Mar 11, 2013

Personality Dissolves at 4625 kHz

Every evening at seven, Clay Brinner turned on his ham radio and fiddled with the dial until he heard the sound of his own voice.

A man who sounded exactly like him read off numbers from a list.

Clay wrote the numbers down. They were starting to make sense.

by John Magnet Bell

What are number stations? Thanks to, we learn that
Number Stations are shortwave radio stations or a high frequency that transmit a call sign, usually letters from the phonic alphabet or strings of numbers, usually sent in groups of five – sometimes they feature music.
They are usually broadcast on or around the top of the hour, and most of the time stick to a rigid schedule.
There has never been any official explanation for these broadcasts, however it is strongly believed that they are one way messages from the intelligence agencies to spies in the field.


Some time ago, NPR's "Lost and Found Sound" delved into the mystery of number stations.

Our next video looks like a scene out of Metro 2033, a first-person shooter I've barely begun to explore. Two things are missing -- heavy breathing and a "bastard gun." Watch full-screen at 1080p if you can.

Number stations have collected fans over the years, a large unintended audience that follows broadcasts almost religiously. Fans have assigned practical-sounding monikers to these broadcasts: There's Spanish Lady, Gongs and Chimes, Swedish Rhapsody, I Say Again, and many others.

UVB-76 also sends out names, which may have numerical value, or may provide an extra layer of encryption. More detail about UVB-76 here.

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