Feeds

Royal Navy halts Highlands GPS jamming

Exercises knocked furious fishermen off course

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.