Tag Archives: Bletchley Park

The Listeners: Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps who secretly monitored the airwaves

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares the following fascinating video from the CBC and notes:

“The Listeners” Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps monitored the airwaves for German U-Boat traffic. Their participation was secret for decades.”

Click here to view this video via the CBC.

This is such an amazing story, Fred, and the CBC did a fine job putting it together. Thanks so much for sharing.

Editor’s note regarding WWII history: Regular SWLing Post readers know that I’m an avid WWII history buff, in that I read, view, and especially listen to many accounts of the Second World War era, the glory days of radio. I’ve traveled and lived in several of the countries that were, at that time, among the Axis Powers, some of my close friends are from or reside in these countries now, and feel much as I do about this history: that this was a devastating war which we must not forget or romanticize, and from which we can learn about ourselves as human beings, hopefully with the view of preventing such chilling events from ever being repeated.  As we have readers and contributors from all over the world in this radio community, I sincerely hope that WWII-related articles are regarded in this light of understanding. The takeaway? Times have changed.  I firmly believe that a deep understanding of our shared history makes us all better people.

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Bletchley Park replica Turing Bombe decodes 40M Enigma message

Remember the weekend 40 meter Enigma message transmitted by DL0HNF? At least one recipient decoded this message:

(Source: Southgate ARC)

40m Enigma Message decrypted at Bletchley Park

On Friday, April 7 the amateur radio station DLØHNF transmitted an Enigma encrypted message on 7036 kHz to Bletchley Park

DLØHNF is the club station at the Heinz Nixdorf Museum in Paderborn, Germany. The encrypted telegraphy message they transmitted was received at the home of the World War Two UK Codebreakers in Bletchley Park. There the message was fed into a replica of the Turing Bombe which enabled the encryption to be cracked.

The message read:  “Paderborn greets the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park”

Read the report and pictures of the event down the page at

Bletchley Park

I would have loved to watch the Touring Bombe in action!

Out of curiosity, did anyone record the Enigma transmission?  I’ve had a number of readers inquire about this. Please comment!

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WWII: Sussex home provided Bletchley Park with intercepts

SWLingPost-Numbers1(Source: Eastbourne Herald)

Much has been written about Bletchley Park and the decoding of German Enigma signals. However, the code breakers first needed the raw material – transcripts of enemy messages.

The British Y Service was the ‘ears’ of Bletchley Park and without this, code breaking was impossible. There were several departments under the control of MI-8. The RAF, Army, Navy, Metropolitan Police, Post Office and Foreign Office had interceptors and American units also contributed. Haystoun House in Church Street, Willingdon – today flats and previously an old people’s home – was the base of the American 129th Signal Radio Intelligence Company. In the 1940s it stood alone with space for the so-called ‘aerial farm’ – 40 aerials in the form of inverted L’s, 20 on each side of the house.

These were fed to a ‘set room’ that could cater for 42 receivers. Tables around walls had partitions to separate operating positions. Operators kept four-hour watches, known as ‘tricks’ and searchers tuned over a segment of the short wave spectrum listening for any new stations that might pop up. Experienced operators were able to recognise the Morse styles – the so-called ‘fists’ – of individual German signallers. Message pads were ferried by dispatch rider to London. Operators were trained at Camp Crowder in Missouri where they learnt to copy high-speed Morse onto a typewriter. However, a pencil and message pad proved easier because receivers drifted off frequency and one hand was needed to re-tune. The daily schedule was 15 sets at night and 25 during the day.[…]

Continue reading: http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/nostalgia/nostalgia-willingdon-home-was-the-sussex-bletchley-park-1-7269441#ixzz43fTvD8hO

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Historic Bawdsey Radar site receives £1.4 million grant from the UK government

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for sharing this article about the historic Bawdsey Radar site:

(Source: Engaget)

save-radarA radar site considered by some to be as historically important as Bletchley Park will be preserved, thanks to a £1.4 million ($2 million) grant from the UK government. The Bawdsey facility in eastern England, established in 1938, was the world’s first operational radar station. The then-brand new technology helped the allied forces win the Battle of Britain, and some historians think it may have shortened World War II by as much as two years. The facility was closed in 1991, and is on Britain’s “at-risk” heritage list because of structural issues and water damage.

According to the preservation group Bawsdey Radar, construction work will start in September 2016 and the building will open to visitors in September 2017. The goal is not just to conserve it, but also to unveil a new visitor exhibition featuring physical and virtual displays. The UK’s “Heritage At Risk” adviser John Etté said the facility “played a vital part in the development of radar technology during [WWII], and had a huge impact on post-war electronics and defense system,” including GPS, water technology, radar guns and the microwave oven.[…]

Continue reading at Engaget…

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