Is it true people with scanners can hear you on a cordless phone?

Question by Michelle S: Is it true people with scanners can hear you on a cordless phone?
Someone told me that cordless phones aren’t good to talk on because people with scanners can hear your private conversations. Is this true? Are there any cordless phones that are safe? What about cell phones? Can a scanner hear you on your cell phone too?

Best answer:

Answer by cindybradytooh
Someone told me that cordless phones aren’t good to talk on because people with scanners can hear your private conversations. Is this true?

Yes!

Are there any cordless phones that are safe?

Yes!

What about cell phones? Can a scanner hear you on your cell phone too?

Yes!

It depends on the scanner. But most really good ones can pick up cell fones and cordless fones.

The best way to get around it is to use a FHSS 5.8 gig fone. *NOTHIN* can hear way up there! 😀 It is also FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum), just in case… 😀

I have a Panasonic sitting right in front of me that meets those specifications. 5.8 gig, digital spread spectrum, frequency hopping, just like a bunny! 😀

~Cindy! 😀

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

3 comments

  1. Yes and no, when cordless phones first hit the market they were based on very trivial analog technology that was easy to skimm for on a scanner that could reach the radio range of the phone but most cordless phones are now digital spread spectrum based and therefore extremely hard if not completely impossible to listen on using a storebought scanner and although digital scanners exist they still need to be able to reach the frequency range of your phone as well as have the base code for your handsets base which can be nearly impossible. I would say unless you were extremely high profile I wouldn’t be concerned with this.

  2. I will expand on the answer given by “silence..” above.

    Early cordless phones used analog signals on the 49mHz band and could easily be intercepted by most scanning receivers and by some “baby monitors” that shared the same frequencies.

    A little later, cordless phones came out that were on the 900mHz band but still used analog signals. A more expensive type of scanning receiver was required to listen to this band, but it could still be done.

    Most newer cordless phones use digital signals and operate on much higher freqency bands. The digital signal must be “decoded” in order to be listened to and this is beyond the capabilities of the average person. While it would be possible for a highly-skilled person to intercept your call, the chances of this happening are remote.

    Early cellular phones were also analog and could also be listened to using a scanning receiver, but it was much more difficult as cell signals are constantly switching between towers. You could listen to pieces of different conversations, but it was difficult to stay with any one conversation, and trying to listen to a specific person was nearly impossible.

    To prevent people from listening to cell phones, Congress passed a law saying that scanning receivers had to be “blocked” so that they couldn’t listen to cell frequencies. The problem with this law was that thousands of “unblocked” receivers were already in use, and that most “blocked” receivers could easily be “unblocked” by simply changing some wiring.

    The good news is that, all of the newer cell phones are now digital, and like digital cordless phones, can’t be listened to by the average person. There are still some analog cell phones in use (mostly in very rural areas), but effective February of 2008, these will be discontinued.

    So, in the case of both the cordless phone and the cell phone, unless you are using very old equipment, you can be fairly sure that it cannot be listened to by the average person with a scanner.

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