Friday, February 24, 2012

Number Stations

I saw a post online today that got me interested in something completely new and different... Number Stations. I've always had a latent interest in some day getting a HAM or Shortwave Radio and learning to use it properly, but I haven't really thought about it intently in recent times. This post asked about info on "Number Stations" and naturally, I fired up trusty Google, and immediately was fascinated. Turns out there are stations across the frequencies that transmit series of seemingly random numbers, letters, or sounds. There are theories abound on what these stations are, but two seem to be the most commonly presented. Either they are encrypted communications between intelligence agencies and spies in the field, or they are transmissions used by drug cartels and other underground networks. Whatever they are, they are bloody *fascinating* to me. The idea of tuning in a short-wave radio and being able to listen to these intelligence or underground transmissions of important data, whether they're one-time use encrypted to be unbreakable by any means or not, seems exhilarating. All this information is buzzing past us as light that is at a non-visible frequency, but it's still there, and able to be seen and listened too... Just not deciphered. Apparently this 'phenomenon' began sprouting up during WWI, and has persisted since. It was extremely prevalent during the Cold War, for obvious reasons. Communicating with spies in a unbreakable code anywhere in the world was probably an extremely useful tool of the time. Even today it is used and must be useful.

Do any of my readers here happen to be into HAM/Shortwave radio? I'd love to learn more about what kind of neat stuff can be done over the airwaves, and potentially buy a radio to get started with picking up some neat stuff (Especially these number stations!)

Here's a video recording of one: (Note I do NOT own or claim rights to this video in any way, shape, or form.)
As you can hear, some can even be quite creepy sounding!


  1. And be careful, the music-box kind of song is stuck in my head!

  2. I've learned to build a shortwave radio for post apocalypse reasons just in case anything happens in my life
    among many other things
    I also happen to have a degree in cryptology so I'm quite familiar with this
    you'd be amazed as to what exactly you can hear out there in the universe

    if you do get into it, don't let anybody know if you hear anything unusual, sometime it can get you in way over your head

  3. Nah man, the closest I've been to HAM radios is the Simpsons and Black Ops.

  4. I heard of them, they did a whole episode of Fringe on them, saying they were from humans of the past or something like that. And agree, you hear anything keep it to yourself.

  5. The only I experience I have with things like this is when someone somehow was on the same frequency of the musical I was watching. Made for an interesting night it did.

  6. the idea behind the numbers is for use with a one-time pad. When used properly, they're unbreakable

  7. interesting - I had heard of this years ago but thought they'd closed most of them down