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4chan Radio Primer v1.0

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Nov 26th, 2016
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  1. Radio and communication technologies are recurring topics. Here are a few quick start notes
  2.  
  3. --[Range]-----
  4. Yes, radio communication can get you around the Earth. Literally. You can do that in many ways.
  5. VLF, LF: these band can go through the Earth and are used for reaching submarines. There is a radio amateur band available at 2200m
  6. HF: the workhorse long distance bands where you with some skill can transmit around the globe at 10 W
  7. VHF and up: there are many bands available with specific services:
  8. A: you can use the radio amateur packet radio system using store and forward and send data across the world
  9. B: you can use radio amateur satellites (see OSCAR)
  10. C: you can use meteor scatter
  11. D: with care you can use moon bounce or EME to reflect signal back to Earth
  12. (B, C and D will give intercontinental range but not necessarily full globe coverage)
  13.  
  14. --[License]-----
  15. Get a license. Seriously. There are many good reasons for this
  16. To get a license you have to learn a few important things:
  17. - electronics: this is important for many reasons such as making sure you don't kill yourself or jam emergency bands with harmonics
  18. - protocol: this is important to make sure you can coexist on the band with others
  19. - band knowledge: this lets you know what frequencies will work well under what circumstances, and there are many bands, many with important limitations
  20. - tricks: if you really, really, really need to transmit without being found there are a lot of things to know.
  21.  
  22. With a license you get a call sign. Without a valid call sign you will stick out like a sore thumb. Just think of teenage script kiddies who have just downloaded LOIC and is boasting on a computer security forum.
  23.  
  24. --[Monitoring]
  25. There is a lot of cold war rules to this activity and all bands are monitored and emitters located as a matter of routine with ground and space based SIGINT systems. Even accidental transmissions into military emergency bands will bring about reactions.
  26.  
  27. Below 30 MHz you will be caught by systems like the Wullenwebers, huge antenna systems that at 300 m diameter have earned the nickname "Elephant cages".
  28. Above 30 MHz you will be caught by satellite systems like Mercury, Vortex and more.
  29.  
  30. --[Equipment]-----
  31. You can get cheap transceivers operating on a single band, morse only, for about 50 dollars. For a few hundred dollars more you can get Elecraft transceivers, some of which are very portable.
  32.  
  33. At VHF and UHF you can get cheap Baofeng radios.
  34.  
  35. If you want to try a receive only you need no license. A cheap SDR like RTL-SDR is good bang for the bucks and gives you huge coverage.
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