What Materials Block GPS Signals?
Have you ever wondered what materials can create signal interference with a phones’ GPS or vehicle tracking system? The short answer is any dense material of sufficient size can easily block a GPS signal. Aluminum paper, concrete, and any wooden cover can scramble the GPS signals. However, GPS signals can penetrate plastics and fiberglass, which is why GPS systems can have signal strength even when hidden inside a vehicle.
A GPS device receives microwave transmissions from a network of satellite antennas circling the Earth. After receiving signals from three satellites, the device uses many timing computations and triangulation to calculate its location. The receivers depend on these exact and particular signal transmissions to establish where it is on the globe. The GPS tracking gadget subsequently sends the coordinates data to a monitoring site, often done through a mobile network. GPS satellite signals might seem technologically advanced but they can also be tricked pretty easily by simply jamming devices. For example, a common GPS when wrapped in aluminum foil creates a faraday cage around it. As a result, this cage will also block GPS signals, acting as a GPS jamming device. Wet trees, metal foil, and plastic containers may all be used to keep GPS signals scrambled. Even something as simple as a tin box with dense materials can block GPS signals!
What Is A GPS Signal?
Scientists created the Global Positioning System (GPS) to allow government and civilian users to determine geographical positions accurately. It is based on the utilization of Earth-orbiting satellites that broadcast data that allows the distance between the satellites and the client to be measured. When transmissions from three or more satellites are collected, a basic mapping may establish the user’s precise position.
This may appear straightforward, and the basic concepts underlying GPS are not difficult to grasp. Nevertheless, as is frequently the case, concept to execution is a lengthy journey. The current GPS is based on a US Department of Defense research effort in the early 1970s. It is made up of numerous parts, demonstrating a masterful use of contemporary, sophisticated technology and mathematics. These important components are:
- GPS Satellites
- GPS Receivers
- Complex Computer Application to Get the Geographical Position of The Device
Up to 30 GPS satellites travel at heights of about 20,000 km. Most of them are in severely inclined trajectories. This implies that there will be between four and eight of them high in the atmosphere over any location on the planet at any given time.
They produce encoded high-frequency radio transmissions that can be picked up by specific GPS devices continually. These transmissions provide data about the satellites’ actual orbits and the time of atomic clocks aboard. The latency between transmission and receiving is evaluated when evaluating arrival timings.
The basic GPS service offers users of tracking and navigational systems a 95% accuracy of about 7.0 meters everywhere on or near the ground surface! In order to achieve this high level of pinpoint accuracy, each of the 30 satellites in orbit sends out radio signals that allow recipients to establish their time and location by combining data from at least three or more satellites.
The atomic clocks carried by GPS satellites offer very precise time. The time information is included in the satellite’s transmission signals so that a recipient can keep track of when the data was transmitted.
The signal provides information that a recipient needs to calculate satellite positions and make other modifications necessary for precise positioning. The distance is calculated by the recipient using the time difference between signal reception and transmission time.
The stratosphere and troposphere produce signal time delay and speed reductions, which must be accounted for by the recipient. The receiver may calculate its three-dimensional location using data about the distances to three satellites and the positioning of the satellite when the message was transmitted. This is how GPS signals work.
Related Content: What Is GPS Tracking?
10 Ways GPS Is Used Everyday
- We may have overlooked how far we’ve come since GPS has made traveling so simple. Because GPS satellites perform all of the work for you, you no longer need printed maps to navigate unknown areas.
- There are various uses for real-time GPS data. These devices offer real-time GPS coordinates and help monitor equipment or cars.
- Long-range missiles rely on GPS to precisely hit their targets. This technology allows them to stay on track even in the face of high winds and other weather conditions that may cause them to deviate from their planned path.
- Navigating the waters necessitates precise precision. A lot of lives would be lost at sea if this did not happen. In marine navigation, GPS is critical. It not only directs us where to travel, but it also allows us to predict storms and extreme weather conditions before they occur.
- These days, asset tracking and GPS devices are connected at the hip. Logistics businesses utilize GPS devices to follow their drivers, maintain track of their shipments, and get important real-time data like total travel time and average speed, among other things.
- Parents who are concerned about their youngsters may now use GPS gadgets to track their whereabouts. Markers that can be attached to luggage or clothes, wristbands that can be donned, and mobile applications may all be used to track movement.
- GPS has been used to study the motion and activity of many animal species. These GPS gadgets can also track their whereabouts.
- Did you notice that ATMs utilize GPS to stamp your payment digitally? Banks also employ GPS trackers to protect cash, which has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in stolen monies and the arrest of thieves on the same day.
- After a strong thunderstorm, there’s no need to phone the electricity provider to let them know your electricity is out. Utility providers use GPS technology to detect the issues, identify the nearest repair worker, and restore electricity right away.
- GPS-enabled gadgets can assist seniors in maintaining their freedom without jeopardizing their security. A family member in need may request assistance to their specific location with the touch of a button without even picking up the phone.
How Do You Shield a GPS Signal? GPS Jammers
GPS jammers shield a GPS signal and interfere with GPS monitoring. It helps to know how GPS operates in an attempt to comprehend how GPS blockers work. A GPS tracker connects to the GNSS network to function. The GPS signal jammer transmits a radio transmission at the same wavelength as the GPS device.
This takes precedence over the satellite’s messages. It is impossible to identify its precise coordinates because the jammer is tampering with the GPS tracking device’s transmission. GPS jammers interfere with all GPS operations, including navigational and monitoring functions.
GPS jammers are often tiny and straightforward to set up. They are easy to install and uninstall and require less than a minute to turn on. They are prohibited under federal law, and using one would result in penalties or jail. Regardless, GPS tracker jammers are readily accessible and frequently inexpensive.
Placing a GPS monitoring gadget in a metal container is the most straightforward technique to disable it. Inbound and outbound transmissions will be reflected and absorbed by any electrically conducting metal. This will cause it to malfunction. Covering a GPS tracker in tin foil will suffice, but copper and even silver can also suffice. This is a very low-cost and simple technique of GPS jamming.
A GPS jammer is a tiny, self-contained transmitting device that sends radio transmissions at the same wavelength as a GPS device to disguise one’s position. Because of the disturbance, the GPS gadget is unable to identify its location.
The jammers may be utilized when needed due to their low energy and short start-up duration. Tangible shielding, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth jammers, remotely controlled jammers, surveillance camera jammers, and drone jammers are all different forms of GPS jammers.
GPS signal blockers used to interrupt a cell phone signal or satellite signals are illegal in many places. Therefore, it is best advised to contact an attorney before investing in jamming devices that block signals!
Will A Magnet Block A GPS Signal?
A strong magnet might harm your GPS equipment, but they typically don’t because of the way magnets are engineered on vehicle tracking devices. First of all, the magnet would need to be powerful enough to disturb particles to disrupt GPS and similar technologies. For context, a powerful magnet of this magnitude would diminish the iron in your blood cells! Most GPS car trackers are designed with surface magnets so they can be attached outside of the vehicle, but they are engineered to have the magnet placement away from the antenna that receives radio signals from GPS satellites. This gives the tracker more versatility in terms of placement options while allowing the internal antenna not to have the magnet block GPS signals.
Related Content: The Best GPS Trackers With Magnets
A GPS device receives microwave transmissions from a network of satellite broadcasters circling the Earth. After receiving signals from three or more satellites, the tracking system uses a series of timing computations and triangulation to calculate its location. The receiver depends on these exact and particular radio transmissions for accurate coordinates. The GPS tracking gadget subsequently sends the coordinates data to a monitoring site, which is often done through a cellular connection.
Satellite failure or solar radiation can momentarily impair GPS signal delivery in rare situations. A GPS jammer, on the other hand, uses the same frequencies as the GPS device to send out radio transmissions or signal noise. The GPS satellite signals may be overridden or distorted as a result of this. Because the satellite signal is obscured by the disturbance, the GPS gadget is unable to compute its whereabouts. Aluminum foils, dense materials, metal boxes, and silver containers are some of the materials that can act as GPS jammers.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.