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Author Topic: Traveling through Indiana and Kentucky  (Read 3705 times)
KD8OSB
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Posts: 5




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« on: April 30, 2012, 08:46:46 AM »

Hi everyone, I don't see a forum area specific to legal matters, so asking here. Hopefully someone with experience driving through or living in these states can alleviate my anxieties.

I have two non-standard antennas on my car, one for a scanner, one for a 2m/70 ham radio; the ham is an HT that I mount on my dash when I'm driving, otherwise it's with me.

This is a summary of my situation..

1. Both Indiana and Kentucky restrict scanner use but do permit them for licensed hams (http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/scanner5.html).
2. I don't plan to use a scanner while traveling; won't even have it with me.
3. My HT is a Wouxun, good little rig, open on some public safety frequencies.
4. From what I understand, some police officers don't know the difference between a scanner and an amateur radio, and even if they do, if they're in a bad mood they can confiscate it, fine you, and it could take a year to get it back and they claim it was just an honest mistake.
5. I plan to put my call sign on the back window in reflective lettering; it's partly a pride thing and announcing to other hams I'm in a the hobby, but also a caution thing so cops realize the antennas are being used by an FCC license holder.
6. I of course plan to carry my license.

Questions: Am I being paranoid? Do I remove the antennas while in those states and put the radio in the glove compartment? Are the call letters a bad idea (invitation to thieves) ?

BTW, I've traveled to Canada a lot for years, never did anything illegal, but I can tell you that just by luck of the draw, having crossed the border 100's of times, I've met my share of surly Homeland Security officers that went out of their way to make my border crossing an experience to remember.

I don't want to lose my radio in Indiana or Kentucky just because someone's having a bad day :-)

All comments appreciated!

--KD8OSB
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KK4IKO
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 09:13:29 AM »

You know there are times when all you can do is not enough for some people.  I would also carry the operating manual for the HT, just in case some misguided cop needs educating.  You might also obtain something in writing from the AG's office in both states, that clearly spells out their policy.  Beyond that, and what you are already doing, there's probably nothing else you can do short of leaving the HT and antennas at home. 

As far as Canadian border crossings go, way before Homeland Insecurity, way before 911, and way before major drug trafficking, coming back across FROM Canada was always a hassle.  Getting in was no sweat.

73
Bruce, KK4IKJO
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3651




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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 09:15:11 AM »

OSB:  You're overthinking this OM.  You can have your car full of electronic gear, no matter what, as long as you have a copy of your ham ticket with you.  I'd venture that 99% of the law enforcement officers out there will understand you, as a ham, have the right to use this gear.

I know your feeling.  Whenever I travel outside WV I carry copies of rules and regulations on handgun concealed carry for the states I'm traveling in.  
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20542




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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 09:23:57 AM »

I'd just do a Cannonball Run through the states.

Anyone stops you, tell them your name is J.J. McClure. Wink
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WN2C
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Posts: 428




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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 10:09:56 AM »

You are being paranoid. Call letters on car is not an invitation to thieves, the antennas are. I had been through Indiana last fall and didn't get stopped cause I was not speeding. So don't give a reason for being stopped and you won't get hassled. The local constabulary is not going to stop you for having antennas on your car.  If they are going to stop you it will be for some thing else.
Have a safe trip and keep it under a 100.

73 de Rick wn2c
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N4KZ
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Posts: 594




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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 11:28:53 AM »

I live in Kentucky and have been in the state off and on for the 43 years I've had a ham ticket.

I have rigs in my vehicle and antennas on it.

You are being paranoid.

73, N4KZ
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KI4ENS
Member

Posts: 79




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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 04:12:23 AM »

N4KZ, 

Lots of people have amateur radio antennas on their vehicles around here in Lexington KY.  My previous vehicle had a dual band antenna and I never got any hassles.  Also never got pulled over either in it.  But my route to work is right past the police training facility.  So plenty of officers got to see the antenna.

Just keep the rig set to one of the ham frequencies and not a public safety frequency.

BTW, if the scanner antenna is a mini-discone I might consider removing it as it does advertise that you have a wide band receiver.
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KD8OSB
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 05:07:53 AM »

Thank you all for the excellent advice! I knew I'd find knowledgeable and helpful folks here. The ham community has been helpful from before I even got my ticket almost 2 years ago.

I will stow the paranoia and enjoy the hobby through IN and KY. The scanner antenna is a Tram 1199; it's "multi-band", but looks like a ham antenna from any distance.

Thank you all again. Someday perhaps I can claim the title "elmer."

--KD8OSB
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AB9TX
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 06:26:45 AM »

Most police and public service are now scrambled digital voip. They dont dare if you have a scanner in your car.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5863




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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2012, 05:07:19 AM »

True, but you can also come across the small backwater towns where the police enjoy hassling the out of towners that come through.  As someone else said, keep it below the speed limit and you shouldn't have a problem--but have the appropriate documentation with you, just in case.
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VE9AAE
Member

Posts: 26




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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2012, 03:54:40 PM »

Possibly countering what Bruce, KK4IKJO said, I have crossed into the U.S. quite a few times in the last two years (from both New Brunswick and Ontario) and my experience with with your Homeland Security/Border control has been excellent.
Every time I've crossed they have been friendly yet professional and I can honestly say that I was never hassled at all.

Just my two cents though.

VE9AAE.
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W5DQ
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Posts: 1209


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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 09:44:52 AM »

Just go on your trip and quit worrying about it. They'll be too busy at the donut shop to chase you down for having an antenna or two on your car. Besides, you're licensed and it is not a crime to listen to over-the-air unencoded transmissions for pleasure. You're not allowed to benefit from those receptions or pass along the info you might hear in them but to listen, I'd take that one to court and win no problem.

While you're at it, you might want to get a new tin foil hat to go on your trip with. From your post, it sounds like you're do for one ..... Smiley

Quit worrying about the little stuff. I'd be more concern about the cost of gas and how we are getting reamed everytime we fill up!!!
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
K0CBA
Member

Posts: 295




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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 08:16:26 AM »

Keep your ear out for banjo music too!
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KD8OSB
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2012, 07:42:05 AM »


While you're at it, you might want to get a new tin foil hat to go on your trip with. From your post, it sounds like you're do for one ..... Smiley


Thank you, W5DQ, I'll look into the tin foil hat. I've been using aluminum.

--KD8OSB
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K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3651




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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 08:29:03 AM »

This whole thread reminded me of a time when I went to the Berryville, VA hamfest.  Some guy had a large panel truck parked there.  On the roof was a large RADAR antenna and a forest of other antennas of many styles and forms.

Inside the van, in the driver/passenger compartment and behind both seats was so many meters, switches, knobs and levers that it would make the present day 747 cockpit look like a Nintendo game!  There wasn't a square inch of space, in front, the ceiling or the sides that was devoid of some kind of meter or control.  And of course none of them worked!

I no longer remembered what was painted on the sides of the van but do recall that the impression it left was the owner was "different."

I asked him about the van and if he had any problems with law enforcement.  He laughed and indicated that quite often a state cop would pull him over and check the van out.  Since no laws were being violated he said the cop would invariably shake his head and leave.

And the guy seemed "normal" and just enjoyed the attention.
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