A man reading a book on a public transit bus in Philadelphia was caught using a cell phone this week. The man was using the cell phone jammer to keep his fellow passengers from using their cell phones on the bus. The man told a reporter from NBC10 that he’s taking the law into his own hands and that he’s proud of it.
The device looks like a big walkie-talkie with four antennas. It’s a pretty simple mechanism to understand. A cell phone works by communicating with its service or network provider through a cell tower or base station. Cell towers are spread a long a city and create a grid so you never loose service as long as a tower or base is near. The signal basically jumps from tower to tower and you move around.
A cell-phone jamming device simply disrupts the communication between the cell phone and cell bas station in the tower. The device overpowers the cell phone by transmitting a stronger signal on the same frequency. The signal is at a high enough power that the two signals collide and cancel each other out. The jammer blocks the service of the radio spectrum to the cell-phone, or blocks radio frequencies ultimately leading to “No Service”.
A device like this is actually illegal because it not only blocks personal cell-phones but all communication tools using the frequency its blocking. The end result was that the man on the bus was not only blocking the ones around him from having service to their cell-phones but as he moved along the city every tower he passed was denied service for a period of time. This can be dangerous because the jammer can cut communications between the actual driver on the bus and his dispatcher or any other public agencies near by. This type of device is considered a public safety issue and could lead to a disaster. The device also blocks incoming calls so if your being blocked you have no idea what is going on. You would not know about any pressing news or even an emergency.
I can understand where the man was coming from. He probably had good intension using the device. He was trying to read a book on a crowded bus and people around him were probably hollering on their phones. We’ve all been in a situation like that or similar. It happens in school, public places and work all the time so why not a bus. On the other hand I would have never thought of attempting what he did rather just asked them to lower their voices or something.
This type of thing happens all the time though in cities like New York and Washington DC where cities can get crowded and public transit can be stressful. The devices range in price from as low as $40 to as high as $10,000. You can check them out on websites like jammerall.com. They are also marketed as anti-terrorism devices. They are effective for about a 15ft radius more or less. Most people who do purchase them buy them off websites and have them shipped from China where the devices are both cheaper and legal. They even make them disguised as cigarette boxes so small you can just conceal it in your pocket.
Share your thoughts on wether or not people should be able to use these types of devices in the comment section below.
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Photo Credit – HowStuffWorks.com