Friday, December 30, 2011

Mexico drug cartel Zetas have their own radio system

A member of the Mexican Navy stands next to seized telecommunications equipment, allegedly built by the Zetas drug cartel, during a media presentation in Veracruz, Mexico, Sept. 8.(Marco Ugarte/AP)

From The National Terror Alert Response Center:

NY Daily News reports that when convoys of soldiers or federal police move through the scrubland of northern Mexico, the Zetas drug cartel knows they are coming.


The alert goes out from a taxi driver or a street vendor, equipped with a high-end handheld radio and paid to work as a lookout known as a “halcon,” or hawk.The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall 2-meter-tall dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match.

A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles kilometers across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.

Click Here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

French Launching 4 Spy Microsats from Kourou Today

Courtesy of the Hearsat-L newsgroup and

Pour info, demain vendredi, il doit y avoir le lancement de quatre nouveaux microsats espions fr du nom de code "Elisa" pour le Radint, depuis Kourou.

D"après la vidéo ci-dessous le système d"analyse data et de tracking des sats est sous Gnu-Linux Red-Hat (bien visible pour un linuxien), voir en bas à gauche de certains écrans de PC (une forme de chapeau rouge dans un cercle noir, le logo type de la distro Linux américaine Red-Hat!), les autres PC étant tout simplement sous Win XP. Pour les links sats, pas de surprise, comme d"hab., downlink des signaux Elint en bande X et TLM + TTC en bande S. La vidéo montre les différents logiciels de simulations (anti-daté en 2012!) d"analyse des signaux Elint + TLM + tracking sat. Le logiciel de tracking sat, montre bien sans aucun doute possible que les quatre sats sont bien de type LEO.

Pour les paraboles en début de vidéo, c"est typiquement celles pour le tracking en bande X ou S, vu le petit diamètre de celles-ci (à la louche 3m maxi).


FYI, tomorrow, Friday, there must be the launch of four new Microsat spies from the code name "Elisa" for RADINT from Kourou.

D "after the video below the system of" data analysis and tracking of sats is under Gnu-Linux-Red Hat (clearly visible for a Linux user), see bottom left of some PC monitors (a type of hat red in a black circle, the logo type of the Linux distro American red-Hat!), the other PC is just under Win XP. Links for sats, no surprise, as to "pop., Downlink signals Elint X-band and TLM + TTC S-band video shows the different simulation software (anti-dated in 2012!) D 'analysis + + TLM signals Elint tracking sat. The satellite tracking software, shows beyond doubt that the four sats are like LEO.

Parables for early video, c "are typically those for tracking X-band or S, given the small diameter of these (with a ladle 3m max).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tennessee turns to Motorola for P25 system

Three districts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will replace its existing legacy radio network with a multiband P25 system from Motorola Solutions in the first phase of a communications upgrade that will cost $39.2 million, according to an announcement this week according to the Urgent Communications website.

Under the terms of the contract, Motorola Solutions will build a P25 hybrid system, with 700/800 MHz spectrum being used in metropolitan areas and VHF frequencies being used in more rural areas, said Jay Malpass, strategic projects manager for Motorola Solutions. With this in mind, the state plans to purchase multiband APX portable and mobile radios for its personnel and vehicle fleet, he said.

Phase I of the project will address upgrades in the Chattanooga, Fall Branch and Knoxville districts and is expected to be completed next year, Malpass said. State officials hope to solicit funding next year for the buildout of P25 technology in the other five districts in the state, he said.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Vinyl treasure found on Wake Island

Master Sgt. John Solane, a 611th Air Support Group Detachment 1 contracting quality assurance specialist, looks at a Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band album called “Sure Feels Like Love” at Wake Island Airfield, Alaska, recently. The yellow sleeves in the cubbies around Solane contain AFRTS-distributed records, which are copyrighted to protect the artists who gave the military authorization to use their recordings overseas for free. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Amy Hansen)

by Capt. Amy Hansen, 11th Air Force Public Affairs

WAKE ISLAND AIRFIELD, Alaska (AFNS) -- In a tale straight from an adventure book, contractors here recently stumbled upon a vinyl record collection with an estimated value between $90,000 and $250,000.

The 611th Air Support Group's Detachment 1 is now making a comprehensive effort to preserve the nearly 9,000 vintage vinyl records and ship them to their rightful owner, the American Forces Radio and Television Network in Alexandria, Va., according to Master Sgt. Jean-Guy Fleury, the detachment's infrastructure superintendent, who took over the project from the former Detachment 1 commander, Maj. Aaron Wilt.

No digging was required to access this treasure, as the records were cataloged and neatly organized on shelves in a small room on the second floor of the Wake Island Airfield base operations building. The door was conspicuously stenciled with the name of a radio station, KEAD, and a "restricted area warning" sign, which kept most people out.

"That's a locked room normally, but people in my department have known the records were there for years," said Colin Bradley, the communications superintendent with Chugach Federal Solutions, Inc. CFSI is the contractor that currently manages operations on Wake Island with the oversight of Air Force quality assurance personnel.

"Because of the completeness of the collection, I assumed it was quite valuable," Bradley said. "I have not run across a collection that well preserved or that intact in my career. It's a little time capsule."

The collection includes a variety of vinyl albums and records specially made for military audiences and distributed monthly by the American Forces Radio and Television Network as well as some commercially available records.

"In 1942, the American Forces Radio Service was started to get American music out to the troops overseas," said Larry Sichter, the American Forces Network Broadcast Center Affiliate Relations Division chief. "Some of the radio productions were original, like GI Jill and Command Performance, and have significant value."

The exact dates the low-powered AM station operated on Wake Island remain unclear, but Bradley shared his estimate.

"I would guess that (KEAD) started in the 60s due to the dates on the records," he said. "Also, the FAA controlled Wake Island until the mid-60s, so an armed forces radio station wouldn't have been here. I would guess it wrapped up maybe in the 70s or with the advent of satellite radio."

According to a 2007 entry by Patrick Minoughan on, KEAD was already around in 1963. Minoughan wrote that he was stationed on Wake Island from 1963 to 1964.

"On the second floor of the then-new terminal building was a very small AFRTS radio station," he wrote. "AFRTS had no personnel there but sent in monthly shipments of music. While I was there, one of the communications guys named Steve Navarro would do a daily show for a couple of hours. When it was unattended, anyone could go in and play the records, which were broadcast on the island."

AFRTS was able to get permission to use the work of many artists, and later actors, for free, Sichter said. Therefore, the records were copyrighted and only to be used for their official purpose of entertaining the troops overseas, and then returned to AFRTS.

Since Wake Island Airfield is a tiny 1,821-acre atoll located about 2,000 miles west of Hawaii and 2,000 miles east of Japan, it is possible that the cost and logistics of returning the records to the mainland were prohibitive at the time the radio station was shut down, officials said.

So now, about 30 years after the last record was spun on KEAD, Fleury is spearheading the operation to ship the records back to AFRTS. He has estimated that it will take approximately 75 16-inch-by-16-inch boxes, and a total of about $10,000 worth of specialized material to properly pack up the records. AFRTS is providing the materials and Detachment 1 will do the packing, he said.

The records will be used to fill any gaps in the American Forces Network local museum, Sichter said, and the rest of the collection will be entered into either the Library of Congress or the National Archives to become a permanent piece of U.S. history, accessible to all.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Georgia county starts P25 system deployment with Harris

Floyd County, Ga., recently conducted a groundbreaking ceremony on a new 10-site, 800 MHz P25 radio system built by Harris that will replace a legacy conventional system, according to a county official.

Located 60 miles north of Atlanta, Floyd County has a population of 96,000 and covers 518 square miles. The county currently uses a single-site conventional network, with various public-safety departments operating on disparate UHF and VHF bands — a system with flaws that were highlighted during a 2008 tornado, according to Scotty Hancock, Floyd County’s emergency management agency director.

By transitioning to a new P25 system that also will support public-safety departments in the cities of Rome and Cave Spring, Floyd County will avoid paying millions of dollars to narrowband its existing system, improve internal and external interoperability, and improve radio coverage and reliability, Hancock said.

You can read the rest of the story online at the Urgent Communications website by clicking here.