There is a mystery that is saturating the air all around us and penetrating radio frequencies around the world the moment you read this, that you don’t know about, and are not suppose to. People who have turned on their shortwave radios have somehow intercepted an interesting and mysterious frequency that transmits cryptic messages in different methods, mainly by using a series of numbers that are impossible to decode, unless of course you have the key or decryption method given to you beforehand. Can you imagine stumbling upon a secret frequency unknown to most people and being able to listen in to secret messages with your shortwave radio? Well, this appears to be happening and has been for many years since the cold war.
This lesser known phenomena where you tune in to a certain frequency and hear a voice repeating a series of numbers or cryptic messages is known as what many call number stations. These stations have been heard by many for up to 40 years ago and carry messages that are spoken in numbers, letters or even tapped out in Morse code. What they are used for is a complete mystery as well as where they originate from. Transmissions seem to usually be heard in a robotic like, usually female voice, and in some cases, a variety of languages.
According to Time magazine the weird cryptic transmissions seemed to first have made their appearance shortly after world war two and were said to have imitated a format that had been used during the time to send data about weather. Many think that these broadcasts are sending messages to spies here or abroad and the Czech Ministry of Interior and the Swedish Security Service had admitted to Czechoslovakia using these broadcasts for espionage in the past. In 2001 the US tried the Cuban Five on charges that they were spying for Cuba as the group was to have said to have received decoded messages that were, believe it or not, broadcasted by Cuban number stations! Ana Montes, a Defense analyst, was charged with espionage with the federal prosecutors claiming that Ana was talking with Cuba through encoded messages on shortwave radio broadcasts. Others have been arrested before for similar charges as well, relating to the use of shortwave transmissions. Reports also claim that the US has used these number stations to talk with other countries across the globe.
Some even think that these number stations have been in use since world war one, and there are other mentions that these frequencies are being used for things ranging from drug smuggling to the government having their own personal communication lines, not meant to be intercepted by the general public. Articles in Popular Communications have mentioned some claiming to be able to locate some numbers stations with specific radio location hardware at their disposal and have discussed one being in Florida and one being in the Warrenton, Virginia area. The claims then mention how the site of origin seemed to be inside a military facility, of which they couldn’t access, but could see antennae appropriate for such transmissions. The article then states that the FCC refused to comment on public inquiries about the numbers stations.
In recognizing patterns for number stations some have claimed to have broken some codes and the broadcasts almost always seem to start on the hour or half hour, and, after the transmission is finished, there appears to be some kind of signal or sign off that the message is over, usually something similar to saying the word “end” or a music clip being played.
The Swedish Security Service have recently come out about a numbers station and says that the intended recipient of the broadcast was a Swedish spy! This doesn’t hardly ever seem to happen but is a good case that documents’ the use of a numbers station actually being used for purposes previously thought. Read about the Swedish number station. Another website at Priyom.org claims to have documentation about the admission of use of a number station that was also released last year.
So it would seem that there is some evidence to support one of the theories for number stations but what else are they used for and will we ever find out? I’m not one to say but my imagination always seems to lead me in varying directions. Realistically these number stations could be used for a variety of purposes from secret society meetup coordinates to world changing decisions.