Ask a Trooper: Ham radio license allows for scanner

Published 6:04 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question: I have a friend who drives around with a scanner in his vehicle. He says because he has a ham radio license it’s legal, is that true?

Answer: Your friend is correct. Peace officers, the State Patrol, and people with an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission are allowed to have a scanner in their vehicle. Emergency response personnel are also allowed to use scanners if they’re employed or authorized by the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision to provide fire suppression, police protection, emergency medical services, or emergency activities relating to health and safety and in compliance with the requirements of the state statute.

People not authorized to use a scanner could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Second and subsequent offenses are gross misdemeanors.

People using such devices while committing or attempting to commit a felony could be convicted of a felony.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention, and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848 or reach at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us).