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Old 02-03-2010, 11:28 AM   #1
blackdiamondmike OP
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Police scanner to avoid LEO trouble?

I sometimes ride trails of questionably legality and am thinking that I might get a portable police scanner with an earpiece so I'd get a heads up if someone called the police. I'm not out to trespass on private property and certainly not tear up trails. My riding is on public property which, while unposted, is still against city and county ordinances and laws. I'm not looking for moral judgements, just whether it will work and if I will be able to hear it. Any ideas?
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdiamondmike
I sometimes ride trails of questionably legality and am thinking that I might get a portable police scanner with an earpiece so I'd get a heads up if someone called the police. I'm not out to trespass on private property and certainly not tear up trails. My riding is on public property which, while unposted, is still against city and county ordinances and laws. I'm not looking for moral judgements, just whether it will work and if I will be able to hear it. Any ideas?
I'll avoid judgement, and just say it probably will not work. Most modern policing agencies have gone to transmitters that scramble their signals. Ten or twenty years ago... no problem. THey'd have a really hard time catching you.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:54 PM   #3
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Around here I think only the federal law enforcement agencies have gone to digital or trunked systems. The PD, SO, and Forest Service are regular VHF, or UHF frequencies. Scanners are not legal in vehicles everywhere, check your local laws first.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:13 PM   #4
rdwalker
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I had a scanner in my car in the past. Completely useless.

If speeding is your main concern, get a good radar detector (no 100%, but increases your chances) - otherwise just keep a lower profile.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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Depending on your area it will work. I have a digital trunking scanner and while I don't use it for this purpose. I did get to hear my neighbor call me in on Memorial Day for riding the four wheeler down the street. Ok well I was riding wheelies down the street, but none the less I came in and heard it come accross the scanner.

So yes it works and as long as the signals are not encrypted you are fine.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:26 PM   #6
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Interested to see where this goes, as I also ride many similar trails. I don't know about the city laws on riding them. They sure don't seem to have a problem with all of the bums that live on em. This is a pretty good idea, if it works. The iPhone has a lot of scanner aps, if you can find one that broadcasts your city.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:25 PM   #7
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All law enforcement and fire/ems are supposed to go to a 700 frequency by 2012. It is supposed to be more secure and scrambled. Some areas have already switched but others may have problems due to the expense of the radio's at about $700 apiece. Since a lot of the agencies cant afford the switch, scrambling, or encoding, systems are getting cheaper. Check with the local Radio Shack to see if your area is going to switch.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:51 AM   #8
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The Cannonballers agree...

While it may be true that some departments scramble their freqs so that the public can't scrutinise them, a number of people who are semi-professional hellraisers had the same idea as you did and still use scanners as part of their "passive defense" against LFOs, amongst them Alex Roy, who fairly recently broke the Cannonball Run record by over an hour, as well as a few of the guys that he had run the Gumball Rallies with (You can read about the whole thing here).

I don't know if you have any type of "smart" cell phone, like an iPhone or a Droid, but there are a few pretty convenient little applications that would seem to fit your needs pretty well. With Police Scanner, all you have to do is set the area you'd like to listen to, and it will relay the scanner traffic to your phone. Pretty cool stuff...or it would be if AT&T had anything resembling adequate coverage .
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
I had a scanner in my car in the past. Completely useless.

If speeding is your main concern, get a good radar detector (no 100%, but increases your chances) - otherwise just keep a lower profile.
Radar detectors are pretty much useless. When I was a cop, the first thing I learned was how to snipe. That was the slang term of leaving the radar off, until you see someone, then "sniping" them when you turned it on. Worked everytime.

I always loved asking how that $300 Valentine worked for them as I was writing out a $250 ticket.

You want to avoid getting caught, grab a safety who is going much faster, let them get a mile ahead and then match speed. Also in Rural areas, let a cop pass, then speed for 15-20 miles. Other than that, no other way. Scanners are useless other than listening to your 10-27/28 get run
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:46 AM   #10
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in theory it will work, though not sure how practical it will be to have a scanner hanging on your hip and to listen to the peculiarities of police communication over the noise and effort of riding trails. it may help to be familiar with your departments 10 codes so you can decipher dispatches. remember, not all departments use the same 10 code designations...even ones right next to each other.

our departments here in coastal sc are all digital now. the digital scanners are kindof expensive too.

700 mhz??? that frequency was used back in the 80s! 460 mhz was good up to then, after that 800 mhz was the standard. only recently have digital systems come down in price enough so that local depts can use them.

i personally hate the digital systems because instead of some static, you get that digital garble. you could usually get what someone was saying through static, but the garble is almost impossible (for me at least). another downside to the digital portable radios is the weight. they are much heavier than thier 800mhz counterparts.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:09 PM   #11
rdwalker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Raven
Radar detectors are pretty much useless. When I was a cop, the first thing I learned was how to snipe. ... You want to avoid getting caught, grab a safety who is going much faster, let them get a mile ahead and then match speed. .. Scanners are useless other than listening to your 10-27/28 get run
Oh, I do agree with you, radar detectors are not a solution, but may increase your chances, depending on situation.

Indeed, a detector will not help you with an instant-on K-band gun. However, in rural areas where I travel, there is a surprising number of always on X-band guns in use (and even some K-band guns running in that mode). That is really the only situation a detector helps. But - every little bit helps, no?

Even the "jack-rabbit" method ("safety", as you called it) of following a fast driver is not a guarantee. My last ticket was received exactly in such situation - the faster driver vanished, I was pulled over.

I do not rely on radar/scanner/CB detection methods too much anymore. I am trying to stay within the limit+10 envelope and so far that allows me to to avoid attracting too much attention. Yes, I know that that has a low coolness factor, but it is good for my points count.


Actually, I believe that the OP wanted to listen-in on police conversation while riding off-road, so that the whole radar detector idea is moot anyway.

rdwalker screwed with this post 02-04-2010 at 08:09 PM
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
bombarde
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Most of the cops in my town use cell phones to stay in touch with their partners and to stay off the radio bands. You aren't gonna be able to hear those conversations.
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:07 AM   #13
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Don't forget all the departments that have gone to computer dispatch. Regular calls go out over the in car terminals and nothing is ever put on air.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:12 PM   #14
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I spose the scanner is a bust. I guess I need to sneak up to the station and lojack all the cruisers and sync em to my GPS. Might as well bug the cabs while I'm at it.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Raven
Radar detectors are pretty much useless. When I was a cop, the first thing I learned was how to snipe. That was the slang term of leaving the radar off, until you see someone, then "sniping" them when you turned it on. Worked everytime.

I always loved asking how that $300 Valentine worked for them as I was writing out a $250 ticket.
Well, everybody isn't that stupid As long as there's a few cars on the road my Valentine will go off when you snipe the guy 2 miles ahead of me.
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