Many people listen in to police scanners as a hobby and as a way to keep themselves up-to-date on the latest information. Police scanners or scanner radios are often streams. They include police chatter, firefighter chatter and even flight chatter. For some people, listening in to a scanner is a lifeline. It’s a way to keep in touch with loved ones who work in dangerous jobs and can potentially face life-threatening situations every single day.
Pittsburgh does not require an FCC license or permit in order to possess a police scanner. Pennsylvania law also permits the use of mobile police scanners, but restrictions apply. People using scanners in vehicles will be fined.
It is also illegal to listen in to cellular transmissions — not only that, cell companies have all the right to go after you if you disclose information. Intercepting coded communications is also considered illegal. Disclosing information you hear, as well as using information for your own gain or in the commission of a crime is also illegal.
One of the best free sites you can tune into is Broadcastify.com. The site focuses on aggregating police scanner feeds from all over the US and the world. The site interface is user-friendly and easy to understand. First time users shouldn’t have a hard time using the search functions or the map function to pinpoint their Pittsburgh feed down to county. You can browse by location, conduct a specific search or simply click on the current top feeds to see what everyone else is listening to.
Another great free site to bookmark is RadioReference.com. Unlike other radio streaming sites, this site is totally dedicated to collating, studying and verifying different official channels. This is also the ideal site for radio hobbyists, as thousands of like-minded people check into the forums everyday to discuss everything from hobby CB to the accuracy of the frequency.
If you prefer to have your scanner with you on the go, there are plenty of free apps for your smartphone or tablet. 5-0 Police Scanner Lite is the top rated app for Apple. The user interface is easy to use, if a little boring. But it makes it a piece of cake to find the area in Pittburgh you want to listen into. Mobile scanners are legal in the state of Pennsylvania, even for private vehicles. But always make sure to check with the local laws before bringing it with you to avoid that traffic stop. Simply download the app from the store — it’s absolutely free. However, you may need to pay to play for some in-app upgrades.
For the Android operating system, the top rated application is the Police Scanner Radio Scanner. This scanner lets you listen in not just to US feeds, but police scanners from all over the world, just in case you want to find out what’s going on in Tokyo. The app is extremely simple-looking, but again, functionality triumphs over form. The app needs a strong WiFi signal or 3G/4G system to work properly. It’s free, so testing it out doesn’t hurt.
It’s easy to listen in to police scanners in Pittsburgh. You don’t have to spend a single cent.