G7
STATUS- ACTIVE
YL German 469 469 469 1
YL German 736 736 736 804 804 71 71    
YL German 406 406 128 128 00000 Richard of the NVA Forum

Written by P.S. Saffron Walden, UK.

"THE FRIDAY NIGHT FRAULEIN" A LOOK AT G7 By ENIGMA reader P.S. in Saffron Walden.

An INTRODUCTION
Among the ranks of number stations which may be found on the shortwave bands in languages other than in English, the German language female voice with the ENIGMA designation G7 is one of the most active. It is also one of the most predictable inasmuch as it has set schedules, some of which have been observed for several years. One of these is a regular appearance on Fridays at 18.00 UTC in the summer months, 19.00 UTC in the winter, which is 7PM in the UK, hence my appellation of 'The Friday Night Fraulein". In fact, for me, hearing this lady on a Friday evening has become a regular fixed point and I have come to associate her with the end of the working week. Anyone in the UK old enough to remember the sixties might recall a Friday night television pop music show called "Ready Steady Go" which always began with an opening caption, 'The Weekend Starts Here'.' Well, the Friday G7 has come to have a similar sort of meaning for me

FORMAT
In order that we know which particular German-speaking lady we are talking about, let us discuss some aids to identification. The voice has a high pitched, obviously synthesized quality about it; the pronunciation of the numbers in German is somewhat different to that of the standard form of the language; this could be either because it is non-standard dialect, or more likely it is a modified form intended to ensure greater intelligibility of the message under less than ideal radio conditions, in much the same way that in aeronautical communications in English, the numbers may be spoken as "Fife", 9 as "Niner" and so on. This is how they sound, -

1 Eins; 2 Zwo; 3 Drei; 4 Fier' 5 Finet 6 Sechs; Z Siben; 8 Acht; 9 Noyan; 0 Nuil.

There are two varieties of transmission: there is one in which a message in the form of 5 figure groups is sent and one in which no message is sent. The "Full message" transmission begins with a "Call-up" which lasts for five minutes and consists of a three digit schedule number - which is spoken three times, followed after a short pause by a single number which is the number of messages which are to follow, which apart from only one occasion in the several years I have been following G7s career has always been "1" (the exception was on Friday 22 March 1996 when 2 messages were sent) as in this example; -

Sechs drei zwo sechs drei zwo sech drei zwo eins

632 632 632 1

The initial call up lasts for five minutes alter which the voice says" Achtung", which is the cue that the message is about to be sent. There follows a three or four digit number; (This 4 figure decode key is an important characteristic 2of the whole of the lb family) - this must have some purpose connected with the deciphering of the message, perhaps a page in a code book or the reference number of a onetime pad or something similar, ENIGMA members refer to this as the "Deciphering Key", DK for short; there is then a short pause followed by another number of either two or three digits. There is no mystery about this; it is the number of 5 figure groups which will follow, the "Group Count". GC. The DK and GC are spoken twice, for example;

Finef siben noyen eins fier sechs finef siben noyen eins fier sechs

579 146 579 146

The message then follows in the form of 5 figure groups; these are spoken once only; this is emphasised because there are other German language female voice number stations in existence. One has the ENIGMA reference designation G6 and is much less active than G7 and whereas there are several differences in format between these two the most noticeable is that G6 speaks her 5 figure groups in pairs. When the G7 message has been sent there is a short pause, then 2 x 3 "zero" spoken:

"Nuil nuil nuil nuil nuil nuil" followed by "Ende"

0 0 0 0 0 0

A full message transmission is always sent three times on three different frequencies. the three sendings may be spaced from each other by from less than 200 kHz to two Megahertz or more; no doubt this is to give the recipient three chances to hear the message, in case propagation is poor, or there is interference on the first transmission. Usually, the repeats start twenty minutes after the start of the preceeding sending, assuming the total length of the transmission is less than twenty minutes, which means a GC not exceeding 150 or thereabout. If the GC S so long as to give a transmission time greater than twenty minutes, then the timing of the repeats will be adjusted accordingly. One interesting thing about these repeats is that the Friday 16.00 UTC G7 - the repeats are on frequencies lower than the first sending, for example in June this year;-

First Sending 10227 kHz, second sending 8127 kHz, third sending 6827 kHz.

Whereas on those occasions when G7 has turned up earlier in the day - as was the case during the winter of 97/98 when there was a transmission on Tuesdays at 06.00 UTC, the repeats were on frequencies higher than the first sending; First sending 4556 kHz, second sending 5766 kHz, third sending 6766 kHz.

The other kind of transmission is of the "No Message" variety, i.e. no 5 figure groups are sent. In this instance, the call always starts with the word "Acting", followed by the three digit identifier spoken three times followed by "000": -

'Sechs drie zwo sechs drie zwo sechs drie zwo nuil nuil nuil"

632 632 632 000

This is repeated over and over for five minutes, the transmission finishing with the word "Ende".
With a "No message" there is only one repeat; this is sent on another frequency five minutes after the finish of the first sending

SCHEDULING
Where a regular schedule for G7 has been established, frequencies may often change on a monthly basis along with the call. Note that many schedules such as the one below use a different schedule number for each set of frequencies and that this number is made up of the 3 frequency's 100 kHz placing. This explains why the Saturday morning repeat transmission of the Friday evening message is a different call-up/schedule number). 
There is a tendency to move towards higher frequencies as the hours of daylight lengthen and conversely, lower in the winter months: for example, the Friday 18.00 UTC summer/19.00 UTC winter.

FRIDAY 18.00 UTC SUMMER or 19.00 UTC WINTER
The above schedule has been faithfully adhered to for the last couple of years, but we give no guarantee that this will remain so. (Not all schedules operate 12 month/(year).
With the passage of time it has been apparent that there are other regular slots in which G7 can be expected to be heard. There is one on Saturday morning with the first sending at 08.00 UTC in the summer, or 09.00 UTC in the winter months. This is a repeat transmission of the preceding Friday evening transmission, but due to different frequency usage the schedule number is different. As with the Friday night, a full message will be sent three times, the first being on a high frequency and the subsequent sendings on frequencies lower in the band.

There is a regular schedule on the second and fourth Thursday of every month with the first sending at 19.10 UTC in the summer months, 20.10 UTC in the winter. Although I have been observing this one for almost a year, it has alwa8ys been a "no message" transmission of five minutes duration which means just one repeat five minutes alter the ending of the first transmission on a lower frequency.

MONTH SCHEDULE No.         1st SEND 2nd SEND 3rd SEND
JAN                164                5127        4627       4447
FEB                464               5421        4627       4447
MAR               614               7627         5927      4627
APR               118                9127        8127       5827
MAY               218                10227      8127       6827
JUN                218                10227      8127       6127
JUL                419                 9427       8127       6927
AUG               213                10227      9127       7327
SEP               177 167?         9127       7627       5747
OCT                771               6727        5747      5127
NOV               764                5747        4627       4447
DEC               164                5127        4627        4447

On the second Thursday of every month there is a regular transmission with the first sending at 21.30 UTC in the summer, 22.30 UTC in the winter months with repeats on lower frequencies, and on the Sunday alter the second Thursday in the month the same message - but with a different schedule number - turns up with the first sending at 07.00 UTC in the summer, 08.00 in the winter months, with the repeats on higher frequencies.

Note that G7 shifts an hour with regard to UTC in spring and autumn when the clocks change so that she turns up at the same local time; perhaps this is so that the agent receiving the message does not have to change his routine. However, an anomaly has been noticed with regard to this. Last summer, 1997, the "Friday night Fraulein" dutifully turned up at 18.00 UTC, which is 7PM British Summer Time, every week without fail; but on Friday October 7th when I tuned in at 18.00 on the expected frequency there was no trace of her; but she did appear 1 hour later at 1900 UTC, 2000 BST. Now I could understand the shift of an hour due to the clocks changing but summer-time still had several weeks to run, both in the UK and, as far I am aware, in the rest of Europe too. This meant that for the remaining Fridays in October G7 turned up at 8 PM clock time. After the end of BST on the last Sunday in October, everything came back into step so that the Friday G7 turned up at 7PM clock time again.Exactly the same thing happened on the first Friday in October 1996 There was no anomaly at the other time of the year when the clocks changed, at the start of summertime in late March.

MISTAKES OBSERVATIONS

Which brings us to the subject of mistakes. There is seldom any problem with the signal strength of G7; the transmissions have a lot of kilowatts behind them giving good reception in the UK. Since the mode is AM - with both sidebands, none of your new fangled single sideband suppressed carrier here - it can be received on domestic type receivers with a shortwave band. The only occasion when a G7 has been weak enough to cause concern was on Friday November 7th 1997 when all three sendings were very weak indeed; but many other shortwave signals were weaker than usual on that evening, and it was subsequently learnt that the sun had sent a stream of particles in our direction some time earlier, seriously degrading the ionosphere. The choice of some frequencies is a bit bizarre since a few of them, such as 9427 and 7327 kHz are shared with fixed service users and other broadcast stations operating outside their allocated area, with resulting mutual QRM and difficult copy. Short breaks in transmission are not uncommon, lasting a second or two but not often of longer duration. Perhaps the transmitters are very old and in need of a bit of work inside with a soldering iron.

On several occasions between May and August last year a rasping, low frequency buzz was noticed in the background, too low in pitch to be typical mains hum but perhaps some kind of instability in the modulator stages.

During the preparation of this feature several other unusual incidents were noted. For reasons only known to the operators the regular FRI evening/SAT morning transmissions appear to no longer carry the procedural words "Achtung" & Ende See note below, however other G7 transmissions continue to use them. Also noted on OCT 23rd the FRI transmission used the G6 voice with the SAT morning repeat using the correct G7 voice. The MON evening G7 transmission also appears to be sticking to GMT and as not made the expected adjustment for the end of summertime.

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Our German lady has several close relatives who venture out onto the shortwave bands in other languages. All follow a similar format to that described above

* (however G7, is the only one to use procedure words in addition to numbers i.e. Achtung and Ende. The reason for this has never been explained) and all have a synthesized quality about them and have like Russian man ENIGMA designation S7, an unmistakable "tinny" sounding voice, more active at the time of writing than he has been for some time. A Spanish Man, V7, which these days seems confined to quick No message" excursions on Fridays. And an English speaking man, E7, fairly active but does not follow schedules as well defined (i.e. long-term) as his German speaking cousin.

As if this were not enough there are two non-voice set ups which are part of the same undertaking. First, the Morse station, ENIGMA designation M12, one of the most active of number stations whose format exactly parallels that of the G7/S7/E7 famiily. The other non-voice format is that of the Polytone transmissions, ENIGMA designation XPH, which although meaningless to the casual listener. (the recipient must use a special decoder to make anything of it,) again follows the format with regard to the timing between. Further evidence of the relationship between XPH and G7 was noted when the low frequency buzz problem which affected some G7 transmissions last year also manifested itself onto the carrier of several XPH transmission around about the same time. (All these are family lb members).

 LOCATION/AGENCY

Perhaps the time has come to suggest from where all this activity originates. The general consensus of opinion is that G7 and her relatives have their home in Russia, and are the means by which a wide network of agents - receive their instructions from Moscow. Perhaps it is part of a spy network carefully built up over many years by the former Soviet Union and now under new management; a widespread organisation of which there is little public awareness except on the rare occasions when an agent is caught in the act and brought to trial in a court of law. To the casual shortwave listener these transmissions are just groups of numbers, but to others - perhaps living just a few streets from you - they have an altogether more purposeful meaning.

"000000 ENDE (Sometimes). P.S. Saffron Walden.