Feeds

Royal Navy halts Highlands GPS jamming

Exercises knocked furious fishermen off course

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Following complaints from local fishermen, the Royal Navy has suspended satnav signal jamming during its ongoing Joint Warrior naval exercises, despite making every attempt to let people know.

Locals around the Western Isles say the jamming of GPS has disrupted their lives, and put the safety (and profitability) of fishermen at risk – not to mention being prime suspect in dodgy mobile coverage and internet access. And they've said it loud enough for the Royal Navy to stop all the jamming during this round of exercises, as the BBC reports.

The military regularly jams GPS signals: there's even a mailing list to which one can subscribe to get notifications, and in general this isn't a problem. Jamming GPS is technically quite easy to do, even accidentally, so one has to assume combatants won't hesitate and our troops need to be able to cope, which is why the signal is regularly disrupted during exercises.

Notifications are sent out to the aforementioned mailing list, as well as being posed on the Scottish government website and broadcast by local coastguards (Aberdeen and Stornoway in this instance) on VHF bands. In this instance a guide was provided, complete with maps showing where one should expect GPS to drop out:

Map showing jammed locations

But that wasn't enough for the skipper of the Ocean Spirit, who told the BBC: "We weren't notified about it at all ... We are losing earnings over it until the exercise finishes. It is putting boats at risk."

The Western Isle authority then chimed in with claims that safety had been compromised and that "distress signals for mariners are effectively silenced because of the GPS jamming" – which is an interesting take, as distress signals have their own frequency well outside the GPS band.

But the authority isn't stopping there: apparently internet access and mobile coverage has also been disrupted by the naval force's actions. It's quite possible that connectivity in the isles isn't as great one might expect, but that's probably down to the location than any high-tech jamming that might be going on.

The Royal Navy points out that they do this every six months, and that no one complained in April, but it has agreed to suspend jamming during this round of exercises and work out a better way of alerting people next year. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.