I have been thinking about purchasing a HackRF along with an ANT500 antenna as I have recently been intrigued by signals intelligence, yet lack any understanding of it, however, my favorite way of learning is through doing and I figure now would be as good of a time as any to start toying with radio signals. What is a HackRF you ask? Well a HackRF is a Software Defined Radio peripheral capable of the transmission or reception of radio signals from a wide range (wow, that’s a mouthful).

Nonetheless, these types of gadgets always seem to excite the inner geek in me. I plan on going through all of the basic tutorials to get a basic understanding before doing some of my own experiments. My main focus will be seeing what can be controlled by obtaining the correct frequency, however, I need to study up the FCC guidelines on the proper usage of such a product. I figure there must be strict guidelines around tinkering with signals, including radio signals.

The primary purpose of radio is to send a message through alternative mediums rather than using wires. The HackRF has the ability to send these same signals with its frequency being adjusted to be anywhere from 1 MHz to 6 GHz. This would allow me to mimic a signal and “disguise” my signal as if it came from a compatible device. For example, take a remote garage door. If it has an FFCid number I should be able to search for it and its radio frequency and thus mimic it. This would enable me to then be able to open a garage door without the remote it came equipped with.

Signals intelligence has played a large part in the history of the U.S. and warfare in general. As officers would deploy deceptive signals to fool enemy radar equipment — both using signals to attain information on or hinder their targets. Even now, agencies like the NSA have large subdivisions that focus on the interception and analysis of outgoing and incoming signals and the DoD producing missiles that specifically target radar equipment.