Archive for May 27th, 2008

“Hezbollah” in Africa

A recent article that has appeared in various places shows – or purports to show – Hezbollah’s presence in Nigeria, and then devotes significant time to pointing out how this apparent development highlights the shortcomings of western analysts’ “conventional wisdom” regarding militant islamic groups like Hezbollah.

Now, I’m all for challenging “conventional wisdom”, but I’m also big on challenging hasty assumptions. Boiled down to the basics, the article shows eight photos of supposed “Hezbollah activities in Nigeria”; warns about the dangers of groups like Hezbollah using Africa as “forward operating bases”; and attempts to argue the logical and predictable nature of this development. I’m not so sure about that.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on May 27th, 2008 | Comments Off on “Hezbollah” in Africa

St. Paul Scanner Frequencies

Law enforcement across the Twin Cities metro recently “upgraded” to a new digital radio system designed to allow better inter-agency communication. Called Project 25, or just “P25”, this new system utilizes entirely new radios on an entirely new set of (trunked) frequencies than what was in use before. Apparently, it’s working pretty well so far, which is good news for law enforcement. The bad news is, if you want to listen to the radio traffic, you need to spend around $500 USD on a scanner capable of doing so. Ouch.

There is still some interesting stuff to be heard with older, non-digital, non-trunking scanners, of course. A columnist from Monitoring Times recently posted a list of some frequencies noted in use around Saint Paul; he also posted some frequencies two years ago from around the Twin Cities.

If you have a scanner, don’t get caught up in thinking the only interesting frequencies are those used by “the feds”, or law enforcement, or whatever. This weekend severe storms rolled through central Minnesota, spawning at least one tornado (and generating three-inch hail in places); the local Skywarn amateur-radio repeater nets were busy with non-stop weather reports for a couple of hours – including real-time updates from the National Weather Service. While amateur radio traffic might not normally be the most exciting thing in the world to listen to, the weather net frequencies probably deserve a place in your scanner, if you’re within the coverage area.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 27th, 2008 | Comments Off on St. Paul Scanner Frequencies