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Truck driver has GPS jammer, accidentally jams Newark airport

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An engineering firm worker in New Jersey has a GPS jammer so his bosses don't know where he is all the time. However, his route takes him close to Newark airport, and his jammer affects its satellite systems. (news.cnet.com) Más...

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preacher1
preacher1 26
Now let me get this straight: we are going to be lining up airliners full of people, into a very busy airport, on a system that can be inadvertently jammed by a $100 black market item in a random vehicle driving by? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG??????
skyfly12
shawn white 9
And that is why the VOR's, LORAN, and the compass are still necessary!
jemillslaw
jemillslaw 1
LORAN still out there???
ckevinhamel
Kevin Hamel 2
From what I've read, the traditional LORAN-C signals of old were phased out in 2010. However, there is development of something called LORAN data channel and eLORAN as an terrestrial alternative to GPS. Long wave frequencies as used in the LORAN system tend to be less prone to interference than those in the GPS band. Sounds like a good idea if they carry it out.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I used Loran C for marine navigation even used it to guide an "autopilot" and found it exceptionally dependable. It was mostly land based rather than satellite driven, but it worked well in the United States waters.
Srwalter
Steven Walter 1
VORs can be jammed just as easily. In fact, the frequency range for VOR is immediately adjacent to FM radio. Any navigation system based on radio waves is subject to interference, be that natural or man-made.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I enjoyed FM radio entertainment through one of my VOR receivers many times when I was flying small planes locally out of HFD. Early morning flights to and from Long Island were a little more pleasant and didn't require an additional receiver.
RRKen
What the jammer does is to produce a signal stronger than what is broadcast from a satellite. This is because it is closer to the receiver than the legitimate broadcast source. No matter if there is data encryption or anything else involved, the truck receiver could not hear any other signal other than the jammer.

Thus if the transponder on the truck had no signal(s) to calculate location, it reports the same. Simple radio theory I learned when Moscow jammed Western radio outlets in the 1970's. The strongest signal won out.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 3
The guy was working as a chief engineer at Tilcon, a company managing a project at Newark Airport to rehabilitate Runway 4R-22L and upgrade various taxiways. So his truck had full access to airfield and was able to get close to the ground installations of the satellite based air traffic system being tested.

[This poster has been suspended.]

mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 3
Naaaah! The jammers are illegal. No one will dare use them.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 3
That was a big fine. It will certainly discourage use of these things.

In this case, his company was working on a runway project, so the truck (with jammer) had greater proximity to the equipment. But it was also easier to find, sitting there on the airfield.

They've also discovered some less severe issues in testing, with jammers in vehicles passing along the perimeter of the airport on the NJ Turnpike.

So the system design certainly needs to account for external inputs that may alter the reliability of the system and/or render it inoperable for some period(s) of time.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Illegal ? Do people really check before committing a crime or the illegality?
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 2
That seems to be the argument against "gun control". Armed bank robbers don't always check with the attorney general before they "carry" into the intended bank. This Tilcon employee didn't consider the law before he armed his truck with a jammer. He may not even have been aware that they were illegal. His goal was only to make his vehicle invisible to the system.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
" His goal was only to make his vehicle invisible to the system." ??
It is often believed that in most case being invisible is MORE dangerous than being blind!
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 0
Those libertarians always trying to beat the system, and not wanting to be tracked by big brother. Next they'll demand liberty in their own home, and protections against unreasonable search and seizure. What's this world coming to with everyone wanting liberty, and being willing to die for it, protesting against heavy handed government in public squares.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Good old American sarcasm!!
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Is it the complement right handed or left ?
HBFlyer
HBFlyer 2
That is frightening... Especially so if you are on a GPS coupled approach in IFR!
ravanviman
hal pushpak 2
OK all you smart aviation people, how come no one has discussed the spoofing (if that's how it was done) of the super secret US spy drone by the Iranians? They made the drone land intact on a runway in their territory!
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Off topic somewhat. Are you certain about the landing on the runway as opposed to CFIT with recovery? I had not heard that.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
$100 jammer from eBay, combined with CFIT with recovery, sounds like a plausible approach for Iranian capabilities. If the drone were to land after radio contact had been broken off, it is more likely to be an autonomous function, than an Iranian spoof.
LordLayton
I was under the impression that if all contact was lost with a drone that it had auto return to base built in to its programming.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
Didn't quite make it back, did it. So it more likely that it was jammed with a $100 jammer or shot down with less than $10 of ammo.
clabo
"The more complex the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 2
Adlai Stevenson was once asked the meaning of freedom. And he replied, you have a stick, you have the freedom to move the way you like. The moment it hits a guy, you have exceeded your freedom.
What this truck driver did was same, going too far with his freedom ! And hence culpable offence.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I can tell yo through experience, his only goal was to take his truck out of the system so it couldn't be "seen". Companies like Tilcon allow their foreman and supervisors to take their assigned vehicles home and to use them personally. I know of several men who lost their jobs because they stopped at a bar after work or even on a day off. I can see a foreman spoiling the signal from a GPS locator without thinking of the unintended consequences and he was probably unaware of the law.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Without meaning to faulting your observations, I will summarise what I have stated in various comments under this thread!
This man was penalised in more ways than one. So his company did not give him the stated freedom. Further, I strongly believe that freedoms must NEVER be misused, lest the action becomes 'abuse' with unsavoury consequences.
In certain cases, invisibility can be more dangerous than blindness. Here I am trying to envisage traffic control. All depends.
And there can be many other situations well beyond my limited knowledge!
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Good points. I was not privy to any conditions written or verbal regarding the use of Tilcon work trucks by the assigned operator. Further, I've not been part of the discussion making the operators aware of the "tracking devices". Tilcon has every right, in fact it may be in their contract with NY,NJ,Port Authority that, they provide such devices and track their assets while on site. It's Tilcon's right to track the vehicle all of the time. I'm afraid the assignee if you will believed that "it's every prisoner's duty to escape." or in this case to foil the tracking device. He may have been warned but we don't know that.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
I think the expression relates to PoWs(and right not duty - ?) and not for ordinary prisoners where such an act compounds the offence !
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
It's not germane how you "feel" about it. It only matters what the Foreman knew and believed. He may not have been aware of additional consequences, intended or otherwise. He was aware that there was a tracking device which he spent $100. to defeat. I doubt he was aware of the nav/aid consequences of his action. The company discharged him for "cloaking" the company installed device..
clabo
Hmm, speaking of which, everybody's seen "Die Hard 2", no? In the movie, they (well, Bill Sadler's character) "spoof" the ILS to make the plane think it's 50' higher, so it goes splat on the rwy.

If a GPS receiver can be spoofed to yank a yacht miles off-course in the x/y directions, how long 'til some yahoo tries the same for the z-axis?

2000'AGL vs 2050' AGL won't be noticeable from the cockpit, and probably not for quite some time on descent 'til you're just about to touch down, then by the time you realise, "Flare! Flare!", forget it, you just had a *really* hard landing...
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Hmmmmm. There may be a lot of that going around lately
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Die Hard 2 is just a movie. But if you're going to cite facts from this fantastical tale...

" The mercenaries power up the equipment and are proceeding to shut down the airport. Then Burke cuts the ILS conduit lines with a chainsaw as another mercenary Kahn destroys the other line with an axe."

Later...

"Stuart orders him to activate the ILS landing system and re-calibrate sea level to minus 200 feet. Thompson reluctantly and uncomfortably re-calibrates the ground level on the computer."

Followed by...

"He tells the pilots on the plane to land on runway 29. McClane discovers that Stuart is going to crash the plane, that has 230 people onboard, into the runway that they can't see due to the snowstorm."

http://diehard.wikia.com/wiki/In-depth_synopsis_of_Die_Hard_2
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
With jamming Airports, GPS interference to cart away mega yachts, aircrafts,future holds a great promise for those who can live thru it. Hacking Androids and Humanoids will not be limited to sci-fi movies, but will be a hard reality. God bless Humankind !
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
did you mean ...bless Humankind, or ... help Humankind?
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
No help from Him without His blessings. His help and blessings are synonymous. So I believe is said in tenets of every religion.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
God bless him,and God help him have somewhat different connotations in some American parochial outlooks. :-)
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Dear joel wiley, as I understand, this portal/forum is international kind and not local kind limited to some specific geographical area of to class of people. So in short, think and act 'Global not local'. I guess I stated enough.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
You have a point. The current thread is about actions that expressed an outlook more more parochial than than international. Continuing this would wander off-topic.

PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
I would like to say that even in a forum with an international audience it should be ok for each person to be themselves and express themselves in a voice that reflects who they are. I would object to people having a separate UN-friendly voice just for international forums, or any place a comment on the interwebs might be read by a person from another continent. (The internet is by definition able to reach anywhere in the world with an IP connection).

Sometimes we get to learn about another region or another culture or another way of thinking, by exposure to the full richness of human expression available on the interwebs.
Darrens
Darren Shields 1
This is an issue that should have been looked at a while back after the Iranians spoofed the GPS on one of our drones and brought it down. Unless they're go to an encrypted GPS it's a problem that is going to be there.
Darrens
Darren Shields 1
Now that I think about it encryption won't matter. The GPS signal transmitted from the satellites is quite low powered when it gets to this end and so long as you know the frequency range it's no mean feat to jam it.
grinch59
Gene Nowak 1
And next we are going to give every Police Department that wants one, their own drone(s) that also work off GPS to fly all over the airways, and among other things track speeders. Now your car instead of carrying a radar detector, will have a jamming device for GPS. That, should make for some additional fireworks!
fabernathy
At the University of Texas, in Austin, a prof and a couple of grad students built a unit, that like this driver's, could actually spoof Gps and misdirect traffic. This was tested on both a model helicopter and a full sized ocean yacht (crew was told to navigate as usual with gps and only after the spoof was turned off learned they had strayed from their expected course) . Which means all of us need to know where true North is; oh yeah and where we intend to go. Air or terrestrial based vehicles. So GPS is good for what YOU paid to use it, nothing but supporting navigation only.
fabernathy
I should have said similar to this driver, as his provided no spoofing of positional data; the truck driver's simply overloaded the front end of any gps receiver near him causing the loss of valid, spoofed or not, positional data.
LordLayton
So if his boss all of a sudden cant see his truck, you don't think he would surmise something is not on the up and up either way? Idiots abound.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
I read where UPS had a special procedure designed for more efficient arrivals and approaches into Louisville. It's all GPS-based.

Imagine the wrench one of those can throw into that airport, especially in solid IMC.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
I wonder if that's what they were using in the A300 they lost last week at Bermingham. At first look it appears the were on full auto and no one checked the altimeter. We'll see what more NTSB comes up with.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
It's just a movie. But if you're going to cite facts from this fantastical story...

" The mercenaries power up the equipment and are proceeding to shut down the airport. Then Burke cuts the ILS conduit lines with a chainsaw as another mercenary Kahn destroys the other line with an axe."

Later...

"Stuart orders him to activate the ILS landing system and re-calibrate sea level to minus 200 feet. Thompson reluctantly and uncomfortably re-calibrates the ground level on the computer."

Followed by...

"He tells the pilots on the plane to land on runway 29. McClane discovers that Stuart is going to crash the plane, that has 230 people onboard, into the runway that they can't see due to the snowstorm."

http://diehard.wikia.com/wiki/In-depth_synopsis_of_Die_Hard_2
conortodd
conortodd 1
The system's still safe because there are plenty of safe, automatic fall-backs.
A GPS jammer won't work inside of an aircraft (it's a Faraday cage and the antennas on top of the plane only look skyward) and a jammer on the ground will only mess with the ground station that transmits extremely precise corrections to the local GPS signal. Systems in aircraft using the GPS landing system (GLS) can easily detect problems with the data coming from the ground station and revert to a lower-precision approach that doesn't depend on it. Aircraft which are close to the ground (w/in 200 ft) can continue using the last good solution from the ground station because ionospheric perturbations of the GPS signal change relatively slowly and it only takes about 30 seconds to travel those last 200 feet.
mx747
mx747 1
Hire that guy! Gotta love someone that doesn't like being tracked like a damn animal.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Meanwhile the DOT has mandated black boxes on all vehicles sold 2014 and after. Tilcon has every right to track their vehicles and employees during work hours. The Governmant will be tracking you, your wife , your children, anyone driving that vehicle
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
What this man did was outrageous on many counts.
First is easy to understand about interfering with safety of others (Airport in this case).
Other aspects to consider are misappropriation of company property. Why should an employee be allowed to use the company property including 'on job' time in a clandestine manner? Or the use not specified in the course of job? We must understand and appreciate that why in the first place the employers choose to spend money to install GPS ? For the safety and welfare of equipment as well as its user/s, the employee/s.
If the employee is on personal 'time', they can always use other means of transport to move about! No? After all, there is no 'GPS' gadget installed on their persona to reveal their location/movement! So, why the desire to 'misuse' the company vehicle and/or 'on job' time for dubious activities and try to remain 'hidden'?.
Even Celebrities fail in their endeavor to hide from paparazzi though there is no GPS on or around them ! ;-)
This man was rightly punished for his misadventure.
mx747
mx747 1
What a bunch of bull. They can take their black box and stick it where the sun don't shine.
havenrich1
Haven Rich 1
At first I thought this referred to a tractor and semi-trailer driver. I remember back in the '70s when some guys had big amps for the CBs which would open all the garage doors as they went by!
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
The linier amps are still around in 27mhz. I spoke to a young fella the other day at a repair shop who was bragging the same way they did in the 60s. I think they improved the garage door openers. :-)
embrj145
WAAS, GBAS ... Geee,, what else coming?
Marshallstaxxx
Marshall H 1
I have been being tracked by some sort of tracking device on my car and it is apparent that there is listening capability as well the other day I was using my navigator and it was speaking the directions to where I was going when I noticed some cars that were making the same turns as me I turned up the radio loud and it seemed to stop it right away . My question is what am I dealing with and what would be effective to stop it and where can I get it in New Mexico
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Hahaahh. I believe you're dealing with a fantasy land scenario and I suspect your tongue is firmly in cheek. In order to stop it, you'll have to burn you car to the pavement and buy a different one, then trade that on in every other week. Or you could always turn your radio up and stop looking out your rear window.
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 1
The guy really should have received a free stay at Club Fed.
joelwiley
joel wiley 0
At least it won't affect the "wave of the future" EFBs......we think.
jkroon
John Kroon 0
Airlines and airports must find a new system and fast.
Safety has to remain the priority here.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Or they can just fine sub-contractors $50,000 every time they bring GPS jammers onto airport property, and jail them for repeat offenses. Most people don't have unfettered access to airport airfields, so can't normally get anywhere near the ILS and/or GPS ground installations. Plus a jammer can't normally do any permanent damage. Just remov the device and the system should return to normal operation.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
It's not the ground installations such as WAAS stations. The outbound signal from those cannot be easily changed. It's the receivers in the aircraft. Those can be affected from any point within range of the disrupting signal.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
A check of the highway systems around Class C airports and above will prove you wrong. Check a road map showing the big 3 in New York, BWI, PHL, DCA, BOS, etc and you'll see how close highway construction equipment and support vehicles actually get to airport runways and ancillary pavement. You'll be amazed how close highway vehicles get to the ILS.
k1mgy
Mark Richards 0
Another feat of brilliance from the FAA.

But, please remove "smart" from the name.
CosmosKidd
Ron Desroches 0
So something like this hooked to a HUGE genereated powered an ole checy 454 in the back of a UPS truck wouldn't be an issue woud it? Electronic Warefare, don't leave home without it !
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal -1
Wow, invention of wheel has really evolved.
From GPS jamming to using GPS for carting away
" University of Texas team takes control of a yacht by spoofing its GPS - Next stop Aircraft "
http://flightaware.com/squawks/view/1/24_hours/popular_new/36091/University_of_Texas_team_takes_control_of_a_yacht_by_spoofing_its_GPS_Next_stop_Aircrafts
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal -1
Post Script :- Plus this too
" Hackers now steering into cars, homes
Nick Bilton "
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=CAP/2013/08/13&PageLabel=22&EntityId=Ar02200&ViewMode=HTML

[This poster has been suspended.]

TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 3
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db0802/FCC-13-106A1.pdf

Still think it's fake?
joelwiley
joel wiley 5
Who are you going to believe, Phil or FCC?
Should someone have Mr. Er.A.K. Mital review the document?
LOL
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
NO, don't even suggest that!!!

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 2
He wasn't jamming the satellite; he was getting the receiver. Can't speak to the approach; just going by what the story said. Honeywell was doing some work testing SMARTPATH and that's what he jammed, the GPS signals that it pulled from. Didn't mess with any actual approaches.
preacher1
preacher1 1
How you figure?

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 2
Yeah, but this wasn't an automotive GPS. This was a black market jammer

[This poster has been suspended.]

wx1996
wx1996 11
You do not Jam the satellite - you jam the receiver. Jamming the receiver is not that difficult, if you are willing to broadcast on the correct frequencies without a license, etc.

[This poster has been suspended.]

preacher1
preacher1 2
Read the story again. It was Honeywell testing SMARTPATH, which relies on GPS signals to work.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
No hope at all of stopping malintents or just plain accidental happenstance if they keep selling stuff freely on eBay. I am all for free markets but...well..seems to me a few airports would do well to get on eBay to pick up the odd ILS system. Crazy world..
DaveRK
DaveRK 1
To All;
Sorry for my late arrival to the dubject.

phil,
Exactly what are you saying is "fake"?
If you're saying a device to jam a GPS navigation unit is "fake", you are incorrect.
With a radio/electronics background one could be built for less than $100.00.
btweston
btweston 6
Grind that axe...
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Read the article. It was pretty definate.

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