GPS jamming – what is it and how to protect yourself from it?

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The US military ‘s GPS system is used in the everyday lives of many people around the world. However, it was originally developed for warfare. GPS devices can be used to locate people or vehicles; the whole thing works using data from satellites based on coordinates. This technology works worldwide , but only under certain conditions. However, in some cases, it may be undesirable for people to use GPS transmitters and the exact location can be determined. In these situations it is possible that reception is disturbed by a so-called jammer .

How GPS jamming works

In order to disrupt the GPS signals , only a small amount of interference energy is necessary, so the operation of the device can be blocked for a short time or even completely. GPS signals that send information to the earth have a comparatively low transmission power , so even a small GPS jam is enough to interrupt navigation using GPS. The corresponding satellites are located around 20,200 kilometers above the earth’s surface; they are received with low field strength and can be easily interrupted. But it’s not just navigation systems in vehicles or cell phones that rely on GPS; there are many reasons for using it.

Purpose and application of jamming or jammers

Temporary or complete interference with GPS signals can also be of interest in the military sector. Since positions can be determined precisely using GPS technology, you can use GPS jamming to disguise your own location. GPS interference can make the system’s signals unusable and you will simply no longer be recognized. This works regardless of your location; access to positioning systems can be prevented on board ships in open water and on land .

Another form is so-called GPS spoofing , in which case the GPS service does not fail but the signals are falsified. This allows you to fake different coordinates and guide the enemy on a wrong course .

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A GPS jammer is also attractive to thieves, as the use of GPS satellites is playing an increasingly important role in theft protection . Car thieves use GPS jamming to send out jamming signals that render any trackers on the stolen goods useless. GPS trackers are increasingly being used, especially to protect vehicles, e-bikes or valuables, so that the location of your belongings is always available. In the event of theft, the device alerts the owner to any discrepancies so that they can take immediate action. Many GPS devices are not immediately recognizable, so the thief will try to turn off this security system so that he is not disturbed in his plans.

How you can protect yourself additionally

In principle, the use of GPS jammers is prohibited ; people who are particularly at risk and who quickly fall victim to theft must protect themselves accordingly. In aviation, for example, complex technology is used to reduce the effect of jammers; a special antenna is required for this. Such a solution cannot be implemented for civil applications  or for companies and is also disproportionate. Users must therefore always expect a small residual risk. The effect of GPS jamming can also have fatal consequences and lead to criminal prosecution if the radiation disrupts traffic systems or ambulances, for example, so they must not be used.

Many reports clearly show that fixed GPS systems provide greater protection and make it easier to locate a stolen vehicle, even if it has already been taken abroad.

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