|I heard numbers stations first when I was
five years old - in 1970, when I visited my grand-parents in Hamburg who
got a big Loewe Opta radio and TV set built into a sideboard. This radio
was able to receive shortwave very well. Maybe because of an error, this
radio could receive the shortwave frequencies from about 5.4 MHz to about
15.7 MHz (normally, German home radios started their shortwave with the 49
metre radio band or short before, at about 5.85 MHz). - Well, since 1973 I
lived there for about two years, and the big radio stood in my room, so I
could use it very often.
The first numbers station I ever heard was G8 - what else? -, followed by G3. In those years I didn't think to collect recordings of these stations, although I could handle a cassette recorder since I was seven. But I already knew that numbers stations are no official broadcasts, and I was fascinated by the many different sometimes electronic voices which could be heard as well as the often very strange pronunciation and the different musical identifications some of them had. I especially remember the Sunday mornings in 1973 and later, when the area from 5.4 to 5.8 MHz was full of number stations in different languages, mainly German, Czech and English, some of them, although no more active, very well known even today.
First, I want to tell you something about a station which could be heard for years till about 1980/81, but couldn't be found on "CONET Project" as well as in your collection. I mean the Czech "Piano piece" station.
It was broadcasting on at least two frequencies, one about 5,5, the other 6,6 MHz. When I heard it first, it was broadcasting in the late morning hours at about 9 or 10 UTC, later it could be heard also in the afternoon at about 1530 UTC.
It always started with a 1000 Hz test tone for about five minutes, followed by the tuning signal, an excerpt of a piano piece nobody exactly knows what it is. Some people speculated that it might be by Tchaikovsky, titled "The lark". It was played from a tape on which it was recorded twice, and you could easily hear where the ends of the tape were put together. Well, this tuning sign was broadcasted till the next full or half hour mark (-00 or -30) and then was interrupted by a natural voice - mostly male, but sometimes there also was a female one -, reading numbers in Czech, first calling out the addressees and when the messages for them was sent:
"487 487 05 182 182 10" ("ctyri ossum sedum; ctyri ossum sedum; nulla biet; jedna ossum dwa; jedna ossum dwa; jedna nulla")
After five minutes the broadcast of the first message began, introduced by "pozor, pozor", followed by the first addressee's number, a two-digit identifier and the group count. Then there were the well-known five figure groups, each one sent twice. After the first message the two-digit identifier and the group count were repeated, and the next message followed. When this was finished, the tuning signal could be heard for a while till the voice said "konec, konec".
This station also had a sister station which used the same frequencies and the same voices but had no musical tuning signal. It always started with a 1000 Hz test tone for about 5 minutes, followed by a very slowly spoken opener: "555 555 555; 405 405 405; 05; 185 185 185; 09" ("pyet pyet pyet; pyet pyet pyet; pyet pyet pyet; ctyri nulla pyet; ctyri nulla pyet; ctyri nulla pyet; nulla pyet; jedna ossum pyet; jedna ossum pyet; jedna ossum pyet; nulla deviet")
After five minutes, the first message was broadcasted, introduced by the addressee's number (three times), a two-digit identifier and the group count (sometimes, especially in 1980/81, only one group), followed by the word "Rozhlace" (spoken rosla tse", which presumably means "broadcasting", and the message followed, now in higher tempo. At the end of the first message the two two-digit identifier and group count was repeated and the next message followed as described before. The broadcast ended with three 0s. - This station also existed in a Morse version.
Now here are some words to G18, a station which seemed to be active only till about 1973/74. It could be heard every day to different times on different frequencies. One of these frequencies was about 5815 kHz, G18 at least once could be heard at the upper end of the 49 metre radio band as well as higher frequencies.
As far as I can remember, it starts at the full hour with the tuning signal which can be heard in the recording on "CONET Project" as well as on your website (the 1st tone is missing). Then a five figure group followed, presumably a kind of addressee number, then two two-figure groups, the second one was presumably the group count. - This intro was broadcasted for five minutes, then the message began, introduced by "achtung, achtung, achtung".
The message used to be not longer than
about 20 groups, due to the slow speed of giving out the numbers, maybe
also to save the counting machine which had presumably been a very old
model. You can hear those hard noises between the figures in the
unfortunately very short recording. - After the message was finished, the
figures from the intro were sent again, now without the tune, and the word
"ende". The station always signed off very shortly after the
last word. - This station had also a sister station: The tune was played
much faster on an organ, and the format of sending numbers had been quite
different. But as this station could be heard very seldom, I can't give
further information about it.
They played a polish Mazowsze tune, as I
know now, called "Cyt, cyt", played and sung by the Polish folk
choir and dance ensemble. When they played it once more, I became sure
that it had to be a numbers station, and I was right: I heard the same
voice as in the German version described before sending numbers in Polish.
The way of calling out these numbers was a very unusual and therefore
remarkable: A high pitched voice intonated the first four figures in a
five figure group at a very high tone, the last figure lower, so that you
could get the impression that there was a lady who sang out numbers. It
had to be a natural voice, because sometimes there were short breaks
during the recitation of a five figure group - that sounded like the
lady's not sure if the sent number was right.