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Drone Defense

Posted September 02, 2015 11:57 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: defense drone radar UAV

Last weekend I had my first experience of having a drone 'spy' on me. My friends and I were having an evening campfire in woods near my home, when--in between slurps of beer--the sound of a weedwhacker grew closer. We quickly realized no one was weedwhacking in the woods at 11 p.m., but soon spotted a red beacon hovering about 20 ft. over the tree canopy, where it stayed for a few minutes before continuing on its way. A pilot had likely spotted our fire and was curious about what was happening below--overall not much.

Overall, my first drone experience was pretty benign, especially considering the nuisance they've created for others recently. One man shot down a drone as he alleged it was spying on his sunbathing teenage daughters. Another hobby drone derailed a suspect search when it got too close to an LAPD helicopter. On the flip side, officers in North Dakota might be pursuing suspects with a drone, now that they've receive permission to mount tasers, tear gas and other non-lethal weapons on them.

At this point, a new dialogue on drones and privacy needs to occur. When drones have reached the point where they're sold at local pharmacies, and also available at steep discounts on sites like Groupon, they've officially matured from a niche technology to a realized market. Some predictions expect 30,000 FAA drone licenses to be issued by 2020--and there will likely be many more people who don't need a license or won't apply for one.

Many states have passed or are reviewing legislation that would require police to obtain a warrant before using a drone to collect evidence. The larger threat is likely from private owners who will use their drone to spy as voyeurs or to access networks, say to steal credit card data or hack computers. Currently drone tools are limited by weight and power supply, but continuing innovations will provide more powerful models enabling a better array of tools-and threats. For example, engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a cloaking device that could make drones invisible.

Are individuals going to be buying drone detectors to safeguard their homes? Probably not, but a variety of detection technologies and detector proposals have garnered interest. Audio, visual and thermal detection technologies would likely be useless in urban landscapes. Radar has taken some steps forward, but most radar technologies have trouble identifying drones, including those on the ground or water. It seems radio frequency detection holds the most promise. Three or more RF detectors identify all transmitters operating on know drone frequencies and can triangulate drone position. Alerts are sent to a phone or computer.

The evil side of drones is of course genuinely about human-human relationships, not human-technology relationships. I doubt the average person will need to concerned with UAV invasions, but there will always be someone trying to take advantage of others.

When the drones come to your door, how welcoming will you be?

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#1

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 1:12 PM

I'm not worried about invisible drones. You'll always be able to hear them...that's why they're called drones.

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#2

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 2:56 PM

There's nothing there that a well-aimed half-brick can't deal with. Don't worry. Be happy.

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#4
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Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 6:37 PM
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#3

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 5:21 PM

...as someone said: "...skeet targets..."

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#5

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 10:58 PM

I don't know about all the drones, but the remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle my wife purchased to perform roof inspections does not have a very good camera for spying. What I mean by that is that the lens is such wide angle, you need to get uncomfortably close to get "a good shot". She purchased one of the DJI drones and the camera gimbal mechanism is amazing. This unit was about $1,400. It maintains a very steady picture even when breezes cause the vehicle to roll and pitch. She uses it when she needs to document roof damage on roofs that are too steep to climb safely. She works as an insurance adjuster.

Once you get this drone higher than 100 ft off the ground, you can barely hear it over the background noise, even in the country. On a windless night of course you can hear a lot more.

This is a hot button topic for a lot of people, but sometimes I wonder if the folks who object to them the most, have any experience either operating one or watching someone else operate one. You will find that the camera footage is not very privacy invading unless you get stupidly close. Certainly, creepy people or inconsiderate people will do creepy or stupid things with them. That's unfortunate. As for concerns about privacy, almost anyone can fly 500 ft or higher over most properties (excluding restricted airspace areas of course) and use a telephoto lens to take the most privacy invading photos ever. Much better than you can with these "hobby drones".

Does anybody complain about Google Earth?

We used it on a recent trip to the Hawaiian Islands. We were able to get some great footage in areas unaccessible by foot. I would like to think our use of it was respectful of other people. We did not use it where there were other people around. In areas where there were houses around, we got it up to altitude quickly so that you couldn't hear it and seeing it required knowing where to look. Typically, we would be in a remote area and used it to get a different perspective than we could on the ground. Using them at popular tourist sites would just annoy the hell out of people and I get that. We used it early in the morning at a few beaches before people started showing up. It got some great footage of the Waimea Canyon on Kauai. We brought the thing down once rotary wing aircraft (Hawaii's State Bird) started showing up. We used it on the Big Island to get amazing shots of the lava fields outside of the park boundaries. These things are persona non grata at all National Parks now thanks to a few brain-dead individuals. That's a shame.

But isn't that always the case, the majority pay for the sins of the few.

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: Drone Defense

09/04/2015 3:37 AM

Hi Brave Sir Robin,

Your perspective is refreshing, enlightening... and needed. Thanks for the inside info. I hope everyone here reads your post.

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#18
In reply to #5

Re: Drone Defense

09/04/2015 3:44 AM

And, I wanted to give you a GA, but I got this:

I'll try again later.Mike

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Drone Defense

09/11/2015 12:38 PM

That's OK, I gave him one for ya!

By the way, do not worry about the drones, they are there for your protection and security. The government could already see you at ground level for the last 30 or so years without needing a drone anyway.

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#6

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 11:28 PM

We never do anything in our Arizona back/front yard or pool that would interest anybody. I still would not appreciate a drone flying over my property. I'd not shoot them down, here in town.

Having said that, drug snooping airplanes fly over our acreage in Ark. all the time. Somehow that has never bothered me. Of course, if a drone were hovering overhead and I thought it was spying on us, Blam!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Drone Defense

09/02/2015 11:50 PM

I may have to dust off the trusty air cannon. 1.25" pipe 18" long 150PSI.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 12:08 AM

When I worked at Motorola many years ago, we built (had it built) a cannon sized for a tennis ball out of 1/4" wall Al tubing. Loosely based on the beer can connons of the time.

It was about 2 1/2 feet long with a perforated plate about 12 inches from the bottom. The combustion chamber. A 1/4" hole at the bottom where we squirted a little gasoline, gave it a charge of O2 from a tank and lit it off with a Coleman lantern flint striker mounted on the side.

It sounded lie a shotgun and got us almost arrested by the Forrest Service cops.

I wish I had it now.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 4:27 AM

So there I was,strolling along peacefully along a forest trail,enjoying the sights and sounds of nature and out of nowhere,a tennis ball came crashing through the trees at high velocity and struck me on the head,nearly knocking me out.

SO! You are the one!

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#12
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Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 10:59 AM

During construction of air cannon 2.0, construction had progressed to the point of needing to take it out of the building. 2.0 was 2" pipe. We stuffed a rag down the barrel, and put a 30" length of pvc pipe in next just one inch pipe.

When we launched, that pipe went up so high it looked like a toothpick. Best guess was better than 200 ft. It went straight up, then straight down . Only 35-40 feet away. Not bad except we were in the middle of the airport. If the tower saw it, they never said anything about it. We, decided to cancel all further vertical launches. It now resides in the town of Davie. Protecting residents from drones, kites, clouds, and whatever else threatens the community.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 11:07 AM

We found that Coors Light cans fit very nicely. Half full of water (never beer) they go 100 or so feet straight up.

Of course this was the same crowd that used to shoot shot guns and black powder pistols straight up into the air and then quietly listen for the shot/bullets to fall back to earth. Never could get one to come down very close to where we were standing.

Did hear the buzz a number of times.

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 5:37 PM

Send me your mailing address and I will make you one in exchange for all that unused equipment lying around your place.

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#10

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 4:34 AM
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#11

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 10:02 AM

OK, so it seems trouble ensues if one gets shot down.

Has anyone built an Anti-Drone Drone?

Just maneuver over the top and drop a sheet over it with a drone of your own. Down she comes!

Oh no! It just hit me. It's the "Drone Wars". Would this be an infringement on the Star Wars franchise?

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#14

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 1:06 PM

If they have a cloaking device... you can just wear that and go spy on sunbathing ladies

Well that's what Harru Potter does with his... c'mon... you know you wood.. I mean would

Kris

(damn, I forgot to post anon' )

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#16

Re: Drone Defense

09/03/2015 11:28 PM
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#20

Re: Drone Defense

10/02/2015 9:37 PM

ECM: Jam - spoof - commandeer.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Drone Defense

10/14/2015 2:02 PM

you left out one acronym: ROFLMAO!

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#23
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Re: Drone Defense

11/02/2015 11:35 PM

No one was ROFL when the possibility was suggested that the Iranians high jacked one of our stealth drones.

I would think hacking and jacking your neighbors toy wouldn't be much of a challenge to the right person.

Sniff and record the signal control inputs, build your own transmitter, and just overpower Bubba's signal with your own. Even an encrypted signal is susceptible to jamming. If the smart tech flies a preprogrammed course then jam or spoof the position, altitude, or attitude sensors.

In Bubba's case maybe just buy an identical controller and jack up the input voltage?

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#22

Re: Drone Defense

11/02/2015 11:23 PM

If there is some concern with drones impacting privacy then perhaps its not the little fellars you can hear but the big fellars that orbit at 60,000 feet and stay airborne for weeks at a time that should be of concern.

If its the little fellars flown by hobbyists then perhaps they could be considered just as dangerous as a firearm in the hands of the wrong person.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Drone Defense

11/04/2015 12:57 PM

Not to mention that the CIA and the military already have drones so small and insect-like in appearance, no one would really suspect them of being anything but a small bird, or a dragonfly.

You remember the old saying: "I would like to be a fly on her wall". Just think about a situation where you were pretty sure where the hostages were being held, and you could deploy these little critters to do all the scouting for the rescue team. Advantage good guys.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Drone Defense

11/04/2015 1:19 PM

Agreed.

On a political note: Our hostage policy should have remained solely a "double tap" policy. Where we trade hostages for one tap to the chest followed by one tap to the head.

The recent change in policy is only going to exacerbate the problem.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Drone Defense

11/04/2015 1:45 PM

Yep. Never negotiate with a maniac, and never pay a ransom.

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#27

Re: Drone Defense

11/04/2015 11:42 PM

With suspicion of the Russian plane crash falling on ISIS, it will be interesting to see how Putin plays his cards.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Drone Defense

11/05/2015 8:15 AM

Maybe Putin and the his Ruskie pilots will actually start bombing ISIS now, and not the resistance fighters.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Drone Defense

11/05/2015 6:28 PM

One can only hope.

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