How to Pick Up Cell-Phone Conversations

By Breann Kanobi

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Scanner Radio

  • Frequency Counter

Pick up analog cell-phone signals.
i cell phone image by Mat Hayward from

If you wish to listen to cell-phone 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 analog signals. If you want to listen to cell-phone conversations of your friends or family, you may wish to use a sound-amplifying device instead of trying to pick up cell-phone signals. Remain covert, as many people may not appreciate your spying.

Locate the person having the cell-phone 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.