Category Archives: Telecommunications


What Is Audio Surveillance?

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Audio surveillance is the act of listening to third-party conversations and recording them. This technique is frequently used by law enforcement, private detectives and government spy agencies. Most audio surveillance consists of either bugging a room, wearing a wire, tapping a phone or distance listening. Each provides distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation.

Wiretapping is one of the most common and simple form of audio surveillance. This is preferred because it is highly inconspicuous and allows for two sides of a conversation to be clearly recorded. Small audio devices, commonly called bugs, are attached to the internal circuitry of a telephone to pick up a conversation. A signal is wirelessly transmitted to another device that records the conversation. The drawback of this method is getting access to a subject’s telephone to properly wiretap it.

audio surveillanceA room microphone is another audio surveillance technique that often is utilized. This involves planting a wireless microphone in a room to pick up conversations. Disguised room microphones are available to look like pens, clocks, stuffed animals and a variety of other covert forms. This microphone sends a signal to a receiver, just like a wiretap does, and the signal can be directly recorded. The disadvantage here is access to some rooms and getting only one side of a phone conversation if it takes place in that room.

Concealable transmitters known as body wires are well-known devices that have been featured in many television shows and movies. A small microphone and transmitting device are worn under the clothes of a person in order to send a signal back to a receiver and record a conversation. This allows the person wearing the wire to ask questions and get specific details that simply listening to other people’s conversations could not provide. The disadvantage of this method is getting access to the person needed to be recorded and also concealing the microphone in a way that hides it but allows for clear recording.

Long-distance microphones are another covert means of audio surveillance. A parabolic microphone, often called a shotgun microphone because of its long shape, has a powerful ability to pick up conversations up to 300 feet (91.4 m) away. Its main disadvantage is its high sensitivity. It can pick up other noises and cannot function if obstructions, such as trees and automobiles, are between the microphone and the conversation.

Why do secret service guys wear those earpieces with the coiled wires instead of something less conspicuous?

That’s actually a pretty good question. Good quality wireless earpieces are available, affordable and would be far more inconspicuous than the classic ‘wired’ models. So why don’t the secret service make their presence a little more, well, secret?

The main reason is largely psychological in nature (though there will be a technical component later on). You see, if a potential troublemaker looks into a crowd and sees nobody there that he/she identifies with as a threat, then said troublemaker will be far more likely to start making trouble. However, if they notice secret service guys using their trademark earpieces, then they might think twice about it and a lot of unpleasantness can actually be avoided. Continue reading Why do secret service guys wear those earpieces with the coiled wires instead of something less conspicuous?

Storage Spaces, 2 way Radios used in Warehouse Operations

Most of us don’t really think about it, but warehouses play an important part in our lives. When we shop at a supermarket, visit an electronics store, or order online from a major retailer, we are buying items that, at one time or another, have to be stored somewhere.

Its not just completed products, either. Once an item has been manufactured, it must then be stored before transit, meaning that most factories incorporate a considerable amount of space to the storage of completed products, ready for shipping. Continue reading Storage Spaces, 2 way Radios used in Warehouse Operations

Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

(Asked by Nick from Kent)

In my experience, the weapons cheat usually works a treat. I find that a roadblock is considerably less of an issue if you’re armed with a rocket launcher and twin uzis…

As for the real world, one wonders just why you’re asking me, Nick? (I really don’t want this article popping up as evidence at your trial while I go down for aiding an abetting you). Still, I must answer the questions my editor selects for me, so I’ll give this one a go (but don’t come crying to me if you end up serving several consecutive life sentences, OK?) Continue reading Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

What is all this about the walkie talkie tower

I’m happy you inquired. 20 Fenchurch Street, lovingly called as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less kindly called as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that’s a reputation that is by no means catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in central London. It is presently under development and isn’t supposed to be completed until next year. When all is said and done, it’ll have cost some £200 Million to construct.


The building gets its nickname because it’s considered to resemble a walkie-talkie (although, being honest, I can’t see it myself). It’s also called the pint, something that was much more appropriate. Continue reading What is all this about the walkie talkie tower

What are the best ways to enhance your hearing

In recent times, when I was at my younger brother’s birthday party, my Dad made a reference to having tinnitus (basically a low-level ringing within the ears) and I told him that I had made a joke about tinnitus in a recent post (for those concerned, the funny story was that it made things sound ‘a bit tinny’ – Not amongst my better japes, I confess, but whatever…). He looked at me like I had just farted in church while I quickly changed the topic. Continue reading What are the best ways to enhance your hearing

Icom Launch New Training Aids for VHF/SRC Radio Instructors

Editorial – Many People would not know a lot about DSC tech, but it’s a safety system built into two way radios, primarily in marine and sea communications, as of the increase in use of smaller and personal boats on the water. As a island this tech is getting ever more well-liked, the technology is linked to your boat in case of an emergency, more information can be found from this icom uk article..

DSC technology is becoming more widely used today and it is important for potential users to see how it works and to be trained in its use. To this end, Icom UK have now added their latest range of VHF/DSC radios to their VHF/SRC training simulator range. The models now available for instructors to purchase include the IC-M423 Fixed Mount VHF/DSC Transceiver and for the first time from Icom, a Handheld VHF/DSC in the form of the IC-M91D. Both training simulators provide a real ‘hands on’ experience of both voice and DSC message sending and receiving, in the classroom without causing interference. Both models share a new easy to use interface which is easy to learn, meaning that trainees will be able to understand the basics of two way radio quickly. Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager of Icom UK Ltd, said, ’When choosing the Icom IC-M423 VHF/SRC training simulator, the instructor will receive two fully modified radios that will communicate via the cabling so that it is unlikely to cause any interference to other users nearby . This enables the trainee to send ‘live’ distress and voice calls without alerting any other radios. Both units come with an interconnecting cable up to 20 metres in length, which is ideal for any training environment. The IC-M91D is supplied with an adapter and a cable to allow it to communicate with the fixed sets.’ To help trainees further understand the need for DSC, Icom has a new microsite dedicated to Handheld DSC radio. The new website sheds light on this relatively new marine technology. It explains what DSC Handheld VHF radios are, where they can be used and why boat owners need one. It also answers several questions about the ownership and registration of DSC handheld radio in an informative FAQ section. To go to this new site, click on The microsite will provide a handy resource for both instructors and students alike. Ian, said, ‘Customer reaction has been incredibly positive to our recently launched IC-M91D Buoyant VHF/DSC Handheld with GPS. However we have had lots of questions regarding where and how they can be used. So we decided to put all our information on an informative microsite.’ Icom Marketing:



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What are the most effective headsets for DJ’s?

DJ culture has grown within the UK in an enormous manner. Where once, skinny, spotty guys in ill-fitting leather jackets would attempt to impress ladies by shouting “I’m from a rock band”, now those self same, faintly less spotty, guys, (now clad in ill-fitting hoodies), try the “I’m a DJ” line…Likely of the similar deficit of achievement. But, for every lame duck wannabe which has a turntable plus a depressing pile of dog-eared 90’s Ibiza records, there are many folks who can in fact do wonderful things using a turntable. The era of the DJ is well and justly here! Continue reading What are the most effective headsets for DJ’s?

Do inexpensive wireless headphones exist?

The Net has certainly changed our lives. In truth, it is at present easier than ever before to talk with the rest of the world. Though, this new interconnectivity has come at quite a steep cost. So as to possess the globe at our fingertips, we tend to want to spend extensive hours perched in front of a computer.

Some days, this appears like a good trade-off and many days it does not. However, whether you’re catching up on the latest streamed concert from the favourite group, or hosting a conference call to America, or attending a Webinar, you no longer need to spend hours sat on your bum and gazing wistfully out of that window. Continue reading Do inexpensive wireless headphones exist?