A Dutch radio enthusiast monitoring the airwaves during Operation Odyssey Dawn has managed to identify tail numbers, call signs and movements of various NATO aircraft operating over Libya.
According to Wired’s Noah Shachtman, Huub – aka BlackBox and @FMCNL – tracked Italian fighter jets, American tankers, British aerial spies, U.S. bombers and a Commando Solo psyops plane.
“If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately,” the psyops aircraft broadcasted to Libyan forces.
Huub, who previously served in the Dutch military, told Wired he has successfully monitored transmissions originating from Air Force One and CIA rendition flights over the past 25 years.
“I just combine the global and free information on the Internet with my local received information from the ether,” explained Hub.
“[My] main goal to listen to this communication is to listen to ‘the truth,’ without any military or political propaganda.”
To eavesdrop on the transmissions, Huub uses a ICOM R20 receiver and a Uniden UBC-785XLT scanner, both of which can be purchased for approximately $500.
Still, Huub emphasized that he does not simply listen to air traffic control or NATO frequencies to pinpoint planes, but rather, monitors data generated from a number sources, such as aircraft transponder data to IRC chatrooms.
“I use a combination of live listening with local equipment, audio streaming, video streaming, datamining, intelligence, analyzing and the general knowledge of ATC procedures, communication, encryption, call signs, frequencies and a lot of experience on this,” he added.