|G16 E16 Schedule 1984 - 1997|
|A declassified Polish document reveals details of G16 and E16.|
|G 16 "Bravo Juliet" caught on 9065 kHz
at 2030 UTC on 29 APR 1984 (James C in USA)
G 16 Bravo Juliet
|Part of a recording from Peter H. in Germany
G16 - Peter H.
|From Jochen Schafer in Germany.
Alpha Kilo on 8173 kHz from 5 NOV 81
Zulu Papa on 8063 kHz from AUG 89
Lima Uniform 1970s style Lima Uniform 1980s style Lima Uniform 1990s style
11545 kHz 11545 kHz 13782 kHz
BND Delta Mike from Leen in NL. via spook 007
BND Yankee Bravo from Leen in NL. via spook007
From Jochen S. in Germany.
Yankee Bravo Papa Lima Papa Zulu Papa Golf
My own sound files follow:
Alpha Uniform (dual transmission)
Sierra Bravo + E3 (11545)
X Ray Lima
2 LETTER STATIONS (G16/E16) :
Frequencies used (kHz)
Here is a case of "where to begin?" There are over 80 callsigns on nearly 40 different frequencies, all of which indicates a very big set-up. I can recall hearing these transmissions in the early 1970's and they certainly date back further than that. I remember tuning into a station in 1971 and being almost hypnotised by the strange interval signal (it is a different one now). It consisted of a female voice repeating "Papa November" over and over continuously with a sort of snake charmer's flute playing in the background. This went on for five minutes, after which a woman would start sending messages in five figure groups.
When I started to actively listen to number stations this was one of the first I studied. It is unique in that it broadcasts on four frequencies at the same time, but not simultaneously. By this I mean that there is a time lag between the four frequencies. It is as though four different machines are started, one after the other. Until 1989 real female voices were used, that is, a woman would be giving a list of German five figure numbers and she would sit down and read the whole thing out into a tape recorder. The tape could then be transmitted at the appropriate time. At the time of eventual conversion to a voice synthesiser machine, four different women were being employed in the mind-numbing career of number reading. More about them later.
The frequencies used are 2707, 5015, 7404 and 11108.
The choice of frequencies is interesting as it ensures that at least one will be propagated at any given time. As it happens, the schedule is designed to give a wide geographic coverage. The station transmits every day, even at Christmas, at 0000, 0030, 0600, 0630, 1200, 1230, 1800 and 1830. The transmissions on the hour are in the AM mode, whereas the broadcasts on the half hour are all in upper sideband. These data suggest that maybe a world-wide operation is in force. After all, a station that transmits on four frequencies every six hours using both AM and USB is trying to get its messages through at any cost.
On the whole this operation is very professional. The broadcasts begin precisely on the hour or half hour and very few mistakes are made. It is not totally perfect however. Here are two errors that have been noted: (1) when the stations were being converted to auto-voice on a few occasions both live voice and auto-voice messages were being sent out on the same transmission. It was as though no one had told the female readers that they were being replaced by machines. They carried on, broadcasting on top of the auto-voice, thus making the whole transmission unintelligible. (2) On another occasion a sister station (DFD37 which is part of the same set-up - see below -) was being sent out over Papa November frequencies instead of its normal channel of 3370.
This was final proof, if any was needed, that thy are all part of the same organisation. As will be shown later there could be some doubt about this. After all, DFC37 is, on the face of it, a legitimate callsign of the Federal German Republic (formerly West Germany). Indeed, certain publications have this and its twin, DFD21, in their listings as legitimate stations. Anyway, back to Papa November: as shown, the station is pivotal to whatever agency operates it and the format it uses reflects this.
This is unique amongst number stations. As with other set ups, a 3 figure identifier is used, followed by a group count. The difference is in the daily workings of the station. Papa November has allocated to it a series of 3 figure identifiers which are specific to the station and are not used by any of the other stations in the network. After the callsign is sent a woman sends out the list of identifiers/group count, like this:
PN 1800 25 JUL91:
824, for example, is the identifier and 4 is the number of groups. This is said as
Note also that the last message on the previous day's rota has dropped off the bottom.
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
997 11 717 12 233 17 622 10 117 11 697 9 335 12 477 12
New messages appear daily and the old ones are discarded. This is not always the case, however. Notice the message 543 11. It is stuck on the bottom of the rota for a few days, perhaps for as long as three weeks. Also, message 233 17 joins it at the end. This sort of thing is a regular occurrence. Presumably the message is retained on the rota until the agent contacts the senders to say that the message has been copied. Then the heading will finally disappear from the rota.
Certain identifiers have a tendency to stay around for a long time. For example, 543 messages can stay on a rota for several weeks. Maybe agent 543 or whomever cannot acknowledge easily so the message has to be repeated over a period of time. Traffic analysis is easy with this station as the number of messages changes considerably. Sometimes there may be only five messages, at other times perhaps ten. Here is a selection of headings and group counts sent over the last few years. Perhaps the changes in traffic relate to events in the real world.
Note: The three figure number is the addressee, the one or two figures after the addressee is the group count.
16APR90 16MAY90 21JUN90
Note how the traffic varies. Also, some of the messages consist solely of two-five figure groups. For 20APR91 the traffic for addressee 484 was only 48285 and 36187. It is difficult to imagine what the purpose of such a brief message might be.
Addressees: Here are all of the addresses used by Papa November. The number of different addressees will give some idea of the scale of this station compared to other stations in the same organisation.
As we have seen, Papa November uses four frequencies and DFC37/DFD21 use one each. The other members of this set-up use many frequencies in the 2.0 to 30 MHz range. There are many different callsigns, each of which has its own three figure identifier, although nowhere near as many as Papa November. The format is similar to Papa November. The woman repeats two letters from the international phonetic alphabet four times, after which random electronic tones are played for a few seconds. This goes on for five minutes after which the woman gives the three figure identifier and then the group count. Example:
"Yankee Sierra" 4 times, electronic tones (5 minutes, repeated), "635 635 27
There are, strangely enough, one or two English language versions of these stations. Those noted so far are "Romeo Kilo", "Juliet Oscar" and "Delta Oscar". The woman announcer on these says "Message for 167, 167 88 groups. Attention!", and then goes into the five figure message. The English variant, apart from being very seldom heard (at least in Europe), is unusually faint and distant-sounding, as though the transmitter site is not on the European continent.
The woman's voice has an oriental accent, not German at all. This may suggest that the activities of the organisation behind this station have a world-wide involvement. My own theory is this: DFC37 and DFD21 are aimed at personnel in Western Europe. The times of the broadcasts (afternoons and evenings in Europe), the frequencies used (3370 and 4010) and the large number of addresses seem to back this up. These signals are not readily heard outside of Europe so this would seem to be the case. The traffic is fairly substantial; each addressee has between 20 and 50 five figure groups in each message.
Papa November would seem to be a general alert broadcast. The low five figure group counts (2 to 20) mean little information can be sent to the agent. The message would seem to be on the nature of "Pick up a message at (place)" or "Tune into a broadcast at..." The real information would be sent by all the other two letter stations world-wide as their group counts are always about 100 groups in total.
The suggestion of a world-wide operation is backed up by the frequencies used. 19295 at 1400 is not a combination meant to be heard in Europe. Also, certain stations never appear below about 10 MHz, while others keep below 10 MHz. This would suggest that "Bravo Uniform", for example, which never appears below 10 MHz is meant for agents outside Europe. Similarly, Yankee Sierra", which never broadcasts above 8 MHz, is meant for agents closer to Europe.
The 2 letter stations have been heard at every hour and half hour during the 24 hours in a day. The vast majority broadcast between 1800-2000 suggesting that the recipients of the messages are located mainly in Europe.