Software Defined Radio (SDR) has finally reached a much broader mass of people, who wanted to play with RF technology, but didn't find the time or resources to learn all necessary skills, to build a hardware based radio. Thanks to the work of the GNU-Radio and OsmoCom developer crowd, this barrier is finally gone and everyone can, more or less, directly access, what the antenna receives.
In order to learn more about GNU Radio and HackRF, so that tackling more complex scenarios like The DARC side of Munich become easier, it was time to go for a much simpler training target: Those cheap RF controlled wall plugs you can use to remote control the power outlets. Now, I'm not talking about FS20, x10 or HomeMatic devices but the really cheap ones you can usually buy in sets of three combined with a handheld remote controller for 10-20 EUR.
Soon after the release of RTL-SDR a lot of people started to play with software defined radios. Although the Elonics E4000 tuner and the Realtek RTL2832U Chip are a long way from the quality and performance/stability of an USRP(2), the price of $11 - EUR30 makes these devices an ideal beginners device for SDR experiments, without having to invest +$1k into hardware.
It seems like it's time to pre-warm our oscillators and prepare our SDRs for more DARC action in the near future. For more than the last 4 month, the traffic to The DARC side of Munich revealed an interesting pattern: There was a steady increase of traffic coming first from the big European & Asian automobile manufacturers, then from automotive subcontractors globally and now from Asian electronics manufacturers.
When you live in Munich and use public transportation, especially Buses and Trams, you will have noticed that during the last couple of month a lot of new displays appeared at almost any station which had no real-time info display before. They obviously have no cables/connections and no visible antennas, so I kept wondering: