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Looking to sniff out smart meter RF

  1. Dec 29, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone

    I hope I am posting this in the right place.. After all this is my first post here.

    I am looking to track down what RF (radio frequency) my local smart meters are broadcasting in. I have been doing some research but would like to know if anyone has any experience with this. My end result would be to try and decode the information being broadcasted out. I'm not sure what frequency range to sniff around but I know other districts run around the 902 MHz - 928 MHz range. Would I need a real expensive spectrum analyzer? Turning my computer into a RF scanner would be the ideal if there is hardware for that.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Welcome to Physics Forums.

    It shouldn't be a problem "hearing"/coupling to a Power Line Carrier. Heck, after my power utility queries my smart meter, I can audibly hear the data pulse stream in my fluorescent light ballast.

  4. Dec 30, 2013 #3


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    Science Advisor

    Power line carriers are one technology but RF interfaced meters are another.

    Your meter will probably not broadcast data on RF without first being interrogated by a controller. You will not benefit from a spectrum analyser while identifying those details. Indeed it may not work at all since the SA cannot trigger a transmission from the meter.

    I have always found it easiest to identify the exact model of the meter and then get the manufacturers data sheet from the web. That will usually give sufficient information to identify the system employed in your region. Either the band, mode and carrier frequency will be specified in the data sheet, or a channel will be licensed by the frequency allocation authority to the power company. That allocation is usually publicly available.
  5. Dec 30, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    The meter reading data are encrypted for a reason. Do not try to hack into private information that can be used for illegal purposes. Thread is closed.
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