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FTA dish used to receive L-band amateur radio

[David Prutchi] has an FTA (free-to-air) satellite dish. This means he can tune and watch freely available satellite television feeds. But this sounds much better than it actually is. There isn’t much that’s broadcasted unecrypted from satellites with the exception of a collection of religious channels. But he still uses the dish by using the FTA satellites to calibrate the alignment, then repositioning it to receive L-Band radio transmissions with his own add-on hardware. In the image above it’s the spiral of wire attached to the dish’s collector.

The satellite transmissions are picked up on the KU-band by an aftermarket horn that [David] purchased for this purpose. To add his own helix receiver he cut a square mounting plate that fits around the horn. This plate serves as a reflector and ground plane, and also hosts the helix connector which picks up the L-band transmissions. He had to be creative with routing the first few inches of the helix but it looks like he manages to get some pretty good performance out of the hardware.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Various Cantenna builds


Here is a classic project used to increase wireless signal strength. Cantennas focus using a waveguide very much like a magnifying glass focuses light. [Robert] made a Natural Light beer cantenna, pictured in the upper left. His approach used three beer cans, a paper towel holder, and a shower curtain rod. On the tipline, he noted a signal boost from 11Mbps to 54Mbps. This is certainly something we can hack together if our room lacks adequate signal. Read about parabolic and seeking versions after the break.

[Read more...]

DISH wins $1050 in satellite cracking case

Who doesn’t love a good corporate espionage story? We certainly don’t mind them, especially when they involve hiring a notable hacker to do the company’s dirty work. It seems this is exactly what happened in the case of Dish Networks vs NDS Group. Last month, Christopher Tarnovsky admitted he was paid $20,000 in cash to crack the security protocols used on DISH Network access cards. NDS Group claimed the reverse engineering was simply for comparative reasons while DISH is said it resulted in $900 million in damages.

The trial came to an end this week with the court finding NDS group guilty of cracking 1 card (a fine of $49.69) and liable for an additional $1000 in damages. Not quite the big payoff DISH was hoping for, but both companies have expressed feelings of vindication about the decision. DISH Networks says that the jury ruled in their favor, proving that they were right all along (just not $900 million dollars right). NDS maintains that Tarnovsky’s work was never publicly shared and that they never intended to flood the black market with cracked cards as DISH has implied.


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