This book is written with an unabashed enthusiasm for making technological eavesdropping available to us all, despite the latest federal government efforts to legislate it away. Eisenson is a specialist in covering electronic “gray markets” wherein it is legal to make, buy, sell or own the products but illegal to use them. Until 1983, it was perfectly legal to purchase and use scanners that could receive cordless or cellular phone calls or even listen to baby monitors. Now that all this is technically illegal, it seems like the right time to find out what you aren’t allowed to do anymore and just what these Radio Shack “hobbyists” have really been up to.
Besides the exquisite pleasures of monitoring your neighbors’ sleaziest private phone moments, the possibility also exists of tuning in Air Force One air-to-ground communication, frequencies for armored truck companies like Brinks and Wells Fargo, and even a specially designed band for evangelical operations where one can listen to the internal organizational machinations of Sun Myung Moon, Jerry Falwell or the Church of Scientology. The writing style of Scanners and Secret Frequencies is far from dry: “For instance, if you hear a rumor about a reactor meltdown, switch to 165.6625 MHz. That frequency is shared between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Airport Security Nationwide, so if the nuclear inspectors start calling ahead to bypass airport security, it’s time for you to hire a Piper Cub and scoot.”
According to Eisenson, today’s “hobbyist scanner” is technically superior to scanners built for the NSA “not that many years ago,” and he would be in a position to know. Scanners and Secret Frequencies explains the basic principles of radio transmission, tells which brand of scanner the three-letter agencies are actually ordering, gives step-by-step instructions on how to hotrod specific scanners by brand name and provides instructions on computer-assisted scanning, frequency list sources and other essential info for the budding surveillance freak.
Paperback: 320 pages