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Questions about Signal rating

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inca1980

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« on: <09-04-10/1705:34> »
I have been in several arguments about this and it's an important topic so I'd like to know if a Dev could comment on this. 
1. Can the signal rating of a commlink be lowered like a volume?  For example, does a Fairlight Caliban have a dial or something where you can turn the signal down from it's value of 5 to a signal of 1 say with a free, simple or complex action? 
2. If commlink X wants to detect and know the physical location of commlink Y, be it active, passive or hidden, which of the following needs to be true?:
    A. Y needs to be inside of X's signal range
    B. X needs to be inside of Y's signal range
    C.  They both need to be in mutual signal range.


John Schmidt

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« Reply #1 on: <09-04-10/1713:37> »
Unofficially...

1) I see no reason why it couldn't. All you are talking about is adding a rheostat.

2) The key word in your question is 'detect'. So I would say that X needs to be within Y's signal range.
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inca1980

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« Reply #2 on: <09-04-10/1725:25> »
But you would probably have to modify the commlink separately ....it doesn't come off the shelf with a rheostat does it?

John Schmidt

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« Reply #3 on: <09-04-10/1730:37> »
Still unofficially...

I would say that you are right, that it would require modification more than likely.
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Catadmin

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« Reply #4 on: <09-05-10/1516:41> »
I'm going to conditionally disagree with John's answer to question number. To quote SR4 "Signal represents a device’s raw broadcasting power. The higher the Signal, the farther the device can transmit. Though many factors can affect a device’s Signal rating, the most important are antenna size and raw electrical power."

What this tells me is that you cannot functionally turn down a commlink's signal without permanently affecting it's raw / base broadcasting power.

Now, I agree that you don't have to broadcast at full strength and can indeed use it at low power.  But my disagreement lies in this: to alter the actual device's Signal property (lowering it) is tantamount to breaking your commlink.

This is another unofficial interpretation. I'd love to hear everyone else's take on the matter.
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Mooncrow

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« Reply #5 on: <09-05-10/1526:22> »
Considering you can adjust your cellphone's signal strength, right now without much hassle, I would say I agree more with John.

Caine Hazen

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« Reply #6 on: <09-05-10/1858:59> »
Considering you can adjust your cellphone's signal strength, right now without much hassle, I would say I agree more with John.
Yeah, being someone who uses radios in the field; there are plenty of ways you can increase and decrease strength that don't involve lots of tinkering.  I know I can easliy swap out antennea on my radio I use for OPs to change the signal MHz, or strenght.  Currently I have a 5 watt on it, but I know guys who do have the anntenae to broadcast higher, and can amek a swapout in the field.  Hell, I'll double check with Land Radio Ops when I'm back in the shop Tuesday...
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John Schmidt

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« Reply #7 on: <09-06-10/0656:29> »
@ Catadmin

I agree with you! If you handed me a commlink and a soldering iron...it would be "tantamount to breaking your commlink."  ;D

While the rules may not specifically address what I suggested...the theory behind my suggestion should work. A rheostat (an adjustable resistor) placed in front of the power source should allow you to control how much power makes it into the device and out to the antenna.

Would it fit inside the original case? Probably not...so you would be looking at a Radio Shack run for a project box.

I certainly could be wrong, obviously there is a threshold where to little voltage and the device won't work.

It is an interesting question though since people normally want to increase their broadcasting range.
« Last Edit: <09-06-10/0703:02> by John Schmidt »
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

Kontact

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« Reply #8 on: <09-06-10/0703:08> »
Unofficially...

2) The key word in your question is 'detect'. So I would say that X needs to be within Y's signal range.

The Detect Hidden Node action requires mutual signal range, so why would locating the physical location of a wireless node require anything less?

John Schmidt

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« Reply #9 on: <09-06-10/0706:56> »
Really?

Well that is just silly. Picking up a signal has nothing to do with broadcasting range of the receiver. I shall have to find out who wrote that and tease them about it.  ;D
« Last Edit: <09-06-10/0714:09> by John Schmidt »
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

John Schmidt

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« Reply #10 on: <09-06-10/0719:06> »
I would be curious to hear the explaination (from whoever came up with that) of how you can 'hide' a node. If it is broadcasting, while it may be encrypted...using burst transmission or even imbedded in another transmission, energy is going out.  ;D
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

Kontact

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« Reply #11 on: <09-06-10/0743:18> »
My guess is that it's listening in and responds to the ping in some way.  It would explain why it's not continuously broadcasting like an active node, and why it would require mutual signals for a sort of handshake.

It is pretty backwards how signal capture stuff works though.  A node could be hidden (so it's ID isn't being broadcast as an ARO [active] or responding to regular scans[passive]) but broadcasting, and, in order to capture that signal which is traveling through the air, a hacker needs to first:
1) Detect the Hidden Node (we're interested in the signal here... not the source) [this isn't to be done in combat since the threshold (4) regular test is a crapshoot at best.  extended test only plz.]
2) Decrypt the signal (so, we've decrypted it before we intercepted it.  go us.) [another extended test.  best not be combat spoofing.]
3) Finally succeed at the threshold (3) Capture Signal test. [yay! slightly less of a crapshoot!  where's my extended test this time?]


John Schmidt

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« Reply #12 on: <09-06-10/0811:27> »
You lost at with "A node could be hidden but broadcasting"  ;D

That simply doesn't make any sense to me.

If a node requires an encrypted authentication signal then sure...I am with you. That means that the node is passive until somebody comes along with the secret handshake to get the node to go active.
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

Kontact

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« Reply #13 on: <09-06-10/0826:58> »
Yeah, but then, once it goes active....

Obviously we see the same problem here.  :-X

John Schmidt

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« Reply #14 on: <09-06-10/0837:55> »
Yeah, it is a little strange.

Frequency hopping and burst transmissions I can understand but this....???

I need to read those rules again...obviously!  ;D
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.