Ukraine Radio Silence

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    Eva, KN6CZD

    I was surprised to learn that amateur radio is dangerous/unusable in war times. apparently transmissions can be used to locate targets. I would think the same thing applies to mobile phones. Which does raise the question how people in Ukraine continue to communicate without revealing their location.


    Radio is just one of many forms of communication that are controlled in a war zone (just read an article about a soldier on trial for treason because he turned on a flashlight that revealed his unit’s position at night.) Often the first targets in an attack are broadcast radio, television and cellular phone towers to stop the flow of information: There are missiles designed to home in on radio transmissions. Aside from shutting down transmitters the next level of control is jamming frequencies to deny the use of radio to the opponent. I’m honestly surprised at how many battlefield videos we are seeing from what appear to be consumer grade drones. That hints at the Russian military not having command of the radio environment.

    As far as targeting individual cell phones; Except for very high profile targets where it’s worth the extraordinary effort it’s much harder in practice as there are so many transmitters in operation all using the same frequencies. Denying service is relatively easy over an area of several miles either by jamming or destroying cell towers. Even if cell service is disrupted, one may be able make calls or upload videos over wired services (DSL, cable) in areas where those services are available. In totalitarian regimes which control all wired and wireless media, music and news still sneak across the frontier on thumb drives and SD cards.

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