Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
ColoradoMoMe 2020: 04/25/2020 Wheat Ridge CO: Postponed
Contact Westminsterdogshow for information.

NoVaMoMe 2020: Rescheduled for August 29, 5:00-10:00 pm, Fairfax, Virginia. Contact Bluebell & Weasel with questions.

Texas MoMe:

Contact Ben Had
« Interesting: Tape Recorders Pick Up "Voices From Beyond" (or Not, of course) | Main | Penn State University Researching "Patriot Missile For Torpedoes" »
January 08, 2005

More Weird Stuff: "Numbers Stations"

Meanwhile, here's something cool and eerie that's not bunkum at all, but totally real-- the so-called "numbers stations" operating on short-wave radio:

For decades, SWLs have been hearing stations that do nothing but read blocks of numbers, usually using a woman's voice, in a variety of languages and on innumerable different frequencies. All available evidence indicates that some of these transmissions may be somehow connected to espionage activities. These are the numbers stations, the most enduring mystery on the shortwave bands.

Even though they do not operate on any fixed schedule or frequencies known to the public, numbers stations are really very easy to hear. Just tune outside the established shortwave broadcasting or ham radio bands and you'll hear several with patient tuning. While numbers stations can be heard any time on any frequencies, most seem to be heard in North America during the evening and night hours on frequencies from 3 to 12 MHz.

Most numbers stations heard in North America transmit in Spanish. Other languages often heard include English, German, and scattered other languages such as Chinese and Russian. Almost all will use a woman's voice, although on rare occasions a man's voice might be used.

I first learned of these strange signals from reading a review for an album someone had put together, composed entirely of recordings of these seemingly-meaningless, eerie recitations of numbers.

The publisher of this strange CD set, Irdial, explains:

The radio spectrum has been used by the worlds intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages. These messages are transmitted by hundreds of “Numbers Stations”.

Shortwave Numbers Stations are a perfect method of anonymous, one way communication. Spies located anywhere in the world can be communicated to by their masters via small, locally available, and unmodified Shortwave receivers. The encryption system used by Numbers Stations, known as a “one time pad” is unbreakable. Combine this with the fact that it is almost impossible to track down the message recipients once they are inserted into the enemy country, it becomes clear just how powerful the Numbers Station system is.

These stations use very rigid schedules, and transmit in many different languages, employing male and female voices repeating strings of numbers or phonetic letters day and night, all year round.

The Internet, of course, is the place for strange obsessions of all sort, and this site, for example, is dedicated to the Numbers Stations-- and trying to crack the codes they're using. And this site has recordings of these strange signals, available for free listening.

I call this little ditty "5-6-8".

There has to be the makings of a plot in something so weird.

Update: Here's a recording of a "tones station," which may be using tones to communicate coded messages rather than numbers.

The description calls it "spooky." It is.

And this is kind of freaky too.

Update: This one starts off similar to the last one, and then it gets really creepy, with a heavily-modulated "child voice" reciting the numbers.

Weird, wild stuff.

Racist Codes on Message Boards? Personally, I'm guessing these nitwits aren't using any sort of code, but are just making up random-sounding messages in their efforts to play at being survivalist soldier boys. Cynical Nation tells of his own experiences listening in on Numbers Stations (in Paris-- how Ludlum-esque), and also links to racists passing around similarly enigmatic messages.

digg this
posted by Ace at 11:03 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Seems Legit: "New Jersey has the highest per 1,000,000 resident ..."

Augustine: "Politco has a report today that Chelsea Clinton an ..."

Ian S.: "[I] === ..."

Huck Follywood, hunker in the bunker: "So weird.  I had cocktails, social distance s ..."

JT: "hiya ..."

TheJamesMadison, running from a biplane in a cornfield: " ======= ..."

J.J. Sefton: " 98 Posted by: rhennigantx at July 13, 2020 08:16 ..."

rhennigantx: "From the Fun Police If the progressive Left and ..."

Zod: ">>According to her  family, the BLM s ..."

CW 2.0: "Trump should do nothing because federalism is pure ..."

Ian S.: "[I]It's the teachers that don't want to go back to ..."

TheQuietMan: "A massive fire devastated an eighteenth century mi ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64