DIY SIGINT platform not only for James Bond

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Using a SIGINT platform at home? Why not!

If I say signal intelligence (SIGINT), you probably imagine something secret, smart, and serious. In most cases you would right, this signal detection approach is associated with war and secret services – but not all the time. Technological developments can be used for benevolent and nefarious purposes alike, like nuclear fission or SIGINT.


Fly like an eagle… sorry, like a balloon

Some very creative guys at The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO started a project to build and test a low cost SIGINT platform. The Project is called “The Deep Sweep”. The aim was to build a receiver to intercept out-of-reach signals between the ground and the stratosphere. Yes, you would be right in your assumption: these are HAM radios.


Maybe the developers read that part of Winnie the Pooh too many times, when he flew up with a blue balloon to steal the honey from the bees. They did something like this. They stocked together a big, fat weather forecast balloon with a small embedded computer and some RF equipment. And here you go: a DIY SIGINT platform.  And it works!


The signal ranges currently captured are:

LF/HF: 10 kHz – 30 MHz (long range comms in transport, military, marine)
UHF: 650 MHz – 1650 MHz (military, weather, marine)
SHF: 10 GHz – 12 GHz (satellite communications, drones/UAVs

The equipment was tested twice in Europe. They launched the balloon in Germany, and it landed first in Poland, and a second flight ended in Belarus. Unfortunately, the first flight was not so successful due to a battery fault, but the second was unexpectedly long, and prosperous. The developers are planning to continue the tests in Europe and in the USA in the next couple of years.

Sounds nice? Why don’t you DIY?

To get more details on The Deep Sweep Project, visit their site. You can get a list of the employed hardware and software components, and you may download the captured signals. If you take a fancy to do an own SIGINT platform at home, don’t hesitate to share it with us on our FB page, or send us the whole story with pictures, and we will share it in our blog as a guest post!

Do you need something professional to receive all interesting signals on your sky? Learn more about Quadrus SDR platform.

Would you like to have HF signals with the best performance? Get a HF preselector filter – FREE design and layout.


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