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Old 7th Oct 2002, 19:55   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Listening to R/T

I've just started my PPL, and have been given an air band receiver. As R/T is a foreign language at the moment, I've found this really useful.

I've now heard that it's illegal to listen to air communications without an R/T licence. Does anyone know if this is true?

Thanks.
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Old 7th Oct 2002, 20:52   #2 (permalink)
 
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I seem to remember this one being discussed here before and I don't think it is true.

Anyway, who cares? Go on, live a little!

QDM
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Old 7th Oct 2002, 21:16   #3 (permalink)
PPruNaholic!
 
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I used air-band rx for same purpose - haven't been arrested yet! Don't worry about it mate!
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Old 7th Oct 2002, 21:26   #4 (permalink)
 
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As far as I know it's not illegal to listen, but you need an R/T licence to transmit - which you can't with your average airband receiver. When you are training and doing the R/T before you having an R/T licence you are operating on the licence of your instructor.

I think that's right but, as always, stand to be corrected.
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Old 7th Oct 2002, 22:07   #5 (permalink)

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It's illegal to transmit, but you can listen as much as you like. The same applies for Police bands etc... Owning decoding gear is harder to explain but un-encrypted (I think my English teacher just turned in his grave) RT is OK.

Of course if you're worried then pass your class 2 medical and you're a studie pilot and need the tools of the trade.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 01:13   #6 (permalink)

 
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I believe listening is ok (inc. police etc) , but as soon as you act on any information you hear, then you become illegal one of those stupid laws, like pissing on the back left wheel of a taxi, which apparently is legal (some old law, stemming back to stage coaches or something and was never revoked.....).....maybe I'll try it next saturday night on the sherbet, and I'll let you know how I get on

Anyway, does it really matter, is it going to stop you if it was illegal???

Cheers
EA
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 07:21   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thanks all.

The guy who gave me the receiver is married to a magistrate, so he feels a little better now. Guess I can bring the radio into the office and listen away.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 07:28   #8 (permalink)
aceatco, retired
 
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It is actually illegal to listen to anything to which you are not licenced or have the permission of the user to do so (Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.) It is also a popular misconception to think you can listen to anything so long as you don't pass it on. Have a look at the Radiocommunications Agency site http://www.radio.gov.uk/ and search for information sheet RA169.

From a practical point of view, so much air band listening goes on I don't think anyone is going to get very excited about it, particularly if it is for an eminently sensible purpose of improving your own RT standards. But you did ask!
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 07:36   #9 (permalink)
 
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Just don't take it on holiday to some countries where I've been and don't get a camera out either
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 09:54   #10 (permalink)

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When I was burgled earlier this year one of the things the b*****ds took was my transceiver. (In fact, I think it was incidental, as they took my flight bag to carry all their booty away in, and the transceiver was lying in the bottom of it. At least they took my DC headset out first.)

When I claimed on my insurance for it the insurance company was very suspicious and wanted to know why I had it and where I got it from. In the end I sent them the Transair catalogue showing that these things are freely and legally available, and eventually they paid up (for that item anyway - don't get me going about insurance companies...)
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 10:26   #11 (permalink)
 
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Listening to R/T

I've carted my ICOM 22 all over the world, whether I've intended to fly or not (the rest of the world's versions of R/T can often provide plenty of amusement) and have never had anybody bat an eyelid at it with one exception ...... Once at Dubai, on the way to Manchester, in mid '98 the security screening guys got quite excited until I explained that they actually sell the identical model of ICOM IC-A22E in the duty free shop in Dubai airport.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 10:59   #12 (permalink)
 
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Listen as much as you like. In the UK, Australia, Canada, the US, basically it's a free-for-all.

The authorities are far too busy with other more consequential matters than trying to "foxhunt" people using scanners to listen illegally to transmissions.

During WW2 the German signal corps had a saying about radio traffic of any sort (apologies for very poor German) "Alle funkverkehr ist landsveraat" which broadly translates as "all radio traffic is high treason".

A court in the US ruled that once a radio signal propogates through the air or in free space it is in the public domain and if a person has the necessary technical skill and facilities to receive it, either by direct intent or fortuitously, then the originator of that radio transmission has no recourse.

I listen all the time. I also downlink satellite transmissions, frequently in full view of the local Police and, on occasions, radio regulatory personnel. They couldn't care less.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 16:54   #13 (permalink)
 
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(Here goes for the second time after I was logged out and lost all my text!!)

Yes, I believe it is illegal in this country although I agree that listening to R/T is useful in gaining confidence away from the aircraft. It is particularly useful if you don't get to fly that often (such as those of us that aren't lucky enough to get paid for flying!)

Things start to get a bit sticky if, for instance, you were to hear something "newsworthy" and pass it on (particularly for profit).

Listen to an appropriate frequency on the radio, such as your local airfield, rather than the airways frequencies. Try to critique what you hear. Bear in mind that if you are making a request to an ATCO then he/she has to have confidence in your abilities before granting permission (within reason). Very often they judge this ability by how competent you are on the R/T.

Good luck, and happy listening!
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 17:15   #14 (permalink)
BRL
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Last year at the Shoreham air show, my mate had a scanner, hand held, and had a copper standing next to him listening to it in the field they use as a car park. He was impressed, especially by the controller saying how much he enjoyed seeing the B17 and always brings a lump to his throat before wishing them luck flying home. Copper said he didn't think they were allowed to chat like that and thought RT was a lot stricter.!!!
Quote:
The authorities are far too busy with other more consequential matters than trying to "foxhunt" people using scanners to listen illegally to transmissions.
Last year at Eastbourne, the police sent out radio messages saying there had been a UFO landed at Beachy Head and even provided bright lights that shone in the sky there. When the cars(public) turned up they were pulling everyone of them seeing if they had scanners as they were doing a purge on members of the public who listened in. They got quite a few as well i remember. At least 20 got caught with a portable scanner.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 21:20   #15 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Last year at Eastbourne, the police sent out radio messages saying there had been a UFO landed at Beachy Head and even provided bright lights that shone in the sky there. When the cars(public) turned up they were pulling everyone of them seeing if they had scanners as they were doing a purge on members of the public who listened in.
Bastards.
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Old 8th Oct 2002, 21:37   #16 (permalink)
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Who? The old bill or the public
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 00:27   #17 (permalink)
 
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Take your pick BRL. I think Joe Public on this occasion were being arseholes, the plods should have better things to do or hasn't anybody told them!

To prevent ***** raining down from above buy an Icom transceiver. Register it. It costs 20/year. No worries it's only a pint a month for 10 months
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 07:18   #18 (permalink)
 
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Vintage_ATCO beat me to it with the link !

Absolutely spot on with the response i.e. it is technically illegal.

However, you have to be caught in the act and I have never heard of any such case.
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 17:20   #19 (permalink)
aceatco, retired
 
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I have never known any action taken against people listening to airband, and I wouldn't expect to unless someone was extremely silly, i.e., passing onto the media something they had heard, or, in the UK, streaming live ATC onto the Internet.

However, it is true what BRL said about Police 'stings', and I know of people who have been spoken to and reported to the RA for what they were listening to. I believe at least one case ended in prosecution.

There is a belief amongst some 'scannerists' that even being caught with a scanner with inappropriate frequencies programmed into the memory is enough to prove intent.

I dunno. Don't shoot the messenger.

But to get back on-topic and to Footsie, I don't think anyone is going to be stressed out by you improving your RT by listening. Enjoy.
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Old 9th Oct 2002, 17:47   #20 (permalink)
 
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eavesdropping

As a past military comms officer and a currently licenced radio amateur, I can pretty much confirm that you are all right!

yes its illegal - the only legal thing you can listen to is the broadcast bands, time and frequency standards and ham radio bands.

However, your unlikely to be prosecuted for listening to ATC using a scanner - there are lines of people using em in cars outside the perimeter fence listening to my screw ups and lousy landings at EGPK - hope it keeps em amused!

Drive around a town centre with a scanner on the police freqs and its liable to quickly become attention as would be selling off the details heard to local papers etc.

Its all a bit of common sense!

Arriving at a local spot because of alien encounters from what you have heard on a police frequencydeserves to have you locked up anyway! I actually wonder what they expected!

Oh and don't say Aliens
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