- Radio jamming
Radio jamming is the (usually deliberate) transmission of
radiosignals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal to noise ratio. Unintentional jammingoccurs when an operator transmits on a busy frequencywithout checking that it is in use first, or without being able to hear distant stations on the same frequency. Another form of unintentional jamming occurs when equipment accidentally radiates a signal, such as a cable TVplant that accidentally emits on an aircraftemergency frequency.
Distinction between "jamming" and "interference"
Originally the terms were used interchangeably but nowadays most radio users use the term "jamming" to describe the "deliberate" use of radio noise or signals in an attempt to disrupt communications (or prevent listening to broadcasts ) whereas the term "interference" is used to describe "unintentional" forms of disruption (which are far more common). However the distinction is still not universally applied. For inadvertent disruptions, see
Intentional communications jamming is usually aimed at
radiosignals to disrupt control of a battle. A transmitter, tuned to the same frequency as the opponents' receiving equipment and with the same type of modulation, can with enough power overrideany signal at the receiver.
The most common types of this form of signal jamming are
random noise, random pulse, stepped tones, warbler, random keyed modulated CW, tone, rotary, pulse, spark, recorded sounds, gulls, and sweep-through. These can be divided into two groups – obvious and subtle.
Obvious jamming is easy to detect as it can be heard on the receiving equipment. It usually is some type of noise such as stepped tones (bagpipes), random-keyed code, pulses, music (often distorted), erratically warbling tones, highly distorted speech, random noise (hiss) and recorded sounds. Various combinations of these methods may be used often accompanied by regular morse identification signal to enable individual transmitters to be identified in order to assess their effectiveness. For example, China, which used jamming extensively and still does, plays an infinite loop of traditional Chinese music while it is jamming channels.
The purpose of this type of jamming is to block out reception of transmitted signals and to cause a nuisance to the receiving operator. One early Soviet attempt at jamming western broadcasters used the noise from the diesel generator that was powering the jamming transmitter.
Subtle jamming is that during which no sound is heard on the receiving equipment. The radio does not receive incoming signals yet everything seems superficially normal to the operator. These are often technical attacks on modern equipment, such as "squelch capture". Thanks to FM
capture effect, Frequency Modulated broadcasts may be jammed, unnoticed, by a simple unmodulated carrier.
History of Jamming
World War IIground radio operators would attempt to mislead pilots by false instructions in their own language, in what was more precisely a spoofing attackthan jamming. Radar jammingis also important to disrupt use of radarused to guide an enemy's missiles or aircraft. Modern secure communication techniques use such methods as spread spectrummodulation to resist the deleterious effects of jamming.
Jamming of foreign radio broadcast stations has often been used in wartime (and during periods of tense international relations) to prevent or deter citizens from listening to broadcasts from enemy countries. However such jamming is usually of limited effectiveness because the affected stations usually change frequencies, put on additional frequencies and/or increase transmission power.
Jamming has also occasionally been used by the Governments of
Germany(during WW2), Israel, Cuba, Iraq, Iran(Iraq and Iran war, 1980-1988), China, North and South Koreaand several Latin Americancountries. as well as by the authorities in several countries against pirate radiostations including Radio Nova in Ireland [http://www.radiowaves.fm/history5.shtml] and Radio Northsea Internationaloff the coast of Britain [http://www.cwgsy.net/private%2Foffshorepirateradio/rniradio.html] .
World War Two
In occupied Europe the
Nazis attempted to jam broadcasts to the continent from the BBC and other allied stations. Along with increasing transmitterpower and adding extra frequencies, attempts were made to counteract the jamming by dropping leaflets over cities instructing listeners to construct a directional loop aerial that would enable them to hear the stations through the jamming. In the Netherlands such aerials were nicknamed "moffenzeef" (English: "kraut sieve" ) [http://www.verzetsmuseum.org/museum/en/alwayspresent,topstukken/moffenzeef]
Cold War era
Cold WarSoviet jamming of some Western broadcasters led to a "power race" in which broadcasters and jammers alike repeatedly increased their transmission power, utilised highly directional antennas and added extra frequencies to the already heavily overcrowded shortwavebands to such an extent that many broadcasters not directly targeted by the jammers (including pro- Sovietstations) suffered from the rising levels of noise and interference. . [cite | author = Office of Research, USIA | date = 1983 | title = Jamming of Western Radio Broadcasts to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe|publisher = United States Information Agency | [http://www.radiojamming.puslapiai.lt/doc_en.htm] ] [http://www.radiojamming.puslapiai.lt/doc_en.htm] Radio Free Europeand its sister service Radio Libertywere the main target of Soviet jammers followed by Voice of Americaand the BBC World Service.
Other stations targeted by the Soviet jammers (but not to the same extent as RFE/RL/VOA/BBC) included
Deutsche Welleand occasionally Radio Vaticana, KOL Israeland Radio Canada InternationalThe jamming usually only took place during programming in languages widely spoken in Eastern Bloc countries ("e.g.", Russian, Polish, Czech, Lithuanian, etc.). Programmes in English or other major Western languages were rarely (if ever) jammed intentionally. [http://www.laughingpoliceman.com/jammers.htm]
There were also periods when
Chinaand the USSRjammed each other's programmes. The USSRalso jammed Albanian programmes at times.
Some parts of the world were more impacted by these broadcasting practices than others
Eurasia(worst affected, including mediumwavefrequencies particularly 720 kHz used by RFE)
North Asia, Americasand Sub-saharan Africa(partly affected)
Australasia, South America(rarely affected)
Meanwhile some listeners in the Soviet union and
Eastern blocdevised ingenious methods (such as homemade directional loop antennas) to hear the Western stations through the noise. Because radio signal propagationon shortwavecan be difficult to predict reliably listeners sometimes found that there were days/times when the jamming was particularly ineffective because radio fading (due to atmospheric conditions) was affecting the jamming signals but favouring the broadcasts. On other days of course the reverse was the case. There were also times when jamming transmitters were (temporarily) off air due to breakdowns or maintenance. The Soviets used two types of jamming transmitter. Skywavejamming covered a large area but for the reasons described was of limited effectiveness. Groundwavejamming was more effective but only over a small area and was thus only used in/near major cities throughout the Eastern bloc. Both types of jamming were less effective on higher shortwave frequencies (above 15 MHz) however many radios in the USSR didn't cover the higher bands. [cite | author = Office of Research, USIA | date = various | title = [http://www.radiojamming.puslapiai.lt/doc_en.htm|Radio Free Europe archive documents] |publisher = United States Information Agency | [http://www.radiojamming.puslapiai.lt/doc_en.htm] ]
In 1987 after decades of generally refusing to acknowledge that such jamming was even taking place The Soviets finally stopped jamming western broadcasts with the exception of RFE/RL which continued to be jammed for several months into 1988.
While western governments may have occasionally considered jamming broadcasts from Eastern Bloc stations, it was generally accepted that doing so would be a pointless exercise. Ownership of
shortwaveradios was less common in western countries than in the USSR where due to the vast physical size of the country many domestic stations were relayed on shortwave as it was the only practical way to cover remote areas. Additionally western governments were generally less afraid of intellectual competition from the communist bloc.
Latin Americathere were instances of communist radio stations such as Radio Venceremosbeing jammed, allegedly by the CIA, while there were short lived instances where Britain jammed some Egyptian (during the Suez crisis), Greek (Prior to Cyprusgaining independence) and Rhodesian stations. [http://www.zilionis.com/jamming/page011.htm]
Post Cold War (1989 -- Present)
People's Republic of China
2002, China acquired standard short-wave radio-broadcasting equipment designed for general public radio-broadcasting and technical support from Thales Broadcast Multimedia, a former subsidiary of French state-owned company, Thales Group.
* It is assumed that China is using
ALLISStechnology for jamming foreign radio stations broadcasting into China.
* Thales jamming technology only operates at power levels below 500kW (for it shortwave jamming products).
* Adele Milna (BSEE) of Continental Electronics (in an audio file held at shortwave.org) claims that China has duplicated his companies 100kw, 250kw shortwave transmitters. It is unclear if these products were indeed duplicated or if broadcast jamming (as opposed to future product sales) were a reason for the duplication.
* Since the early 1960's , the practice of radio jamming has been very common in
Cuba, blocking not only American government funded radio stations (Such as VOA) but radio stations owned and/or operated by (or selling airtime to) Cuban exilegroups transmitting from Miami, Florida, such as La Cubanisima, Radio Mambi, and Cadena Azul. The same practice has been applied to Radio Martiand TV Marti, operated by the U.S. Information Agency since 1985.
North Koreaand South Koreastill regularly jam some of each others radio (and sometimes television) stations. (See: Radio jamming in Korea)
* Several middle eastern countries (particularly
Iran) jam shortwave broadcasts (and even occasionally attempt to jam satellite TV signals [http://www.asiamediaforum.org/node/500|#] [http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2831|#2] ) targeted at their countries.
* Israeli defense officials jammed Hezbollah's telecommunication and television broadcasts during five-week campaign [http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive06/jammit_0828.html] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5217484.stm] .
* [http://www.sesp.com SESP RF Jamming Group (jammer manufacturer)]
* [http://www.hp-marketing-consulting.de H.P. Marketing & Consulting Wüst GmbH]
* Various articles on Soviet jammers [http://www.laughingpoliceman.com/jammers.htm 1] [http://www.voacap.com/documents/jamming_radio_broadcasting_VKL.pdf 2] [http://www.radiojamming.puslapiai.lt/article_en.htm 3] [http://cbc.am/jamming.pdf 4]
* [http://monitor.ibb.gov/jamming/ Article on recent jammers with audio samples]
* [http://uk.geocities.com/db142002 Vesuvius Marsivia]
* [http://www.stratign.com/jamming_module.htm Radio Jamming Module]
* [http://www.netline.co.il/page/broadband_jammers.aspx Broadband Jammers]
Radio jamming in China
Radio jamming in Korea
Mobile phone jammer
Association of Old Crows
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