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Comment Re:Wow (Score 4, Informative) 359

Come on folks, this is a serious news article :-)

I've spent a tremendous amount of time listening to these bootleggers on the FLTSATCOM satellites. It is rather easy for them (the Brazilians and others) to modify a amateur radio or other transmitters to use these satellites.

Basically, these satellites work by listening on one frequency (an uplink), and rebroadcasting what they hear over a specified frequency bandwidth to listeners (a downlink). The uplink and downlink frequencies are well known and published across many mediums - including Mil-Std documents which specify how terminals should interact with these satellites.

I published a spectrum analysis article on this very topic here (shameless plus):

http://radioreference.blogspot.com/2008/10/vhfuhf-spectrum-analysis-using-rf-space.html

This method of communication is actually very secure for the US Military - since they rarely use clear voice on these transponders - meaning, they encrypt all transmissions to and from.

Now, an open repeater, in Geospacial orbit, provides a set of repeaters for anyone to use... either the US military (which they still actively use) - or others who have equipment that can transmit to, and reiceve from.

For those that are dismayed by this approach, understand that when this technology was developed, security by obscurity was a common approach even for military agencies. It wasn't feasible even 10 years ago to "authenticate" use access to open satellite transponders.

Security

Submission + - Brazilian Pirates Hijack US MIlitary Satellites (radioreference.com)

blantonl writes: "This article in Wired explains how Brazilians all over the country are using modified amateur radio equipment to communicate with each other using US Military communications satellites — effectively creating their own CB radio network on the backs of the US Military. Recent efforts to crack down have resulted in arrests of some of the users, however the behavior still continues today."

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