How to Use a Radio for Bug Detection

Rigging a home with surveillance devices, also known as “bugging,” is often a necessary step for law enforcement to build a case against someone engaged in illegal activity. However, with bugging technology readily available at specialty electronics stores, surveillance is no longer subject to law enforcement judgment or the legal framework around it. Theoretically, any random person could purchase surveillance gear and deploy it in a home (though this behavior would be illegal). To detect any surveillance devices in your home, you can perform a rudimentary sweep with a regular AM/FM radio, but the more advanced technologies may not be detected.

Portable radio
A normal radio can sometimes pick up bug signals.
credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Step

Turn on your AM/FM radio and set it to the FM band.

Step

Find a channel of clean, steady static. You need a smooth static baseline before you can start scanning.

Step

Walk around your home with the radio. Listen carefully to the static for fluctuations or squeals in the tone.

Step

Move the radio around any room in which fluctuations occur to isolate the source. The stronger the fluctuation, the closer you are to the source of interference.

Step

Repeat this process throughout your home to find the location of surveillance equipment. Repeat it again on the AM band for further testing.