mobile) ... take a stab at a ham license.  I got mine largely to be legal when fanning.  It's not hard at all and you should be able to find testing opportunities in the local area.  Others here are far more knowledgeable about scanners and hamming than I and will surely chime in.
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SemperVaporo

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 11:12:03 PM »
Start here:  http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/index.html
 
Then follow  the "State Scanner Laws" link near the bottom of the page, and note that in the map, Indiana is RED!
 
The states shown in RED means it is illegal to use a scanner in that state, (handheld or mobile) anyplace other than in your own residence (and I'm not so sure about that!), UNLESS you have either permission from the state (possibly by county) or hold an FCC Ham license.  There is further info (but not much) specific to Indiana further down the page.
 
(I am not sure if you can obtain permission from the county Sheriff or, even if you can get such permission from a Sheriff, whether that permission is extended to other counties.)
 
Best bet for use in Indiana is to take the FCC Amateur Radio license test and then you have blanket Federal permission.  Note that even with that, it is illegal to use a scanner while committing a crime (but I know of no criminal that would take that into account!  It is just one more thing to add to the charges.)
 
 
EDIT:  you may also find this forum thread of interest:
 
http://forums.radioreference.com/indiana-radio-discussion-forum/29849-indiana-scanner-law-information-9.html
 
There are links in that thread to places where you can take practice tests to see what you will be confronted with when you take the test.  The test is NOT hard.  (I have not verified those links recently, so I hope they still work.)
 
Semper Vaporo
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SankyInbound

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 07:12:11 PM »
check out this thread:

http://indianarailroads.org/board/index.php?topic=14169.0

As far as the law is concerned if all you have is an analog scanner you will not be able to hear any law enforcement anyway.  They are all using APCO-25 digital broadcast.  If all you are doing is listening to railroad broadcasts I don't think you will encounter a cop that is hell bent on making an example out of you unless he is just having a bad day. 

Digital vs analog just has to do with the type of voice the scanner is able to receive and decode.  Analog is receiving actual voice transmission where as digital radios convert voice into digital data bits and broadcast the data to other radios.  The data is only able to be decoded by other digital radios.  For listening to railroad frequencies buying a digital scanner would be spending money you do not have too.  Just look at unidens line of analog scanners and they will fulfill your needs.  In other words, for just listening to railroads frequencies an analog scanner would be fine.  I would only buy a digital scanner if you want to be able to listen to police, fire, and ems digital broadcasts. 

Here is a link to an online supplier of uniden scanners: http://www.bearcatwarehouse.com

as far as the bleed over, besides spending more money on a band filter, having the weather frequency interfere with some RR channels in Indy, there probably isn't much you can do about that given the proximity and strength of the NOAAs transmitter, just have to deal with it.  I live 20 miles west of Indy and still have to lock out certain railroad channels due to the weather bands causing my scanner to stop on certain railroad frequencies.  I don't think many of those channels are used much around here anyway cause they are the higher numbered channels that get the interference.  Newer scanners will be better at filtering out the unwanted bleed over.

As for the license, you need a HAM ticket, they aren't handed out at the courthouse, you must study and pass an exam given by a local club.  I am kind of a radio nerd, if you have any questions I would be glad to help!  Scanning is a fun hobby my Grandpa got me started in it!  PM me, I can help!

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RailfanJ-Ro22

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 03:21:48 PM »
Thanks for the help! It seems like, no matter who I talk to around here, no one knows exactly where to go to get a license so thanks for those links!
Jeremy Rose - Check out my railroad videos at www.youtube.com/railfantube

1976

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 03:46:21 PM »
Contrary to some people's beliefs and regardless of the color of Indiana on that map, no, it does not apply to every scanner. Scroll down to the bottom of this link and find 35-44-3-12. Most older scanners don't apply since they don't operate in the current police band. Specifically read the part where it defines a police radio as capable of receiving police frequencies to back that up. For the most part, you have nothing to worry about if you're not a criminal.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2004/title35/ar44/ch3.html


CIOR

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2014, 03:55:50 PM »
Years ago it was a bigger deal.  I recall many stories of cops hassling people over mobile scanners.

SankyInbound

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 06:34:04 PM »
Thanks for the help! It seems like, no matter who I talk to around here, no one knows exactly where to go to get a license so thanks for those links!

check out this website for more information on obtaining a ham ticket.  Your local Barnes and Noble should have a manual for studying for your technicians license. 

http://www.arrl.org

this website is a wealth of information.  you can look up locations and dates for test times and or courses.

 
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Caylorman

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 09:07:21 AM »
Contrary to some people's beliefs and regardless of the color of Indiana on that map, no, it does not apply to every scanner. Scroll down to the bottom of this link and find 35-44-3-12. Most older scanners don't apply since they don't operate in the current police band. Specifically read the part where it defines a police radio as capable of receiving police frequencies to back that up. For the most part, you have nothing to worry about if you're not a criminal.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2004/title35/ar44/ch3.html

I believe the state still has licenses for their old VHF-HI channels, which 99% of the scanners will receive.  They could technically make a case

In my personal experience in having a scanner in the car since I was 16, I've been given grief about it once, and that was even after having a ham radio license. 

E.J.

Bill

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 09:41:05 PM »
Since this topic is fairly recent I would like to ask a question.  I believe the law enforcement and such around my area have all went digital and I am kicking around getting a new scanner to be able to listen.  But I would like it to be capable of getting the railroad frequencies also.  I have my ham ticket and I know I use to be able to listen to the local pd on my yaesu ht.  Thanks for any info.

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indyspy

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 09:43:55 PM »
I don't know, I find the fancy scanners capable of receiving the fancy digital trunking really suck at VHF analog.
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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2014, 10:13:54 PM »
Are the digital ones capable of nexedge or whatever it is they are rumored to be going to at some point in the future?  Also let's drop the vhf side is there one you would recommend that would not break the bank?

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indyspy

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 10:20:11 PM »
Right now, there are no NXDN capable scanners.

However..... you could buy the same radios the railroad uses and have them programed if the RRs use simplex (which I believe they will, I can't see the RRs using VHF trunked outside of some very heavy traffic yards.

The downside is, it costs $700+

I will have to go that way if they indeed move to NXDN
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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2014, 11:45:12 AM »
A little off topic what would you recommend either mobile or handheld for scanning the digital trunking a lot of pd's ems and such are now on.

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Zip Scanners

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 11:25:43 AM »
A little off topic what would you recommend either mobile or handheld for scanning the digital trunking a lot of pd's ems and such are now on.

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Handheld as it's more convenient to carry with you but it depends on where you'll be listening from.

indyspy

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2014, 11:32:22 AM »
Both.... One cannot do what the other does.

Mobile.... range and audio loudness. Nothing beats a VHF mobile with a 5/8wave range wise. You can't beat the audio volume of an external speaker driven by a mobile radio. When your outside, throw the speaker up on the roof and jack the volume up. Just like the maintainer does.

Yet you still need a good portable, for when your riding the train, or traveling where you can't have your car.

I liken the pair to different sized screwdrivers. They each do a job the other can't
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Zip Scanners

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Re: Need Help With Scanner Related Things
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2014, 11:33:21 AM »
Refresh my memory on a few things. I know there is a scanner law in Indiana. Does it apply to EVERY type of scanner? What if it's a handheld? Everything's just so confusing and too technical and I get lost. lol I've had cops tell me that my 20 year old analog scanner is fine. But I need a new one and I don't believe analog scanners are made anymore. So what happens if I go digital (handheld)? And would I go to the local courthouse to get a license if one is needed? Also, I've heard that Uniden scanners are really good but do they have a tendancy to bleed the weather broadcast in downtown areas? My Radio Shack scanner always has the weather broadcast bleeding over the railroad frequency. I've been told an attenuator would help but maybe I won't need that with a new scanner. Thanks in advance!

Here is an article with a breakdown of scanner laws in each state.  http://www.zipscanners.com/scanner-resources/are-police-scanners-legal
Here is a link to the Indiana law: http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/minutes/CCECECG.pdf

Yes - these laws apply to each scanner type including handheld.  There is a debate and pending litigation (although I'm not sure about Indiana) about scanner apps.

If you're looking for a digital scanner, the Uniden 436 is the most popular.  Here is a breakdown of it on RR: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/BCD436HP

The 436 is $499.99 but the reviews on it are great.  You can get one here:
http://www.zipscanners.com/uniden-bearcat-bcd436hp-handheld-digital-police-scanner.html

You can still get analog scanners (much cheaper) but eventually all signals are going to go digital if they have not already.  If you'd like an analog here are a few options:
http://www.zipscanners.com/police-scanners/shop-by-format/analog-police-scanner-radios.html