(Date: Thu, 02 Jan 2003 20:05:07 +0100)
Voice stations | Morse stations | Other modes
Various items | Intelligence profile : Former Yugoslavia
Intelligence news | Logs
Index | NS NL Home
Check http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/11/27/40030.html for an interesting story about German intelligence who used child spies in WWI.
The following twelve special event stations will be active from Poland from 15 December 2002 through 15 March 2003 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the breaking of the Enigma machine code by the Polish cryptographers (See also http://www.enigmahistory.org/enigma.html)
|HF70E||(QSL via SQ9AOJ)||SN70E||(QSL via SP6CDP)|
|HF70N||(QSL via SP7CVW)||SN70N||(QSL via SP6JKH)|
|HF70I||(QSL via SP6IHE)||SN70I||(QSL via SP5PPK)|
|HF70G||(QSL via SP2DNI)||SN70G||(QSL via SP1PBT)|
|HF70M||(QSL via SP2PI)||SN70M||(QSL via SP5ZCC)|
|HF70A||(QSL via SP9PRO)||SN70A||(QSL via SP9EVP)|
Frequencies: all designated HAM SW frequencies.
Modes: SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK31, SSTV, HELL
and other popular amateur modes.
There is a special ENIGMA Award for contacts with the above stations. It is issued by SP DX Club - The Long Distance Radio Communication Club to commemorate Polish contribution to breaking the ENIGMA code. To apply for the award you must contact three special event stations from the above mentioned stations. The same requirements apply for SWL operators: three listening reports to the special event stations on the list. Contacts must be made in the period of time from December 15, 2002 to March 15, 2003. Send your application on a standard form. Award fee is 7 IRC's or 15 polish stamps for a 20 grams letter. Send applications to the Award Manager address:Marek Niedzielski SP7DQR
Visit the club's website at http://www.sp5zcc.waw.pl/en/enigma.html
After the Afghan psyop war, now Iraq is being targeted by the USA and so Commando Solo is flying again. Commando Solo is an Air Force EC-130E crammed with radio equipment used for propaganda broadcasts towards Iraq. Clandestine Radio Watch reports that US aircraft have dropped 480,000 leaflets over southern Iraq with six different texts. One of them mentioned the following schedule of "Information Radio": 1500-2000 UTC at 756, 693, 9715, 11292 kHz and 100.4 MHz
The station identifies in Arabic as "Idha'at Radiyo Al-Ma'ulumat," and occasionally as "Masdar Ma'ulumatikum, Idha'at Radiyo al-Ma'ulumat"(Your Source of Information, Information Radio).
Mathias Kropf sent me his 2002 Clandestine Activity Survey:
During the year 2002 the activity of political clandestine stations broadcasting on shortwave has increased by 21% to 1732 Weekly Broadcasting Hours (WBHs). This is the highest level of activity since 1994 and the third year with increased activity in a row. The clandestine activity now has increased already by more than 50 % from its recent low in 1999.
Clandestine activity to target areas on the Asian continent has increased by 20% to 1312 WBHs and on the African continent by 15% to 242 WBHs. On the American continent activity has dropped by 8% to 162 WBHs. In Oceania, which was not active last year, activity is now at 16 WBHs.
The number of active target areas (countries) worldwide has increased by one to 22. While Sri Lanka and Colombia are thought to be no longer active; Kazakhstan, Syria and Papua New Guinea are new or reactivated target areas.
The three most active target areas worldwide are Iraq with 496 WBHs (+129 when compared with last year - the highest activity to a single target area ever since this survey was started back in 1986), North Korea with 217 WBHs (unchanged from last year) and Iran with 193 WBHs (+43).
It looks like the media have discovered the numbers stations. Radio, tv and press zoomed in on the phenomenon. In Germany the HR, SWR2, ZDF and RTL all jumped on the bandwagon when Der Spiegel published "Jagd auf die Zahlensender". Agentura in Russia has also an item on its website that links espionage to the radio hobby. Simon Mason's essay in the 2002 Radio Prague listener's competition is about numbers station OLX and is now online at http://www.radio.cz/en/html/simon.html
"Der Spiegel", one of Germany's leading magazines published an article of Tobias Huerter for which he interviewed Jochen, Leif, me and several others. The original article -in German- can be found on Der Spiegel's website at http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,226071,00.html Der Spiegel has kindly granted permission to WUN to publish the English version of the article in the WUN newsletter. We have included the article in this month's "Numbers and Oddities" column. A word of thanks goes to our translator.
On 8 Dec the Hessischer Rundfunk, a German radio station broadcasted a short item in "Netzwerk" (Network) about Jochen's collection of numbers stations recordings.
SWR2 (Südwestrundfunk) has interviewed Jochen for its "Dschungel" (Jungle) radio show. Jochen did his best BND and Stasi Fraulein imitations in this show. It was aired on Friday, 13 Dec at 1405 local time, via terrestrial frequencies and the Astra IC satellite. A real audio feed can be found on SWR's website at http://www.swr2.de/dschungel/machete/index.html#2
TV stations ZDF and RTL are reportedly working on a TV item about spy stations. ZDF will air it on 5 January at 2340 local time. When the RTL will broadcast the item is not clear yet. I'll post the date and time to the WUN and Spooks mailing lists when I have more info. Check also the ZDF website for more info (in German). It has a nice picture of the Bad Aibling station: http://www.klack.de/TvPopupPrint.php3?PTYPE=TV&ID=275233440
DER SPIEGEL 49/2002 - December 2, 2002
Author: TOBIAS HUERTER
Copyright: DER SPIEGEL
Publication and translation of this document has been approved by the author and by DER SPIEGEL.
Espionage - The hunt for numbers stations
If you want to witness secret services "live", all you have to do is turn on your radio. On short wave you can easily listen to coded messages for agents. Radio amateurs are catching these "spooks" on the ether waves.
Jochen Schaefer, age 30, knew exactly which frequency to tune to: 4270 kHz. Precisely at 10 p.m. on the 1st Thursday in November he received the signal from the shadow world: The note "B" in 3 ascending octaves. Then a mechanic female voice came up: "Achtung, Achtung". In a monotone way figures in groups of 5 followed: "7 0 2 4 0 - 2 8 2 1 1 - ..." After several minutes the unknown female signed off saying "Ende, Ende".
This was exactly how Schaefer expected it to be. He knows the transmitter's habits which he has in his logbook with the designation "G04" (G for German). 25 years ago, before even going to school, the guy from Marburg began to search the short wave spectrum between the known radio stations for spooky voices - with big success: Around the globe hundreds of "numbers stations" are spooking through the short wave bands.
Who is sending this "salad of figures" into the air? What for? And to who? Radio enthusiasts like Schaefer are convinced: They are listening to agents' radio. And they grimly pursue their trace. Night after night they keep records of the transmissions they intercepted. With scientific precision they note language, time and frequency, compare voices and structures of the announcements. In their own jargon full of abbreviations and code words they then exchange their findings on the internet. Schaefer, blind from birth and blessed with an absolute sense of hearing, has archived those crypto-sounds on a total of now 478 tapes.
While numbers stations are chatting away on the air, their operators are holding their tongue very tightly. Although the last numbers station allegedly run by the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) went silent 3 years ago, nobody in Pullach can struggle himself through to a clear statement. This would be "still a too recent part of history", they say. Only when promised to remain anonymous, a member of a secret service talks in the clear: "Yes, numbers stations are spy radio. The CIA, for example, runs them".
Very rarely this secret radio network attracts the public interest: In 1988 an art dealer in London (who was in possession of a forged passport claiming his name was "Erwin van Haarlem") was uncovered by the British secret service as an informant of the Czechoslovak service "StB". Over the course of 13 years, "van Haarlem" had recorded 200 coded figure messages with only his kitchen radio. He had deciphered them with the aid of codes he kept hidden in hollowed pieces of soap.
Just recently another female top spy with a radio was uncovered, this time on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. In March 2002 Ana Belen Montes, Washington's most important expert on Cuba, confessed to have been spying for Castro's county for 16 years. On Montes' laptop computer FBI agents found a hidden program for decryption as well as sequences of figures that where received earlier via short wave from Cuba.
It's only cases like this one that provide hints about the origin of these numbers stations. Radio amateurs are just trying to put together the rest. In most cases they don't even know the station's location. They can only roughly estimate the direction from the signal strength.
They have, however, learned to recognize the senders by their handwriting. Ary Boender from the Netherlands explains: "Every service has its own typical format, its characteristic announcements at the beginning and the end of each transmission and its own way of repeating itself".
Boender, for example, recognizes the Israeli secret service "Mossad" as their transmissions always start with a call sign consisting of 3 letters. The BND used to use 2 letters. The CIA likes to mix their sequence of figures with beeping tones. Chinese stations politely thank their listeners and wish them a "good day".
Back in the seventies, a station presumably run by the East German "Stasi", showed an extraordinarily bizarre behavior: The program started with an Alpine yodeling song ("Der Boellerschuetz' von Mittenwald"), followed by the "The Internationale" - with its end one semitone too low. Russian secret services are even making their messages a melody: For every figure a certain tone is being transmitted.
G04 with its triple B is being categorized by the numbers hunters as "family XIII" and they suspect the station to be originating from the "Budapest area". Maybe they once helped themselves in the archives of a brother country because Jochen Schaefer knows G04's voice from old transmissions from the former German Democratic Republic. "Meanwhile the tape is sounding somewhat worn out". The target area? "Frequencies and the schedule of the transmission point towards Europe", Boender says. "Probably Germany, because G04 transmits in German".
So, was a German "Erwin van Haarlem" on November 7 (13 years after the opening of the iron curtain) writing down numbers sent by G04 on behalf of a strange service, and did he decipher from them his new instructions? Boender believes that, but he cannot prove it.
At least the hobby-listeners meanwhile know the location of the - most likely - single active numbers transmitter in Germany. Leif Dehio, age 35, a radio monitoring specialist from Munich, has located the antennas of "E05" (E for English). He packed his radio electronics into his car and traced the signals to a forest area south of Frankfurt on Main.
Where maps are showing nothing but a white spot, there are 20 antennas on a glade, 3 square kilometers in size, protected by a barbed wire and an electric fence. No sign indicates the owner of the spooky place. All you can hear is the roaring of underground generators.
The station E05's female announcer is nicknamed "Cynthia" among the radio amateur community, because she is believed to be the voice of the CIA. Although the European headquarter of the US land forces in Heidelberg confesses that this is indeed their transmitter, it is eager to appease: The mysterious transmissions are just to test the antennas and any involvement of the CIA it is "pure speculation".
Routine tests? Half the truth is what it probably is: All the equipment has to be checked regularly and the staff needs to be trained. For this sole purpose the CIA is operating the "Warrenton Training Center" in the Virginia mountains; until recently Cynthia could also be heard from there. Some parts of the radio traffic are most probably only there to keep certain frequencies occupied.
When things are winding up for the secret services, Boender, Schaefer and their colleagues are also listening in with great attention. Since decades they are noticing how radio traffic decreases and increases according to the political tension. During the cold war especially the European ether was jumping with transmissions. Over Korea, numbers continue to be sent back and forth: The South garnishes them with singing and a guitar, the North is sending back marching music.
During the last Gulf war the operation "desert storm" got to be known several days beforehand by an increase in the transmissions by numbers stations. When - back in fall of 2001 - America sent special forces to Afghanistan, the activity of E05 and other stations increased considerably. At the same time two new numbers stations in Persian language showed up, both with the characteristics of Russian secret service stations. In August this year, when the US government concretized its plans to invade Iraq, E05 again was remarkably active.
Since at least 40 years secret services are contacting their agents via radio - and their method is in no way outdated. Until today short wave transmissions are without competition in both anonymity and safety. Bouncing back and forth between the earth's surface and the ionosphere they travel thousands of miles, without the necessity for vulnerable wires or satellites. And above all: No address, phone number or traces on web pages show any evidence of the recipient.
So it does not hurt if some radio freaks are listening - as long as they are unable to decipher the endless columns of figures. But Schaefer is not interested in the contents anyway: "It's a game", he says. A game that is keeping him up and by the radio until late at night. "Everyone wants to be the first to discover a new station".
If you want to join in, your chance to practice is on Dec 5 at 10 p.m. G04 will most likely be on the air again. Frequency this time: 4110 kHz.
The following is a paraphrased translation of the Agentura article but conveys the meaning pretty well. The description of WUN's activities doesn't fit our charter, that's for sure :-) We have nothing to do with espionage, let that be clear to everyone! The original article is in Russian and can be found on http://www.agentura.ru/equipment/radio/spooks/ The English text doesn't always sound right, but it gives a pretty good idea what the article says. After reading it, I was very interested to know who or what C-1000 is. If you have info about C-1000, please let us know.
Radio hobbyists against espionage:
For the last several years an independent organisation has existed which was established to compete with the most successful intelligence organization in the world. They are involved in a field that is traditionally considered as the most secret and serious: radio intercept. Members of this organization are active worldwide listening to the radio waves in a search for espionage signals.
Radio hobbyists and members of the club WUN (Worldwide Ute News) are simply ordinary residents of the US, France, Germany, Holland, etc. UTE designates that this club is interested in radio stations working in the radio spectrum up to 30MHz. Officially, the club was established in January 1995. 11 individuals from the US, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and so on make up the staff of WUN. Ordinary members of the club number already a several hundred, and at the present time there is virtually no place on the planet that doesn't have a member of the club.
In comparison to the USSR and later Russia, in the USA is it not forbidden to listen to frequencies (more so, they even publish lists with the assigned frequencies of airports, police, etc). As a result of many years of monitoring radio waves, the members of the club have gathered information, such as the schedules of discovered stations. It is a fact that members have collected information for themselves and after analyzing this large amount of data can even forecast transmission times. So writes Viktor Suvorov, in "Akvarium":
"And therefore, as a result of many years of analysis, it becomes possible to say: If RB-7665-1 disappears from the air, in 4 days a mass takeoff from Ramstein will occur. This doesn't even violate any laws! And if a station which we call C-1000 suddenly starts working then it is clear, even to children, that American military mobilizations will take place in Europe."
We, at Agentura, being interested in information about espionage agencies, thought that it was impossible to overlook the data of WUN. We talked with the club's president Ary Boender and received his generous permission to link to the club resources. That way, whoever is interested in the activities of Russian external espionage and FAPSI, will find a lot of interesting information on that site."
Voice stations | Morse stations | Other modes
Various items | Intelligence profile : Former Yugoslavia
Intelligence news | Logs
Index | NS NL Home