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Live in the middle of the city in Southern California so the hunting/animal tracking is unlikely. The fact that he knocked multiple times on my door and neighbor's door made me think he probably wasn't doing any sort of malicious scanning. Neither of us were home and he left after about five minutes. He looked at the thing a couple times but didn't write anything down.
That makes this even more perplexing...
NI've known lots of people that still use tracking collars for escape artist dogs. Not sure if this is the case here, but it does happen!
escape artist dogs
... what's that?
Some dogs will leave the yard if you leave a gate open.
Some dogs may dig under the fence if they get really bored.
Other dogs ... well, some dogs just have the Great Escape theme running through their little doggy brains 24/7. They will climb any fence. They will tunnel under any wall. They will learn how to open latches. They will slip out of electric fence collars.
You will be on first name basis with all of your neighbors and local animal control due to the number of times they'll bring your dog back home.
my dad's dog figured out the shocking stopped once he made it past the fence so he'd just cannon ball through it and after a bit of electrocution run for the hills
My friend's Golden does this. He doesn't go anywhere except to the nextdoor neighbor's unfenced backyard and eat all the avocados, mangos, and oranges he can get. As you might have guessed he is very overweight from this and has health problems from it.
Mango and avocado is poisonous to dogs.
It's a dog that always finds a way to escape their containment.
Can confirm. My dog hasn't found a crate, kennel or anything else she can't get out of. She's climbed over 8' chain link kennel walls.
For those who have escape dogs: you can install coyote rollers on top of your fence! It will keep coyotes out and dogs in. You can also make DIY Coyote Rollers. It’s pretty simple and affordable.
Your dog and mine would make terrible, awful friends. Our fence looks like a prison yard fence thanks to trying to deter her from escaping. It didn't work.
They're called huskies
Yep. I had no idea how crafty they were until I got one.
OMG my husky bolts if she gets the chance. I've given up chasing her and just walk away or wait and eventually she comes back or a neighbor brings her because she will go to strangers for pets but won't come to us if we call.
I don't chase my German shepherd/border collie any more. I may do a cursory lap down the street calling her name and carrying her leash so my neighbors don't think I'm just cool with her running free, but she thinks it's a big game and the more you chase her the more she runs. If you just leave her alone she'll be home in fifteen minutes. We live in a very small neighborhood in the between farms. She usually just makes a lap to say hi to the neighborhood dogs and comes back, but if you chase her you're both going to run for an hour.
When I was a kid, we used to have a great pyrenees that would get out a lot. He would always dig holes and we'd fill them in and he'd dig em again. Eventually he realized it was easier to just go over the fence and I'd always have to go running after him. He'd make such a game of it. One time in particular, it had just snowed and in my haste, I chased after him barefoot. We made it to the next town over before he let me catch him and I was completely lost. I remember lying there in the snow, exhausted while holding his collar when a guy in an suv pulled over and asked me if I needed a ride. I miss that dog terribly.
My dad's border collie had the entire neighborhood trained. She'd run if he chased her and ignore his calls. She could jump any fence, laughed at invisible fences. Nothing would stop this smart girl.
Eventually she'd walk in any garage door that was open, nudge her way through inside doors, and hop up on the surprised neighbors couch even if it was occupied. They'd just call my dad and say "Sadie's over here again - do you want to come get her or wait until she decides to leave?" if they waited eventually she'd let herself back out and wander home. Eventually she had been in all 25 houses on his cul-de-sac.
This. My yorkie’s nick name was el chapo for a long time because he would sneak out of the front door through a 2” crack!
Dogs that regularly escape from their owner's house/property despite efforts to prevent them from doing so, such as tall fences and fancy locks on gates.
...dogs that escape.
nothing much whats escape artist with you
It may be a ham radio operator looking for a source of interference. He may have tracked the source of interference to your house or a nearby neighbor. One of your electrical devices may be producing a lot of radio interference for some reason and he's interested in stopping that interference. Every electronic device should not be producing radio interference, but if it is there may be a problem or fault with it that you may be unaware of.
Edit- u/AnticitizenPrime has suggested that it may be a FCC contractor sent to find a source of interference. I'm not sure about the time so I'm not going to speculate as to why they may be there so late in the evening.
Also, there is no better time than now to get your amateur radio license. Start out with a technician class license and move on up as you learn more.
Sure, but stop by during the day.
Could be that the interference doesn't occur during the day. If an appliance is causing interference, it is only going to occur when it is in use. It could end up being something like a backyard floodlight or bedroom TV or something.
Edit: I did misread your question a bit. He does not need to knock on every door in the neighborhood since he's probably has it triangulated the interference to a small area of a couple of homes.
Basically yes. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure radio interference does not occur, even if it's not intentional. The homeowner does not have to let the ham in, but the he will report the interference to the FCC and the location. He's there to help; sometimes interference occurs before failure, like an electrical motor shorting.
I had a friend ask me to help him sort out his internet coverage in his basement. He had one room that he was trying to set up as a media room, but his WiFi coverage was terrible in spite of a ton of investment in getting it fixed. I walked in, saw this was the room with his main electrical panel. I popped the cover and found a circuit that had been arcing enough to produce an audible hum up close. Arcing causes a ton of radio interference.
That sort of thing is a fire waiting to happen.
It's things like this that make me wish I could see more wavelengths than visible light...
I've had a Comcast technician show up at my house because a TV coaxial cable was loose, causing RF interference. This happened back in like 2002.
Wow, you had a Comcast technician show up at your house? That's crazy. They always just ghost me.
My parents had the same thing happen like 6-7 years back. Instead of informing us about the problem, they just disconnected our internet to fix the problem for the rest of the area.
I am sorry that happened but I found that extremely hilarious that was their idea of how to fix it
"He's there to help; sometimes interference occurs before failure, like an electrical motor shorting."
Honest question- would there really be somebody that would randomly show up and say "Excuse me, but your fridge is about to die"?
And that's not sarcastic, either. I'm genuinely curious. And hopeful.
Not that guy, but maybe. For example, a disintegrating commutator on a DC motor would produce a lot of broad-spectrum radio noise, as will any failing electro-mechanical device that's producing sparks. You could easily detect them from afar, and even characterize them to some degree.
FWIW, this isn't totally theoretical either - arc-fault circuit breakers have onboard computers that do exactly that to find failing-but-not-failed electrical circuits in your house.
That is fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to explain.
I'm pretty uninformed on this subject, but right what kinds of problems are you talking about?
Do you have to have something that is broadcasting radio waves or is it just electromagnetic interference?
I'm trying to think of common devices that broadcast or have a large power footprint to interfer with HAM radio but maybe I'm underestimating common things. Thanks for any info.
if you can catch the device while it is transmitting and you have a direction finding antenna, which is what i'm guessing is in his hand, then you just walk around the property and play hot and cold marco polo with the signal. It's a neat process and we used the same idea to track submarines in WWII when they called home 'cause they're mommies missed them.
Maybe not just ham. Could be a private contractor hired by the FCC to find interference. My company installed a mobile phone booster/amplifier at a building I used to work at, and apparently the receiving antenna (on the roof) and transmitting antenna (indoors) were too close together, so the receiving antenna was picking up the retransmitted signal and creating a feedback loop, like that microphone squeal that can happen in auditoriums, drowning everything else nearby out. It was causing problems in the area.
Within 2 days of installing the thing, we had a guy from some company show up with a notice from the FCC telling us to turn it off. Goes like this - mobile phone provider gets interference, notifies the FCC, who hires some contractor local to the area to locate the source and send the cease and desist summons.
This guy could be someone like that - someone tasked to seek the source of interference and tell them to knock it off.
That was my thought. Maybe OP is running a massive base station and just stands on the key but doesn't say anything, preventing others nearby from being able to communicate.
I concur, this looks like your friendly local ham trying to find the source of some QRM (man-made interference).
In which case, he'll be back soon.
And in greater numbers
Wait...there are trolls on HAM radio??? TIL i guess.
The UHF Ham radio community has all but disbanded in my area due to Jammers. They are the trolls of ham radio. When one person is talking they send out a competing signal that just drowns the system. It’s reeeeeeeealy annoying and has killed the fun.
Can you get the fcc involved?
You absolutely can, but these things tend to be rather low on their priorities list :/
Edit: Also, the government is shut down :P
Also, the government is shut down :P
Sweet! Now I can set all the microcells in the neighborhood to issue deauth packets and no one will can stop me.
the HAMs in my area have literally tracked down multiple people for illegal transmissions, and hold competitions to locate the source of a signal.
Yes, we call them lids. They like to frequent a couple specific frequencies on the 20 & 40 meter bands.
Also, for real insanity, Google for CB key down competitions.
There are trolls and assholes in every hobby imaginable, even the most obscure ones.
But why late at night?
Do you have the video? That would make it easier to see the device if he moves it around or uses it.
Do you have a way to ask more neighbors like a facebook group or Nextdoor? When I had a guy come to my house, ring my bell, and walk around the front with some device I posted there and someone immediately recognized him as someone from the city checking the property before a property tax reassessment.
So maybe someone else answered the door and can tell you what this person was doing.
Are there any projects going on in your part of Cali. either from a municipal, state, or federal level that would mean having a guy out at night with one of these scanners going throughout neighborhoods?
Was it just you and the neighbor's door he knocked on only? Is there anything in particular about you and your neighbor's house that stands out from the other houses?
Is it possible he was flying a drone, lost it near your house(maybe if there are woods behind your house) and so he was looking around for it? That'd explain the scanner and flashlight, and the outdoorsy clothes and boots.
There are people tracking and sometimes trapping and removing varmints in inner cities. Especially coyotes, could be that. Especially since coyotes are nocturnal.
What a preposterous reply. Looking for ghosts? In California? He's looking for Sasquatch.
There is a hunting community in SoCal. San Diego and inland from LA have some spots, particularly for birds. He could have come back from a trip and his dog ran off.
If he was doing something nefarious and wasn't a total dumbass he would probably skip wearing a camo hat.
OP, I think it's probably this (or a very similar model): Vintage General Electric "Walkie-Talkie Pair" SEP-1975 model-3-5961B
the antenna matches up as does the push-to-talk button on the side. could be a different model where there is a Morse Code function instead of the "function select"
edit: to add as others have said, I imagine it could be used as a cover or prop to hide more nefarious purposes. perhaps worth sending along to your local police station and/or community watch/HOA depending on where you live.
edit2: for those asking how I found it, when there were only about 20 comments in the thread, I started going through the suggested items. While it looked somewhat like a few of them, all the other suggestions seemed more technologically advanced than what I looked up. To me, it simply looked like it was a raised, circular speaker so I thought it was an old school walkie-talkie. the only thing throwing me off was the bottom piece that looked like a screen (although has now been pointed out to be the battery with the cover removed. so I basically just kept googling vintage walkie-talkies and got lucky I guess stumbling across this particular image (I don't think it was actually that far down either). so basically luck + thinking it looked simpler than what others suggested. Still could be used as a cover piece for something else though I suppose
Looks like this is your answer, OP. It’s missing the battery cover, you can see the battery in your picture.
I think the real answer though needs to address wtf is that man doing there.
Maybe he could be holding it as a decoy so it looks like he has equipment? OP would be more likely to open the door if he/she thought it was a city worker or something. It seems very suspicious to me.
It's a gutted walkie talkie. He's replaced the innards with a key fob scanner or something.
Goddamn you guys on this sub Reddit are amazing at finding these things.
This is it and he's almost definitely using it as a prop to trick you. Either "I'm doing some technician work in the area" and he wants to get info, or he could say "hey my car broke down and I can't get in touch with anyone. Can I use your phone?" (Less likely since the walkie talky wouldn't be too convincing for this).
I've had similar things happen while walking through downtown areas at night. They'll come with a fake cellphone and try to stop you and get "help" but they either rob you, lead you to a trap, or pickpocket you.
I had these when I was a kid from an army surplus store. The second I saw that guy in the picture this is exactly what I thought was in his hand.
With the attire it could be someone with hunting dogs. Sometimes the dogs will track animalsl onto other's land and must be found with tracking devices. May have just been asking permission to search for their animals. This is common in my area.
Yeah my dad had a similar looking device (old Radio Frequency tracker) for his racoon dogs. They would occasionally hit a bobcat/deer track and wander miles off course.
What’s a raccoon dog?
They're a type of hunting dog, pretty sure OP meant a Coonhound https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/american-english-coonhound/ people often misunderstand the name and think they're called a raccoon dog. I have a great uncle that used to breed the red and black variation of these. He had a tracker like this for his dogs as well.
There is an actual animal called the raccoon dog. In japanese legends/myths, they have shapeshifting powers and use their nutsack as a bag, as boats, to fly, all sorts of crazy shit.
In real life, they make horrible noises at night when you're trying to sleep.
I'd hate to be the poor guy who got picked to have arrows shot at his enormous balls for target practice.
What’s funny is that the big ass gourd Gara from Naruto carries around is supposed to represent one as well. Since his tailed beast is a raccoon dog and all
He may have just meant a dog trained to hunt raccoons and not that specific breed. My coworker hunts coons, but he uses blueticks.
Yep, we mostly had Blueticks but had a few red and black around when I was younger. Super lovable dogs but goddamn did they wander off a lot when hunting.
I Scrolled For Soooo Long Looking For A One Piece Reference. I Knew My People Were Here Somewhere!
It’s a dog used for hunting raccoons. They mainly just chase the raccoon up a tree and then have a special call to let their masters know they’ve “treed” a raccoon.
Source: Have read the book “Where The Red Fern Grows” many, many times.
My vote is CB walkie talkie. Looks like his thumb is near the white dial.
This really looks like it, which makes it even more weird, as that is a walkie-talkie (70's-era, maybe?).
1970s GE Recon-1 3-596xC series walkie-talkie. Single channel (27 MHz - 14 AM, an 11m shortwave service used for CB in many countries; generally pretty crappy, but serviceable at short range, especially in daylight) There were a number of variations, mostly slight differences in colour. I've not yet seen one with a shiny metal microphone cover, but that doesn't mean it wasn't made. The shape of the microphone is right, and it was made of hard, smooth plastic, so it might just be reflecting at that angle.
I think the shiny silver you're seeing in OP's pic is a 9V battery - his radio is missing the black "power pack" battery cover.
especially in daylight
Sky-wave propagation. CB (27MHz - considered high frequency / shortwave) is right at the top of the shortwave band (3~30MHz), and right below the VHF band (30~300MHz).
Sky-wave relies on the ionosphere, one of the top layers of our atmosphere. During the day, sunlight charges the ionosphere more, causing it to be typically closer to the earth than at night. So, the shorter wavelength VHF signals typically work better during the day, while at night the greater distance allows signals with a longer wavelength to "resonate" better. Signals in the HF range, like CB, can "skip" off the ionosphere, back to earth, etc. multiple times with enough power, a good antenna, better during the nighttime.
Other interesting things that impact how radio waves travel are the weather, the season, having a moist or arid earth below you, being close to water - especially salt water, the type of antenna, length of antenna, and the angle of radiation from the transmitter to name the most common.
There is way more to it than that, but I revised this too many times as it is trying to be succinct without missing details
The waves bounce off the upper atmosphere at night. Ionized structure changes and prevents them from being absorbed/passing through like they do during the day.
Yeah, I found it by looking up old walkie talkies. These are called a Vintage GE Recon-1 CB Walkie Talkie on an ebay page. I cannot find the year of release for them, but the packaging looks from at least the early 80s.
Edit: This site puts it around the 70s, at the least:
Well if it is a walkie talkie, it's definitely an old one so a time traveler is possible. The antenna looks like it's about 8-10 inches. If it's a key fob code grabber, the joke is on him because I have a Ford Fusion. All the cars are kept in detatched garages anyway. This happened around 9:30pm. Not super late but generally too late for any sort of reputable company to be knocking on doors.
If they were trying to steal your car with a relay device they would know that your Ford Fusion does not have such an ignition. Knocking on the door doesn't make sense either as these attacks are fast enough they can get in and out without the majority of people knowing it is going on.
One of those car key fob scanners? Did he have a buddy nearby?
So ... the guy going to the front door scans for the key fob, gets the electronic signature, and then the other guy transmits the signal to the car to make it think the keys are in proximity?
From what I’ve read, that’s pretty spot on.
I posted the same video within a minute
Edit from a completely different post: They break into high end cars and steal them in the uk in under a minute. Wheels are for noobs. They just take the whole car and use it for an armed robbery getaway car. Or just take a JCB and drive into a bank at 4am and take the cash machines/atm. This how fast it is https://youtu.be/AJb-P7TJFI0
The latest craze is using gas (like butane not petrol/gas) to blow atms straight off the wall and sends cash flying everywhere
Last I heard most luxury vehicles stolen in the UK are shipped out usually within about 6-8 hours of being nicked.
Saw a really interesting documentary about it a year or two ago. most of the cars were going to either Africa or one of the islands near Spain before being shipped onwards again. cant find it atm though sorry :(
I watched a documentary a few years back about just that subject actually. A crew of car thieves jacked 49 1/2 cars in one night and just like you said, delivered them all to a shipping dock into containers for export. I'd say we're thinking of the same film but this one was in Los Angeles. Even though the guy was quite the prolific car thief the cops ended up letting him go since he only jacked the cars to help his brother.
I think more accurately: this is for cars where just approaching the door with the key in the pocket will unlock it. The door/handle is emitting a periodic pulse "Yo - any keys around ? If you're mine multiply 5 by the secret number we both know" to which the key responds with the result, if it has the proper secret and multiplied it by the challenge number correctly, the door unlocks. The range is purposefully limited so that it only happens if the key is very close. The thiefs devices are two part, one picks up the initial message, and relays it to the other, which has a big ass antenna. The other repeats that strongly and if the keys are close to the door, it will be sensitive enough to receive the key's response, which it relays back. I think they forgot to start the car, which also tests for the key's presence, which is why the dude goes back and does it again. You can protect yourself if you have such a car by storing your keys in a closed metal box when at home (aluminum on the walls in another box will probably work too).
edit: to be clear about the foil, you need to build a Faraday cage for a probably quite high frequency, which means it can only have tiny gaps/wholes, so all 6 faces, and must make electrical contact when shut.
This is ingenious but scary. I have a car that could be stolen using this method. How many people put their car keys by the front door?
Yes more ingenious than the designers of the proximity thing were. I expect it has a high success rate, and frankly, I don't see a software solution, this will break any crypto they come up with since it doesn't do any. I guess you could also just take the battery out of the key fob, and perhaps manufacturers have a method of disabling the "feature" all together. This would work with any distance-based always on authentication, not just cars.
Put an accelerometer in the keyfob, stops communicating when it hasn't moved for a minute.
Not a pure software solution, but it would be effective.
Clever indeed, but would cut on the fob's battery lifetime, probably a worthwhile tradeoff though. My point was mostly that all existing fobs out there that don't need you to press a button are vulnerable to this attack.
For a second I was like: my car don't have any of these fancy stuff, Im safe!! But then I realized you can probably just use a screwdriver and I usually don't lock doors.
I'm not sure he would knock if he were trying to steal the car.
Why not? Knocking proves nobody's home, so nobody's going to come out and interrupt you. If somebody IS home - "oops wrong address" and then you just leave.
If someone is home and sees his face, they have a description to tell the police if the cops come around asking about a suspicious dude.
Someone can also be suspicious now that you’ve alerted them and keep looking out their window to follow your or notify their friends around the neighborhood.
They could also confront you about what address you were looking for and if you can’t answer then they’ll get suspicious and call the cops or neighborhood watch.
These guys work by stealth, if they go around alerting the community then they’ll be locked away sooner or later.
If they are stealing a car, then someone is likely home.
It could be a receiver for 121.5MHz radio signals. That's the distress frequency that is (or was) broadcasted by ELTs (emergency location transmitters on aircraft), EPIRBs (Emergency position-indicating radiobeacon station for maritime) or PLBs (personnel location transmitters for people). That's a stable frequency that allows rescuers to locate the signal to find a missing boat, aircraft or person.
Searchers are frequently volunteers (mountain rescue, Civil Air Patrol, etc.), so they might not be in a uniform.
Often, there are false alarms that rescuers have to locate and silence, like a pilot brings his ELT home and drops it and it goes off and they don't notice. My rescue team once had a guy buy a $2000 TV and he powered it up and somehow it broadcasted on 121.5MHz. We picked this up as an emergency beacon, found it, then had to tell the guy he couldn't turn on his TV or he'd be in violation of FCC law and ITU regulations.
This is just a guess. Also, it could be a creepy dude trying to steal your stuff.
My rescue team once had a guy buy a $2000 TV and he powered it up and somehow it broadcasted on 121.5MHz.
What brand of TV was this?
That’s interesting. Do you guys basically have a sensor running 24/7 and if it picks up a distress signal you all get dispatched to the area it’s coming from?
SARSATs (Search And Rescue Satellites) continuously monitor for EPIRB/PLB/ELT signals- however they only monitor 406MHz these days. 121.5MHz hasn't been monitored by them since 2009.
I did notice a boat in my living room.
I'm guessing an EMF meter, network scanner, or radio frequency scanner. Could be trying to locate security devices? Definitely looks like a receiver of some kind. I wouldn't trust it.
But if it was a port scanner or network device, the optimal thing to do when doing reconnaissance is not knocking on doors.
Assuming his intentions were devious.
It looks like some sort of scanner, but also, in all sincerity, from the 60s. It looks really old, or almost like a prop from and Ed Wood film.
All the google searches return much more modern looking devices, including any kind of animal tracker. If this person is a professional, why such a seemingly archaic device?
If you have a smart home system, I'd forward this image to them and ask if they've seen anything like it. I err on the side of this being some kind of RF scanner considering it looks like it has an antenna on it.
I think it's a dummy device to make him look like he's actually checking utility meters or something.
It really looks like a 60's Sci Fi movie prop.
or an old school walkie talkie
a lot of them used to have a morse code listing and button to go along with it. honestly looks like that's what is by his thumb.
edit: probably something like this is most similar:
Could be a cable guy looking for signal leakage from the CATV plant
source: am ex-cable guy and this is a thing we did.
Possibly a portable gas detector?
Edit: OP, are any other stills available showing what's in front of the device?
dont put your keys near the front door
This one is easy. It is an old walkie-talkie. More specifically the GE Recon-1 CB Walkie Talkie. The one in the OP's picture has an after-market/custom battery in the bottom area.
Looks like a tracker of some kind, he probably knocked to let the people in the house know he was around looking for something and not a threat.
That's Dean Winchester holding an EMF meter. If he's at your house there is definitely some weird stuff going on.
How late is late? Not sure why he'd knock if it was nefarious. Did you talk to your neighbors? Maybe they know something. It looks like a piece of old tech he's holding just going off the blocky design, so my best bet would be an old radio scanner. I can't tell, but looks like there's an antenna coming out the top. If it IS an old radio scanner, then he's probably not with National Grid lol. Either he lost something or he's scanning for security devices. Though I would guess there are better methods for that in this day and age. Is your camera visible? Again, if this was nefarious I doubt he'd walk right up to the camera. Then again, don't underestimate stupidity.
How late is late? Not sure why he'd knock if it was nefarious.
It's actually a pretty common tactic to knock and see if someone is home. People in the hood will go around claiming to be selling chocolate bars at 11pm.
Chocolate bars? That’s boujie. They’re selling magazines at 11pm where I live
This person was trying to steal your car. Rings or knocks to make sure no one is home. "Oops wrong house". This is a huge thing where I live and it's an ongoing issue. Its why the new Porsche doesnt have a proximity key anymore to start it. There's most likely an other guy by the car... ping the frequency by the door, sends it to buddy by the car, opens door.
I'm a police officer in an affluent area where this is a problem with expensive cars.
Maybe he was playing Pokémon go and tracked down a legendary on your property
Oh silly, you can only get legendaries in raids, not in the wild. What a noob.
Possibly an amateur radio enthusiast tracking down sources of interference.http://www.arrl.org/radio-frequency-interference-rfi
You can use the link below to see if there are any amateur radio license holders in your area:
It almost looks like he has a ham radio with a long flexible antenna in his left hand. https://goo.gl/images/ndXYzN
I was going to say this too. LED lights, fluorescent light ballasts, and televisions can be sources of interference and perhaps they had to resort to a search after dark because the interference isn't happening during the daytime.