RAF jets scrambled after Russian aircraft seen off Cornwall


RAF jets were scrambled on Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast, the Ministry of Defence says.

An MoD spokesman said the two planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the “UK area of interest”.

The Russian Bear bombers did not enter UK sovereign airspace, he added.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has warned there is a “real and present danger” of Russia trying to destabilise three Baltic states.

On Wednesday, Mr Fallon spoke of his concerns about Russian interference in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Part of a trend

The MoD said: “RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched [on Wednesday] after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace.

“The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”

The BBC’s political correspondent Ross Hawkins says that, according to the Department for Transport, there was no record of disruption to civil aviation as a result of the bombers’ presence.

He said the incident was part of a trend of Russian aircraft flying close to UK airspace and there have also been concerns about similar incidents across Europe.

It is a show of strength from the Russians, and such incidents are carried out with political intent as the Russian government knows it will be noted and reported on, our correspondent added.

A similar incident occurred in January, when the UK Foreign Office said two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers flying near UK airspace had caused “disruption to civil aviation”.

They were also escorted by RAF jets throughout the time they were in the “UK area of interest”, according to officials.


Legally using a CB or Amateur Radio Whilst Driving


Can you legally use a CB radio whilst driving in the UK?
Yes you can, two way radios such as CB, amateur radio, taxi radio etc are exempt from the mobile phone laws. But be aware that you will be prosecuted if your use of a CB radio results in dangerous driving or an accident. Also, using one will give the police an excuse to pull you over much the same as they pull over vehicles that have blue LED lights which aren’t illegal either. Have a look at the Police National Legal Database http://www.askthe.police.uk and do a search for CB or blue LED’s but remember – the police just need an excuse to check both you and your vehicle.


Airspy – Wideband Receiver


Ok, so i’m still waiting the arrival of my new toy..  The Airspy – Wideband Receiver (available from here).

I will update with a couple of videos when I finally receive it…

What is Airspy?

Airspy is an advanced a very advanced software defined radio receiver capable of sampling 10MHz of spectrum anywhere between 24MHz and 1.8GHz – and even beyond with extensions. It is the only high performance wide band receiver solution in the market that’s yet affordable.

Technical specifications:

  • Continuous 24 – 1800 MHz RX range with no gaps
  • 3.5 dB NF between 42 and 1002 MHz
  • Tracking RF filters
  • 35dBm IIP3 RF front end
  • 12bit ADC @ 20 MSPS (80dB Dynamic Range, 64dB SNR, 10.4 ENOB) – Yeah, size does matter.
  • 10MSPS IQ output
  • Experimental 2.5MSPS IQ output for low power devices (Raspberry Pi, Odroid, etc.)
  • Up to 80 MSPS for custom applications
  • Cortex M4F @ up to 204MHz with Multi Core support (dual M0)
  • 1.5 ppm high precision, low phase noise clock
  • 1 RTC clock (for packet time-stamping)
  • External clock input (10 MHz to 100 MHz via MCX connector) – Ideal for phase coherent radios
  • 10 MHz panoramic spectrum view with 9MHz alias/image free
  • IQ or Real, 16bit fixed or 32bit float output streams
  • No IQ imbalance, DC offset or 1/F noise at the center of the spectrum that plagues all the other SDRs
  • Extension ports: 16 x SGPIO
  • 1 x RF Input (SMA)
  • 1 x RF Output (Loopthrough, U-FL)
  • 2 x High Speed ADC inputs (up to 80 MSPS, U-FL)
  • 4.5v software switched Bias-Tee to power LNA’s and up/down-converters
  • No drivers required! 100% Plug-and-play on Windows Vista, Seven, 8 and 8.1

Possible usages:

  • Radio surveillance,
  • Fast scanner,
  • Spectrum Analyzer,
  • Satellite IF,
  • Direction Finding,
  • Passive Radars,
  • ADS-B,
  • FM Radio,
  • Analog TV,
  • Digital Terrestrial TV,
  • Ham Radio,
  • Radio Astronomy,
  • Satellite base stations,
  • IF Panoramic adapter

Supported Software:

Supported platforms:

  • Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 (XP works but it has been deprecated by Microsoft)
  • Linux
  • *BSD
  • OSX

Minimum hardware requirements:

  • 3rd gen Intel i3 2.4 GHz CPU or equivalent
  • 2GB of RAM (to run your own OS, airspy barely needs 1MB of memory)
  • High speed USB 2.0 controller

Developer API:

  • Open source multi-platform libairspy and airspy host tools at github
  • Open source airspy firmware at github
  • Linux kernel SDR API (by Antti Palosaari) at github