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1
Bacon, BBQ, Beef, And More / Spicy Thai Meat Salad (Low Carb edition)
« on: January 11, 2017, 2225 UTC »
Code: [Select]

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 green onions, chopped
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 stalk's worth of lemon grass paste
1 squeeze of sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon honey #can be subbed with Stevia/Splenda dissolved, to offset sharpness of lemonjuice
1 package soy/shirataki noodles, drained, rinsed, and cut into 2" pieces
1 lb pan-grilled tender steak, such as ribeye, cut into 1" x 1/4" pieces
Toss all together while meat is still warm. Serve immediately Serves 3-4 as a main dish.


Derived from recipes in "Keo's Thai Cuisine" and "Practical Thai Cooking".

2
Amateur Radio Sleuthing Pins Down Source of Strange RF Interference

TAGS: ARRL Lab, ARRL Lab EMC, cell phones, Director Kermit Carlson, licensed radio service, public safety, Specialist Mike Gruber
08/09/2016
Police in Evanston, Illinois, contacted the ARRL Lab, after an apparent interference source began plaguing wireless vehicle key fobs, cell phones, and other wireless electronics. Key fob owners found they could not open or start their vehicles remotely until their vehicles were towed at least a block away, nor were they able to call for help on their cell phones when problems occurred. The police turned to ARRL for help after striking out with the FCC, which told them it considered key fob malfunctions a problem for automakers, although the interference was affecting not just key fobs but cell phones, which are a licensed radio service. ARRL Lab EMC Specialist Mike Gruber, W1MG, believes the FCC should have paid more attention.

“This situation is indicative of what can happen as a result of insufficient FCC enforcement, especially with regard to electrical noise and noncompliant consumer devices,” Gruber said.

Evanston authorities worried that a serious situation could develop if someone were unable to call 911, putting public safety at risk. They also were concerned that the RFI could be intentional and indicate some nefarious or illegal activity. Given the seriousness of this situation, Gruber contacted Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA, to ask if he could look into the matter.

On June 2, Carlson met with an Evanston police officer, her sergeant, a local business owner, and the local alderman, and he quickly confirmed that the 600 block of Dempster Avenue in Evanston was plagued with an odd RFI problem. Carlson determined that the problem prevailed along a set of eight on-street parallel parking spots in the downtown commercial district of the North Chicago suburb.

Carlson employed a Radar Engineers 240A Noise Signature Receiver and UHF Yagi antenna to survey the affected block. Since key fobs typically operate at around 315 MHz and 433 MHz, he looked on both frequencies. The survey identified several noise sources in the affected block, but in particular a strong signal in the middle of the block. The interference source turned out to be a recently replaced neon sign switching-mode power supply, which was generating a substantial signal within the on-street parking area just across the sidewalk, between 8 and 40 feet from the sign.

The problematic power supply interference also disabled Carlson’s cell phone when he was within a few feet of the device. Carlson anticipated that further investigation would show that the harmful interference could disrupt licensed radio services in close proximity. The troublesome transformer was not replaced, but the building owner agreed to turn off the sign should problems arise.

Carlson called the Evanston case “a particularly alarming example of radio interference,” especially since local authorities considered it a public safety matter. “This situation demonstrates the electromagnetic compatibility problems that are evolving in an atmosphere of noncompliant, unintentional RF-emitting devices,” he said.

A return visit to the area with calibrated antennas and equipment capable of measuring the radiated signal strength with quasi-peak detection is planned for later this year. Since the initial visit, several other instances of unexplained key fob malfunctions have been reported in the Greater Chicago area. — Thanks to Kermit Carlson, W9XA, and Mike Gruber, W1MG

4
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/28/north-korea-defector-radio

North Korean pirate radio: homemade devices deliver banned broadcasts

Foreign programmes aim to spread information inside the secretive state. But listening is considered a 'crime against the state' and can carry the death penalty.

JH Ahn for NK News, part of the North Korea network
Monday 28 July 2014 00.00 EDT

“This is the living proof that North Koreans are strongly intent on learning about the outside world,” says Kim Seung-chul of North Korea Reform Radio, which produces daily broadcasts for North Koreans to "encourage the development of independent public opinion inside the country."

“Those who live near China may buy Chinese radio, but those who don’t have to contact the local ‘underground radio-maker,’” said Kim, a former engineer who now heads the small radio operation from Seoul, which broadcasts news and commentary. As he speaks, he holds a basic North Korean radio made from wood.

“There are some people who make a living out of making the homemade radio like this one,” he says.

This particular radio reached Kim through North Korean defectors who brought it over when they came to South Korea in 2013, having purchased it from an underground radio merchant five years ago. The name and identity of the radio maker is unknown.

Plated with woodblocks on six sides, the radio weighs about 1.5kg. Despite its outdated appearance, the radio had most of the functions common to radios available in other countries.

One of the defectors who had used the radio is Park, who escaped North Korea last November.

“I have been listening to North Korea Reform Radio and other outside radio stations since 13 years ago,” said Park, who uses an alias because he wishes to remain anonymous.

“Frankly, the ideological education in North Korea is so strong that many people including myself could not believe the content of the outside world radio,” he said of his first experience listening with the device. “I was once certain that this radio signal was sent by someone who was trying to deceive us.

“But this radio played a strong role in motivating me to escape North Korea. My friends and I used to regularly listened to NKRR and other radio programmes inside [an] underground hideout.

“Many told me to quit listening to those radio signals and start making money for myself. But with the help of this radio, I finally decided to escape the North.”

Radios are permitted in North Korea as long as they are tuned to only receive transmissions from government radio stations. Foreign journalists are usually portrayed as liars seeking to destabilise the regime.

Those who listen to foreign broadcasts take a significant risk. Under North Korean law, "listening to unauthorised foreign broadcasts and possessing dissident publications are considered 'crimes against the state' that carry serious punishments, including hard labour, prison sentences, and the death penalty," according to Freedom House.

Trying it out, NK News staff could easily connect the power to the radio, adjust the volume and change the frequency by turning the module attached to the radio. Though the functions were easy enough for anyone to learn in five minutes, the hardest part in operating this radio was finding the right frequency.


Unlike most modern radios, which can easily find frequencies with the assistance of digitally projected numbers on a screen, this handmade radio provides no visual aid. The radio, therefore, leaves users to depend totally on delicate hand skills to turn the manual module in tiny movements. Kim said once the defectors found the correct signal, they would keep the frequency module in place and not touch it, as it was far too tedious to find the same signal again.

The second difficulty was extending the internal antenna to catch a strong signal. As the radio only has a short internal antenna, North Koreans are required to wire the antenna to an external signal amplifier in order to catch a strong signal. This means that this radio is not a portable device, as it always requires a connection to an external device to make it audible. Once the connection to the external antenna is made, though, listeners may catch strong radio signals coming from all over Asia. NK News staff could listen to many Korean radio shows and even a radio signal from Japan.

The third problem was its low volume; it was hard to listen to the radio using the original speaker attached to the radio. In order to make it loud enough to be audible, we had to detach the original speaker and connect with the external amplifier. But for the defectors who owned the radio, the low volume had not been much of a problem, as they were forced to hide and listen to it extremely quietly only during the night (usually from about 11pm to 1am).

Information is very carefully controlled in North Korea, but foreign radio broadcasts are not the only medium delivering outside information to North Koreans. South Korean TV dramas smuggled in on USB sticks and DVDs are very popular, as are the laptops many use to play them. Mobile phones are also allowing some North Koreans to make illicit phone calls to people outside of the country.

A version of this article first appeared on NK News – a North Korea focused specialist news site

5
FCC: Blocking Wi-Fi in hotels is prohibited
Marriott asked the FCC to please let it block Wi-Fi. The hotel gets a firm answer.

by Megan Geuss - Jan 27 2015, 4:10pm EST
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/01/fcc-blocking-wi-fi-in-hotels-is-prohibited

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission issued an “Enforcement Advisory” stating that blocking W-Fi in hotels is unequivocally “prohibited."

MARRIOTT TENTATIVELY BACKS OFF WI-FI BLOCKING PLANS
But still really, really wants to force guests to pay for in-room Wi-Fi.
"Persons or businesses causing intentional interference to Wi-Fi hotspots are subject to enforcement action,” the FCC bluntly stated, referencing a dispute between Marriott and its customers who said the hotel chain had blocked their personal hotspots to force them to pay for Marriott’s Wi-Fi services.
"The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises,” the FCC wrote. "As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.”

The statement is a definitive one. The FCC fined Marriott $600,000 in October for blocking customers’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Nashville, Tennessee, branch. Although Marriott paid the fine, it remained defiant and filed a request for rulemaking with the commission, asking that Wi-Fi blocking be permitted. Marriott’s reasoning was that it could better manage the security of its own network if it blocked unauthorized Wi-Fi broadcasts. But critics like Microsoft and Google filed petitions countering that logic. In January, Marriott promised that it wouldn’t block its customers’ Wi-Fi, but the company also would not rescind its request for rulemaking from the FCC, perhaps hoping that a favorable decision could legitimate its practice again.

The FCC’s notice today settles the issue, at least in the short term. "No hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment or the network operator providing services at such establishments may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network,” the FCC wrote today. "Such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties.” The FCC has the authority to regulate airwaves, and it has maintained that Wi-Fi goes out over an unlicensed band of spectrum that does not belong to any particular company.

6
http://io9.com/a-magician-used-the-first-pirate-radio-station-to-troll-1681527405

A Magician Used The First Pirate Radio Station To Troll A Scientist

Everyone knows Marconi was one of the world's most disagreeable scientists. What they don't know is he was surrounded by people nearly as disagreeable as himself. And that a famous demonstration of his "wireless" was taken over by a magician-turned-skeptic-turned-pirate.

In the early days, radio was treated with open skepticism by many. Oh, everyone agreed that radio waves could be sent through the air, but few agreed on the details. Guglielmo Marconi, who had worked out the first practical radio transmitter, made a not-so-very-good name for himself ruthlessly transforming his radio from a novelty into something that could send messages from across oceans.

In doing this, Marconi made a lot of enemies, although some of those enemies he did not deserve. As soon as he had demonstrated how revolutionary a business radio could be, other businesses sprang up, often run by people claiming that they had more of a right to the technology than Marconi did. One of the people who went into the radio business was Nevil Maskelyne, who also happened to be a magician.

Maskelyne was also a scientist, and inventor, and a skeptic. He was one of that class of magicians who loves magic when it is obviously fake, and hates it when it purports to be real. He debunked spiritualists and lampooned flim-flam artists, and he had decided that Marconi was just such an artist. Part of this was the fact that Marconi refused to conduct open and public tests of his technology. Given his competition, he can hardly be blamed for that. But Marconi deserved some of the skeptics' scorn. He covered up failures and even made false claims. He claimed, for example, that "wireless signals" could not be interfered with. The messages encoded in a wireless signal came through to their receiver confidential and complete. To back that claim up, he hired revered scientist and engineer John Ambrose Fleming.

One night, Fleming gave a lecture at the Royal Society, during which he would receive a message in morse code on his wireless set. The message was to come from a remote island, just at the end of a lecture on radio technology. Fleming got up and gave the lecture, calm and confident. The technician behind him saw the radio spring to life. It typed out, in code, a number of limericks about a "young fellow from Italy." Then it started in with some Shakespeare. As the lecture went on, the crew behind Fleming received more and more insulting messages. Someone had hijacked the radio. The technician, trying to be subtle, scanned the crowd and saw a confederate of Maskelyne, but there was no way to stop him without disrupting the lecture.

The pirate signal stopped just before the end of the lecture, and the real message came in. Fleming, hearing about the incident later, felt hugely insulted, and sent out an open letter condemning the "hooliganism." At that point Maskelyne gleefully pointed out that, if what Fleming had claimed about radio's confidentiality was true, there would have been no way to interfere with the radio signal. Fleming had disproved his own claims.

Images: John Ambrose Fleming (1919) The Thermionic Valve and its Developments in Radiotelegraphy and Telephony, The Wireless Press, Ltd., New York, p. 216, fig. 126.

[Sources: Thunderstruck]

7
A gift for nosy neighbors who think that your antennas are giving them colon polyps... from reddit's /r/amateurradio

https://pay.reddit.com/r/amateurradio/comments/2oyyn1/a_gift_for_nosy_neighbors_who_think_that_your/

Bonus content: scroll down to the actual early Amazon review comments on the device for some comedy gold.

8
Mostly centered around the outputs of the RTLSDR dongles, this might be a nifty resource for hobbyists viewing otherwise unfamiliar signals.

Signal Identification Guide
http://www.sigidwiki.com/wiki/Signal_Identification_Guide


9
http://www.voanews.com/content/russia-launches-new-media-brand-called-sputnik/2515216.html

November 10, 2014
Russia's New World Broadcast Service is 'Sputnik'
by Matthew Hilburn

Russia has launched another state-run, international “media brand” called Sputnik, a name with connotations of the Cold War.
Sputnik, according to a statement, is for people who are “tired of aggressive propaganda promoting a unipolar world and want a different perspective.”
Announcing the launch Monday in Moscow, Dmitry Kiselev, referred to by many as the Kremlin’s propagandist-in-chief, said Sputnik will “provide an alternative interpretation of the world, of course,” adding that “there is demand for this.”
Kiselev, a conservative television anchor who heads the Rossiya Segodnya media outlet created by Putin last year to promote Russia's image abroad, said the outlet would have "news hubs" in 30 cities including Washington, London, Berlin and Paris, as well as the capitals of several  former Soviet republics.
Russian news
According to the news release, Sputnik will broadcast in 30 languages, with over 800 hours of radio programming a day, covering over 130 cities and 34 countries by the end of next year. Sputnik will offer news wires, a radio station, a website and mobile phone apps.
"In this world, Japan is Japanese, Turkey is Turkish, China is Chinese and Russia is Russian," Kiselev said in a statement. "We are not suggesting that other nations should adopt the Russian way of life. We believe everyone is entitled to live in their own way. Our outlook on the world is rooted in international law.”
Western journalists based in Moscow  were quick to react to Sputnik’s creation on Twitter.
 

​​Kiselev would not discuss the cost of Sputnik.
Russia has been working hard to repair its international image in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
In another media development in Russia, American cable news broadcaster, CNN, announced Monday it will no longer be available to Russian cable TV providers starting next year.
According to TASS, no reason for the move was given.
The Voice of America, as well as many other international broadcasters have moved to solely distribute their content in Russia online.
Reuters information contributed to this report.
http://www.voanews.com/content/russia-launches-new-media-brand-called-sputnik/2515216.html

10
http://entertainment.suntimes.com/entertainment-news/27-years-ago-saturday-chicago-tv-got-hacked-max-headroom-incident/

27 YEARS AGO SATURDAY: CHICAGO TV GOT HACKED IN THE ‘MAX HEADROOM INCIDENT’ BRANDON WALL on   November 22, 2014 headroom hack
Saturday marks the 27th anniversary of one of history’s most bizarre and legendary acts of hacking: the Max Headroom Incident.

On the night of November 22, 1987, WGN’s evening news was interrupted for about 25 seconds by a man dressed in a Max Headroom mask in front of a dizzying background. There was no audio beyond a jarring buzz, and as quickly as the incident began, it ended.

“Well, if you’re wondering what happened, so am I,” WGN sports reporter Dan Roan said with a nervous chuckle.

If it happened today, you wouldn’t be out of line thinking it was some sort of bizarre viral marketing stunt.



The hackers weren’t done. Two hours later, during an episode of Doctor Who on WTTW, ‘Max Headroom’ was back, this time with sound.

“He’s a frickin nerd,” a distorted voice says before laughing.

The video goes on without much rhyme or reason. Chuck Swirsky is mentioned. Spanking and the “Clutch Cargo” theme song are involved. The transmission is interrupted, and two minutes later the Doctor is back.

“As far as I can tell, a massive electric shock,” the Doctor quips with impeccable timing. “He must have died instantly.”



This is how the Chicago Tribune reported the incident at the time –

Officials of the Federal Communications Commission were not amused as they searched Monday for clues to the identity of the pirate, who somehow managed to override the signals of two television stations in two hours.

[snip]

Television engineers speculated that the stations had been victimized by a practical joker with an expensive transmitter. They said it would take extremely high-powered equipment to squeeze out the microwave signals that carry the programs from the stations’ Northwest Side studios to downtown skyscrapers, where they are retransmitted to television sets throughout the Chicago area.

“You need a significant amount of power to do that,” said Robert Strutzel, WGN`s director of engineering, who was reluctant to discuss the prank in detail for fear of providing a ‘how to’ guide for others. “The interfering signal has to be quite strong.”

[snip]

Strutzel said an engineer quickly changed the frequency of the signal that was transmitting the news show to the Hancock building, thus breaking the lock established by the video pirate. Sports reporter Dan Rohn apologized for the interference and continued the sports report.

[snip]

“By the time our people began looking into what was going on, it was over,” said Anders Yocum, vice president for corporate communications at Channel 11. “Initially, we checked our internal video sources before thinking about something from the outside.”

How did it happen? Who was responsible?

That’s where the fun begins.

The working theory involves hackers working from the top of a tall building close to the Hancock building and Sears Tower, where WGN and WTTW broadcasted from. From there, the hackers blasted out their Max Headroom video and overwhelmed the studios’ signals. The operation involved extensive know-how of the sophisticated equipment used to broadcast television and an enormous amount of electricity.

It goes without saying that the FCC and FBI quickly got involved. Vice’s Motherboard took an extensive look at the incident and obtained the FBI’s report written by the FCC’s Field Operations Bureau assistant chief Dr. Michael Marcus. Motherboard’s story is worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a quick rundown of the investigation –

“I think the bad guy got close to the receiving end and just transmitted a signal that was received with a stronger strength than the more distant, intended signal,” said Marcus.

[snip]

“The background looked to be about eight-feet wide, industrial type metal, maybe a roll-down warehouse door,” he said. That would have already limited it to certain places in the city where the video could have been filmed. And one tip sounded particularly promising, said Marcus, one that pointed at a particular person, someone who worked for a company that had a warehouse-like space in the city, a place that might have played host to the video shoot.

[snip]

But even with a likely geographical location, Marcus said, finding the resources and manpower needed to continue the investigation was a struggle. He was back in headquarters in DC, and the FCC investigator in Chicago was too timid to go investigating.

[snip]

Momentum slowed: the case lacked evidence, and the threat felt ambiguous. “How are you going to lose sleep over something like that? Nobody dies, and there’s no damage.” There were fears at the time about the harm a satellite jammer might do to infrastructure that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but concerns about regular television signals were much lower. “Max Headroom wasn’t a danger to public safety, or to a multimillion piece of equipment,” Marcus said. “So the resources were a lot less.”

Rumors and rampant speculation about the hackers’ identities have plagued the internet and its precursors for years. Those claiming responsibility range from performance artists to anonymous posters on 4chan, but the most likely scenario involves members of Chicago’s ’80s hacking scene.

The incident received renewed interest in 2010, when a thread was posted to Reddit with this straightforward title: “I believe I know who was behind the “Max Headroom Incident” that occurred on Chicago TV in 1987.”

The post was made by a still-active Redditor using the alias “bpoag” and supports the theory that those involved were members of Chicago’s hacker community. Of course, there is no way of knowing if there is any degree of truth to his post or if it iss just incredibly detailed fan fiction. The poster offered no proof, just a compelling tale. It’s a fascinating contribution to the signal intrusion lore. Highlights from his story –

When I was in my early teens, a number of my friends were into the local phreaking/hacking scene. (This was suburban Chicago, from about 1985 until 1993 or so.) They were much older than me (high school and college age), but they put up with me as sort of a novelty I guess..They liked the fact I looked up to them as quasi-role models, at least.

[snip]

People who were into the hacking scene back then were basically the same type of people who are into the hacking scene now…Guys who live in their parent’s basements, charming/brilliant guys who don’t think to bathe often, and often lacking in social skills pretty much across the board. They hang out at Denny’s until they’re asked to leave, they can quote Monty Python sketches from memory, and sleep with JRR Tolkien books under their beds where other guys stash porn. Despite the lack of good grooming and social skills, there was the occasional party every so often, or at least a get together at somebody’s place.

[snip]

J was at the party in the apartment that afternoon. I didn’t talk with him directly (me, and the friend of mine that I was there with didn’t really talk to anybody that day), but I did overhear what the others were talking about. They were referring to J planning to do something “big” over the weekend. I remember that word, “big”, because it piqued my curiosity as to what might be considered “big” by their standards. I later asked them collectively during the dinner we all had at Pizza Hut later that night what they were talking about earlier, what “big” was, and someone (probably K) told me to “Just watch Channel 11 later tonight.” …As sort of an offhanded suggestion. I did happen to be watching Channel 11 later that night, having forgotten about the whole “big” conversation earlier that day. I saw it, but I didn’t put 2 and 2 together at the time.

He identified the two culprits by random initials, J and K. Of course, “JK” is internet slang for “just kidding.”

To this day, the person or persons responsible have not been identified.

11
SDR - Software Defined Radio / Soft66RTL HF
« on: April 24, 2014, 2042 UTC »
Ordered one of these and it has shipped, will still be a short eternity before it arrives from Japan, but was wondering if anyone had one and what you used software wise for playing with it?

I believe Token weighed in on RadioReference about them, was wondering overall about using it as a cheap "travel" or portable sdr, realizing it has its shortcomings.

Though it does HF I was interested in using it for other bands and maybe hearing from folks where it actually performs "best." :)

12
http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/04/pols_back_dot_radio_station

Pols back Dot radio station;Feds shut Touch 106.1

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Bob McGovern
Bay State politicians are defending an unlicensed radio station that was shut down this week by the Federal Communications Commission, but prosecutors say the crackdown was necessary to prevent a “public safety hazard.”

U.S. Marshals and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau shut down Touch 106.1 FM, an unlicensed Dorchester station, Thursday and seized radio equipment, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday said he was “incredibly disappointed” by the raid and plans to ask the U.S. Attorney’s office to back down.

“You’d like to think of them bringing more of a problem-solving approach,” he said. “Touch is a pretty important voice in the community.”

Other politicians were equally vexed with the decision to shut down the unlicensed station founded by former mayoral candidate Charles Clemons.

“That station is an institution,” said Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “Myself and other elected officials of color are working collaboratively to apply pressure to lobby the FCC and find out what recourse exists.”

Ortiz defended the crackdown in a statement.

“It is a public safety hazard for illegal radio stations to broadcast, potentially interfering with critical radio communications,” Ortiz said.

Clemons, who founded the station in 2007, said he has not yet retained counsel, but has “received an outpouring of support” from local attorneys “and elected officials.”

He said he was able to get an Internet feed of the station running Thursday night.

“We’re the Rosa Parks of radio right now,” he said. “It’s not right what happened, and we’re going to fight.”

When asked why Touch 106.1 FM did not get a license, Clemons said, “We couldn’t. The FCC has shut it down so no one could apply for a license for 15 years. It’s not fair.”

Ortiz said stations like Clemons’ “could have applied for low power radio licenses and operated their stations in compliance with the law.”

13
All credit to the UDHF List & -rainer- for posting his site for easy reference:

http://www.utilityradio.com/stations/stations.html

The sidebar is sectioned by region/country - Many entries include a little "ear" icon, with links to audio files for identifying what the mode associated with the station sounds like.

A big plus for neophytes like me. There are numourous great dig mode/sound sites but I found this site pretty darn nice to explore, well organized, and looks like a lot of hard work was done by many contributors; this is a pretty impressive resource.




14
August 28
Radio jamming imperils flights at Norridgewock airport
'It's very dangerous,' says Kris Wallace, operations manager of Central Maine Regional Airport.

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Radio-jamming-imperils-flights-at-Norridgewock-airport.html

By Rachel Ohm rohm@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

NORRIDGEWOCK — State police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating reports of radio jamming near the airport that has made communication between pilots in the air impossible, according to police.

Pilot Phillip Bussiere of Skowhegan refuels at the Central Maine Regional Airport in Norridgewock. Police say someone is jamming radio transmissions near the airport, making operations there dangerous.
Staff file photo by David Leaming
click image to enlarge
In this undated photo from the Norridgewock town website, the runways of the Central Maine Regional Airport are seen. Radio-frequency jamming in the vicinity of the airport is creating a dangerous situation, according to police.
Contributed photo
Select images available for purchase in the
Maine Today Photo Store
"When you have three planes that are trying to land at the same time and no one can talk to each other to say 'Hey, I'm coming in on this runway' or 'I'm trying to land here,' it's very dangerous," said Kris Wallace, operations manager of Central Maine Regional Airport in Norridgewock, on Tuesday.

She said someone with a handheld radio is tuning in to a frequency that serves an area from Auburn to Carrabassett Valley, then holds the channel's communication line open, preventing pilots from communicating with each other. The radio jamming could lead to injuries, crashes or death.

Trooper Blake Conrad of the Maine State Police said jamming radio frequencies is a federal crime.

"The person responsible needs to know that jamming can be traced and this illegal activity needs to stop," he said.

The problem began several weeks ago. Wallace said airport officials think the person responsible is purposely doing it to prevent pilots from communicating. She said the airport has received a few calls from pilots saying they almost had an accident because of the problem. It also has received reports that the radio channel is being used to turn runway lights on and off, an operation that can be controlled through a certain number of clicks on a radio button.

Dave Cota, town manager of Carrabassett Valley, said the Carrabassett Valley Regional Airport has been having similar problems, but he was unsure whether they were related.

Bill Gianetta, an aviation safety inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration in Portland, said the channel being disrupted is an advisory channel used by smaller airports in the state, including Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport and Pittsfield Municipal Airport, for pilots to communicate their position in the air and where they might be relative to the airport where they are landing.

The channel is not used by air traffic control for communication between controllers on the ground and pilots in the air, he said. It is not used by airports in Augusta, Bangor or Waterville or by the Portland jetport, he said.

It is used by LifeFlight of Maine, an emergency helicopter service, to broadcast an area weather forecast, a service to rural communities that LifeFlight also uses to ensure the safety of its own flights, said spokesperson Melissa Arndt. She said LifeFlight is investigating complaints related to the Norridgewock airport and the weather system.

Any radio operator can trigger a broadcast of the weather over LifeFlight's Automated Weather Operations System through a few clicks of a radio button, Wallace said. She said that initially the jamming at the Norridgewock airport involved someone triggering the forecast multiple times in a row, preventing other messages from going through. The weather system was disconnected and now the person jamming the radio frequency is preventing others from using it by leaving the communication line open, she said. Only one person at a time may broadcast on a radio frequency.

Arndt said LifeFlight also is working with the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the channel's operation. She said the disruption won't affect operations of LifeFlight helicopters.

Wallace said anyone with a transceiver radio, the type used in most aircrafts, can interrupt a radio channel. The radios, which are also available in handheld versions, can be found online and purchased by anyone.

In 2012, the FCC investigated a report of what was believed to be intentional radio jamming of an emergency services channel in York County. The case never was solved, but it was believed to have impeded response times to several emergencies, including a Lebanon car crash in which 10 people were injured and one man died.

Gianetta said his administration has been notified about the problem at the Norridgewock airport and that it has forwarded the complaint to the FBI and Federal Communications Commission. Jamming of frequencies is traceable, but the FAA doesn't have the equipment or knowledge to do so, he said. The FCC is responsible for investigating and prosecuting radio jamming cases, Gianetta said.

Mark Wigfield, spokesman for the FCC, said Tuesday that he could not confirm or deny whether the FCC was investigating jamming at the Norridgewock airport. He said the issue is one that the commission is trying to bring to a broader public attention.

The penalties for radio jamming can include significant fines of up to $16,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation, government seizure of equipment and imprisonment, he said.

Wallace said the airport is trying to notify as many pilots as possible about the radio problem, including via the airport's Facebook page.

"We want them to know this is happening, to be careful and that it is under investigation right now," she said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com

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Chrome Browser Plugin: http://goo.gl/zWgvx

Note, stays tiny in the icon bar and not great to read *there*, but click on it and it zooms out larger, and also the time is select/copy/pastable to the clipboard.

It's not as spiffy as the legacy C app "Al's Clock" ... but it's platform agnostic as long as you can run chrome browser.


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