TUCoPS :: Hardware Hacks :: ham06.txt

Radio hacking (part 1)

       PART I

  In the future, we hope to bring you more installments of this
article as more is learned about this fascinating new hobbie,
FREQUING.  Future articles hope to include:  finding frequencies and
codes, satellite design, CB, cellular phones, the Ham bands, radio
design, plus much more.

Pirate Radio Stations

  Remember piracy?  Piracy is when something protected by a copywrite
is copied against the wishes of a copywrite holder.  Software, books,
pieces of art, etc.  can be pirated.
  Radio stations, especially popular music stations, require many
records in order to make people listen to them.  The more listeners
the station seems to have, the more money the station can charge for
advertisement. Pirate radio stations get around the huge cost of
records by taping them off of other radio stations.  Pirate stations
are characterized by the mediocre sound of their songs.
  Of course, it takes alot of money to operate a legally licensed
radio station. The FCC has many regulations, such as equal
employment, community service, and licensing fees.  As a result, many
pirate stations are not licensed (non licensed stations are called
"midnighters").  It is not to hard to get business for midnighters,
especially in large urban areas with lots of small shops.  Many
midnighters use loops as call in lines, instead of giving their number
over the airwaves.

Ghost Stations

  Many Frequers like to set up their own radio station without
commercials, and often "replacing" stations of lesser quality (i.e.
classical stations, country stations, easy listening, etc.).
  Short-lived stations that are more than just frequency jamming and
saying four-letter-words into a transmitter are called "ghost
stations." Ghost stations offer a chance for one to play any kind of
music one wants.  Often listeners don't realize the station isn't
  You want to set up a ghost or midnighter station?  All you have to
do is build a FM or AM transmitter with lots of power. Information on
building these can be found almost anywhere!
  If you plan on operating for a long time, there are some simple
steps to follow:

  1.  The best place to operate is out of man's best friend, The Car.
Just be carefull to CONCEAL the antenna!  A benefit of this mode is
easy trafic reporting.

  2.  Don't give any real names, or phone numbers.  Especially phone
numbers that don't exist.  Why?

  3.  Avoid making your station look like it isn't real.  That's why.
If someone calls you up, only to find you don't exist, they may smell
a rat.

  4.  Try to monitor FCC bullitens and communiques.  If you see
anything that may say they're looking for a ghost station in your

  5.  Stick to one frequency.  See #3


  The Federal Communications Commission has alot more clout than you
may think.  The airwaves not only carry your frequer's ghost stations
and rock music, it also carries top-secret military information,
messages to pilots that are life and death, and the entire basis for
communication in time of emergency.  They monitor the airwaves.
  But how can they track you down?  They often listen in to ghost
stations for any kind of information on where the illegal station is
transmitting from, and who is doing it.  The second way is mechanical.
  In the old fashioned method, 2 or 3 cars with loop antennas took
bearings on where the transmissions are comming from.  Also used is an
omnidirectional strength meter to make sure they are going towards you
and not away.  These can track down most frequers stations within 10
feet.  At that range, the station's equipment can be seen.  (Oh yeah,
all the equipment of a station is called 'the machine', and the place
that houses it, 'the vault')
  There are a few other ways of tracking that are more modern, but the
system hasn't changed too much from the cars and loop antenna system.

Some usefull numbers+addresses:
 FCC 1919 M St NW      655-4000
  Radio+TV programming      632-7048
  Cable TV       632-7048
  Telephone      632-7553
  Interferance     (301) 962-2728
  Operator Examiner      " " " "
  News Media Division      254-7674
  Press Release Recording      632-0002
  Mass Media Burea      632-6460
  Authorization and Standards   (301) 725-1585
  Field Operations Bureau      632-6980
  (field operations employees are called 'FOPS' which rhymes with cops)
    FOP Watch Officer      632-6975
    Laurel Monitoring Station ('The Laur')      (301) 725-3474
  Private Radio Bureau      632-6940
  Ham+CB+Walkie Talkies       632-4964
  Aviation and Marine      632-7175

All numbers are in the 202 NPA unless otherwise stated.

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