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Showing posts with label number. Show all posts

January 16, 2015

DX Extra Shortwave News No.19 Released!

Hello fellow DXers, it is with great excitement to release the latest shortwave news programme DX Extra number 19 to the world wide web! Another jam packed show!
 In this fortnight's podcast: 
  • Number stations and their intelligence role
  • BBC ads three Afghan shows
  • DW frequency update
  • Radio Netherlands special shortwave show
  • Radio Australia cuts transmissions
  • Pirate Radio Logs and recordings (Audio: WFRL)
  • Audio Archive: Radio Berlin International (1990)
  • Hobart Radio International Mailbag

LISTEN via embedded player:


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To DOWNLOAD in 320kbps format or lower formats head to: https://archive.org/details/DxExtra19
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We had great reception into Europe on Friday the 16th January 2015 and are still getting reports, below is a recording of 20 minutes of the shortwave broadcast:
LISTEN via Shortwave Radio:
DX Extra No.19 via Premier Radio 6910kHz 16/01/15 21h20-21h047 heard & recorded by Gino Italy. SINPO 45433

Image: Gino's Delta Loop antenna in the backyard.

TRANSCRIPT:
“Many nights, Spooks turn on their shortwave radios and drift through the frequencies. On any given night, one can hear amateur radio stations broadcasting church sermons, utility traffic for aircrafts – with the right equipment, you can hear/contact the International Space Station. Yet one of the most eerie, mysterious uses of shortwave is that of the numbers stations: stations that feature ominous – sometimes robotic – voices saying seemingly random number patterns.

Shortwave radio boomed in the 1920s: For decades, it was the only way to receive transmissions from far way. Numbers stations, as they are called now, have been around since World War I, though many of the most famous transmissions took place during the Cold War. These mysterious stations are all, to date, unlicensed. Some feature automated voices, others have what sound like children’s voices, another with a sultry woman announcing numbers. One station – a Moscow-based broadcast during a Communist party coup – featured only the number five repeated for hours.

Numbers stations and use of shortwave have declined after the Cold War, but there are still transmissions heard every day – the shortwave decline has not been as pronounced as one would expect. Part of the reason for this is that it is a secure means of one-way communication. Since the airwaves are being released out into the ether – the intended recipient is completely untrackable. Presumably, spies would carry a one-time pad, which would have the encryption code to be used (ideally) for just one broadcast (hence one-time). This makes decryption from pedestrians and enemies nearly impossible unless that one-time pad is misused or corrupted.

Almost all of the information we have on these numbers stations is due to hobbyists listening, sourcing, and sometimes attempting to decode the stations with their own radios. The communities of hobbyists are vast – and their logging can be prolific. There is the Spooks Spy Numbers Station Mailing List, the Conet Project (which compiles recordings of shortwave), the Spy Numbers Station Database, and many others. They keep track of the frequency, the time, the numbers, and sometimes record audio each time spooks hear a Numbers broadcast. These shortwave enthusiasts sometimes spend hours trying to locate the source of these broadcasts – sometimes, to no avail.

Akin Fernandez, who started the Conet Project ,recalls his initial interest in these mystery stations. "Once you hear them, it has an effect on you," he says in an interview with BBC. "I never expected to be talking about it 17 years after hearing it for the first time – when the Conet Project first started."”

Via the high brown magazine
http://www.highbrowmagazine.com/4263-numbers-stations-shortwave-radio-and-their-role-intelligence-community



[Audio: DX Extra Promo No.4]


“The BBC World Service says it has expanded its service to Afghanistan through three new live programs.

The new BBC Afghan daily broadcasts are one-hour audience-participation programs, Word of the Day in the morning and News and Views in the evening; and Global Newsbeat bulletins in Dari and Pashto.
News and Views has now become part of the evening schedule following a successful trial run. This daily program is split into two half-hour Dari and Pashto sections.
Matin Samsoor, Gulistan Shinwari, Jawad Samimi and Sharif Walid anchor the morning live interactive show, Word of the Day (which started in December) and examines how stories are being covered by the Afghan papers.
The Pashto and Dari editions of BBC World Service’s Global Newsbeat bulletins launched in late December and target younger listeners. It is presented live from Kabul and broadcast alternately every half hour, between 10 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. local time.

BBC World Service broadcasts to Afghanistan on shortwave and FM, in Pashto, Dari, Uzbek and English.”

Via radio world dot com
http://www.radioworld.com/article/bbc-afghan-adds-three-shows/274040


“At the end  of December, some Deutsche Welle frequencies that were originally part of the October schedule plan, were terminated, or replaced. This confirms that services for English, Hausa and Amharic were not eliminated - but instead the frequencies were updated.

Germany, Deutsche Welle  (winter schedule relay revisions)

Effective: 20 Dec. 2014

All times UTC

English
0400-0500  9600af (Rwanda)  9800af (Rwanda)  15275af (UAE)
0500-0557  9600af (Rwanda)
0500-0600  9800af (Rwanda)  15275af (Madagascar)
0700-0730  17800af (Armenia)
0700-0800  9800af (Rwanda)  15275af (Rwanda)
0730-0800  17800af (Rwanda)

French
1700-1759  15275af (France)
1700-1800  9800af (Rwanda)  12005af (Rwanda) 17800af (Rwanda)”

Via shortwave central blog http://mt-shortwave.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/deutsche-welle-winter-schedule-update.html



“Peter De Groot writes:
A series of special Radio Netherlands broadcasts will begin on January 17th and 18th, 2015.  Presenters will be John van den Steen, Jerry Cowan and Tim Thomasson. See frequencies and times below:
  • 0100 to 0200 UTC on 7,570 kHz
  • 0100 to 0200 UTC on 11,790 and perhaps 13700
Peter sent no more information than this, so I’m not sure where the transmissions will originate. Since RNW is no longer on the air, I’m certain these broadcasts aren’t coming from Hilversum.
Hopefully, someone will attempt to record these broadcasts in case I’m not in the broadcast footprint. Would like to add this to the SW Radio Audio Archive.” via the shortwave listening blog http://swling.com/blog/2015/01/special-radio-netherlands-broadcasts-starting-january-17-and-18-2015/



“AUSTRALIA. The ABC has announced major cuts to Radio Australia shortwave transmissions.
From 14 January all overseas relays (via Dhabaya, Kranji and Palau) will end.
From 31 January the Brandon shortwave site will close.

From Jan14 all shortwave transmissions to Asia will cease.”
From 31 January output from Shepparton will be reduced from six full time transmitters to only three transmitters, all operating 24 hours per day with the following schedule:
0900-2100 on 6080 6150 9580
2100-0900 on 15240 15415 17840
(Radio Australia via WRTH via Jan BDXC-UK Communication via DXLD)
There had been fears that the ABC might abandon shortwave completely so although output is significantly reduced, RA will retain a welcome presence on SW for the time being and hopefully some of the above frequencies will be audible in Europe. Programming includes relays of ABC National and TripleJ (Dave Kenny, ed., Jan BDXC-UK Communication via DXLD)” via the DX Listening digest


[Pirate Theme]


Yes it's time to have a look at the latest pirates logs:

Here are the Europirate logs for the middle of January


Tuesday 13th Januray 2015
6210 16h48 Radio Experience Playing Dance Music. Fair Signal With Some Fading
4026-22,15 Laser Hot Hits Paul Stewart With Music From Oddesy And Shakatak. Good Signal


Sunday 11th January 2015
6940 10h30 Premier Radio Music From Suzie Q, Blur And Oasis. Good Signal
6205-7.50 Radio King Shortwave Rock Music Including Poison And Roxy Music. Fair Signal
6875 8h55 Radio Europe Music And Talking In Italian. Weak Signal
6255-9.35 Radio Merlin International With Music  New Order, Ultravox And Depeche Mode. Fair Signal

Via Irish Paul's Radio Blog http://irishpaulsradioblog.blogspot.com.au/



We also have an interesting studio recording of a Europirate I've never heard before but you may have catched on shortwave on 6300 and 7385 January 12th, WFRL from the United Kingdom.
[Audio: WFRL]
Recording from Achims free radio blog http://www.achimbrueckner.de/freeradio/php/wordpress/?p=37985

Heading over to North America:
6940USB 1h5UTC Radio Hummingbird 80s rap with electric guitar. Great reception.
Jive music. 0150utc, "Humbear? Radio testing" 0155 Hummingbird Radio ID

In AM mode its very crunchy or messed up by propagation. In usb its nice and understandable.

Its 0251utc, haven't heard Hummingbird in a while. It was on and off. By member Antennae


There's also been some unusual NAVTEX data messages broadcast into North America, one on 6950 2h05UTC 11th January 2015 “This NAVTEX message came across the wire shortly after Wolverine signed off tonight
VVV   VVV   FANSOME HAD YOUR DARK SUIT IN GREASY WASH WATER ALL YEAR.
DONT ASK ME TO CARRY AN OILY RAG LIKE THAT.
THEY USED  PIGMEAT TO FLAG THOUGHTLESS MOTORISTS.” Via member Kilokat7


Another on 6928USB 2h47UTC 12th January 2015. I'm assuming it is Wolverine Radio ending their broadcast with some extra goodies.
3440 00h57UTC WHYP 12th January 2015 “Signing on now with "Whip It".  S6-S7 in NY. Really cool to hear these shows from the archives once again. Via member curious george


Logs via the HF underground forum. (We also hank other members contributions to the pirate logs that may have not got a mention.)

DX Extra is being relayed via World FM 88.2FM in Tawa, near Wellington in New Zealand, Worldfm dot co dot nz and on shortwave via relay partners as well so look out for us on Focus International, Magic 6205 Europe, Premier Radio and Cupid Radio. A big thank you to all our relay partners. Your generosity means a lot! Also an extra thanks to Pandora Radio who relayed the last DX Extra show, thanks for the out of the blue relay! 

Before we go it's time to get an audio clip out of the archives. This is a shortwave recording of the last episode of DX-tra from Radio Berlin International October 2nd 1990 at 00h45UTC on 9730khz. “RBI ceased broadcasting at the end of the day on 2 October 1990, the day before German reunification took place.” Via shortwave listening blog:
http://swling.com/blog/2015/01/shortwave-radio-recordings-radio-berlin-international-final-episode-of-dx-tra/


[Audio: Radio Berlin International.mp3]

Until next time remember shortwave radio is still full of mysteries – keep tuning and keep reporting. Take care and stay safe

----


Ok so that's the end of the DX Extra, on Hobart Radio International it's time to look in the mailbag and read out some reports from you – “Hello HRI,  here is a quick email  to let you know I was just listening to your DX show being relayed by Cupid Radio in the Netherlands. The Australian accent got my attention !! DX Programme talking about Pirate review of the Year for 2014 and details of when stations were on on air. Show ended with details of QSL and the email address for reports.” From Iain Cameron in Scotland. Thank you.
“Dear Hobart Radio International

I listened your DX Extra No.18 via Cupid Radio.
I used Software Defined Radio at University of Twente in the Netherlands.
I heard your program on January 3, 2015 from 15:32 to 16:02 UTC on a frequency of 6240 kHz with good reception status.
Its signal were strong and there was no interference.
It was regrettable that its sound quality was not good.
Of course, I listened to you again on your website.” From Masahiro Hihara, Japan.

And we are aware of the audio quality which is a fault with the current microphone. I have an eye on a new one this weekend and also have try compressing the show lighter to try and help. Thank you for your report.


We just have time for one more, “thanks from  Gino Italy nice info on Radio Cochiguaz many thanks,     i send  mp3  audio file. .
I used  RX  Teletron TE 712S   and antenna  magnetic loop
I hope in you QSL   e-mail   and many thanks for Info SW
73s  Ciao Happy New Year 2015” From Davide Borroni in Italy.

Of course we would love to hear from you, come on send us as eQSL reception report to hriradio at gmail dot com and tell us what you think of the DX Extra show.

I don't think I've mentioned the website much today, all our shows are archived on the website, www.hriradio.org which includes transcripts photos and a whole heap more and soon to be released is an exciting Pirate Station Special which fingers crossed will be ready next fortnight when the DX Extra number 20 is released. Make sure you join us on facebook, we're up to nearly 150 likes, at facebook dot com forwardflash dx extra


Hobart Radio International is now closing on this frequency, thank you for listening and we hope you will hear us again soon on shortwave.
Image: Hobart's well-known Tasman Bridge. Remembering the 40th anniversary of the 1975-2015 bridge collapse.


December 18, 2014

DX Extra shortwave show No.17 Released!

Hello fellow DXers, it is with great excitement to release the latest shortwave news programme DX Extra number 17 to the world wide web! It's the Christmas edition! 
 In this fortnight's podcast:  Radio Dabanga: (Govt) launches 10 shortwave stations (to combat Radio Dabanga) Santa on 3916  Radio Exterior Espangna returns Radio Australia - hostage crisis 
Radio Havana Cuba on diplomacy changes
Pirate Radio Logs and recordings
Audio Archive: Radio Vaticana 
(BBC World Service at end)

LISTEN via embedded player:

By the way, it's a week before Christmas day!


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To DOWNLOAD in 320kbps format or lower formats head to: https://archive.org/details/DxExtra17
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TRANSCRIPT:
"Coming January, Sudan will launch ten shortwave radio stations in Darfur, and ten in South Kordofan The new radio stations will present programmes in local dialects, to counter the broadcasts by Radio Dabanga, in an attempt to reduce its impact on the populations of those regions, especially in Darfur, Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told Members of the national Parliament on Tuesday.
As for South Kordofan, the radio stations will aim to reach the Nuba people living in the rebel-controlled areas, the minister noted.
Sudanese MPs have criticised the performance of the official media before. They described it as “weak, and failing in the delivery of information”. On Tuesday, 25 November, the daily broadcasts by Radio Dabanga from the Netherlands were discussed in the parliament. Some MPs stressed the need “to disrupt the activity of Radio Dabanga, or completely stop it”, and demanded from the Information Minister of State to develop a plan to at least reduce its impact.
Radio Dabanga broadcasts in shortwave to the whole of Sudan and neighbouring countries. Satellite broadcasts are confined to the larger cities." 
Reference: http://swling.com/blog/2014/12/radio-dabanga-sudan-to-launch-20-radio-stations/

UPDATE: 19/12/14 Radio Dabanga is being combated by the 10 proposed shortwave stations and 10 FM stations. While the report says "10 shortwave stations" it is possible they will all be on FM. 

“For the 9th consecutive year, the 3.916 Nets will be giving good boys and girls a chance to talk to Santa Claus via the magic of ham radio.   The '3916 Santa Nets' will be held at 7:30 PM every night from November 28 through December 24th.    The Santa Nets are open to all licensed amateur radio operators who wish to invite kids to their shack to talk to Santa.  Third party rules will apply.

For 2014, The 3916 Santa Net will be on the air nightly during the Christmas season.  The net time is changing from 8:30 PM Central to 7:30 PM Central.   Pete Thomson (KE5GGY), commented on The 3916 Santa Nets.  He said, "Christmas is our favorite time of year on The 3916 Nets.  Each year on the Santa Nets we are blown away by the response.  It's incredible to hear the excitement in kids' voices as they talk to Santa Claus on Ham Radio.   Based on comments from last year, we're going to have the Santa Net every night during the Christmas season and we're moving the net back an hour so kids won't have to stay up too late."

Thomson added that The Santa Nets are a great way to let kids experience both the magic of Christmas and amateur radio.  He said, "We encourage hams to get their kids, grand kids and even neighbor kids into their shacks to participate in the Santa Net.  The kids love talking to Santa and we get an opportunity to show a young person how amateur radio works."

Each evening, The 3916 Santa Net will start at 7:30 PM (Central) on 3.916 MHz.  Pre-net check-ins will be taken on the air starting at 7:15 PM.   You can also do a pre-net check in by emailing ke5ggy@gmail.com.

For more information on The 3916 Nets or The Santa Net, contact Pete ThomsonKE5GGY at ke5ggy@gmail.com.” via Voice of Ham Radio Blog



[Audio: DX Extra Promo No.4]

At ISWBG deadline, we received information that Spain's Radio Exterior Espana was planning to resume broadcasting on shortwave. Severe budget cuts had forced the station to terminate all broadcast on shortwave at the close of their summer schedule season in October.
  After extensive deliberations, the RTVE Board of Directors approved to resume broadcasting transmissions from Noblejas, Spain. Plans are to mainly beam broadcast to four main target areas, four hours a day and eight hours on weekends.
  At this time the following schedule, which has been revised from the previous listing in Late Breaking News is noted as "tentative,"
A start date has not been released at this post. The definitive schedule will be released shortly.




The following revised schedule, has been registered for the winter broadcast
All times UTC


1600-2400 on 9620 NOB 200 kW / 290 deg to NoAm Spanish Sat/Sun
1600-2400 on 11685 NOB 200 kW / 161 deg to WCAf Spanish Sat/Sun
1600-2400 on 11940 NOB 200 kW / 230 deg to SoAm Spanish Sat/Sun
1600-2400 on 12030 NOB 200 kW / 110 deg to NEAf Spanish Sat/Sun


1600-2200 on 17715 NOB 200 kW / 230 deg to SoAm Spanish Daily
1600-2400 on 17755 NOB 200 kW / 161 deg to WCAf Spanish Daily
1800-2400 on 17850 NOB 100 kW / 272 deg to CeAm Spanish Daily
1800-2400 on 21610 NOB 200 kW / 110 deg to N/ME Spanish Daily
1900-2300 on 15110 NOB 200 kW / 302 deg to NoAm Spanish Daily


2000-2400 on 9620 NOB 200 kW / 290 deg to NoAm Spanish Mon-Fri
2000-2400 on 11685 NOB 200 kW / 161 deg to WCAf Spanish Mon-Fri
2000-2400 on 11940 NOB 200 kW / 230 deg to SoAm Spanish Mon-Fri
2000-2400 on 12030 NOB 200 kW / 110 deg to NEAf Spanish Mon-Fri
2000-2400 on 15385 NOB 200 kW / 161 deg to WCAf Spanish Mon-Fri
via Shortwave central blog [Audio: REE] in downloads folder



Audio via the Bulgarian DX Blog


Australia was changed when news surfaced of a hostage crisis that took place at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, Sydney on Monday the 15th of December. Terrorism has come to our shores. Shortwave has been highlighted as Radio Australia switched to a live feed from 702 ABC Sydney with rolling coverage that the short wave community would have benefited from if living outside Australia. It just goes to show even the ABC still thinks shortwave is important. A few years ago Radio Australia played an important role with a relay of ABC Queensland radio due to terrible floods in December 2010. 200,000 people were affected and a damage bill of 2.38million dollars. Many affected could not get vital information as power was cut, car radios out of reach as their cars were flooded and as we know smartphone's battery life is pretty average. As three quarters of the state was severely flooded only those who had an emergency radio could hear vital information.

[Audio: Radio Australia – hostage crisis]

The sad news for Radio Australia is news that has surfaced that in 2015 only the Shepparton transmitter will remain 24/7 a day and all other transmitters will close. I will be looking out for more clarity on this change in the weeks ahead.



“WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to “cut loose the shackles of the past” and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.
The surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret talks that produced a prisoner swap negotiated with the help of Pope Francis and concluded by a telephone call between Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro. The historic deal broke an enduring stalemate between two countries divided by just 90 miles of water but oceans of mistrust and hostility dating from the days of Theodore Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill and the nuclear brinkmanship of the Cuban missile crisis.” via the New York Times
As this new news surfaced on Radio Havana Cuba many shortwave listeners wonder what the Cuban take on the diplomatic changes are. After all they can't talk about the Cuban five any more now the three imprisoned were released! Let's listen to news recorded today by Eric Bueneman from Missouri, USA.

[Audio: RHC 6000kHz...] 



[Pirate Theme]


The pirate world has been busy, last weekend produced more logs than normal and if this weekend on the eve of Christmas is anything to go by, expect it to be pretty full!

Here are American and Europirate logs for the last week of December:


6845 Happy Hanukkah Radio 17th December 1h22UTC “Hearing interval signal 0121, into classical violin music, different show or different station?  S-5 here
Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song 0127... faded out buy 0132 or so.” First reported by Chris Smolinski Was also broadcasting earlier before 1hr UTC.

6770 Old Time Radio 23h22UTC December 16th with a good s9 signal into USA. First reported by Chris Smolinski

[Audio: Old Time Radio] Thanks to William Callesen for the clip!
6323 Radio Underground 14th December 2014 17h15UTC playing Baba O'Reily by The Who. First reported by atrainradio


6880 Bangalore Poacher December 14th 2014 at 3h43UTC “with the usual zany mixture of nonsensical numbers and utterings by man and woman announcer, Lincolnshire Poacher IS, then some beeps, IS and OFF abruptly at 0353 UTC. Signal was about an S5, mostly above the noise with some fading. Nice to hear this one again...it's been awhile!” (reference?)


I couldn't wait half the show to air you this clip, it is a recording of the Bangalore Poacher – get ready for some insane radio!


[Audio: Bangalore Poacher]

I received an email announcing some stations on air this weekend to keep an eye out for:

“Relays this weekend

Radio City will be on the air this weekend:
Friday December 19th at 19.00 to 20.00 UTC on 7290 and 1368 kHz,
and repeated on Saturday December 20th at 09.00 to 10.00 UTC on 9510 kHz
Our address remains citymorecars@yahoo.ca

We will also be on the air Saturday December 27th at 13.00 - 14.00 UTC via Hamburger Lokalradio on 7265 kHz
There is also a separate weekly programme via Radio Merkurs, Latvia every Saturday at 20.00 - 21.00 UTC on 1485 kHz.

European Music Radio Relay on 21st of December 2014:
08.00 to 09.00 UTC  (Gohren) on 7265 KHz  Tom & Mike Taylor
09.00 to 10.00 UTC  (Gohren) on 9485 KHz  Tom & Mike Taylor
Please send all E.M.R. reports to:  studio@emr.org.uk  Thank you!

If you live outside the listening area please try the Twente/Netherlands Web Receiver at http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/

Every Saturday and Wednesday the programs of HLR:
07.00 to 09.00 UTC, on 7265 KHz
09.00 to 12.00 UTC, on 6190 KHz
12.00 to 16.00 UTC, on 7265 KHz
Every Sunday:
12.00 to 16.00 UTC on 9485 kHz
E-mail: redaktion@hamburger-lokalradio.de  Thank you! “ via Tom Taylor Hard core DX digest


All logs via the HF underground forum. (We also hank other members contributions to the pirate logs that may have not got a mention.)

And if this news was not enough, we recommend The World of Radio by Glen Hauser, the website www dot world of radio dot com



DX Extra is being relayed via World FM 88.2FM in Tawa, near Wellington in New Zealand, Worldfm dot co dot nz and on shortwave last week on WBCQ USA on 5110 and 7490 during the Area 51 timeslot. We have new relays as well so look out for us on Focus International around 6285 the first week of the month, Magic 6205 Europe also on 15700 over weekends and Cupid Radio around 6305 or 15070 airing on the weekends as well. A big thank you to all our relay partners. Your generosity means a lot!

You may also hear our Christmas special on shortwave, it's to be aired on our relay partners and you can hear it in it's entirety n on the website at Hriradio.org


[promo]

Before we go it's time to get an audio clip out of the archives. This is a bit of festive music for Christmas from Radio Vaticana's Portugese transmission.


[Audio: Radio Vaticana.wav]

Until next time remember shortwave radio is still full of mysteries – keep tuning and keep reporting. We wish you a Merry Christmas a safe and prospertive New year.

[Audio: BBC World Service]





Image: Christmas light from a Hobart home in Warrane.

October 12, 2014

DX Extra - Number Stations show released!

Dear fellow DXers,

It is with absolute excitement to release a special podcast on Number Stations. Last time we released one on this topic the audio was relayed by pirates across shortwave. In case this happens again we have included our original intermission theme. 


To LISTEN press play with embedded player:

 or DOWNLOAD in 320kbps quality head to:


Subscribe to the RSS feed at: http://hriradio.podomatic.com/rss2.xml

We thank your continuing support and encouragement to produce podcasts and hope this special show will enable us to gauge interest where we sit as a platform in podcasting. 



TRANSCRIPT NUMBER STATIONS

[DX Extra theme]

Welcome to a DX Extra special

[Audio sample as intro Delta Mike]

[Audio sample – counting station CIA]

Number stations have been on air ever since the end of the Second world war although some think even earlier post World War 1. Heightened during the Cold war. Government Intelligence Agencies from around the world send unbreakable messages in number formats over radio to spy agents in the field, like the famous 007 James Bond

[Audio – James Bond theme]

These are transmitted over shortwave worldband radio, it's in a band in-between the AM radio band and the FM band – it starts just after the AM or Medium Wave band at 1 point 711 mhz and goes up to 30mhz. It's lower than the FM radio band which starts at 87MHz. Unfortunately the shortwave band is less known these days and naturally the Internet, ipads, andriod tablets and smart phones are a much better way of listening to radio stations by simply downloading their app and tuning in. But those who still tune into the old shortwave bands can still pick up number stations if it be in English, German, Spanish or Russian. 

At the top or half past the hour they start off with a little diddly tune, call it their intro – beeps, callsigns or a mix of both. This is to help the agent tune into the frequency and to tell the agent what the station is. 

[Audio – Lincolnshire Poacher]

Stations come and go, some last for ten years while others a year or even a week. After the Berlin wall fell many East and West German number stations went off the air never to be heard again. 

[Audio – ]
[Audio – Magnetic fields]

Number stations aren't always in voice form, some are in Morse code, while others use digital modes to send text and numbers.

[Audio – Wilco ]

Bands such as Stereolab and Boards of Canada have created songs artistically using number stations, in this song called “Pause” by Stereolab you can hear the sound of German numbers being read. 

[Audio – Sterelab – Pause]

One of the biggest questions is why use a public broadcast medium of radio to transmit numbers? It's a simple answer – it's easy to do and easy to tune into over vast amounts of land. Remember that shortwave radio can go for hundreds of kilometres easily covering a whole continent!  But it's very possible the signal even could reach beyond to America or Australia or right around the world. The good thing about shortwave transmissions are that they are hard to trace and easy to pick up with a simple portable shortwave radio.

To finish off, let's have a quick listen to a South Korean numbers station that plays a different song before the transmission begins for its spies in North Korea. The country has had plenty of media attention of late. I've also observed China and Vietnam now have number stations.  

[Audio – James Bond theme No.2] 


This podcast is creative commons copyright 2014 by Hobart Radio International. We used audio from the conet project, other media recordings donated by Jochen Schafer, recordings from Simon Mason's website and other unknown authors.