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Numbers stations
Example recordings

If you are old enough, you will probably remember the mysterious Numbers Stations that turned up regularly on the short-wave bands. Endless sequences of seemingly random numbers read by a synthetic voice, that seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever. Well, guess what? Such stations are still active today (2015) and originate from various places in the world in different languages.
 
Index
Below are some examples of Number Stations that have been recorded in recent years. Some of the are still active today. Many thanks to Karsten Hansky for supplying the audio samples [1].
 
  Station Country Language Frequency Date UTC
1. G06 Russia German 5422 kHz 2014-04-24 19:30
2. S06 Russia Russian 5783 kHz 2014-03-24 19:00
3. MH01 Cuba Spanish 17480 kHz 2013-08-01 22:30
4. E11a Poland English 14409 kHz 2013-12-23 11:09
5. S11a Poland Russian 9660 kHz 2014-04-25 10:20
6. RDL Russia CW 18.1 kHz 2015-08-15 12:37

 
G06 · Russia   5422 kHz (German)

This station is operated by the Russian secret service and is probably located in Russia. It uses the German language, which suggests that the messages are intended for non-Russian agents working undercover in Europe. The female voice is the same one that was used during the 1970s and 80s. The message was received on 24 April 2014 at 19:30 UTC by Karsten Hansky [1].
   947
      532 20
      06132 75514 79681 94217 21443 31441 81797 17512 62689 33103
      48930 93432 25709 93628 48683 18809 85052 49870 63962 04884
      532 20 00000

 
  1. Sender ID is in bold (947).
  2. Recipient is in red (532) followed by the number of groups in the message (20).
  3. Recipient and number of groups are repeated at the end of the message (532 20).
  4. All number groups are repeated (except for the terminator).
  5. 00000 is the message terminator.

S06 · Russia   5783 kHz (Russian)

This station is operated by the Russian secret service and is identical to G06 (German) and E06 (English), except for the language. The message was received on 24 March 2014 at 19:00 UTC on 5.783 MHz by Karsten Hansky [1] and is pretty short.
    349 349 349
  00000
    349 349 349
  00000

 
  1. This is a so-called NULL message, which means 'nothing to report'.
  2. The message starts with the Sender ID (349) repeated twice.
  3. 00000 is the message terminator.
  4. The message is read twice without an interval.

HM01 · Cuba   17480 kHz (Spanish)

HM01 is located in Cuba and its messages are aimed at agents in the USA, which is why this station is difficult to receive in Europe. The message was received on 1 August 2013 at 22:30 UTC on 17.480 MHz by Karsten Hansky [1].
  1. The message starts with several number groups read in Spanish, followed by digital information.

E11a · Poland   14409 kHz (English)

This station is operated by the Polish intelligence service and sends its messages from Poland in the English language, which suggests that they are intended for non-Polish speaking agents. Note the Polish accent in the synthesized English voice. The message was received on 23 December 2013 at 11:09 UTC on 14409 kHz by Karsten Hansky [1].
    950/31
      ATTENTION
      81371 36913 56737 83783 18924  41854 64769 82330 25384 76629
      51016 66965 75511 12197 26941  68322 19368 84430 88874 83626
      17281 79745 18146 45451 90007  48550 13561 25474 32539 57122
  27831
      ATTENTION
      81371 36913 56737 83783 18924  41854 64769 82330 25384 76629
      51016 66965 75511 12197 26941  68322 19368 84430 88874 83626
      17281 79745 18146 45451 90007  48550 13561 25474 32539 57122
  27831
      OUT

 
  1. The message ID in shown in bold (950) followed by the number of groups (31).
  2. The word ATTENTION marks the start of the message.
  3. Each 5-digit group is read twice.
  4. The entire message is read twice.
  5. OUT is the message terminator.

S11a · Poland   9960 kHz (Russian)

Like the previous one, this station is operated by the Polish intelligence service and is aimed at (former) Eastern Block countries. The message was received on 25 April 2014 at 10:20 UTC on 9.96 MHz by Karsten Hansky [1]. Note the same Polish accent as in the English broadcast.
  1. This station is basically identical to the one above (E11a) except that its transmissions are in Russian rather than English. This is why the station is identified with the letter 'S' (Slavic).

RDL · Russia   18.1 kHz (CW)

RDL is operated by the Russian Nucelar Forces and transmits on the Very Low Frequency (VLF) of 18.1 kHz, also known as Long-Wave (LW). The advantage of using such low frequencies is that they can be received world-wide and even under water, which is useful for U-boats. This message was received on 15 August 2015 at 12:37 UTC by Karsten Hansky [1] and is a rare one, since is was sent in morse and contains a code word.
 
      XXX XXX RDL RDL 20526 24801 LANOLIN 5290 5805 K

 
  1. The message was send twice with a 1 minute interval.
  2. RDL normally sends digital information (RTTY) but occasionally uses morse code (CW).
  3. Most CW messages contain number groups only, but this one contains the code word LANOLIN.

References
  1. Karsten Hansky, Sound samples of current Number Stations
    Received August 2015. Many thanks!

Further information

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