Subject:  Questions on "Lacrosse" signal...
Date: 27 Jan 1997 11:51:13 GMT
From:  [email protected]
Organization:  Arizona State University
Newsgroups: sci.space.policy


        As I posted earlier, I'm having doubts as to having this Lacrosse 
business figured out.  It would be just *too* fun if they were 
masquerading her as a DMSP or some such thing.  But now I am thinking, 
shouldn't we know a whole lot more about the dang thing?

        If it is a radar imagery satellite, then presumably it has a 
radar on it (all those logic classes are paying off :-) ).  The thing may 
not be turned on all the time, but every time the top dogs wanted a peek 
at something they would have to crank her up.  I guess my question is: 
Does anyone have any data on any signals coming from any suspected 
Lacrosse satellite?  Has anyone collected it, be they a mad scanner on a 
quest or an even madder scientist who thought for a moment he was in line 
for a Nobel in radio astronomy?  There must be at least a dozen 
governments around the world who've torn that signal apart, any of them 
publish? I haven't been able to find anything on the net.

        It shouldn't be possible to find it only with listening gear, 
however.  This thing operates in space, in the electromagnetic spectrum, 
and that means that presumably the United States is following (if 
somewhat clandestinely) some international convention or another.  What 
are the "approved" frequency ranges for space radar usage? Or could the 
US be sneaking the signal in under the rubric of "telemetry" or something 
similar?  Presumably, some really sneaky dudes could try and mask the 
signal as a weather broadcast or or some other such silliness, but that 
seems highly unlikely.  One would expect a rather conventional scanned 
signal (i.e. at a location the amplitude would vary IAW).

        The signal for the Magellan space probe, for example, was fairly 
typical.  2.385 GHz with a 26.5 usec pulse and PRI around 200 usecs.  
Current radar satellite signals are generally in the 1-5GHz range, I 
would guess (not having checked recently).  Anyone who might be sharing a 
line-of-sight to a Lacrosse platform with a high interest area should be 
able pick up the thing like clockwork.  SE Europe, the middle east, and 
Korea all come to mind as good listening spots.

        While on the subject, is there a definitive one-stop site on the 
net for information on space related signals (or, hell, regular SIGINT 
parametrics for that matter)?  The FAS had links to an organization called 
HearSat (or something similar) but the actual pickings (data) looked real 
slim--though I hasten to add that I didn't have much time to look and may 
have been missing something.


regards,

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Steven J Forsberg  at  [email protected]              Wizard 87-01