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(BBC headquarters) who declared that the voice was reading out nothing more sinister than snowfall figures for the ski-slopes near the listener's home. Highly unlikely! A similar incident occurred while I was listening to Radio Moscow on 9325. A German number station was causing interference. I sent a tape of this to Moscow and their reply will be dealt with later.
Here is a list of the paired frequencies discovered:
3188.5/3880 5440/6370 7740/9435
3188.5/4052 5413/6784 8120/10135
3188.5/4196 5440/6900 9049/10508
323214455 5413/7588 9254/10243
3213/4022 5330/7740 9865/10655
3384/5440 5750/6370 10135/11237
3880/5225 5750/7320 10135/11273/11685
3880/5960 6370/7320 10243/11450
4011/5137 6825/7667 10655/11685
4050/6370 6875/7588 11560/13488
4281/5297 6785/7740 11455/13420
4415/5090 6850/8190 13518/14811
4455/6920 6860/8565 14420/17370
4990/5750 6900/9465 15938/20524
4990/5440 7375/9465 16395/18356
5046/6840 7410/10735 17370/19105
5225/7665 7655/9120 17522/19105
5330/6784 7662/8312 19095/24978
Additional unpaired frequencies: 9041, 10508, 11123, 12285, 15938, 16395, 16453, 20525
It has been noted that the maximum number of groups sent by these stations is 225.
Here are some examples of traffic sent during the early 1990's
Frequency UTC Lang Addressee Group Count Remarks
7320/5750 2300 EE 835 137 3/2F
7375/9465 2000 GG 106 106 3/2F
8120/10135 2000 EE 399 210 4F, jammed
4011/5137 1900 EE 788 159 3/2F, jammed
13518/14811 1500 EE 960 225 3/2F, jammed
7410 0900 GG 268 142 3/2F
10135/11273/11685 1900 GG 843 198 4F
10135/11273/11685 1900 GG 844 175
5440/6900 2300 GG 086 203 3/2F
21811/24978 1600 EE 279 225 3/2F
16395/18356 1600 EE 671 225 4F, jammed
5415/7860 2000 EE 383 nil no traffic
7740 0200 EE 836 168 3/2F
6785/7860 0100 EE 826 110 3/2F
7585 0400 EE 004 160 3/2F
6800 0400 SS 545 nil no traffic
As can be seen, these stations appear on a wide range of frequencies at any time of the day or night.
THE LINCOLNSHIRE POACHER
The only other target for those warble jammers is this English language five figure station. It began comparatively recently (end of June, 1989) and has kept the same format from the beginning.
On the hour the woman repeats the five figure header three times, then repeats it five times. The interval signal is then sent five times. This preamble goes on for ten minutes, after which two musical notes are sent three times. The woman then sends exactly 200 five figure groups. At 45 minutes past the hour the interval signal is sent once again and then the station stays silent until the start of the next hour. For example: "59574, 59574, 59574 (pause) 59574, 59574, 59574, 59574, 59574. Then the tune sent five times. At ten past - tone, tone, tone, tone ,tone, tone. Then into 200 five figure groups.
The woman has a distinct British accent. As noted before, these transmissions are always jammed by warble jammers which are extremely powerful and effective and have followed the station around during its frequency changes.
The tune used is a very old English folk song called "The Lincolnshire Poacher" The county of Lincolnshire is in eastern England, just south of the river Humber and is mainly flat agricultural country. The tune itself dates from around 1776 but might belong to an even earlier time. It is the most famous of all English county songs and is not only the signature tune for Radio Lincolnshire, its rousing chorus has been sung wherever "Yellow Bellies" (Lincolnshire folk) have travelled. Here are the lyrics of the song:
When I was a bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire Full well I served my master for more than seven year Till I took up with poaching, as you shall quickly hear:
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.
As me and my companions were setting of a snare 'twas there we seed a gamekeeper- for him we did not care, For we can wrestle and fight my boys, and jump o'er everywhere
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.
As me and my companions were setting four or five And taking on him up again, we caught the hare alive We caught the hare alive, my boys, and through the woods did steer:
Oh 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year
Bad luck to every magistrate that lives in Lincolnshire Success to every poacher that wants to sell a hare Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer Oh 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.
The choice of a folk song is interesting. Another numbers station uses a folk song of Romania. Perhaps they are intended to instil a patriotic feeling in the people concerned?
When I first heard this station on 21 December, 1988 it was using 6485 and 5422 in parallel from 1700-2200. The warblers then discovered it and it then moved to 5422/ 5756 in March, 1990. After awhile it moved again, this time to 8464. Eventually it settled on these five frequencies:
14487/15682 anytime between 0500-1800
7887/8464/9251 - anytime between 1500-2200
There was a brief flirtation with 6959 for awhile but this has ended. Many additional transmissions outside these times have been noted, for example at 0300 it was on 6959/7887/9251 and also at 0500 on 7887/8464/9521. There have also been many tests.
Some errors have been noted, the most common being when the transmissions change frequency at 1800. Prior to 1800 14487/15682 are used and sometimes the 1800-1845 transmission begins on these two frequencies by mistake. The jammers then start up on 14487/15682, ready to block the message. At about 1803 someone realises the evening schedule is in operation and switches to 7887/8464/9251. The warblers are then "woo-wooing" away on 14487/15682 until they wake up and move to the other frequencies. It is not known who is responsible for the jamming but the station could well be in Britain as a strong signal is usually noted.
Imagine a scene at a military funeral when the lone trumpeter sounds "The Last Post" and you will have some idea of the musical signal sent by this Czech language number station. This plaintive bugle sounds about an hour before the transmission of the spy messages begins. Just before the actual message starts a different signal is sent. This is played with drums and trumpets and is a very up-tempo military marching tune similar to those played before the beginning of a battle. The woman then announces (in Czech) "Noma 12671, Gruppi 44; Noma 12671, Gruppi 44,, and then goes into the five figure text, ending with the word "Krai". The Czech figures are: "Jedno, Dva, Tri, Ctyri, Pet, Sest, Osm, Devet, Nula."
The woman pronounces the numbers like this: Edno, Dva, Dree, Seti, Pet, Ses, Seden, Octen, Deda, Nula.
The station uses three main frequencies: 4740, 5500 and 6675 although it has also appeared on 8070 and 5600. Here is an example of traffic sent over the last few years:
Tue 3-1-89 6675 2200
Fri 27-1-89 6675 2300
Sun 12-2-89 6657 0000
Thu 64-89 5600 2100
Mon 17-4-89 4740 2245
Tue 23-4-89 5500 2200
Tue 21-11-89 6675 2100
Sun 21-1-90 6675 2100
Fri 274-90 6675 2300
Mon 7-5-90 6675 2100
Mon 26-6-90 6675 2230
Tue 21-8-90 6675 2100
Thu 7-2-89 5600 2200
Tue 12-3-90 6675 0000
This is a true reflection of the appearances and, as can be seen, they are quite infrequent but, still, it is an active station.
This is probably the strangest of the European numbers stations, not the least because of the distinctive interval signal used. The tune itself lasts for 2 minutes, 42 seconds and is played on a violin and pan pipes. It called Ciocarlia. and is titled "The Skylark" in English. By coincidence, one evening at 2300. I was listening to the BBC's domestic Radio Four. After the program ended the studio announcer said that the next program was going to be all about traditional Rumanian folk music. Not my cup of tea, I thought, so I headed across the room to switch off the receiver. Before I got to the off switch a piece of music stopped me in my tracks. It was the same tune as used by the Romanian number station. After the song ended, the announcer identified the music and went on to say that it was a very popular melody of Romania and was instantly known to natives of that country. Not surprising perhaps then, that this tune should be chosen for such a clandestine activity.
The next encounter with the station came in a newsletter issued by the DX Club of Radio Budapest. A member from Britain, a Mr. Palmer, had written to the club asking if any of its members could identify a strange Gypsy tune that could be heard on certain frequencies. A few months later a club member from the Soviet Union, a Mr. Skarzhinsky, gave this explanation: Very unusual station. You have heard a transmission in Romanian which can often be heard in
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