Tag Archives: TSCM

It isn’t long delayed echos, rather a drone transmitter never turned off.. Zombie Transmitters

A quite interesting QRZ Thread about an perhaps abandoned transmitter…

 

https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/strange-story-of-dcs-lost-am-radio-station-still-transmitting-road-closures-from-2013.753290/

The Strange Story of DC’s Lost AM Radio Station Still Transmitting Inauguration Road Closures From 2013

“Strong ‘Fallout 3’ vibes,” says the radio amateur who discovered it.

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/39549/the-strange-story-of-dcs-lost-am-radio-station-still-transmitting-inauguration-road-closures-from-2013

BY ROB STUMPF MARCH 4, 2021

Not everyone pays the most attention to AM radio. To some, talk is talk and fuzzy signals are exactly that. Still, it’d be odd if the same broadcast looped continuously for eight years without anyone noticing—but it’s not impossible.

As it turns out, that very scenario took place up until this week in Washington D.C. where an AM radio station had been broadcasting the same traffic report since 2013, and nobody seems to know why.

 

What in interesting is one of the following comments (page 2) is from someone that I briefly worked under overseas.

Posted by CW4 (Ret.) Dave Mann N4CVX This “Mystery Transmitter” is very close to a survey done in 1978 of the Pentagon Rooftop.

At the time I was specializing in Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM). Anyway, our detachment commander was asked by the Secretary of Defense to “Survey the roof and find out what’s up there”.

So, about 10 of us Technicians went to the roof — not easy to do as there was only one entry, a metal stair from the 5th Floor “A” Ring hidden behind a steel security door. Turns out the door hadn’t been opened in several years and we had to drill out the combination lock.

Once up there we swept the whole area a suite of receivers, Racal, Microtel, Stoddard VLF, and CEI, which received from about 100kHz to 2.5 gHz. Every antenna was tagged and plotted in place. Many of them didn’t have coax to them and had been abandoned in place years before; those we simply removed and piled up.

The Sec Def office sent out a letter to all offices in the building telling them that if they had antennas on the roof they were required to “Claim Them” and after 45 days of no response the mystery antennas would be removed.

A lot of the signals which we received were data bursts, a few had CW ID’s with a “WAR-nnnn” callsign (“WAR-nnnn” is the official ID for Washington Area Radio) and a lot of point to point UHF voice links. No problem.

After that 45-day period expired we went back up with bolt cutters. The one and only complaint received was from a tiny office in the Navy area that “Our TV isn’t working anymore”.

We removed about 75 “mystery” antennas — and lo and behold — a number of the previously recorded and plotted “data bursts” disappeared. We were sure that they were probably clandestine listening devices sending back to the Embassy of the USSR, which was (of course) Line of Sight and 6.35 miles from the Pentagon.

Wish I could have taken one of the huge Log Periodics on 75-foot towers back home HI HI. (BTW, there were only two of us on the team who knew Morse, me as a Ham and another Warrant Officer who was a former Morse Intercept Technician).

How many more zombie transmitters are out there, and do they have a secondary or secret purpose?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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