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Generally speaking, there are certain restrictions even in jurisdictions that allow the use of scanners and radar devices. In particular, scanners can occasionally pick up signals such as private cell phones, creating situations that breach privacy laws. According to most restrictions, it is illegal to own, operate, or sell scanners that are capable of listening in on cell phones or wireless home phones. As breaching cell phone privacy is considered a federal law, the act itself is considered illegal across the United States.
For many jurisdictions, it is also illegal to break into encrypted channels to listen in on information that is not supposed to be available to the public. This means that those listening in for police information in order to help them achieve a criminal end, such as speeding, are often breaking multiple laws.
Satellite images are available to view online, but you may need some guidance when interpreting them. There are plenty of resources both in books and online that can help. Even if you are not an expert, it is still beneficial to learn how to read the National Weather Service radar imagery.
As a result, it has become popular among street racers and those who do not mind dipping into the realm of illegal modifications to purchase and install police scanners or radar systems. Although there are not general laws that govern the use of these systems across all American jurisdictions, there are some widely implemented limitations that protect law enforcement officials and fair business practices.
There are certain areas that directly prohibit the use of these devices. In these jurisdictions, it is illegal to use a police scanner or a radar device entirely without being a proper exception, regardless of the intention of the device. There may be exemptions for cab drivers and truck driving companies that use these devices to share information about routes or customers.
Experts whose specialty is to interpret the data monitor the National Weather Service radars. They then publish some of their images and findings on their website and in other media, such as radio and television. All these avenues serve to help us understand the weather conditions and patterns in our own backyards.
The National Weather Service radars use NEXROD, or Next Generation Radar technology and Doppler radars. There are generally four types of data and images that are produced from these radars. They are base reflectivity, composite reflectivity, one-hour total rainfall and storm total rainfall. All these images make up the full picture of storm and weather predictions.
National Weather Service Radars are located in each state except all the New England states that are small and can be serviced by the same handful of radars. There is also one above Puerto Rico and one above Guam. Some areas have a higher concentration of National Weather Service Radars than others, which probably has to do with the conditions of a given area. Such a large occurrence of radars allows for more accurate readings.