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Re: Cardboard Antenna Question Thanks

On Sunday, Mar 2, 2003, at 11:47 US/Central, ai7w@arrl.net wrote:

> I assume this is a reference to the earlier thread about
> DFing cordless phones. As I understand the law, the only
> thing that's illegal is to listen to the conversation.
> Any DFing procedure that doesn't involve listening to the
> conversation is legal. (such as receiving the signal using
> a non-compatible mode ie. narrow band SSB to track a WBFM
> signal).
> I don't think there are any legal restrictions at all
> to DFing a Wi-Fi transmitter.

Actually, unless the law has been changed, there is no expectation of 
privacy on cordless (i.e. non-cellular) phone conversations.  IIRC, 
there was a case several years ago where someone was convicted based on 
recordings of their cordless phone conversations and the conviction was 
upheld on every appeal as far up as it would go -- so (IANAL, but) 
there doesn't appear to be any reason to avoid listening to a cordless 
phone conversation.

The *only* type of transmission I know of that's illegal to listen in 
on is a cellular conversation, and that will only be an issue of any 
real concern while there are still analog phones operating on 820/860 
in clear FM -- it isn't possible in any practical sense to listen to 
the newer digital phones because the data stream is encrypted.  
Personally, I've always been opposed to that particular ban because 
it's a) virtually unenforceable, b) the wrong way to solve the problem 
to begin with, and c) a very dangerous precedent for various government 
agencies who shall remain nameless to abuse later on, but hotter heads 
prevailed on that one.  I've always felt it was really stupid and 
shortsighted to ban any kind of unauthorized *reception* of radio 
signals -- sort of like building houses with front doors that don't 
lock and then making it a federal offense to walk in without an 
invitation -- but that's sort of beside the point, which is that there 
really isn't any other clear voice signal out there that is illegal to 
listen to at least under federal law.

Some states and cities are touchy about unauthorized reception of 
police and public service radio transmissions, again unwisely in my 
opinion and largely unnecessarily, but that's state law or city 
ordinance and will vary widely depending on where you are.  It's 
remotely possible that similar local laws may apply to cordless phone 
transmissions, but I haven't heard of any such laws -- YMMV.  If you're 
uncomfortable overhearing a cordless phone conversation, pick a mode 
that doesn't let you hear it intelligibly, obviously, but don't feel 
legally obligated to do so unless there's a compelling reason to feel 
otherwise ..

           --... ...-- -.. . -. ..... ...- -...
                   Bruce Bostwick N5VB

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