L3 Communications' Range-R handheld radar unit is capable of 'seeing' through building walls to detect a building's contents. It was evidently developed for military operations when conducting house-to-house searches for jihadist Muslim terrorists in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Like much military technology, though, it is being adopted for use by civilian police, federal law enforcement agencies, firefighting, and search & rescue teams.
Range-R's ability to "detect and measure the distance to moving and near-stationary personnel through walls constructed of common building materials" makes it an ideal tool for looking for survivors inside collapsed buildings, for finding incapacitated and/or trapped people within burning homes, and for allowing law enforcement personnel to determine the presence and whereabouts of suspected 'perps' within homes and buildings.
Weighing less than 1.5 pounds and operating off 4 AA batteries, Ranger-R displays a 160-degree field of view using Doppler radar technology, which implies the targets must be moving in order to be detected; however, L3 claims the sensitivity is great enough to detect breathing. The frequency band is only listed as being with a standard radar band in order to "not interfere with most non-radar electronic systems." It can penetrate walls up to a foot thick with a range up to 50 feet. At a mere $6,000 each, they are very affordable -especially to a government that runs up $18 trillion dollars of debt to pay for whatever it wants. Lots of details can be found on the FCC registration website: YKD-25TWD3000 - "The RANGE-R cycles through a sequence of 120 frequencies in 2 MHz increments from 3.18 GHz to 3.42 GHz. At each of the frequencies, it transmits a maximum 32 mW power level with no modulation" (this is S-band).
Some civil rights advocates are concerned that police departments will use the device in ways that might 'catch' someone in the act of committing a criminal activity behind closed doors that might not have been suspected otherwise - such as growing pot, processing chemicals, producing bootleg music and software, committing acts of physical violence, etc. Others are of the opinion that if you are not guilty of anything illegal, then you have nothing to hide and therefore should not object to this or any other means of search - that is until they are the victims of such an unwarranted search.
One practical solution to anyone concerned with the invasion of privacy is to build a new house and have a thin layer of foil wrapped around the perimeter. Per the L3 FAQ page, "The RANGE-R signal is a radio frequency, therefore it will not penetrate metal surfaces, regardless of thickness." Foam insulation sheets with a foil backing are available, but you have to be concerned with proper vapor penetration properties. There is at least one perforated foil product being made that will do the job. It goes by the trade name Super R Plus®, and is manufactured by Innovative Insulation as a 'radiant shield.' There might be a growing market for such material. There are a lot of people out there who have already taken measures to 'snoop-proof' their homes if you are looking for tips. A Google search for "paranoid rf signals" will do the trick.
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Posted on January 21, 2015