Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar and Release 5G Spectrum

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the open-up dept.

United Kingdom 175

judgecorp writes "Britain is considering switching off air traffic control radar systems and using "passive radar" instead. A two year feasibility study will consider using a network of ground stations which monitor broadcast TV signals and measure echoes from aircraft to determine their location and velocity. The system is not a new idea — early radar experiments used BBC shortwave transmitters as a signal source before antenna technology produced a transceiver suitable for radar — but could now be better than conventional radar thanks to new antenna designs and signal processing techniques. It will also save money and energy by eliminating transmitters — and release spectrum for 5G services."

cancel ×

175 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Good idea (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893265)

It works for detecting stealth fighters over Iran, it should certainly work for non-stealth commercial aircraft.

Re:Good idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893285)

The real reason they're doing this is to test the new Ubuntu £inux phones. Those phones have experimental GPS tracking ribbons that transmit your location to the NSA from anywhere in the world along with a list of all the files on your phone. These are the same tracking ribbons used in 20 dollar bills. They have internal power supplies that are as thin as, well, paper, and are based on dark projects. Ubuntu phone is the next step.

Re:Good idea (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893389)

wat

Re:Good idea (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893563)

The real reason they're doing this is to test the new Ubuntu £inux phones. Those phones have experimental GPS tracking ribbons that transmit your location to the NSA from anywhere in the world along with a list of all the files on your phone. These are the same tracking ribbons used in 20 dollar bills. They have internal power supplies that are as thin as, well, paper, and are based on dark projects. Ubuntu phone is the next step.

Wow they have a great plan .... just wait for the 100% take up of Ubuntu phone and ... oh wait!

Re:Good idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893721)

The real reason they're doing this is to test the new Ubuntu £inux phones. Those phones have experimental GPS tracking ribbons that transmit your location to the NSA from anywhere in the world along with a list of all the files on your phone. These are the same tracking ribbons used in 20 dollar bills. They have internal power supplies that are as thin as, well, paper, and are based on dark projects. Ubuntu phone is the next step.

Man, I've never heard such a pile of BS - the Linux phones, yes, have gps, that has *nothing* to do with the ribbon strips in $20 bills, which have *no* "internal power supply", in fact no power on their own at all - they require a transmitter to power them, kinda like a crystal radio, they're a resonant antenna to a particular frequency. Without a transmitter around you (ie, like if you walk out of a store with those theft "sensors" at the door - the "sensors" are both transmitter & receiver, transmitting to power the strip and looking for the right response back), and a transmitter/receiver of *close* proximity (they're undetectable at a distance), they're useless.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893901)

The real reason they're doing this is to test the new Ubuntu £inux phones. Those phones have experimental GPS tracking ribbons that transmit your location to the NSA from anywhere in the world along with a list of all the files on your phone. These are the same tracking ribbons used in 20 dollar bills. They have internal power supplies that are as thin as, well, paper, and are based on dark projects. Ubuntu phone is the next step.

Man, I've never heard such a pile of BS - the Linux phones, yes, have gps, that has *nothing* to do with the ribbon strips in $20 bills, which have *no* "internal power supply", in fact no power on their own at all - they require a transmitter to power them, kinda like a crystal radio, they're a resonant antenna to a particular frequency. Without a transmitter around you (ie, like if you walk out of a store with those theft "sensors" at the door - the "sensors" are both transmitter & receiver, transmitting to power the strip and looking for the right response back), and a transmitter/receiver of *close* proximity (they're undetectable at a distance), they're useless.

Trolled sweetly

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893489)

The stealth fighter is not really stealthy, we know about it otherwise if it was truely stealth we wouldnt even know it exists.

Then again it can be picked up by weather radar also. Its a huge failure.

Re:Good idea (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893577)

The stealth fighter is not really stealthy, we know about it otherwise if it was truely stealth we wouldnt even know it exists.

Then again it can be picked up by weather radar also. Its a huge failure.

Perhaps the current stealth fighters are just cover technology for the real ... wait a minute someone's knocking at the door

Re:Good idea (2)

Annirak (181684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894205)

That depends on the goal of the stealth tech. On the one hand, a fighter that you can't detect at all is helpful, but there are other goals for stealth tech. For example, it's awfully helpful to have an aircraft that can't be tracked by targeting radar. Not having to worry about RADAR-based SAMs or AAMs is really nice.

Weather RADAR tracking of stealth fighters is great for knowing that one is inside your borders, but not so good for providing targeting to anti-air systems.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893295)

seriously...

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893327)

People could feel that 4g is fast enough and have absolutely zero interest in upgrading, thus robbing the UK government of over inflated profits at auction, then again, it has a higher number, consumers will happily buy in.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893507)

Luddites like you never learn. 640k should be enough for anyone.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (0)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893419)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_5390 [wikipedia.org]
Maps get sucked out, needs radar to guide down?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider [wikipedia.org]
No fuel, no transponder?
That would be the classics, but maps are on computers now and this system is passive so the whole of the UK will light up - no transponder needed.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893609)

BA 5390 didn't need radar to guide it down. No maps got sucked out.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893647)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-london/A20460782 [bbc.co.uk]
"but due to the congested airspace around both Gatwick and Heathrow, he was directed to land at Southampton Airport. Southampton was closer, but all the maps and charts had been lost in the blow-out, and having never landed there before, the co-pilot was obviously anxious about the prospect of making a good landing."
http://www.fss.aero/accident-reports/dvdfiles/GB/1990-06-10-UK.pdf [fss.aero]
"The co-pilot had requested radar vectors to the nearest airport and had been turned towards Southampton Airportand eventually transferred to their approach frequency."
"I have a VOR but it will be radar vectors onto the visual final"

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

oji-sama (1151023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893855)

Umm. Radar vectors are basically directions for the aircraft, I don't see why you couldn't give vectors for the aircraft if you get the same information from a passive radar. (Also, the planes will most likely keep their radars, won't they?)

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893903)

AFAIK most civilian aircraft have no radars whatsoever.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

prefect42 (141309) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894021)

They can have weather radar along with a radar altimeter, but I think you're right that they don't have radar for detecting nearby aircraft.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894241)

Civillian aircraft have all sorts of radar: airliners can detect other aircraft. I believe there was an incident where an airliner's collision detection radar atually detected an F117 and had to temporarily abort a climb, due to a near miss.

But yes, most civillian aircraft are small don't have any radar whatsoever.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

shri (17709) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893547)

What could go wrong? In 10 years wireless transmitters may be deemed unnecessary as a major sources of entertainment are being delivered via IP or via DISH type satellite systems. Can someone draw a graph of how many shortwave receivers will be used v/s how much IP bandwidth major providers will be using?

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

Penguinshit (591885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893723)

Not quite sure what your point is. Mine is that airport radar is critical safety equipment that I don't want compromised so some teen can stream One Direction in HD.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

shri (17709) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893895)

What I was implying rather hastily was that these transmitters might not exist when they're ready to make the switch.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893993)

ah yes, that is possible. But cell companies will try to squeeze every last drop from their infrastructure so it will be many years before they go away.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893807)

I don't think satellite-based entertainment will ever really grow much, as it's not interactive enough, or at least too laggy. TV over IP over optical fiber makes much more sense to reach the houses, and terrestrial wireless for mobile devices. Question then is how much of that content will be consumed from the mobile devices.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (2)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893899)

It's too laggy if you use geostationary satellites. 36000km each way is too far.
I have read articles that claim you could run a swarm of LEO satellites at 500 - 800 km high that talk to each other with lasers, and the ground with microwaves.
Basically a mesh network in space. In remote areas you would beat wired speeds.
Of course you need a lot of satellites for coverage, and a microwave transceiver for each connection to the swarm-net.
Everything needs to know where everything else is (to point the lasers and antennas), so I think the ground stations would have to be stationary, at least in the beginning.

Re:What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893951)

I don't think satellite-based entertainment will ever really grow much, as it's not interactive enough, or at least too laggy.

I don't see how that is a problem for TV.

Great Idea! (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893313)

Now when there is a fault at the transmission mast which interrupts your TV signal you'll no longer be stuck watching a blank screen: just go outside and look for planes colliding.

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893359)

It's a pretty safe thing to do because ATC relies more on transponders than on radar, at this point. Also because there will be other usable signals at the time.

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893741)

Because the transponders on the planes on 9/11 in the US didn't get turned off. Who needs to track airplanes that don't identify themselves anyways? They might be able to track those drones flying over your country spying on the people.

Re:Great Idea! (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893921)

Because the transponders on the planes on 9/11 in the US didn't get turned off. Who needs to track airplanes that don't identify themselves anyways? They might be able to track those drones flying over your country spying on the people.

the radar equivalent surface of a drone is a very small fraction of the radar cross section of a general aviation aircraft. moreover, most if not all the radar available are 2D, which means they do not provide the altitude of the target. that's one of the original reason for the use of transponders in general aviation: even if a Radar got an echo off an aircraft, it did not provide the altitude data, and so it would not serve to enforce vertical separation.

The main weakness of a "passive only" approach is that it provides with a single point of failure, i.e. the ability of the system managers of GPS, Galileo and Glonass to degrade the accuracy of the signal. radars instead could overlap. if you simply cut and paste a naval frigate system of the 90s, it usually had a 2D Radar and a 3D Radar. the only caveat is that the liberal upper crust would look askance at somebody microwave frying his pancakes from two miles away.

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894109)

the only caveat is that the liberal upper crust would look askance at somebody microwave frying his pancakes from two miles away..

Strangely I think liberals, conservatives and everyone in between might agree on that last issue.

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893381)

Yes, and conventionaliteit radars never fail ......

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893827)

Which would be a good argument for using this passive detection as additional or backup system.

Note that transmission towers every now and then need to be switched off for maintenance. Of course that's probably true for radar stations, too, but for those you'd be able to schedule them according to your local needs, without any consideration whether e.g. a major sporting event is broadcast during that time. OTOH, the broadcaster normally doesn't need to consider whether there's currently much air traffic going on when deciding on the maintenance schedule.

Notice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893329)

I hope they give the poor pilots at least an hours notice of this change.

Already at 5G? (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893339)

What is 5G? We've barely started rolling out 4G!

Re:Already at 5G? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893357)

Seriously... You've not heard of 5G? It's a whole G better than that dowdy old 4G. Better start saving up for it today!

Re:Already at 5G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893483)

FIVE GEE? HA!

Fie on thy archaic five gee, we have forsooth already commenced work on six AND seven gee devices!

7G, in concert with the newest generation of Psy-Enabled, Clairvoyan-C processors, will be so fast that it will finish loading the entire video before you even boot the device! (It's a bit of a memory hog, though, as to do this it must download the entire internet, so you'll have to have several yoctobytes of storage!)

Re:Already at 5G? (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893603)

Fie on thy archaic five gee, we have forsooth already commenced work on six AND seven gee devices!

I think we're going to have to work on the name though; 7G sounds too boring. I propose "G-Whizz" to indicate its immense speed...

Re:Already at 5G? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894455)

I just got an image of one of these [wikipedia.org] doing 150mph...

Re:Already at 5G? (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893749)

A bit confused here (I suppose should be going out more often) is yoctobyte bigger then moronbyte - how do both relate to library of congress?

Re:Already at 5G? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893879)

Well, yocto is an official SI prefix, meaning 10^(-24). So you need 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 yoctobytes to store just one byte.

Now to store the complete internet in several yoctobytes, you must have an extremely good compression algorithm. :-)

Re:Already at 5G? (0)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894705)

The returns become marginal as you go up, though. When we went from 1G to 2G, it was like HOLY SHIT THIS IS TWICE AS FAST. Then 2G to 3G came along and it was still a must, I mean, that's a 50% improvement. 3G to 4G was still an impressive 33% improvement... but 4G to 5G? Now you are only improving things by 25%.

WHY CAN'T THE PHONE SCIENCE PEOPLE GET US BACK TO BIG IMPROVEMENTS??? They should start from 1H again and then do a 2H and get us another 100%. This should buy us a few years. Shit, hire me phone company.

Re:Already at 5G? (1)

arekin (2605525) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893405)

What is 5G? We've barely started rolling out 4G!

Let this short instructional film explain (it really explains nothing btw). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txjqV6eKabs [youtube.com]

Re:Already at 5G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893479)

Try this one instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 [youtube.com]

Re:Already at 5G? (1)

plaukas pyragely (1630517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893857)

I bet by the time those new passive radars are rolled out to production you will know 5G very well.

Re:Already at 5G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894489)

Since they renamed 3G LTE to 4G, 5G is probably either 4G or LTE2.

UK and TV rader? LOL (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893377)

Yeah given the fact the UK has had only 4 TV channels for decades, took another decade to add a 5th channel, and reception is piss poor unless you live under an antenna.

And UK is one of the bussiest airspaces in the world.

I do not like this one bit.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893411)

I can vouch for that, I've never seen so many flying buses as that time I visited London.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893429)

Not even AirBusses?

(Or the ones that got blown up by Mossad?)

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (4, Insightful)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893509)

Yeah given the fact the UK has had only 4 TV channels for decades, took another decade to add a 5th channel, and reception is piss poor unless you live under an antenna.

And UK is one of the bussiest airspaces in the world.

I do not like this one bit.

um.. we have about 50 channels or so on broadcast TV now and countless bullshit channels factoring in satellite and cable
i get a better reception on the digital channels than i did on the analogue set up... not that i watch it much tbh... it's 99% shit which is generally what happens with hundreds of channels... that and fucking repeats

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893519)

They are not using sattellite TV broadcasts for this..

As for digital, slowest switch over in Europe and it still isn't finished yet.

And all those extra channels are basically 1 hour repeats of the previous channels before it.

If you live anywhere near a valley, your screwed on signal, its like watching Tetris.

Look at the NATS roll out, laughable.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893759)

I'm not entirely sure what your point is supposed to be. Are you under the impression that there is insufficient TV broadcast intensity for passive radar to work?

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893801)

As for digital, slowest switch over in Europe and it still isn't finished yet.

Finished last year. Not all of Europe has.

And all those extra channels are basically 1 hour repeats of the previous channels before it.

There are only 6 timeshift channels on UK Digital terrestrial. Out of 50 or so total.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893893)

um... again i live in a wee bit of a Valley next to Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.. the Salisbury Crags and Arthurs seat used to bugger the reception... not any more.
All those channels, as i said are shit, not that the originals were generally much better to be frank and under 10 of them on terrestrial are +1 channels
i only mentioned satellite in respect of channel numbers and not in reference to this technique for radar
Also the digital switchover finished last year i believe
as for quality.. it's all just shit really.... repeats are endemic due to the rolling 3 hour/4 hour block schedules many of those channels keep.. just shite.. however the TV is for the kids so.. meh, can't complain as i rarely watch these days
As for the BBC it's about to be in deeper financial crisis when it has to pay out over the various scandals including covering up institutional paedophilia with regards to Jimmy Savile and friends, fuck knows they get enough in from the license fees at £140 a year the conning bastards.. the only decent things about the BBC is no adverts as their coverage of Scottish issues is pretty fucking dire at the best of times but leading up to the Scottish Independence referendum they have openly stated they don't have to be balanced in reporting the independence debate [newsnetscotland.com] which kinda fucks with their alleged reputation for impartiality.. so erm.. fuck the BBC really

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894483)

fuck the BBC really

The last two governments over there beat you to it. Pointing out that Blair was an idiot for his "Saddam can attack London in X minutes" and more recently having a Tory's name on a list of suspected pedophiles rebounded with more interference than the BBC has seen before.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893659)

um.. we have about 50 channels or so on broadcast TV now and countless bullshit channels

And program quality has dropped down to Anerican levels, yes. The relationbetween program quality and number of channels has again been proven to be inversely proportional.

Worse, the BBC is now in a deep financial crisis from having to fill up multiple channels instead of just two, quality ones.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894093)

um.. we have about 50 channels or so on broadcast TV now and countless bullshit channels

And program quality has dropped down to Anerican levels, yes. The relationbetween program quality and number of channels has again been proven to be inversely proportional.

Worse, the BBC is now in a deep financial crisis from having to fill up multiple channels instead of just two, quality ones.

Not really. TV wise, the BBC funds BBC1, BBC2, and News Channel. BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, Cbeebies are part time channels occupying 2 full time slots.

Radio wise, digitial has added Radio 6, 1Extra, 4Extra and Asian Network. All of which are fairly cheap (I think the budget for the 1 extra is less than the budget for radio1's breakfast show)

There's also BBC World, which is supposed to be fully funded, however shares a lot of infrastructure with News Channel and national news. On the flip side, the advertising brings in money to invest in proper BBC.

Much of the new content on digital are repeats at a more convienent time. Childrens TV has moved from BBC1 afternoons to CBBC, and BBC1 mornings to cbeebies, and is now repeated.

The BBC has a financial problem because
* The license fee has been frozen for some years, with inflation meaning it's gone down in real terms
* The BBC had to fund part of the digital switchover
* Most recently (from next year), the World Service and Monitoring have become funded by the license fee, not by a government grant

There's then ridiculous decisions taken years ago that wasted so much money. The original iplayer with that stupid windows-only download program and the sell off of BBC Technology to Siemens (now atos) rather than taking a loan are two things that spring to mind.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894605)

BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, Cbeebies are part time channels occupying 2 full time slots

True - though I do wonder how much the wasted bandwidth costs just broadcasting the ident for half the day on all four of these, when they could free up 2 channels by switching from CBeebies to BBC3 (and CBBC to BBC4) at 7pm when the kids channels stop broadcasting...

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894833)

Sending a static MHEG page on the off-air channels takes up a tiny fraction of the space of a live channel. The transmitters automatically allocate bandwidth to the channels that need it. There is no space to be freed.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894129)

So apparently broadcasting QI all day erryday isn't cheap enough?

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894557)

Not true!!! Every other show is Top Gear (with the odd Man vs Food once in a while)

Should we just rename all the channels Dave - to avoid confusion...?

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894457)

US seems to be polarized between the extremely crap and extremely good. Fortunately these days it is much easier to just watch the good stuff.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893877)

Yeah given the fact the UK has had only 4 TV channels for decades, took another decade to add a 5th channel, and reception is piss poor unless you live under an antenna.

And UK is one of the bussiest airspaces in the world.

I do not like this one bit.

um.. we have about 50 channels or so on broadcast TV now and countless bullshit channels factoring in satellite and cable

i get a better reception on the digital channels than i did on the analogue set up... not that i watch it much tbh... it's 99% shit which is generally what happens with hundreds of channels... that and fucking repeats

Well then, at least I know I'll have an equally shitty viewing experience over the pond now. Welcome to the world of broadcast bullshit, where the picture is crystal clear, and yet no reason to watch. Don't worry though, I'm sure re-runs of Honey Boo Boo are coming your way. That'll bring the quality down so many notches it actually adds shock value.

Re:UK and TV rader? LOL (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893849)

I watch none of them.
iplayer for BBC content is about all. They have the news on in the lunch room so I've some idea of the 24hour repeat news world.

TV content people - I'm out.

Infomercial Airlines (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893401)

So the safety of air traffic will rely on infomercials being on all night? Sounds like something the FCC will jump in on too!

The following is a paid advertisement, the views expressed are not the views of the network, we are however required by law to broadcast them to ensure the safety of air traffic throughout the evening. Please stay tuned for this important safety related broadcast.

Re:Infomercial Airlines (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893441)

To everyone thinking that safety will depend on the TV transmitters being always on, this is likely to replace only *one* of the types of radar, primary radar (where you send out a signal and look for reflections). SSR (secondary surveillance radar) won't be going away. This type of radar sends out a signal and the aircraft actively replies.

Primary radar is used to paint targets that don't have transponders. What the CAA has been angling to do for a while now is make Mode-S transponders mandatory in controlled airspace (they did want everything, including hang gliders(!) to carry a Mode-S transponder at one point). Therefore the cost will just be transferred to the hand-to-mouth sector of aviation if they want to still have access to controlled airspace.

Re:Infomercial Airlines (1)

LoadWB (592248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893573)

This addresses part of my question below. Thank you.

Re:Infomercial Airlines (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893803)

I understand hangglider users are rather annoyed at this: Those transponders are designed for extreme reliability and durability, and as such they are of considerable weight. Enough to seriously impair performance on such a small and lightweight glider.

Re:Infomercial Airlines (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894237)

I understand hangglider users are rather annoyed at this: Those transponders are designed for extreme reliability and durability, and as such they are of considerable weight. Enough to seriously impair performance on such a small and lightweight glider.

Corner reflectors and tinfoil hats come to the rescue.

Frist 4sot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893413)

Need to scream txhat to keep up as

Ten years away (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893425)

Radar provider Thales has been given government funding by the Technology Strategy Board to investigate how existing TV signals could be used to locate and track aircraft

Thales are just starting out on this. An industrialised solution is therefore a decade away from availability and another ten years from being accepted as a primary source of data on aircraft movements.

Re:Ten years away (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893667)

Radar is already secondary. Most information these days comes from GPS transponders on the aircraft, not radar. It's plotted on a radar screen but that's not where the info came from.

Re:Ten years away (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893783)

Primary surveillance works by reflection. Secondary surveillance works with transponders. Here in Australia secondary surveillance radars are being shut down to be replaced with ADS-B but primary radars are being upgraded.

Re:Ten years away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894191)

I had the impression that primary radar was mainly used by the military for airspace surveillance and the civilian air traffic control mainly used the data from secondary search radars.

Commercialised since 1998 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894473)

Lockheed-Martin released its Silent Sentry passive radar system in 1998 http://servv89pn0aj.sn.sourcedns.com/~gbpprorg/mil/radar/sentry.pdf [sourcedns.com]

And how about http://www.bksv.com/products/environmentmanagementsolutions/airportenvironmentmanagement/skytraksurveillance.aspx [bksv.com]
which is a commercial passive radar system specially tailored for replacing an airport's radars.

WTH do you get the idea that Thales are "just starting out"?

Re:Commercialised since 1998 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894633)

See, when you're betting thousands of people's lives every day, you're just starting out. All of this gee whiz tech demonstration is only marketing. Now the hard, expensive part has to be done. We expect to spend another $500M on our safety case and airworthiness package, and we're halfway done. The hardware design, on the other hand, will only be about $18M.

Re:Ten years away (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894785)

That sounds about right for something that's meant to complement 5G cellular adoption, then.

Remember NATS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893465)

Yeah, that was a smooth on time and on budget system delivery.

A lot of signals .... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893503)

What do you see if you take a closer look into the VHF signals arround there?

That's a 50Mhz TV transmiter carrier.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8383/8473254438_2a2f9819d2_o.jpg

A lot of aircraft reflections everywhere. ;)

Sould be "easy" to implement a multistatic radar with gnuradio.

73 de EA1FAQ

Re:A lot of signals .... (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893593)

Wish you'd posted that logged in so you could get the karma.

Aircraft scatter on the microwave bands is good fun, with paths from Scotland into Norway and even as far south as Denmark. For those who haven't come across it, this is pretty much what the name suggests - point your aerial up and out over the sea when there are aircraft in roughly the right place, and listen for other stations doing the same and being reflected back off the aircraft fuselage. Because the signal is so tiny (a plane isn't that big, really) you need to use Morse code or one of the small-signal digital modes.

FB QSO YR 599 OM
73s de MM0YEQ

WATCH THE SKIES !! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893525)

The Hun !! They WILL KOME !!

Government control of private transmitters? (1)

LoadWB (592248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893561)

Are all TV transmitters in England government-run? The problem I see arising from this plan is privately-operated TV stations become a critical infrastructure and eventually fall under government control for integrity and safety purposes. If a TV transmitter shuts down for whatever reason, planned or other-wise, then that part of the air traffic system could fail or operate under reduced capacity. If required for air traffic control, would TV stations then become "too important to fail?"

*sigh* Guess I have to go RTFA.

Re:Government control of private transmitters? (4, Informative)

sa1lnr (669048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893657)

All of the BBC's transmitters were sold off to a private company years ago as part of the Broadcasting Act 1990.

Re:Government control of private transmitters? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893673)

Airport radar systems can fail, too.

Maybe you'd better call them and express your concerns...

Re:Government control of private transmitters? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893823)

The BBC's transmitters were originally owned/run by the BBC, but were spun off into a separate company and sold off, through various mergeres/aquisitions etc, that company is now Arqiva [wikipedia.org] .

It's worth it. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893621)

People need to share HD videos of their shitty cats with their Facebook friends.

Re:It's worth it. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894255)

Oh come on, it's not just cat videos, people need to be able to share smug self-superior posts on slashdot, too.

Re:It's worth it. (4, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894533)

They shouldn't need wireless spectrum for that job.
Cat5 cable is purpose built for the task.

If that's not enough the natural solution is to log onto the net with cat5e for 2.7 times more bandwidth.

Good thing we're polite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893817)

I have this mental picture of lots of planes bumping into each other and saying "Oh, sorry. Do excuse me. " "No, excuse me." etc.

Everybody open my URL (-1, Offtopic)

A2zmannequins (2807321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42893867)

HI Please every body open my URL http://slashdot.org/submission/2427771/supermarket-shelving [slashdot.org]

Re:Everybody open my URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893941)

Well, this is a first for me. Self-spamming Slashdot posts.
Yes.

note to self - fly into paris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893889)

then get the train to london

What could.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42893925)

.... possibly go wrong?

Interference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894103)

Wait a moment here, isn't the whole point of radar totally defeated if you let someone else use the spectrum? Sure, it's quiet now, but when you let everyone else use it to broadcast cat videos you think you can still use it to detect aircraft?

Ummm....

AC

Re:Interference? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894817)

It's analogous to navigating a dark room by looking at the light coming from the TV set. Although the light from the TV is a signal carrier and is constantly changing, it is consistent enough in time and space that you can use the light reflected off nearby objects to navigate.

Could this be "hacked"? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894217)

What I mean is could someone set up a directional transmitter in just the right way so that reflections coming off the place make it look like its a few hundred metres to the north or south and thereby cause a collision?

Re:Could this be "hacked"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42894389)

And this is different from normal radar how?

Re:Could this be "hacked"? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894835)

Indeed, what he's describing is a pretty standard radar countermeasure. That the source is the radio broadcast background and not a special transmitter really doesn't make a difference. If anything, passive radar has the advantage that you could run a band pass filter to remove and ignore the jamming signal.

Yay! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894371)

That's what we need, a system that provides absolutely NO accountability! Just crowd source "mission critical" stuff. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Yay! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42894753)

How is this "crowd sourcing"? They aren't asking the public to decode the radar, they are recognizing the waste in bandwidth to pour a constant signal into the sky when there are already dozens or even hundreds of transmitters doing this.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>