How to Pick Up Cell-Phone Conversations

Updated February 21, 2017

If you wish to listen to cellphone conversations for covert purposes, you can use a scanner radio and frequency counter to pick up these conversations. This method works for cell phones with analogue signals. If you want to listen to cellphone conversations of your friends or family, you may wish to use a sound-amplifying device instead of trying to pick up cellphone signals. Remain covert, as many people may not appreciate your spying.

Locate the person having the cellphone conversation you wish to pick up. Stand about five to 15 feet away from this person.

Turn on your frequency counter and your scanner radio.

Hold the frequency counter towards the cell phone. Examine the counter to determine the frequency of the signal.

Tune the scanner radio to the appropriate frequency. Sometimes, the radio must be set at 45 megahertz above the frequency listed on the counter. Adjust the scanner radio until you hear the conversation.

Turn down the volume of the scanner to the minimum to avoid detection.


Spying on people's conversations is illegal in some areas. Check your local laws before attempting to pick up signals.

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner Radio
  • Frequency Counter
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About the Author

Breann Kanobi has worked as freelance writer since 2010. Kanobi regularly submits content online to Gamer DNA. Kanobi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television from New York University in 2010.