|Papa November pre 1988
Papa November after 1988
|G15 ("Papa-November") ca. 1980, 7404 kHz R3E, QSO by OM Karl-Heinz.|
declassified Polish document reveals details of PN.
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
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
Of course Papa November is not listed in any available frequency list and its callsign is not issued by any telecommunications authority.