Feeds

Royal Navy halts Highlands GPS jamming

Exercises knocked furious fishermen off course

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?