Is your cell phone really off?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by #12, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    This idea came up in a thread today. Someone suggested using a cell phone as a Lo-jack. Someone else said it can't be done. I've seen conspiracy theories about "Big Brother tracking you" and magazine articles about cell phones reporting their GPS coordinates or accessable cell towers to the service provider.

    Is your cell phone really off when you turn it off?
    Do cell phones report their location when you think they are off?
    Can this information be used to track the phone?
    Can a cell phone be used as a Lo-jack?
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Mine beeps when it loses the tower signal. This suggests some degree of back-and-forth with it and the tower. I'm in a rural area, so the possibility of location is slim. Maybe placing the phone within some distance.
     
  3. HarveyH42

    Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Is Lo-Jack for Tracking automobiles? And isn't any topic, automotive related, banned? :) Sorry, evil observation...

    There would have to be something going on, since there is a clock/calender on most every phone. Would also tend to believe that is constantly monitoring the tower signals, and keeping some sort of connection. When you turn on the phone, you want to make a call, not wait for it to initiate communications. I wouldn't doubt it possible to determine which cell tower your phone is connected too, so it would narrow it down to a mile or two, and as you switch towers, they could narrow the search. Also the towers overlap, so there could be some measure of signal strength, to help narrow it down even more.

    If you are worried about snooping, just fold a tin-foil hat for your phone. Might even make a matching one for yourself, since cellphones also read and modify brainwaves...
     
  4. #12

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    LOL!!! You got me there! A Lo-jack is for cars!
    Only a matter of time B4 the Mods shut this down :)

    I don't have a cell phone, so this is not personal paranoia.
    I did try stopping a friends' cell phone. Tried an aluminum mini-box.
    No. It answered.
    Tried 2 aluminum mini-boxes. That worked.
    Tried wrapping it in aluminum foil. That worked, as long as the ends were folded over with a nice overlap. That seems the easiest way to stop a cell phone. The Taliban would be interested in this, so don't post it in a public forum. Shhh...

    I don't think the clock and calendar mean anything because my wrist watch has a clock and calendar, and it couldn't place a phone call if I gave it a quarter and took it to a phone booth.

    I've seen enough internet discussion about this subject that I thought it would be wise to check for any real electronics people that might be aware...like maybe an nsa spook?

    Ha ha ha! Good joke, Harvey.
     
  5. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    If you don't understand how lojack works,then it would be difficult
    to make any points on this Issue.There was Mercedes garage stealing
    Mercedes,they has two of them on car lifts looking for lojack when
    police arrived and arrested them.So disconecting the battery as a
    power source Is not the answer.So how would radio waves come to
    play.To find something you have to have a supply and receiver.
    So what direction do they take,a battery transmitter( its own battery)
    or a radio signal(concealed in car radio) apply new devise Information
    that Is becoming public and what you have.Its hard to Id the plastic
    coated parts in any electronic setting and a string of wire for output.
    Gps and all the new options you don't know whats new and old.
    One thing,they are good at what they do,working on a production line
    you would never know what you are putting together.
     
  6. radiohead

    Active Member

    May 28, 2009
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    The only way to ensure your phone is really "off" is to remove the battery when it is not in use. Otherwise, it will keep syncronizing with the cell network every so often. When you want to make a call, connect your battery and turn on your phone. When your phone registers on the network, you just left a record of where you are. If someone wanted to track you, they would probably use something more complex than a cell phone. The equipment required to pinpoint a cellular phone signal is very expensive and the operator has to be very technically savvy.
     
  7. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

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    That's what I thought, and I can guess who would have very expensive equipment and have very technically savvy employees. Now I'm sure about why the runners for O'sama took the batteries out of their cell phones when they were still 90 minutes away from the hideout.
     
  8. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Knowing those cats they still made a bee line, from all different directions. All the CIA had to do was continue the lines, to see where they intersected. Fortunately most terrorists are incredibly stupid.
     
  9. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    I believe the fires of self interest would have to be burning very dimly before a person agrees to explode themselves for some religious leaders assurance of a heaven with lots of women and piles of delicious foods. The first thing a thinking person would want to know, is; if its such a great place why don't you blow yourself up instead of asking me?
     
  10. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Don't get the thread locked,either your phone can get track without
    the battery.That the question,think about curcuits that will receive
    without a battery.We hear about all these curcuits,yet no one can lay
    out a curcuit that gps or radio waves can work without battery.Maybe
    we don't need to know for our own good.
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Uh, no. Your phone can not track without the battery. With the battery it will communicate with the nearest tower however, so the network knows where it is.

    And no, circuits will not receive without the battery. Circuits do not work without a source of power.

    Electronics is not magic.
     
  12. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    Simply turn the radio off. Every cell phone I've had in the last 10 years has had this capability.
     
  13. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Are you sure that every curcuit needs a battery to preform.
    There are no curcuits that will react to a radio wave.The
    simple crystal radio needs no battery.
     
  14. Wendy

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    Yep, and a crystal radio uses the power provided by the RF. The power is measured in the µw range (if you're lucky). I've build well over 10 (both kits and from scratch) or more of these radios when I was teenager. Do you have any experience with these circuits? It was what helped decide my direction in college.

    1 µW is 0.000001W

    Usually the power is a lot less, but in the city these circuit have decent signal strengths to work with, so it can be a bit more there. You also have to use specialized earphones (usually piezo type) to work with them, because there is no real power. We get posts all the time trying to harvest this energy from folks that don't understand the math or physics. And how would you transmit with these power levels pray tell? Not very well at all.

    The concept is like something out of grade C fiction or TV, but the physics does not work. Have I mentioned the antennas? Starting at 10', the ones I used in the country were 100'. There isn't enough power to drive a LCD wrist watch with one of these circuits. The only reason it works for the earphone is the human ear is pretty amazing, and I was a lot younger then.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  15. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    I didn't want to overlook all things being possible in this day and age
    of secret devises and any devise that can be Improved.No one know
    how far that signal can go into free space and picked up by powerful
    receivers.I am thinking that all things are possible in this day and time.
    There has to be a reason for things we can't prove because the
    the Information is not available.If some one invents something that
    they can demonstrate to officals and it is magic to them.It becomes
    a popular useful tool that they can't do without.The inventor don't
    have to unwrap that black plastic,which could be a simple curcuit.
    Lojack and stunt guns and more.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  16. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Perhaps, but be careful not to go the route of people who belief in overunity, where you want something so bad you are willing to disregard the laws of physics. Science got us where we are, not magic. Their may come a day we tap into something else that will provide a source of energy just laying around, but not yet.

    Transmitters require energy. They are broadcasting energy, literally. They are active. Receivers are passive, it is possible to detect them, but not easily.

    The closest thing to what you are talking about is RFID. A RFID tag receives a radio or magnetic field, and modifies it. It takes a lot of energy in the form of a transmitter and receiver to do this, you have to pass by a station. Even then, contrary to the press, it doesn't work as often as the hype would have you believe.

    Science isn't hard, you just have to pay attention to the art of the possible. I'm still arguing about superconductors. My belief (and it is a belief, not a fact) is that we are very close to room temperature versions, others belief it is not very likely. Time will tell, but there is a lot of really big money betting on it. Seems a lot of people think like I do.
     
  17. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Well I said someone has convinced officals(that covers a broad range
    agencies with big money) so a lot of money could have been spent to
    make these devises work.When I use the word magic,it is for uninformed people
    in a profession that have a lot of power but little understanding of
    something other than it serve's a purpose that totally amaze's them.
    This would include lojack and stun guns,they work.The people using them
    enjoy it very much,it give them a lot of power.They only know about
    the power of use.Not the research development cost,and secrets involved.
    There has been great Improvement in the crystal radios,that why I suspect
    some use that we may not be thinking about.We were talking about curcuits
    that required no battery.And other research.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  18. Wendy

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    For now we are safe. Electronics uses power, which currently means batteries.
     
  19. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    The cell phone can figure out where it is by triangulating from (should be) a minimum of 2 towers. I haven't looked that up, but from what I know of sonar, radar, and periscope navigation, all you need are 2 refrences from fixed locations to obtain an absolute position. My phone has a turn-by-turn GPS program that can work with the built in GPS transponder or it can still work with the transponder turned off. This triangulation is passive and as far as I know, the location information doesn't leave the phone (as far as I know). though I recall hearing something about a lawsuit against apple for this very topic-the Iphone does report it's location even when the user selects otherwise in the menu. If the phone can triangulate it's position passively, then I would confidently say that the cell phone towers can triangulate your position while you are broadcasting. how often does your cell phone broadcast? I don't know. I assume it does all the time, checking for text messages, etc. How does a phone know when it's recieving a call? Do all towers across the world broadcast your call in hopes you will receive it no matter where you are; or do they keep tabs on you and only broadcast near your location? I don't know; but the former idea seems pretty inefficient and I doubt they would do it that way. As for when the battery is removed, I would have to agree with previous posts; there is no way in heck they can track that.
     
  20. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    @Strantor,the big question why,this subject need the thought of a lot of people
    because It Is Important to be sure and why,what would keep a phone from having
    a tuned curcuit that would react to a powered transmiter from space to complete
    the curcuit.The r f curcuit of a radio receives radio waves,so can signal from space
    reach a tuned coil and react with out a battery in the devise.I want to know all
    possibilites.Starting with a crystal radio,they have tunable crystal radios now.
    The question who has the power,is there something new not on paper.Everyone
    open your mind,free it of all the old stuff and move on to our unknown world.
    Work with absolute's with an open mind. You hear crystal radio and you shut
    down instead of exploring.I am not convinced how this space to earth radio
    waves deal with there power with nothing in it's path and how much power it take
    Take your I.Q. out of your back pocket and join the debate.
     
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