Thirty-eighth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2001 23:24:57 +0200)

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Station profile

New Star broadcasting station [V13]

I got some requests for a station profile of V13. Hans van den Boogert wrote an article in the DSWCI DX-Window bulletin a couple of years ago. With kind permission of Hans, the article was also published in the WUN Newsletter vol.2 #12. Although it was published in 1996, the info is still valid.

Hans lived in Taipei when he wrote the article. He monitored the station for quite a while and even created a New Star home page. Be sure to check it at:
http://ns4.swl.net/radiochina/newstar/newstar.html

Current active frequencies are: 8300, 9725, 11430, 13750 and 15388 kHz.

New Star Broadcasting Station.
author: Hans van den Boogert, Taipei, Taiwan

This is a report about the NEW STAR BROADCASTING STATION, or Xin Xing Guangbo diantai in Mandarin Chinese. I have observed this station on the following frequencies: 8300, 9725 and 11430, where the latter two seem to be alternates both featuring the third program. Reception is clear and strong local daytime here in Taiwan (2300-1000 UTC), but hardly or not audible at night (1200-1600 UTC). I'm not a propagation expert, so maybe somebody else could give some educated guesses about a possible location.

New Star seems to have different services, or programs. Each frequency identifies itself as "the third" or "the fourth" program ("di san tai" or "di si tai"). Content is different, but program format is the same. Broadcasts range from 5 to 40 minutes and I recorded a broadcast on 8300 kHz in October as typical case.

In order to save my energy I hereby give a list of Chinese cardinal numbers. Ordinal numbers are formed by putting "di" in front of the cardinal number.

Chinese numbers from 1-10:
1 yi 7 qi
2 er 8 ba
3 san 9 jiu
4 si 10 shi
5 wu 20 er-shi
6 liu 26 er-shi-liu

 

Transmission details:

Transmissions usually start at the hour, e.g. 0400, 0500, 0600, with a traditional piece of Chinese music as interval signal, featuring a flute. Once you hear it you never forget it. Usually two women are featured: one for the general announcements, the other for the messages. They are both recorded and this clearly shows in the coded messages which suffer from lack of proper intonation. The outline of the transmissions is as follows:

Station ID + program ID. An example:
Zheli shi Xin Xing Guangbo diantai, di si tai (2x)
[Here is New Star Broadcasting Station, the fourth program]

Call for particular units (danwei) that cables (dianbao) are coming. These stations have 4 or 5 letter call-signs. Also indicated is the month and number (...yue, ......th report) of the cables and how many cable characters (dianwen) it consists off. An example:

.........you 5-3-2-5-3 danwei [.....for unit 5-3-2-5-3],
shi yue fen di yi hao dianbao [October 1st cable],
yi fen dian bao dianwen 53 zi [one cable, 53 characters].
You 4-4-7-1 danwei [for unit 4-4-7-1],
shi yue fen di si hao [October 4th cable],
yi fen dianbao dianwen 61 zi [one cable, 61 characters].
5-3-2-5-3 danwei 4-4-7-1 danwei zhuyi chaoshou [Unit 5-3-2-5-3, unit 4-4-7-1, stand by for reception].

This announcement is repeated a couple of times, with the interval music in between. Then actual code transmissions begin, preceded by this announcement:

Zheli shi Xin Xing Guangbo diantai, di si tai.
[Here is New Star Broadcasting Station, the fourth program]
Xianzai women.... [Now we....]
kaishi..... [begin...]
baogao gei nin [with the reporting for you].
Qing nin zhuyi, zhunbei chaoshou. [Please stand by for reception]

Then the actual reading of numbers starts in this format, each number repeated twice. If the cable is finished this is also announced:

9093 9033 8799 8799 9989 9989 1956 1956 4244 4244 3904 3904
9939 9939 8988 8988.
yishang shi gei 4-4-7-1 [The preceding was intended for unit 4-4-7-1],
shi yue fen di si hao [October 4th cable],
yi fen dianbao dianwen 61 zi [one cable, 61 characters].
xianzai yijing bowen wan le [now finished with broadcasting the cable].

Finally the whole broadcast is ended with the following words:

yishang tejie heyue .....bosong wanbi. xiexie nin de shouting. zhu nin jiankang kuai le. zaihui. [The preceding special programme..... now finished transmission. Thank you for listening. We wish you health and happiness. Goodbye.]

Comments from the Hans:

First a diclaimer: my Chinese is not perfect and Xin Xing's audio is not that great, so I might have made minor mistakes in translation, or in copying content (90% is correct though). Even my girlfriend had trouble understanding the Chinese and she is a native speaker, so there you go!

I don't want to give too many comments on this station. It seems a spy station, packaged very nicely, but from where and for whom is everybody's guess. The Mandarin used sounds like mainland Chinese Mandarin, but it could as well be from Taiwan. The signal and audio quality also point to mainland China, but then again, at night this station is not audible in over here and so it points to Taiwan again.

Maybe it's not a spy station at all. I remember some years back there was a German number station, also sounding very nice and everybody thought it came from East Germany. Turned out to come from West Germany and relaying results of horse racing (this was before the computer networking craze and turned out to be cheaper and faster than other means of distribution).

See also Newsletter 39.

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