Tag Archives: Shortwaveology

Numbers Stations in the news

towersThere have been a lot of numbers in the news lately.

Earlier this week, David Goren’s numbers station radio documentary was featured on the ABC Radio National show, Sounds Like Radio.

Click here to listen.

This morning, I also noticed this excellent BBC News Magazine piece on numbers stations, which includes an interview with Akin Fernandez, the creator of the Conet Project.

Here’s an excerpt from The spooky world of the ‘numbers stations’:

“This is the era of hyper-tech espionage, encrypted emails and mindboggling cryptography. But you can hear a very old-fashioned form of espionage on shortwave radio.

It is 13:03 on a Tuesday in a little crammed room of the BBC Monitoring building in Caversham and what is suddenly heard on a shortwave receiving station is a 10-minute message in Morse code.

There is a small community of aficionados who believe messages like this are a throwback to the era of Cold War espionage. They are the mysterious “numbers stations”.

At the apex of the Cold War, radio lovers across the globe started to notice bizarre broadcasts on the airwaves. Starting with a weird melody or the sound of several beeps, these transmissions might be followed by the unnerving sound of a strange woman’s voice counting in German or the creepy voice of a child reciting letters in English.

[…]Times have changed and technology has evolved, but there’s evidence that this old-fashioned seeming method of communication might still be used. Shortwave numbers stations might seem low-tech but they probably remain the best option for transmitting information to agents in the field, some espionage experts suggest.

“Nobody has found a more convenient and expedient way of communicating with an agent,” says Rupert Allason, an author specialising in espionage issues and writing under the pen name Nigel West.

“Their sole purpose is for intelligence agencies to communicate with their agents in denied areas – a territory where it is difficult to use a consensual form of communications,” Allason says.

A former GCHQ officer, who does not wish to be named, whose duty was to intercept signals towards the UK and search for these numbers stations in the 1980s is also adamant that these were broadcasts to agents in the field or in residencies or directed to embassies.

It was “one-way traffic” – the transmitters broadcast numbers to the recipient. The recipient did not reply.”

[…]”This system is completely secure because the messages can’t be tracked, the recipient could be anywhere,” says Akin Fernandez, the creator of the Conet Project – a comprehensive archive of the phenomenon of numbers stations. “It is easy. You just send the spies to a country and get them to buy a radio. They know where to tune and when,” he says.

Continue reading on the BBC Magazine website…

If you would like to know more about numbers stations, click here to read other numbers posts.

Click here to go to David’s website, Shortwaveology.net.

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Shortwave Shindig rebroadcast, April 18 and 19

ShindigLogoWhiteThis just in from David Goren at Shortwaveology:

Shortwave Shindig rebroadcast!

The show originally broadcast on 3/14 will be heard again on WRMI: Friday, April 18, at 6-7 pm ET (2200-2300 UTC) and Saturday, April 19 at 11 pm-12 midnight ET (0300-0400 UTC April 20) — both on 9955 kHz from Okeechobee.

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The “Shortwave Shindig” T: you know you want one


[Update (04/10/14): Check out promotional pricing for SWLing Post readers below.]

Remember that incredible live Shortwave Shindig broadcast of a few weeks ago? If you missed it, check out one of these recordings.

David Goren, radio producer and Shortwavelogist behind the broadcast, has printed up a series of terrific T-shirts to commemorate the event. Your purchase of a shirt will not only elevate your social standing (I mean, who has a T-shirt with the word “shortwave” on it?), but importantly, it will also help support more such broadcasts and radio productions out of the studios of Shortwaveology in future.

ShortwaveShindigTeeAnd did I mention that the funky retro logo design, above and right, is by the talented Jeff Murray, K1NSS? Gotta love it.

These shirts are 100% cotton and available in black (see right) or white.

I don’t want to over-promise here, but I understand that wearing the Shortwave Shindig shirt can increase your chances of hearing the elusive Bhutan Broadcasting Service and many other signals–perhaps even ones that have recently gone off the air. Moreover, this shirt is 100% QRM free.

What are you waiting for?

Hop over to this page on Shortwaveology.net and order yours today!

And, dear readers, thanks for hanging on to my hard sell: this one’s for a good cause.

UPDATE: Many thanks to David Goren who is offering a 10% discount to SWLing Post readers!  Simply enter the promotional coupon code “swling” at checkout. Total cost will then be $18 shipped! Click here to order your shirt. This promotion will only be available for two weeks, ending April 24, 2014.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: The Shortwave Shindig

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Matthew Williams, who recorded The Shortwave Shindig on 7,570 kHz at 2:00 UTC on March 15, 2014. Matthew was using his Kenwood TS-590S and an 80 meter doublet antenna at his home in New York state.

Here’s his recording, hot off the press:

If others were able to record The Shortwave Shindig, please comment with a link to your recording, your location and your receiver. I will post them on them on Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Many thanks for making this recording, Matthew!

Check out David Goren’s website Shortwaveology.net and his Facebook page for more shortwave radio productions.

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David Goren’s numbers station piece featured on 99% Invisible

99invisible-logo-itunes-badgeWe’ve mentioned “Shortwaveologist” David Goren on the SWLing Post multiple times. David is a talented radio producer who also happens to be a life-long avid shortwave radio listener.

One of David’s productions, Atencion! Seis Siete Tres Siete Cero: The Mystery of the Shortwave Numbers Stations, first aired in 2000 as part of the NPR series Lost and Found Sound. It’s a richly layered soundscape, a sonic journey woven together by David’s narration and a series of interviews in a form of personal documentary–and it’s simply inspired.  This piece caught the attention of Roman Mars, producer of my all-time favorite podcast, 99% Invisible. I’m pleased and proud to report that 99% Invisible‘s latest podcast features this brilliant numbers station piece of David’s.

For those of you who don’t know, 99% Invisible now has, deservedly, one of the largest listenerships in the podcasting world. A version of their show is also produced and aired over NPR. This piece will give shortwave radio significant exposure, and in turn make it a little less…well, invisible.

Intrigued?  Join us–and begin by listening to David’s feature.  Either subscribe to 99% Invisible via your favorite podcasting software, download the show as an mp3, or simply listen on 99% Invisible‘s website by clicking here.

ShortwaveologyLogoBe sure to check out David Goren’s updated website Shortwaveology.net which has an array of his own audio productions as well as a sound clips and a listener’s (b)log.  It’s terrific.

PS–If you would like to meet David in person, plan to attend his annual listening event: the Shortwave Shindig at the Winter SWL Festival in Pennsylvania (you have registered for the annual SWL Fest, right?).

David, we look forward to any and all of your future work (rumor has it that he’s working on Shortwaveology #3)…Stay tuned!

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Shortwaveology #2 now on SoundCloud

Radio producer and shortwave radio artist, David Goren, has recently posted his 2008 production of Shortwaveology #2 on Soundcloud. If you like the sonic texture of the shortwaves, you’ll love this recording:

Perhaps if we badger David enough–say, on his Facebook page, or on his Soundcloud feed–he’ll produce Shortwaveology #3? Hey, it’s worth a try!

Wait a minute.  You haven’t heard Shortwaveology #1? Take a listen:

In the spirit of full disclosure, David’s a good friend. That is, he will be, until he figures out that I’m asking readers to heckle him into producing another installment of his ongoing work, Shortwaveology. Oh, what the heck; friends come along every day, Shortwave installments don’t.  Let’s hound him! (Whatcha waiting for, David?)

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David Goren’s numbers station installation audio

DG-Performance-ShortwaveTwo months ago, I posted that David Goren, talented radio producer and shortwave radio artist, created a Numbers Station installation in the Secret Wars exhibition at the Proteus Gowanus gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

David has recently published the audio that accompanies his installation.

Take note that this is not a radio documentary–rather, it’s an expansion of his original piece, and part of his sound installation at Proteus Gowanus.  Enjoy:

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