Before the bombs started dropping on Ukraine, I was trying to write something about the ban on ham radio there. Now I’ll do the same thing, but not try to be clever or funny about it. I don’t know that this information will be particularly useful to the people of Ukraine *right now*, but it might come in handy for any of us later on.
1. Jamming: basically, jamming is the deliberate interference of a radio signal by transmitting on the same frequency as the target signal, usually at a higher power. So, if you are transmitting at 5 watts, a 6 watt signal on the same frequency would drown you out. Or even a 1 watt transmitter if it is very close to the receiver. This is especially easy on FM due to a phenomenon called the “capture effect”.
2. RF direction finding: in movies and TV shows they often call this “triangulation” and it’s a real thing. If you’re on VHF/UHF your antenna most likely transmits in an omnidirectional radiation pattern, meaning your signal travels roughly the same distance in any direction. The signal is strongest at the source – near the antenna – and gets weaker as you get farther away. An attacker can find the source of your signal by the use of one or more *directional* antennas. These are antennas that have a more focused RF radiation pattern for both transmission and *reception*. Two common types of directional antennas are the Yagi-Uda antenna (featuring a large pole with a handful of smaller perpendicular bars) and the more well known satellite dish. The attacker would sweep an area, swinging the antenna in different directions to find out where the signal is strongest.