Tech

How a $350 radio puts aircraft at risk and sparked a Federal Police investigation

There’s an idiot on the loose in Melbourne, and he’s using a VHF radio transmitter to cause headaches for air-traffic controllers and pilots by interfering with the normal airport operations.

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It’s been widely reported today that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have launched an investigation into various incidents of unauthorised transmissions, it appears, these could have come from a cheap simple handheld transmitter easily purchased online.

For $350 you can get a small transmitter and because the air-traffic control radio frequencies are public – because aircraft coming into an area need to know how to communicate – anyone can chime in.

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And the transmissions are not encrypted digitally as they are now with our emergency services.

It’s a simple and stupid thing to do – but just as many drone users have proven, it only takes one idiot.

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These transmissions are illegal and actionable by the AFP.  If it was a one-off then it might be hard to track them down, though with this much attention, if they do it again, the AFP will triangulate the signal and most likely catch them red-handed.

For the most detailed reporting on this story we’ve seen – visit The Age.

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