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Chinese Spy Balloon Fiasco
Smorgasbord / Kirt's Cogitations™ #348

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my ranting on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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Chinese spy balloon over Montana, February 2, 2023 - RF Cafe

Chinese spy balloon over Montana, February 2, 2023, video.

Like a lot of Americans (and presumably some Canadians), I was amazed to watch as a Chinese spy craft as large as a couple school busses was permitted to drift over the country from Alaska to South Carolina. It was laden with sophisticated sensors (optical?, radio frequency?, audio?) and communications equipment, powered by huge PV arrays. A detailed reverse engineering effort of an intact, possibly functional inspection could determine the system architecture, electronic component types, software / firmware, mechanics, optics, battery technology, etc., including where they came from and who built them. A lot of information can be gleaned from such an investigation.

We are just now being informed that the military knew of the craft from the time it was launched off the coast of China. We are also now told that Biden* was not apprised of the situation until it had been spotted over Montana by civilians and photographed with a cellphone. Then, officials said bringing it down over populated areas was too risky, even though there was ample opportunity to do so while it was over unpopulated areas in Alaska and Canada. In fact, it could probably have been brought down over land gradually via controlled deflation rather than blowing it out of the sky with a Sidewinder missile. The payload equipment would then have been more readily accessible and intact for inspection.

Did USAF Shoot Down Amateur Radio Balloon over Canada? 

Did USAF Shoot Down Amateur Radio Balloon over Canada? - RF CafeRF Cafe visitor Lynn L. sent me a link to this article on the RTL-SDR.com website - an amateur radio resource for users of the RTL-SDR computer dongle that is a software defined radio scanning receiver based on the RTL2832U IC. It is widely used by Hams for thousands of experimental communications projects, in conjunction with HDSDR computer software (which I happen to use). One such application is high altitude weather and long distance (Dx) communications when carried aloft by a Pico Balloon, "which involves the use of mylar helium party balloons to launch small solar powered payloads that are only a few grams in weight. They typically transmit low power WSPR at HF frequencies and can only transmit whenever there is sufficient solar power available. Amateur radio or SDR hobbyist stations around the world can pick up these transmissions... Well built balloons can totally circumnavigate the globe several times over several months before degrading." Using NOAA wind models and known position data, operators of K9YO-15 believe it is the $100 "UFO" downed by a $400k Sidewinder missile over the Yukon. I will say, though, it is impressive that a Sidewinder can hit such a diminutive target! 

Chinese Spy Balloon View from Fighter Jet

Chinese Spy Balloon View from Fighter Jet - RF CafeYep, that's a Lockheed U-2 wingtip in that photo! That's 1955 technology (upgraded, of course), same year as the still-in-service B-52 Stratofortress. "The multi-ton payload that defense officials had claimed was attached to a Chinese spy balloon that floated across North America earlier this month looked like a oversized, suspended satellite, according to a photo released by the Pentagon on Wednesday. The image, taken from the cockpit of an Air Force U-2 spy plane, shows two large panels dangling from a balloon several times larger than the payload itself. 'The majority of the balloon, including the payload, was recovered,' Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said during a briefing Wednesday in which she confirmed the photo's authenticity. Defense officials said the surveillance equipment suspended from the balloon, which the Pentagon said earlier this month belonged to the Chinese government, was designed to spy on sensitive U.S. military sites. It resulted in a 1,500 square meter debris field after an Air Force F-22 shot it down off the coast of South Carolina..."

Prior to learning the balloon was being tracked even before it flew over the U.S., we were told that NORAD and all other radars missed it because nobody was looking for balloons, and that operators were going to "widen the aperture" to enable more likely detection of future incursions. Increasing the aperture will theoretically permit a radar to detect smaller objects, so at least that part is credible, but claiming initially nobody knew about the balloon was a flat-out lie concocted by military and intelligence agencies. If the Commander-in-Chief was not briefed on a hostile nation's craft's approach toward and incursion into our airspace, under what Constitutional authority do military and/or intelligence agencies legitimately withhold that information? Is this a case of treason? Is it a military coup? If neither, what qualifies as such?

We leave billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art military equipment on the ground in Afghanistan for the Taliban prior to retreating, ship hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment to Ukraine, spend untold money on politically correct training and policy implementation across all military and government agencies, force highly qualified personnel out of service because they refuse to get the mRNA clot shot, and then wonder how a giant, highly visible (people with good eyesight could see it unaided) balloon floating in the sky for days can be missed. The term "gross incompetence" comes to my mind.

In the last couple days we've heard that three other unidentified flying objects (UFO's) have been shot down over North America. In one instance a U.S. fighter jet was sent over Canada to dispatch one of them, constituting what might be the first-ever hostile action by the U.S. over Canada. Regarding the shooting down of the UFO over Lake Huron, we are told the first Sidewinder missile missed the target and landed "harmlessly" in the water. I'm still waiting for concerned environmental activist groups to demonstrate in Washington over contamination of the water with a variety of toxic chemicals associated with the missile. Surely at least one fish suffered, which is sometimes enough to prevent construction of much-needed electrical power plants. Maybe the environmentalists are too busy protesting the toxic spill in Ohio. Oh, wait, no they're not there, either. Hmmmm.....

According to official reports, official sources still have no idea what those other three objects were. Spokespersons say the videos from the pursuit aircraft were not clear enough for positive identification. Keep in mind the very clear images of the original Chinese spy balloon taken 65,000 feet (11 miles) away by a news reporter from ground level. The U.S. Air Force needs to install whatever kind of camera that reporter used in its F-16, F-22, and F-35 cockpits. Maybe then we'll also get some clear photos and videos of the other so-called UFO encounters by military aircraft. Don't hold your breath waiting for definitive information on any of this.

The public worldwide is learning how deceitful and lawless all manner of formally trusted institutions are - military, intelligence, security, law enforcement, medical, scientific, educational, financial, corporate, etc., etc., etc. That is one unintended consequence of propitious access to information via the Internet. Sure, the brain-dead have been fed plenty of poison with the same mechanism, but a lot of reasonable people have been awakened to how manipulated and deceived they have been. I grew up believing all the aforementioned groups were staffed (excepting a small minority) by patriotic, well-meaning people, but not anymore. Do you feel violated, too?

I purposely did not hyperlink to specific news reports to avoid being accused of a political bias. If you are interested enough in the subject to have read this far, then you already know where to get the stories.

Here is ChatGPT's take on gross incompetence:

The legal definition of "gross incompetence" in the context of national security can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific legal framework being considered. In general, however, "gross incompetence" refers to a level of incompetence that is particularly severe or egregious, such that it represents a clear and significant threat to national security.

In the United States, for example, the concept of "gross incompetence" is not explicitly defined in the legal code, but it is often used in the context of security clearances and security-related employment decisions. The United States Department of Defense defines "gross incompetence" as "a lack of ability or fitness to perform duties of a given grade or rank, or a failure to meet prescribed standards of performance, as a result of a lack of effort, poor judgment, or disregard for the rules."

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the concept of "gross incompetence" may be defined more specifically in national security legislation. For example, the UK's Official Secrets Act defines "gross negligence" as a form of misconduct that can lead to criminal charges in cases where national security information has been mishandled.

For kicks, I asked ChatGPT about the Chinese spy balloon. Here is its response:

There have been several instances of alleged Chinese spy balloons in the news, and without further context, it's difficult to determine which specific incident you are referring to. If you can provide more details, I would be happy to try to help you.

I'm sorry, but as an artificial intelligence language model, I do not have access to real-time news or information beyond my knowledge cutoff of September 2021. As of my knowledge cutoff date, I have no information about a Chinese spy balloon incident in February 2023 or any other date beyond my cutoff. It's possible that such an incident occurred after my cutoff date, but I cannot provide any information about it. I suggest checking reputable news sources for the latest information on current events.

* I can't bring myself to apply the title "president"



Posted February 16, 2023

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