We're from DHS, and we're here to help

Started by Frosty, March 06, 2013, 06:50:16 am

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Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection agency declined to answer questions about whether direction-finding technology is currently in use on its drone fleet. A representative provided CNET with a statement about the agency's unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that said signals interception capability is not currently used:

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices."


During his appearance before the House Homeland Security committee, Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who recently left the agency, testified that the drones' direction-finding ability is part of a set of "DOD capabilities that are being tested or adopted by CBP to enhance UAS performance for homeland security." CBP currently has 10 Predator drones and is considering buying up to 14 more.


[U.S. Customs and Border Protection] specifications say that signals interception and direction-finding technology must work from 30MHz to 3GHz in the radio spectrum. That sweeps in the GSM and CDMA frequencies used by mobile phones, which are in the 300MHz to 2.7GHz range, as well as many two-way radios.

The specifications say: "The system shall provide automatic and manual DF of multiple signals simultaneously. Automatic DF should be able to separate out individual communication links."

Marvelous.  20 years of buying/testing different equipment to build a reliable short range tactical communications system led me from CB, to GMRS, and finally to VHF - and I'm back to square one.  Now where did I put those 11 meter handhelds?

White Tiger

March 07, 2013, 04:38:11 am #1 Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 04:46:24 am by White Tiger
After I bought my Ten Tec rig I had a chance to visit the manufacturing facility in Seveirville, Tennessee. I pulled in at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon just to take a look at their showroom - a pleasant fellow came up to me, I explained I was new to radio, bought one of his rigs and found myself in the area so I thought I'd stop in - the pleasant fellow turned out to be the Vice President - and he took me on a tour!

We got back to the area where radios were being assembled and he had a large number of commercial radios that had no identification markings on them at all - and were even being boxed up in plain brown boxes. When I asked what they were for, I was told they were for an order for the NSA! They have sold units that digitally copy radio signals of all kinds (including CW)...it seems the Taliban has ALSO heard of the Apocolypse (or at least US satellites and drone strikes).

He told me that because of the success of our code-breakers deciphering encrypted messages - the Taliban and Al Queda have had to go back to using CW/morse code - and they're sending messages "in the clear"! The drones actually copy it all (using these Ten Tec units). The units are not capable of deciphering the message - but the NSA employs a combination of humans and computers in an effort to decipher the recorded "chatter"! They aren't very good at breaking this "new" code at this point - Which probably harkens back to what WA4STO told me - it is nearly impossible to break really bad code...apparently these turbaned fellows are so new (and so bad at morse) that the NSA has a lot of problems deciphering what is being communicated!

However, that only means that as the bad guys get better at sending code...the good guys will get better at reading it!

He may have just been pulling my leg...but it sure seems plausible...and scary...
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