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Communications

Ofcom Will Remove Mandatory Ham Callsign ID Interval, Allow Encryption For Some 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-but-surly dept.
product_bucket writes: The UK's radio regulator, Ofcom, today published changes in the licensing conditions that remove the mandatory 15-minute callsign ID interval on all allocated frequencies apart from 5MHz, where special conditions remain. In its place, a requirement for the station to be "clearly identifiable at all times" has been made, along with a requirement to transmit the station callsign "as frequently as is practicable" in a form consistent with the operating mode. The decision also permits the use of encryption (PDF) when the station is being used for, or on behalf of a user service such as St. John Ambulance. Unusually, no response to the consultation (PDF) has been made available, so there is at present no way to assess the extent to which the changes were based on actual responses.
United Kingdom

UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
First time accepted submitter product_bucket writes A consultation published by the UK Radio Regulator Ofcom seeks views on its plan to remove the mandatory 15 minute callsign identifier interval for amateur radio licensees. The regulator also intends to permit the use of encryption by a single volunteer emergency communications organization. The consultation is open until 20th October, and views are sought by interested parties.
Transportation

It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-the-mobile-app dept.
An anonymous reader notes coverage of research from the University of Michigan into the ease with which attackers can hack traffic lights. From the article: As is typical in large urban areas, the traffic lights in the subject city are networked in a tree-type topology, allowing them to pass information to and receive instruction from a central management point. The network is IP-based, with all the nodes (intersections and management computers) on a single subnet. In order to save on installation costs and increase flexibility, the traffic light system uses wireless radios rather than dedicated physical networking links for its communication infrastructure—and that’s the hole the research team exploited. ... The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial. ... The research team quickly discovered that the debug port was open on the live controllers and could directly "read and write arbitrary memory locations, kill tasks, and even reboot the device (PDF)." Debug access to the system also let the researchers look at how the controller communicates to its attached devices—the traffic lights and intersection cameras. They quickly discovered that the control system’s communication was totally non-obfuscated and easy to understand—and easy to subvert.
Communications

Three Videos On Codec2 and Open Hardware 37

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the speak-freely dept.
Bruce Perens writes "Codec2 is the Open Source ultra-low-bandwidth speech codec capable of encoding voice in 1200 Baud. FreeDV (freedv .org) is an HF (global-range radio) implementation that uses half the bandwidth of SSB, and without the noise. Here are three speeches about where it's going."
  • David Rowe: Embedding Codec2: Open Source speech coding on a low-cost microprocessor, at Linux.conf.au 2014. YouTube, downloadable MP4.
  • Bruce Perens: FreeDV, Codec2, and HT of the Future (how we're building a software-defined walkie-talkie that's smarter than a smartphone), at the TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference 2013. Blip.tv, YouTube
  • Chris Testa on the .Whitebox handheld software-defined radio design that is the RF portion of HT of the Future, which was also shown at the TAPR conference.
United States

ASCAP Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-say-no dept.
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
Censorship

Greek Government Abruptly Shuts Down State Broadcaster 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-dark dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Greek government shut down broadcasting of all TV and radio channels operated by the state-owned broadcaster ERT at midnight local time, with police ejecting journalists and other employees occupying the building. The above link is a prominent Greek economics professor's (and Valve's in-house economist) analysis of the political motivations for the move."
Communications

FCC Guidance On Radio For Commercial Space Operations Falls Short 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the moving-at-the-speed-of-government dept.
RocketAcademy writes "The Federal Communications Commission has issued a Public Notice to help commercial space companies obtain use of communications frequencies for launch, operations, and reentry. Commercial space companies can obtain the use of government frequencies on a temporary, non-interference basis through the FCC's Experimental Authorization process. Experimental Authorizations are valid for a six-month period from the date of grant and are renewable, but applicants must obtain a new authorization for each launch and must apply 90 days in advance. Unfortunately, this requirement does not meet the needs of suborbital launch providers who expect to fly several times per day and schedule launches as needed, on very short notice."
Technology

Group Kickstarting a High-Bandwidth Software Defined Radio (SDR) Peripheral 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the name-it-for-some-flavor-of-pie dept.
TwineLogic writes "Many Slashdot readers have been enjoying the availability of $20 USB radios which can tune in the range of 50MHz-2GHz. These devices, while cheap, have limited bandwidth (about 2MHz) and minimal resolution (8-bit). Nuand, a new start-up from Santa Clara, wants to improve on that. Their Kickstarter proposal for bladeRF, a Software Defined Radio transceiver, will support 20MHz bandwidth and 12-bit samples. The frequency range to be covered is planned as 300MHz-3.6Ghz. In addition to the extended spectrum coverage, higher bandwidth, and increased resolution, the bladeRF will have an on-board FPGA capable of performing signal processing and an Altera processor as well. SDR hobbyists have been using the inexpensive receivers to decode airplane data transmission giving locations and mechanical condition, GPS signals, and many other digital signals traveling through the air around us. This new device would extend the range of inexpensive SDRs beyond the spectrum of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. In addition, the peripheral includes a low-power transmitter which the experimenter can use without needing a 'Ham' license."
Communications

Codec2 Project Asks FCC To Modernize Regulations 89

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the .../.-./-/.-/-../-.-./.-/.../-..-./.-./././.-../-. dept.
Bruce Perens writes "The Codec2 project has developed FreeDV, a program to encode digital voice on two-way radio in only 1.125 KHz of bandwidth. But FCC regulations aren't up-to-speed with the challenges of software-defined radio and Open Source. A 24 page FCC filing created by Bruce Perens proposes that FCC allow all digital modulations and published digital codes on ham radio and switch to bandwidth-based regulation."
Communications

Pirate Radio Station In Florida Jams Automotive Electronics 315

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-a-bug-it's-a-feature dept.
New submitter titanium93 writes "For months, dozens of people could not use their keyless entry systems to unlock or start their cars when parked in the vicinity of the eight-story Regents bank building in Hollywood, FL. Once the cars were towed to the dealership for repair, the problem went away. The problem resolved itself when police found equipment on the bank's roof that was broadcasting a bootleg radio station. A detective and an FCC agent found the equipment hidden underneath an air conditioning chiller. The man who set up the station has not been found, but he faces felony charges and fines of at least $10,000 if he is caught. The radio station was broadcasting Caribbean music around the clock on 104.7 FM."
Twitter

UW Imposes 20-Tweet Limit On Live Events 196

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the am-radio-on-the-attack dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports that the University of Washington has capped live sports coverage at 20 Tweets per basketball game (45 for football) and threatens to revoke the credentials of journalists who dare exceed the Twitter limits. Tacoma News Tribune reporter Todd Dybas was reportedly 'reprimanded' after drawing the ire of the UW Athletic Dept. for apparently Tweeting too much during UW's 85-63 Sunday win over Loyola."
Communications

iPhone Interface For Ham Radio Mates Old With New 51

Posted by timothy
from the wait-a-second-for-it-to-get-back-from-space dept.
jjp9999 writes "By using the same technology found in older modems, Thomas Tumino, vice president of the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club, has invented an iPhone interface for ham radios. He told The Epoch Times, 'Today there are iPhone apps where you can use the systems in the phone — and its sound card, which is being used as a modem ... And then you connect that into your radio with an interface like this, that just isolates the telephone from the radio, and then you can do all sorts of things.'"
Power

Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the save-the-juice dept.
Dupple writes in with news about a discovery that should extend the life of your battery in the near future. "Powering cellular base stations around the world will cost $36 billion this year—chewing through nearly 1 percent of all global electricity production. Much of this is wasted by a grossly inefficient piece of hardware: the power amplifier, a gadget that turns electricity into radio signals. The versions of amplifiers within smartphones suffer similar problems. If you've noticed your phone getting warm and rapidly draining the battery when streaming video or sending large files, blame the power amplifiers. As with the versions in base stations, these chips waste more than 65 percent of their energy—and that's why you sometimes need to charge your phone twice a day. It's currently a lab-bench technology, but if it proves itself in commercialization, which is expected to start in 2013—first targeting LTE base stations—the technology could slash base station energy use by half. Likewise, a chip-scale version of the technology, still in development, could double the battery life of smartphones."
Businesses

Pandora Shares Artist Payment Figures 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the money-for-nothin' dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today in a blog post, Pandora has shared some details of the fees they pay to musical artists for playing songs over their music streaming service. Over 2,000 different artists will pull in $10,000 or more in the next year, and 800 will get paid over $50,000. They provided a few specific examples as well. Grupo Bryndis, who has a sales rank on Amazon of 183,187 (in other words, who is not at all a household name), is on track to receive $114,192. A few earners are getting over $1 million annually, such as Coldplay and Adele. 'Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.' The post segues into a broader point about the age of internet radio: 'It's hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. It's also hard to look at these numbers, knowing Pandora accounts for just 6.5% of radio listening in the U.S., and not come away thinking something is wrong. ... Congress must stop the discrimination against internet radio and allow it to operate on a level playing field, under the same rules as other forms of digital radio.'"
Space

Astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell Dies At 98 22

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sir Bernard Lovell, the founder of the Jodrell Bank Observatory and namesake of the Lovell telescope has died at the age of 98. The Mark 1 telescope, as it was known in the '60s, was the only western telescope that could track the early Russian moon probes, which ensured its debts were paid off. However, the telescope is more famous for radio astronomy, including pulsar research, hydrogen line studies of the galaxy, and much more as other telescopes joined it in the Merlin network."
Communications

Happy World Amateur Radio Day 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-your-handle? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There are over 700,000 ham radio licensees in the USA and about 2 ½ million worldwide. Today, this international community of wireless communications devotees are celebrating World Amateur Radio Day, recalling the advances Amateur Radio Service has made for modern man. Their theme for 2012 is Amateur Radio Satellites: Celebrating 50 Years in Space in remembrance of the launch of the first Amateur Radio satellites OSCAR 1 on December 12, 1961 and the launch of OSCAR 2 on June 2, 1962. Their ranks have included people like Steve Wozniak of Apple and Jack Kilby who invented the integrated circuit, Dr. Karl William Edmark who invented the heart defibrillator, Scott Durchslag, the Chief Operating Officer at Skype, and Dr. John Grunsfeld of NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the 87th anniversary of the foundation."
Communications

How the Sinking of the Titanic Sparked a Century of Radio Improvements 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-better-next-time dept.
joshuarrrr writes "When the RMS Titanic scraped an iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912, its wireless operators began sending distress calls on one of the world's most advanced radios: a 5-kilowatt rotary spark transmitter that on a clear night could send signals from the middle of the Atlantic to New York City or London. What the radio operators lacked, however, were international protocols for wireless communications at sea. At the time, US law only required ships to have one operator on board, and he was usually employed by the wireless companies, not the ship itself. On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, IEEE Spectrum looks at how the tragedy accelerated the improvement of communications at sea."
Communications

Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High 358

Posted by timothy
from the ok-everyone-call-bdale-garbee dept.
Velcroman1 writes "The newest trend in American communication isn't another smartphone from Apple or Google but one of the elder statesmen of communication: Ham radio licenses are at an all time high, with over 700,000 licenses in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Ham radio first took the nation by storm nearly a hundred years ago. Last month the FCC logged 700,314 licenses, with nearly 40,000 new ones in the last five years. Compare that with 2005, when only 662,600 people hammed it up and you'll see why the American Radio Relay League — the authority on all things ham — is calling it a 'golden age' for ham. 'Over the last five years we've had 20-25,000 new hams,' said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the group."
Space

theSkyNet Wants Your Spare CPU Cycles 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-just-bet-it-does dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Thousands of PC users are being called on to donate their spare CPU cycles to help create a massive grid computing engine to process terabytes of radio astronomy data as part of theSkyNet project. It will be used for, among other things, processing the huge amount of data expected to flow off Australia's forthcoming Square Kilometre Array telescope." One can only assume that "other things" will include achieving sentience and finding John Connor.

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