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 Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?

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Forester
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PostSubject: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeTue Feb 22, 2022 1:12 pm

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but couldn’t find anything.

I’ve been monitoring them for a while with some really basic equipment. 
A simple Baofeng UV-5R Tri Band model covers the frequencies and I built several antennas for it. 
A horizontal V Dipole works well but you can also use cheap TV ‘rabbit ears’, the quarter wave ground plane dipole works well as does a Yagi.

Mostly South Americans and Russians, a bit like CB; arguments, music and chit chat. 
I caught what I think is a Pirate Station last night as there was a playlist that lasted over a hour with the odd greetings. 

If anyone is interested here are some active frequencies from the last seven days;

251.950 
253.850 
254.775
255.550
257.037

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeTue Feb 22, 2022 8:53 pm

Hi Frank,

Not something I'd heard of before, definitely not on the forum and after looking into it some more I'm glad I hadn't.
Why would US military satellites be so open? (I suppose age.) Why would you want to 'pirate' one? (Maybe fun?)

I suppose it's one of those "You shouldn't even if you could" scenarios and if all you're doing is receiving then I'd think there's no harm done. But then after reading about some of the more criminal activities that have occurred on them and especially the federal busts afterwards I'd personally steer clear.

I can now see more ammunition given to the 'hopping mad' bureaucrats of the world, (official and unofficial), in banning such radios as the Baofengs that nowadays have such frequency coverage. Someone figuring one out and transmitting the alarm siren on a local Ham repeater is bad enough!

Banning them because of such instances could also strip away the affordability of such equipment to legitimate interest users and those recently licensed. Ham radio can be an expensive enough hobby and I'd hate to see such affordable options suddenly disappear. Plus I'd never again want to see the day where you have to present your licence before being able to purchase a radio. (Some outlets still keep a wary eye out even today! I know, despite online sales making it easier.)

So yeah, maybe interesting but you just can't help but think about the ramifications.

I also never got why anyone would want to use a radio to perform a 'Smashie & Nicey" DJ music set either. Wink


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeTue Feb 22, 2022 10:05 pm

Hi Victor

Thanks for the reply and some good points made. 

From doing some research I read this began in Brazil where some parts of the country are so remote there isn’t even cellphone coverage. Truckers commonly use it and the kits to modify 2m radios are readily available to buy at Truckstops.
I read about the criminal activity as well and it sounds like a bit of a free-for-all.

I suppose coming from a SWL background it’s not much different to monitoring Clandestine Stations or even Military Codes, but i understand what you are saying.  Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  1f44d 
There are others doing Satcom DX with much more serious equipment than me, so I’m not too concerned about Pablo Escobar or the FBI coming looking for me yet Laughing
Also, most SDR’s and Scanners cover these frequencies besides the much maligned Baofeng.
Frank

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeWed Feb 23, 2022 6:33 am

No worries there Frank. Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  1f44d 

I completely understand your interests in monitoring the airwaves being a long term SWL myself. (I love hearing news reports from a range of different angles and always amazed at quality English speaking transmissions made.)

You're quite right that many SDR units are more than capable of receiving such transmissions and I think the main reason the Baofeng gets such a knocking is because it's capable of transmitting too. 

I'm just grateful that it isn't illegal nor in my own opinion harmful to simply listen to such radio activity but I know of individuals in other countries arrested for simply owning a SDR USB dongle(!)


It's all interesting stuff there Frank and I've loved hearing as well as reading about it thanks to your posting. Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  1f44d 

If you ever get that 'itch' to take it further and press the transmit key then there's a good route with Amateur Radio which has everything from shortwave to VHF and beyond including satellite work. You have to jump a few hoops to be licensed but great knowing that there won't be a dreaded knock at the door or finding yourself extradited! Wink


All the best to you and thanks again for the posting,

Victor

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Ivy Mike
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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeWed Feb 23, 2022 6:44 pm

It's been going on for years.
Every so often the users are found and it ends up not funny for them.
I believe one guy in states got a $20000 fine and in Brazil they could get upto 4years inside.
It doesn't seem to stop them in Brazil as they keep at it.

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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeWed Feb 23, 2022 7:08 pm

Especially fun if you know Spanish or Portuguese. One of the easiest sat comms to pick-up because of the relatively low frequency. Use RTL-SDR dongle and homebrew yagi. You never know what you might hear. Fun listening.

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PostSubject: Re: Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?    Anyone monitoring UHF Satcom Pirates?  Icon_minitimeWed Feb 23, 2022 7:20 pm

RadioWavez wrote:
Especially fun if you know Spanish or Portuguese. One of the easiest sat comms to pick-up because of the relatively low frequency. Use RTL-SDR dongle and homebrew yagi. You never know what you might hear. Fun listening.
I heard some kind of a prayer/sermon service yesterday that went on for a hour or so before people started interrupting and shouting. 

It was interesting listening to a Russian telling a South American to “speak Russian damn it”. The South American turned to broken English with repeated replies of “no no no no no, Satcom, over” getting more irate with each reply.

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