LoJack buildout in Utah

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kd7rto

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Car thieves may drive themselves into a digital net now that the Wasatch Front is part of a widespread tracking system designed to locate stolen vehicles.

Nearly 60 LoJack tracking computers are being installed in patrol cars at the Salt Lake City Police Department, Utah Highway Patrol and state Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, officers announced Thursday. The computers receive alerts and tracking directions whenever a stolen car fitted with a LoJack transmitter is in range.

Transmitter leads cops to stolen cars - Salt Lake Tribune
 

kd7rto

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I am hearing data bursts on 173.075. Let's keep an eye out for patrol cars with multiple VHF antennas mounted in a patern consistant with a dopler DF setup.
 

N7YUO

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Some time ago, I saw news footage of a crime in Chicago or Detroit. I noticed a patrol car with 4 VHF antennas mounted on the roof in a square pattern like a doppler direction finder. I wondered what they were for. Now, I have seen SLC PD cars with the same antennas for the first time. Obviously they are for LoJack, and they are a direction finding array.
 

n5ims

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There is also a system that has 3 VHF antennas in a triangle that is used for bank robbery money bag tracking.
 

3mary2

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Here in Vegas we have the four antenna display on several patrol units in each area command. They can track both the Lo-Jack and dye packs from a bank robbery. Since we have police copters working the valley, the robbers usually don't get too far. Only problem they have is all the parking garages at the various Casinos. I have heard them many times pinpoint the vehicle to a parking structure and then the ground units have to search the garage one floor at a time. All too often to find the vehicle empty.
 

bneilson

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Its about time...

LoJack has been very slow to get going here in SLC. I guess we just haven't been that high in the stolen car radar.

I am not sure what the deal is here, but in Dallas, the LoJack company would pay for the equipment in the Police cars, so it was all done with no cost to them. Obviously this is in the best interest of LoJack as they cant sell the service to people in the Police don't have a way to track the cars.

I remember that when one of the officers would report a LoJack hit they would all very quickly turn into Blood Hounds, clearing their calls and trying to DF the car. Obviously the system is only as good an an officers ability to receive the beacon and then DF the location. A system like OnStar actually can provide the GPS coordinates where LoJack just beacons and you have to be close to pick it up.

I would love to do some testing on the data-burst to see if it is just the same every time and would be subject to a replay attack.
 

kd7rto

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From what I understand of the system, mobiles and the towers transmit on the same frequency. This is unfortunate, as a frequency dedicated to activated units beconing would be an interesting thing.

I would assume they have have some units placed for training. Hopefully as they come up to speed there won't be too many incidents like this one:

http://forums.radioreference.com/ne...m/120672-lojack-leads-police-wrong-house.html
 

Observer1

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From what I understand of the system, mobiles and the towers transmit on the same frequency. This is unfortunate, as a frequency dedicated to activated units beconing would be an interesting thing.

I would assume they have have some units placed for training. Hopefully as they come up to speed there won't be too many incidents like this one:

http://forums.radioreference.com/ne...m/120672-lojack-leads-police-wrong-house.html
All the units are installed and operational, all the Officers using them have been trained by LoJack for a while now.

For those that don't know, LoJack installs and maintains (including transfer from car to car) all equipment used by the Police, free of charge.

The fee to have the system installed in a vehicle is a one time fee of $695...it went live in Utah April 1st...and once installed it works in any area with LoJack, not just the one you bought it in (Buy a car in Utah, have it stolen in New York, they can still track it, you don't have to do anything other than report your car stolen to police, the system is automatic and handled on the law enforcement side) From what I've been told, the range in Salt Lake is excellent and there shouldn't be issues with cars escaping because someone "isn't close"
 

Hooligan

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Interesting coincidence -- I just heard a Lo/Jack burst while searching today near St George. Didn't pay a lot of attention to it, but now that I read this thread it's dawned on me that Lo/Jack might be new technology for us relatively civilized people that don't have huge property-theft issues like 'urban' areas do.

I'll pay more attention to 173.075 now, but it's possible I was hearing a Vegas-area base site.
 

Hooligan

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I would love to do some testing on the data-burst to see if it is just the same every time and would be subject to a replay attack.

A long time ago, when a department I had a lot of friends on got Lo/Jack, I tried playing around with it a little. Seemed like the receivers weren't designed to pass *any* signal coming thru on the right freq, they're designed to just catch & alert to a properly-formatted data-burst. Obviously that makes sense. I never did try recording a legit data-burst (on tape, in that era!) & re-playing it on the correct freq to see what that did to the receivers.

When I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, there were a couple instances where several police departments (San Mateo, Burlingame, SMSO, Belmont, San Carlos, etc.) went on a two-day long wild goose chase trying to locate an intermittent Lo/Jack signal. It turned out that the vehicle had been parked 10+ air-miles away on the other side of San Francisco Bay in the San Leandro Hills area, but it was a line-of-sight shot across the Bay to Peninsula area Lo/Jack equipped units if they were up in the hills.

This sort of thing is certainly bound to happen in Utah as well, though most of the car thieves probably just are comfortable in the ghetto(s) of SLC where they "fit in."
 

bneilson

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...From what I've been told, the range in Salt Lake is excellent and there shouldn't be issues with cars escaping because someone "isn't close"
Well an officer with a LoJack unit has to be close to where you are. If you steal a Car in Downtown SLC and drive to Draper you will be out of the range of the SLC guys. So unless every department in the area gets the units installed there will still be dead spots from a jurisdiction stand point. While the guys in downtown may be able to get the beacon, they are probably not likely to leave the city to go hunting.
 

Radio_Lady

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Interesting coincidence -- I just heard a Lo/Jack burst while searching today near St George. Didn't pay a lot of attention to it, but now that I read this thread it's dawned on me that Lo/Jack might be new technology for us relatively civilized people that don't have huge property-theft issues like 'urban' areas do.

I'll pay more attention to 173.075 now, but it's possible I was hearing a Vegas-area base site.
The LoJack transmitters in Utah are licensed to the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, with the only base transmitters so far being here
ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Conventional License - WQKX391 - Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division - Locations Summary

Nevada's only currently licensed sites are at ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Conventional License - WPRS254 - NEVADA, STATE OF - Locations Summary

There is just one LoJack licensee in each state, usually the State Police or similar agency. The only exception I know of is California, where LAPD is the licensee statewide.
 

Hooligan

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The LoJack transmitters in Utah are licensed to the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, with the only base transmitters so far being here
ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Conventional License - WQKX391 - Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division - Locations Summary

Nevada's only currently licensed sites are at ULS License - Public Safety Pool, Conventional License - WPRS254 - NEVADA, STATE OF - Locations Summary
Thanks for that research. It coulda been a stolen vehicle of some sort (for those that didn't already know it Lo/Jack can be installed in just about any good-sized transportable object that's at risk of being stolen -- bulldozer, boat, big diesel generator, etc.) on I-15, but I have good ears now, so it could have been the base transmitter at Mt Potosi or Black Mountain in Nevada, too.


Who will be the first radio-geek here to get Lo/Jack to install a receiver/RDF setup in their home or car??


I imagine there have got to be some sophisticated car-thieves & chop-shops out there who know to monitor the Lo/Jack freq with lots of receive attenuation when driving or chopping a G-ride, & maybe immerse the car or chop-shop in a localized jamming signal on the Lo/Jack freq so the transponder doesn't hear an activation signal. That's why Hooligan's Hooptie may or may not have Onstar, instead of LJ, though Onstar still has vulnerabilities too.


Back I think 20 years ago now I got a nice demonstration of a system called Teletrac. It used 900MHz spread-spectrum. It was a cross-between Lo/Jack & OnStar -- once activated, your vehicle could be tracked (by TDOA, not GPS), deactivated, etc. but the cool thing was it could also monitor audio inside the car.

ANYWAY, for you scanner-dudes up there in the Wasatch Front, remember not to get all excited & call 9-1-1 whenever you hear a data-burst on 173.075, because it is most likely going to be one of the base stations trying to activate a receiver or set it to ping itself more frequently once the hunt is on. Also, numerous times (I used to live 250' above the ground in Detroit...) I've heard some locals get all excited about a Lo/Jack signal, spend time trying to locate it, & then finally discovering that it's a known-recovered stolen vehicle being owed by a tow truck or sitting in the impound lot, with the network not having sent out the deactivation signal for some reason.
 

Observer1

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There are no helicopters or planes to use. UHP had to ground their helicopter due to budget cuts. It can only be used for search and rescue right now. No one else has aircraft.
 

3mary2

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While I have heard Metro (Las Vegas Metropoliton Police) chase the the stolen vehicles, once or twice I have heard them chasing after a big power generator here in the valley. Then again our crime rate is most definitely higher than Utah. While they only have a couple of fixed base towers, you will hear them say the tower at such a place just went hot with this many bars. I believe they use the termology of say six bars moving in an eastern direction. Then all units start to converge on the area and can narrow it in rather quickly. The towers wherever they are located seem to only go hot (means the signal) has reached them and they relay signals to the units capable of tracking the item with Lo-Jack. For only having 750 mobil units they seem to recover the items quickly. It should also be noted, Metro has the use of at least four helicopters which are also fitted for tracking the Lo-Jack. Just my two-cents worth
 

bneilson

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4 units in South Jordan were recently installed so I suspect this is slowly growing through the area as they can get the agreements in-place with each of the agencies...
 

LGLHOOK

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West Valley has also put LoJack in some of their squad cars. My buddy actually tracked the first stolen car that was stolen off a car lot. The time frame from when the signal was sent to activate the transmitter to when he tracked it to a garage in WV was less than 45 minutes. I happen to be listening to them track the car and once he got the initial hit, many rollers with the system swarmed the area till he drove right to the house.
 
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