Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Number Station

In 2008 I was in the Navy, we were 100+ miles from any land, it was about 3-4am, off the coast of Peru. I was an Electronics Technician so I worked in radio with one other guy (a radioman) and we just sat up scanning on HF, UHF and VHF radios listening for drug runners. We intercepted a UHF signal that played a short piano preamble, followed by a haunting, computerized sounding woman's voice reading numbers. "Eleven, Nine, Four, Six" etc etc. This went on for about a minute, then the preamble repeated followed by the same number sequence, then it was gone.

We recorded the transmission, wrote the numbers down, informed the captain and shortly a message was sent off to the area commander about the strange message. The reply we received was to "disregard". Creeped me right the fuck out.

I came to find out that this is a "numbers station" and while the phenomenon is not entirely understood, it's likely a method for getting a secure message or code to an intelligence agent in the field, over an insecure method of communication. Since the numbers could be attached to a one time code, it's basically indecipherable.

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