I’d be curious where in the spectrum and what the ballon itself was transmitting. Spying is one thing, exfiltrating the data another. Who or what was receiving this presumably transmitted data and how?
Likely some GHz satellite uplink to their current satellites. U-2 spy planes flew by it and collected data on that. US likely now knows as likely also receiving, SDR satellites exists that can mop up swaths of spectrum.
Info is trickling out now....
"The official emphasized that the equipment on the balloon was “was clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons.”
According to a senior State Department official, the surveillance balloon carried
multiple antennas capable of “pinpointing the location of communications.” Besides, it was equipped with large solar panels to provide power to intelligence collection sensors.
The Chinese spy balloon
that floated across the United States last week before being shot down
off the South Carolina coast was equipped with antennas capable of collecting communications signals — as well as other intelligence-gathering equipment, the State Department said Thursday
As the massive white balloon traversed the continental U.S. last week, drifting over several sensitive military sites along the way, it carried equipment that was designed to intercept sensitive communications, said a State Department official, who provided a statement on the condition anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
“It had multiple antennas to include an array likely capable of collecting and geolocating communications,” the official said. “It was equipped with solar panels large enough to produce the requisite power to operate multiple active intelligence collection sensors.”