October 4, 2023

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Spy Radio Stations that Still Broadcast Today

Featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Imagine you’re an amateur radio operator in the 70s for a moment. You’ve just purchased a high-tech gadget that lets you talk with people vast distances away simultaneously without any need for wires. As you dial through different frequencies, listening to people speaking with ships and foreign tongues chatting away, you hear a ghostly musical tone through the static before a monotone voice announces: ‘Eight, nine, One… Eight, Nine, OneTwo three, seven…’ it repeats it a few times before the static drowns it out. You wonder for a moment, “what was that?” Then the music plays again, and man repeats himself.

Not knowing quite what to think, you get a little scared. You move on, and when you come back to that frequency later, you hear nothing but static and question whether you ever heard anything at all. That ghostly radio station is called The English Man. Not only did it exist in the 70s, it’s still broadcasting today!

Static Spys

This was the experience of many amateur radio operators of the 70s; they’re called number stations and many believe they are strings of secret code being broadcast to spies across the world.

In short, a numbers station is a short-wave radio broadcast transmitting an incomprehensible series of letters or numbers believed to be part of secret instructions to undercover operatives. The idea would be that spies working undercover could use easily attainable short-wave radios to receive information and commands.

In 1998, for example, a network of Cuban spies in the US were caught decoding messages from the station, Atencíon. Decoded messages made public during the trial included: “Prioritise and continue to strengthen friendship with Joe Dennis.”; “Under no circumstances should German nor Castor fly with BTTR or another organization on days 24, 25, 26, and 27.”; and, my favorite, “Congratulate all female comrades for International Day of Woman.”

Read more – EverythingGP: http://bit.ly/3HN1lVG