RF Detection

A GPS Tracker has two components. A GPS receiver is used to receive signals from multiple GPS satellites in order to triangulate the current location of the vehicle; and the location data are then transmitted through commercial Mobile Phone networks to the intended recipient. One can detect those RF transmissions using various RF detection tools.

A frequency counter is one of such tools to determine the radio frequency of electromagnetic (EM) signals sent or received. This particular one I use is designed to pick up both analog and digital signals. The detectable frequency range is 30 MHz to 2.8 GHz, which covers most of the commercial mobile phone service frequency bands.

As a matter of fact, our ambient environment is always filled with weak EM signals, or noise. The frequency counter is designed to ignore the noise and pick up only those EM signals exceeding certain theshold of strength. In your house there are many sources of EM signals, such as mobile phones, microwave ovens, wireless routers, cordless phones, ipads, Xbox, etc. Depending on the strength of signal, detection range of frequency counter fluctuates from one foot up to 10 feet.

While the frequency counter is good at detecting the presence of EM signals, but it is not designed to pin point the location of the sources that emit the signals. For example, one can use this to detect whether there are cellphone signals present in the conference room during a meeting, but it is hard to determine which participant is texting on the phone and not paying attention to the new corporate strategy.

If you plan to use this frequency counter to detect the mobile phone signals, then make sure you get the one that picks up both analog and digital signals,

I purchased mine at MCM Electronics. Click on the following link to check it out.

Frequency Counter - 30MHz to 2.8GHz

If these RF signals are indeed emitted by a GPS-Tracker on the car, then the question is who planted it and is such act lawful??

2 thoughts on “RF Detection

  1. admin Post author

    I cannot answer your question. But I do think that we need to investigate this matter further.
    I will not be surprised that if the car computer system has many input ports that allow plugging in of external devices, just like there are USB ports on our home computers. However, whether the current car system allows the external devices to issue commands to override the driver’s manual input, such as stepping on the brake pedal, is something that requires lots of further research. I will post my findings soon.

    Thank you for your comment.

  2. admin Post author


    Firstly, GPS tracker has two components: one is the GPS receiver which calculates your current location using GPS satellites; the other is the RF transmitter which sends the location data through the ubiquitous wireless phone network. Nowadays, these two components can be squeezed into the size of AAA battery.

    Secondly, many premium packages currently available, such as ONStar, Mbrace, etc., should include the GPS tracking technology. But the standard package should not include the GPS trackers.

    So if your cars have those premium technology package, then it should be normal for you to detect RF signals. Otherwise it should be considered suspicious.

    One thing people can do to protect themselves is to learn about RF technology and how to detect RF signals.

    Thank you for your comment!

Comments are closed.