• Michael Chandler

Can I sweep my house for bugs? The K18 Radio Frequency Detector

If you are considering purchasing detection equipment for yourself here is our latest review of the K18 RF Detector by Michael Chandler. Michael is the Chief Operating Officer of The Vanquish Group which owns and manages Vanquish Security Services, Vanquish Investigation Services and Vanquish Training Academy.

Alright, this video is bit of an unusual one, but we're going to be taking a look at this product here it's called the K18. It's basically a radio-frequency detector, but it also has a covert camera detection tool within it as well.

The reason I'm doing this video primarily is for our clients that we receive a lot of inquiries at TSCM international relating to devices that people have bought to do their own detection. For example, we have a lot of clients say I'm receiving a signal in my house. I know this because I've bought a product. Now, this is the most widely advertised product relating to radio-frequency detection on the market right now. And this video has been recorded in September, 2020. So this device is extremely popular. It obviously sells very well. It's advertised on every selling platform I'm aware of Amazon eBay, and that's not just in the UK where I'm based and that's in Australia. That's the case in Canada, the U S any country, basically it has, you know, those types of platforms. Now I do want to clarify a couple of things in the book, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures. It does discuss using a device that's quite similar to this. Now, I'm not saying here that this device doesn't do what it says, that it does. What I am trying to highlight in this video in particular is that it's not going to tell you definitively what the issue is.

So it's going to tell you that it's receiving a signal. Absolute no problem. That definitely does do that and I'm going to demonstrate how it does that in a moment. But what I'm saying is in the book, it does say that you can use a device like this, but it's in addition to using other search techniques that allows the operative to identify exactly what type of signal they're receiving or what type of device is emitting the signal. So to that, and let's just quickly put that to one side and open up the box. It comes with instructions, which are primarily written, in what is guess is, Mandarin, but they do have English instructions as well. So that's that. Comes in neatly wrapped cellophane. I sort of take out the batteries and these things are usually charged, ready for use, which is convenient, comes with an aerial as well in this device in particular as well. Whoops, I just ripped the box, never mind.

It comes with two other things. One is the charging lead, which is no surprise because it has an internal battery that you can't replace. And the charging port was there by the way. But it comes with this thing here, which is a coaxial probe for what they tell you in the instructions is called G S. Now we're going to cover what GS is in a minute. If you don't already know. So this is the device here. Very straightforward, very basic. You screw the aerial on, one finger tight, and then you turn the device on like this, this controller here is the volume, not the volume, the signal receiving strength. So it's called the RSSI is the technical name for it. That's the radio signal, strength indicator, which is that. But this is the adjusting knob for that. Once it's turned on, what you want to do is do a proximity test.

If you're going to use it properly at all, you want to do a proximity test because if you turn it all the way up, it's receiving a signal. Now this is where a lot of people get confused. I'm gonna turn it off because that noise drives me mad. What happens when you turn it on, is it receives every type of radio signal within about a 30 meter range. Now, what that means is any signal from outside is going to be setting this thing off. What it doesn't tell you, which is where the more expensive devices are separated from these cheaper devices is the type of signal that it's receiving. It doesn't even tell you the frequency that it's on. And the frequency is what tells us what type of signal essentially that it is. But let me just give you an insight as to how you might use it, even remotely property.

So on here, going to turn on my wifi for my mobile phone. All right. So I've turned, where it's up there. I'm going to turn it probably a little bit more to the right. Okay. It's still not receiving a signal. You might actually want to work backwards. So you go from all the way up to all the way down, so, okay. You notice it's receiving some sort of pulsatile down. Now I'm going to turn it down a little bit more, then I'm going to bring my phone into it. Okay. It's still not working. All right. So we need to turn it up a bit more and then we know that that's receiving that signal there. So I'm putting my phone to it.

Okay. Still not working, turn it up a bit more. Okay. Then I'm gonna bring my phone closer, closer, closer. Alright. So we know it's working there. Okay. So my phone is now probably about 30, 40 centimeters away from it and bringing it in, moving it away now. You can't see this because I don't have a wide enough angle camera, but I'm going to bring my phone. It's about 40 centimeters away from the device. Then I'm going to bring it closer, closer, closer. Then you can see, look, you can see it's picking up a signal there. And now it's about 20 centimeters away from the device, if I bring it closer. It's going to start pulsing and showing that there's a signal there. Right, so what you do then is you adjust it. So what you want to do really the game, the idea behind this is it only detects a signal when you know, it's very close or move it away, see it's very sensitive this thing. Okay. So when there's something, a few centimeters away, we know that there's a device there. If the purpose of this really, and it's set, it's set there. So that's not going to be the same for every one of these products, by the way, it's going to differ depending on the battery life and a number of other factors. So you do want to do your proximity test with your phone on to make sure see, look, it's still not working properly even now.

Okay. The purpose behind this, doing the proximity test is so that you can use it in a way that indicates that there's a device relatively nearby. What you then, if you have a suspicious area or somewhere that you suspect that might be a device planted, you would then carefully scan that area, remembering that it's only this part of the device that detects the signal. All right, I've just remembered. I've got my, my, smartwatch on, which is why that sent, that's picking up a signal there. But interestingly enough, my smartwatch, isn't using a cellular signal. It's using a wifi signal. So to communicate with my with my phone, as well as a Bluetooth signal, oddly enough, those two devices are on the same range. Bluetooth and wifi are on the 2.4 gigahertz range. Right? So what that means is it's detecting this, but it doesn't tell you what type of signal it is and therefore, what type of device it is, what many people, what most people do is they get it, they turn it on all the way up. And they're right, there's a signal in this house. Yeah, of course there is. The reason for that is because it's showing you, there are signals coming into this house and more than likely they are wifi signals coming from other people's properties. Now what you also want to be aware of when you use this, as you need to isolate all, all devices that are emitting a signal.

All right. So all mobile phones or smartwatches, obviously, as you've just seen, wifi emitting devices, such as your router, anything that sends a signal, FM radios, mobile, wireless, mobile telephone, sorry, wireless landline telephones, anything like that. Even Bluetooth speakers within a property, they will all be sending and receiving signals. They will need to be isolated. The best way to do this really is to turn off the mains within the house. But that's not always practicable for everyone. So, so what you need to do, then turn it on, adjust it's sensitivity, do a proximity test. I'm going to take my watch off now, just to do this properly. So proximity test, I'm going to turn it on all the way up and then go backwards. So the one light indicates that it's on there. Alright. Bring my phone in. Still not sensitive enough. Turn it up a bit. No. Okay. Nope. Still not good enough. I'm gonna turn up a bit more and bring my phone in. Now we know it's working. You can see the pulse signal there, right? So, so that's that. And then if there's a specific area, like I said earlier within the property that you're concerned about, you can then use this to scan that wall. Even now, to be honest with you, this isn't functioning properly, my point is, does this device do what it says it does? Yes. It detects radio-frequency signals. The key issue that you have to remember is that it's not going to tell you the type of signal that it is the likelihood is that you're going to be picking up with this device, a wifi signal coming from a third party. Even if your router is turned off, it will pick up wifi signals. If you turn your mobile or refer to mobile phone or laptop or iPad or any other tablet, go to the wifi setting and you're going to see a list of different wifi options that you can connect to. It's exactly the same thing because they're reaching that device, which this is doing as well. It's reaching this device as well, so good for what it says it is, but not very good for establishing definitively whether or not there is a covert monitoring device in your property. You might see this or, something very similar, slightly more expensive than this in one of our kits for TSCM international. But the reason for it is because it is a last resort backup. If we, for some reason, out on a task, all of our other devices, or two of our other devices failed that do re radio-frequency detection, then this can be used as a last resort. It's not the preferred option, but our operatives are trained to use this in a way that can be successful, but of course, they'll be using other devices as well, that aren't radio-frequency related if they start using this.

So the other reason they might use this and they'll probably do it without the aerial, to be honest with you, is for the covert camera detection tool. Now you would have seen on one of my other videos, how that works, but just to quickly show you how this device works, you can still turn it on, turn it, turn the knob all the way down, all right, because you don't want be still, it was still tell you that there's loads of signals coming, even though it doesn't have an aerial attached. And what you want to do is turn on the flashlight. That's that button there. It has two lightning bolts, which indicates flash. And what that's going to do is you want it on flash by the way, I see. So you press and hold this device. You can, if you press it, it just puts them on.

But we want to do is press and hold so that they flash that helps detect the, a CCD chip behind a camera easier. And that's all we would use that for. So relatively straightforward device to use. But again, just to highlight the purpose of this video is to say that this device is good, really, for one thing, primarily, which is covert camera detection. The interesting thing actually about covert camera detection tools is that they don't have to be expensive. You can get some extremely expensive covert camera detection tools that show you that there is a covert camera in place. So this, this thing here using this filter will show you that there is a CCB chip, which is a chip behind a camera lens, that there is one present, but they don't have to be expensive. It's the same thing. It's always the lights and this filter here, but there are other devices that we have that basically scan rooms automatically. In fact, they scan whole areas to see if there are any cameras that are sending a signal via wifi or Bluetooth or another radio frequency range. But this, this tool is really primitive. It will show you, it will always show you that there's a radio-frequency entering your property. It's extremely unlikely that you're going to be in an environment where there are no radio frequencies.

So in essence, I might discourage you from buying this product. Not really, I'm not allowed to say that you shouldn't buy it. Of course, what I'm saying is when you buy it, don't be alarmed when you're receiving a radio frequency, because they are just always present. The other point I want to make is you need to use this in addition, if you're going to do a sweep yourself with a number of other tools, and that's where the problems begin, because these tools that you're using in addition to something like this start becoming more and more expensive. As it stands this is relatively cheap online right now, but you're not going to establish, I keep using the same word definitively, that there is something there.

The short answer is it's probably going to be more cost effective for you to do one of two things, get the sweep done by a professional or attend a training course, get a good understanding as to how these devices emit signals, the types of frequencies they emit and how we assess where they're coming from and the types of signals that they are. But this on its own is not going to establish or, you know, give you the information that you need. I don't think.

So, yeah, I hope that clarifies a few things. Like I say, I'll get asked this question a hell of a lot by clients, potential clients at TSCM International. And I just wanted to do this video to show you how it works, what it does, the upsides downsides and everything else. But for covert camera detection tool it is very good. You don't need this aerial on it.

Just one more time, turn it on have the lights flashing at the back or press and hold and they start flashing like that. And you can pull up to your eye to see if there are any cameras hidden, but take a look at the other covert coverage detection, video to show you a more in depth explanation as to how that is achieved.

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