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Looking for bugs in all the right places…

Within the community of spectrum analyzer users there are a growing number of independent groups that provide technical surveillance countermeasure (TSCM) capabilities – looking for bugs or hidden listening devices. Affordable, portable spectrum analyzers with high dynamic range and low phase noise are a welcome addition to the TSCM community, lowering the overall cost of equipment and providing the mobility required to operate successfully and efficiently. These factors are key in ensuring that government conference rooms, corporate boardrooms, or other sensitive business locations are secure and free from outside listeners.

One of our BB60 or SM200-series spectrum analyzers, when paired with an advanced and highly-configurable TSCM application such as the Kestrel TSCM software, produces an incredibly powerful, portable, and affordable technical surveillance solution.

Technical Security Countermeasures Software from Kestrel
TSCM software from Kestrel [image courtesy of Kestrel TSCM]

Finding hidden signals

Regarding a related (yet very different) type of spectrum analyzer use case, signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations are an important specialized area of the government’s covert agencies. For these applications, spectrum analysis systems need the greatest degree of remote hardware flexibility and overall system extensibility. Depending on the deployment scenario, remote, covert signal analysis systems may need to operate independently for long periods of time and respond to specific software-defined parameters that are unique to each situation.

For example, a remote spectrum analysis system might need to scan for signals at certain frequencies and then begin RF recording or streaming the data only under those conditions. Some covert scenarios could even require the remote general software to recognize patterns of associated frequencies, modulations, and/or signals activity to trigger actions by the remote computing platform.

One proven platform for SIGINT work is the SCEPTRE software from 3dB Labs. When paired with one of our SM200 spectrum analyzers, SCEPTRE becomes a powerful – yet affordable – signal analysis tool providing event-driven antenna control, the ability to store multiple days’ worth of pre-D and PDW data stored in a circular FIFO buffer, and detection of signals below the noise floor, among other things.

Signals Intelligence software from 3dB labs
SCEPTRE SIGINT software from 3dB Labs [image courtesy of 3dB Labs]

Signal Hound RF spectrum analyzers offer portability, capability, and compatibility with powerful 3rd-party RF security application. With a price considerably lower than competing devices, you can build a comprehensive TSCM or SIGINT platform with less initial cash outlay.

Curious about affordable spectrum monitoring?

About the Author

Cory Allen

Cory is a writer and marketing specialist in the RF and test industry, and worked as Signal Hound's marketing director from 2014-2021.

View Cory's profile on LinkedIn.