February 3, 2016

Exercise: Keeping an Ear on the Locals


Over the past year, I have tweaked my class material based on feedback I received.  Here is a look at some of the V2.0 Workshop material:

Exercise: Keeping an Ear on the Locals


This exercise can be performed with any available scanning receiver, such as the Radio Shack PRO-97 shown at left.


Locate, identify, and monitor local "jungle telegraph" frequency chatter. Perform basic signal analysis on discovered emissions.


  • Identify frequency coverage of receiver to determine suitability for exercise.

  • The PRO-97 has the following frequency coverage specifications: 25-54, 108-136.9875, 137-174, 216.0025-221.9975, 222-225, 225.025-405.975, 406-512, 806-960 (excluding cellular) and 1240-1300 MHz.

  • Based on requirement and frequency coverage specific
    2. rations, determine the following bands of interest:

    • 25.000-26.965 MHz.: bootleg CB "freeband", secondary

    • 26.965-27.405 MHz.: Citizens Band, primary

    • 27.405-28.000 MHz.:  bootleg CB "freeband", secondary

    • 29.000-29.700 MHz.: 10 Meter amateur band, predominately AM/FM mode emissions, secondary

    • 50.000-54.000 MHz.: 6 Meter amateur band, secondary

    • 144.000-148.000 MHz.: 2 Meter amateur band, primary

    • MURS, FRS, and GMRS service channels, primary

    • 222.000-225.000 MHz.: 1.25 Meter amateur band, secondary

    • 420-450 MHz.: 70cm Amateur band, primary/secondary

  • Perform sector searches on primary and secondary bands of interest for a time period of no less than 24 hours, preferably at least 72 hours.  Record frequencies detected.:

  • Perform point search on frequencies detected. Record following information:

    • Who - callsigns, names, handles

    • What - topics of discussion, net structure (formal, informal, "chatter")

    • Where - locations mentioned, conduct OSINT on FCC callsigns and possible repeater frequencies

    • When - date/time of communications

    • Why? - The CB and 2 Meter Amateur Radio bands have been determined via OSINT to be the most commonly used frequency bands used for local and regional personal communications in CONUS, with the vast majority of communications being in analog AM (CB) and FM (2 meter) modes on frequency ranges capable of reception on most police scanner-type receivers.  This makes them a useful monitoring target for the beginning voice intercept operator starting their COMINT education.

  • Perform RDF operations if possible.  Note LOBs.

This exercise can be performed with any receiver or transceiver that covers any of the bands of interest.  Communications will be mostly analog AM and FM, and unencrypted.

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