G15
STATUS- INACTIVE
Papa November pre   1988  
Papa November after 1988  
G15 ("Papa-November") ca. 1980, 7404 kHz R3E, QSO by OM Karl-Heinz.
A declassified Polish document reveals details of PN.  NEW
Full Papa November transmission from JUN 1984 NEW
From Nill Brewster via Jochen S.
From Jochen S.
Papa November from 1979 - JUN 1981    
Papa November from 8 -21 JUN 1981
Papa November from FEB 1982
Papa November from JUL 1983
Papa November from AUG 1983
Papa November from 1984
Papa November from 1987
Papa November from 5 NOV 1988
A complete Papa November transmission wma 1990  15 minutes long.
Courtesy Gary in Wales.

The first sound file you can hear on this page is of the original Papa November with the continuous hypnotic flute which ended in November 1988 when this operation changed from live YLs to synthesised voice which you can hear in clip 2.

PAPA NOVEMBER
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 synthesizer 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 insures 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 on 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 JUL 91:
824 4
695 13
771 11
372 12
525 10
717 8

824, for example, is the identifier and 4 is the number of groups. This is said as
"824 824 4 gruppen, 695 695 13 gruppen", etc. Alter the last heading the message for
824 would be sent which, in this case, is four groups of five figures, e.g. "12334, 12334,
89856, 89856, 29964, 29964, 13277, 13277 ende. Achtung! 695 695 13 gruppen" and soon.

Now, this represents one transmission (at 1800 on 25 July, 1991). The next day a new message may have appeared. It will take the first place on the rota of messages, like this:

(new message)
543 12
824 4
695 13
771 11
372 12
524 10

Note also that the last message on the previous day's rota has dropped off the bottom. If we look at the rota for several days the picture becomes clearer:

SUN        MON       TUE       WED        THU        FRI        SAT        SUN
997 11     717 12    233 17     622 10    117 11     697 9    335 12     477 12
524 8       977 11    717 12    233 17     622 10    117 11    697 9      335 12
543 11     524 8      997 11     717 12    233 17    622 10    117 11     697 9
771 22    543 11       524 8     997 11    717 12    233 17    622 10     117 11
825 7      771 22       543 11    524 8     997 11    717 12    233 17     622 10
372 16     825 7        771 22    543 11     524 8    997 11    717 12     233 17
543 11    543 11        543 11   543 11

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.

21MAR90         16APR90    16MAY90      21JUN90      19AUG90     2DEC90
683 6             706 8          853 6           351  2         069 10       352 15
462 11            321 15       307 35          974 9           564 8        563 14
383 7              178 2          923 10        156 12          133 6        868 12
318 12             084 6         321 9           064 18         620 9        935 11
096 8               464 11       243 12         541 13         713 7        736 7
484 11             997 8         582 7           572 13
948 5               563 4        494 8
825 23             688 16
307 19             825 10

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.

007/0 18/040/046/052/057/064/078/084/092/096
109/1 12/126/133/144/156/160/174/178/179/18 1/197
212/217/219/220/23 1/233/238/243/269/275/280/293
307/312/318/321/337/348/351/352/367/372/376/383/399
406/422/438/448/462/464/468/479/484/487/491/494
525/535/541/543/544/552/563/564/569/572/581/585/587/595
602/6 16/620/637/657/669/678/683/687/688/690/695
706/713/717/725/736/749/765/771/799
805/809/825/843/849/853/868/877/88 1/887/891
905/9 16/923/927/935/948/965/966/974/994/997

Of course Papa November is not listed in any available frequency list and its callsign is not issued by any telecommunications authority.