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Still Waters

Myth of the TV detector van?

28 posts in this topic

They are an image to be feared, parked in the street with the mysterious power to automatically detect who is watching television illegally and issue hefty fines.

But now it appears the fabled TV detector vans, striking fear into students and homeowners who may consider evading the licence fee, could be nothing but a myth.

http://www.telegraph...tector-van.html

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They are an image to be feared, parked in the street with the mysterious power to automatically detect who is watching television illegally and issue hefty fines.

But now it appears the fabled TV detector vans, striking fear into students and homeowners who may consider evading the licence fee, could be nothing but a myth.

http://www.telegraph...tector-van.html

Mostly it started with the radio transmitter detection equipment, that was not primarily used to detect receivers but illegal transmitters. Occasionally one of these actually could detect a receiver of the older kinds, like superegenerative rigs. But those have not been used since WWII. The only chance they had to detect a modern TV set was that the shielding of the beat oscillator was broken or the antenna connected to the tank circuit.

But the legend sure turned a lot of people honest.

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Myth or not, the BBC do not deserve my money and have not done so for a long time. I have a freeview box, I did not ask for the BBC channels to be on there, so will not be forced to pay for something I do not watch.

If someone is already paying Sky or Virgin a monthly fee, then why pay twice?

Scrap the vans and save on the petrol its costing them and all the other costs the endure with having these vans on the road, no doubt licence payers are covering that.

Edited by freetoroam
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I don't like the bully boys they hire to to enforce it.

Twice I have been read my rights, once on the doorstep and another time inside my property just three hours after undergoing surgery and still out of my head on morphine. Both times I had a licence and it was an admin error.

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I've never believed that they can detect who's receiving transmissions. I'd heard a long time ago that what they actually have is a list of addresses that aren't listed as having paid the Beeb's extortion - I mean, having a TV Licence, and they just go round to the door and they listen carefully to see if they're watching TV. it's all a scam.

Much like the Licence fee itself really.

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the story seems not to exist any more, unless it's been taken down by the Beeb. Is it available anywhere else?

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the story seems not to exist any more, unless it's been taken down by the Beeb. Is it available anywhere else?

I can still see it? It must be you.

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Ah, it works now. it said 404 Not Available before.

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I've never believed that they can detect who's receiving transmissions. I'd heard a long time ago that what they actually have is a list of addresses that aren't listed as having paid the Beeb's extortion - I mean, having a TV Licence, and they just go round to the door and they listen carefully to see if they're watching TV. it's all a scam.

Much like the Licence fee itself really.

Listening at the door and pulling out the main fuse at the meter are the fav tricks to see who is running an illegal TV or radio. They have a list of who paid, not one of who did not.

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You have to pay a licence fee to watch TV or listen to the radio at all? Wow, that's crazy - is there no free to air viewing available in the U.K? What if there is need for emergency transmissions? Shouldn't citizens have access to some free to air stations to keep them in the loop on important news at the very least?

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You have to pay a licence fee to watch TV or listen to the radio at all? Wow, that's crazy - is there no free to air viewing available in the U.K? What if there is need for emergency transmissions? Shouldn't citizens have access to some free to air stations to keep them in the loop on important news at the very least?

That is what you end up having when TV hardly has any advertisement. Somebody has to pay for the show.

In most European countries TV is paid by the viewer. Where they had to change the laws with the liberalization when many private (advert paid) stations surged. Since then you are not paying for "watching TV" but are contributing towards a neutral fundamental information source. And having a receiver (regardless if you ever use it) makes you liable to pay (in Greece you don't need a receiver, you pay it if you have electricity). BTW, that also counts for having a multimedia capable computer in most of Europe.

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That is what you end up having when TV hardly has any advertisement. Somebody has to pay for the show.

In most European countries TV is paid by the viewer. Where they had to change the laws with the liberalization when many private (advert paid) stations surged. Since then you are not paying for "watching TV" but are contributing towards a neutral fundamental information source. And having a receiver (regardless if you ever use it) makes you liable to pay (in Greece you don't need a receiver, you pay it if you have electricity). BTW, that also counts for having a multimedia capable computer in most of Europe.

Thanks questionmark, very enlightening. We simply don't pay for TV or radio etc here unless we choose Pay TV - which offers a wider range of channels. Free to air channels are actually pretty good though and there are quite a few of them.

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Certainly I think the idea of a National Broadcaster that's funded by teh State is obsolete with all this Modern Technology there is about now, and the excuse that they're Free from Bias and Influence by Commercial Considerations is a load of cod's Wallop, isn't it, since by the very fact of relying on State funding they're completely dependent on the goodwill of the Government. If the Govt. wanted to put a bit of pressure on them all they have to do is casually mention a "review" of the License Fee, just to remind them who is in charge. Like when the New labour govt. of Mr. Tony Blair forced the beeb to fire that reporter for stating the blindingly obvious, that the Govt. had lied about Iraq having Weapons of Evil.

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Certainly I think the idea of a National Broadcaster that's funded by teh State is obsolete with all this Modern Technology there is about now, and the excuse that they're Free from Bias and Influence by Commercial Considerations is a load of cod's Wallop, isn't it, since by the very fact of relying on State funding they're completely dependent on the goodwill of the Government. If the Govt. wanted to put a bit of pressure on them all they have to do is casually mention a "review" of the License Fee, just to remind them who is in charge. Like when the New labour govt. of Mr. Tony Blair forced the beeb to fire that reporter for stating the blindingly obvious, that the Govt. had lied about Iraq having Weapons of Evil.

Well, somebody should point out to Bambi that it is not HIS BBC, but all of Britain's citizens BBC, therefore he should mind his own bidness.

But I can't recall any time when the politicians did not try to meddle with "independent" broadcaster.

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In the "old days" of over-the-air broadcasts with a resident having a roof-top antenna, it was indeed possible to detect reception.

How? Because a receiving antenna also emits the same channel frequency it's actively tuned to, though at a much lower wattage. Hard to detect at a distance without specialized equipment... usually in a van roaming through neighborhoods. That is NOT a myth.

And for that, here's the "why"

That basic "re-broadcast" detection was used to determine, not who, but how many in a given area was watching a particular channel.

This was to assist viewing statistics and thus advertisement targeting. But that was back then, and in the U.S.

For "pay" services going through, say, a satellite dish or cable, it's a whole different story. With cable, it's relatively easy to detect a specific residence "rip-off"

For satellite dishes I assume it would be much more difficult, as the re-broadcast micro-watt re-signal is directed at some angle upwards back towards the satellite, as opposed to being easily detectable by a street van.

Just my thoughts...

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How? Because a receiving antenna also emits the same channel frequency it's actively tuned to, though at a much lower wattage. Hard to detect at a distance without specialized equipment... usually in a van roaming through neighborhoods. That is NOT a myth.

Not really, the TV receptor's intermediary frequency is around 10.7 Mhz, that means that the beat frequency (especially in the VHF band) would be ~5-20% higher or lower than the reception frequency. That makes exterior antennas non-resonant.

What can happen is that the local oscillator has leaks, and you would have some kind of spurious noise around 30-50 Mhz, but that would stop the mixer from working if it leaked to the input section of the receiver.

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Not really, the TV receptor's intermediary frequency is around 10.7 Mhz, that means that the beat frequency (especially in the VHF band) would be ~5-20% higher or lower than the reception frequency. That makes exterior antennas non-resonant.

What can happen is that the local oscillator has leaks, and you would have some kind of spurious noise around 30-50 Mhz, but that would stop the mixer from working if it leaked to the input section of the receiver.

OK then. You seem to know what you are talking about.

I guess I was a victim of that myth as well. :blush:

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OK then. You seem to know what you are talking about.

I guess I was a victim of that myth as well. :blush:

It actually worked as long as they had superregenerative receivers, because they actually oscillated in the same frequency as the reception frequency. With the much more modern heterodyne or superheterodyne receivers (introduced in the 30s) there is no auto oscillation.

(All standard knowledge if you want to get a HAM license)

Edited by questionmark
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I don't like the bully boys they hire to to enforce it.

Twice I have been read my rights, once on the doorstep and another time inside my property just three hours after undergoing surgery and still out of my head on morphine. Both times I had a licence and it was an admin error.

Inside your property? tut tut, you know the drill, do not let the barstools in! lol

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Good points, Q.

Say, I wonder what the NSA has to say about this.

After reading some comments on other sites, I was surprised by a few, such as(to paraphrase) " I'm a former military electronics engineer. Yes, the military has this technology and has for some time. However, it's only used in special cases"

I have no knowledge of whether their statements are true or not.

Edited by pallidin

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It actually worked as long as they had superregenerative receivers, because they actually oscillated in the same frequency as the reception frequency. With the much more modern heterodyne or superheterodyne receivers (introduced in the 30s) there is no auto oscillation.

(All standard knowledge if you want to get a HAM license)

That simple eh?

ilSwvEtybAPve.gif

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That simple eh?

ilSwvEtybAPve.gif

Stop it already!

I've lost half my beer whilst repeatedly looking at that .gif clip.

Dang you.

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Ha. Good luck tryi g to pull that off in the States with our myriad of cable providers. Household isn't on a list oof customers? Just have to assume they're with a competitor. Time to put on that fake salesman smile!

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@freetoroam

Can we go out for dinner sometime, a lot of times?

You really need to get some meat on your bones. I'm buying.

I hope you like fish... uh, I'm a dolphin, but whatever you prefer.

Edited by pallidin
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Good points, Q.

Say, I wonder what the NSA has to say about this.

After reading some comments on other sites, I was surprised by a few, such as(to paraphrase) " I'm a former military electronics engineer. Yes, the military has this technology and has for some time. However, it's only used in special cases"

I have no knowledge of whether their statements are true or not.

The question is what you want to measure. But yes, the military has detection equipment for transmitters (so does the FTC), and that could, as I pointed out before, also detect a defective receiver. But as standard fare: No chance.

If you get near enough to the receiver (or antenna), and I am talking feet -- not miles, you could give it a try with a grid-dip meter and see if there is anything near by that causes a resonant circuit. But for that you probably have to suspect that in a certain apartment/house there is something fishy. In that case listening to the door and pulling the main fuse works better.

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