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Old 02-19-2019, 09:32 AM
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This reminds me of the Sky King stuff. I haven't ever heard anything like this. Any of you guys ever come across this stuff before when scanning?
This article is a good read with the right amount of tinfoil.
https://www.groundzeromedia.org/2-18...etheus-speaks/
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Old 02-19-2019, 01:09 PM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
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We used to record those, feed the output into a mainframe daily and analyze the traffic to look for spikes in activity which meant something was up.

Old school tradecraft like this still used by Cuba, DPRK, Iran.

Now days the Russians just use files hidden in plain sight encrypted in Facebook and Snapchat...
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:22 PM
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Numbers stations are still a daily occurrence. No other form of communication protects the recipient as thoroughly as a one way voice link. Sure, the source of the transmission is easy to determine, but the possible listeners is almost impossible to narrow down. Any other form of communications leaves a trail that you have done so. If you call a number it can be traced to both ends, if you visit a web site both the source and the viewer can be tracked. Even if the number of people looking at a specific web site is in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands that is a smaller possible pool than the possible, and realistically untraceable, number of potential radio listeners. And now if you filter on repeated web site viewers to multiple suspect sites you can narrow down further.

So yes, numbers stations are still in use today. The Russians are by far the most active numbers station users today (the last US numbers station went off the air well over a decade ago). The Koreans, both north and south, the Chinese, the Taiwanese, the Poles, the Cubans, the Ukrainians, and the Egyptians, all have active numbers stations. The French and the Israelis have pseudo numbers stations, stations that kind of fit the format, but are actually probably military in nature instead of spy or espionage numbers stations.

If you check my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/FirstToken/videos ) you will find many examples of Numbers Stations and other radio oddities.

There are three really excellent, no BS, web sites related to these kinds of stations. Just information, not conspiracy stuff.

The ENIGMA 2000 web site (http://www.signalshed.com/ ) is genesis of the original ENIGMA group. ENIGMA is the hobby group that took numbers station monitoring to the next level in the early 1990's. They applied coordinated professional level efforts to the hobby, developing a now almost universally used designation system to quickly and universally catalog and identify the various stations in existence. E2K maintains that list of features / stations today in the ENIGMA Control List.

The Numbers and Oddities web site (http://www.numbersoddities.nl/ ) is less strictly focused on numbers and more generally on anything odd on the HF radio. There is a closely related web site (http://www.udxf.nl/ ) also run by Ary. Ary himself has been a long time listener of these kinds of stations, with decades of history.

The Priyom.org web site ( http://priyom.org/ ) is a relative newcomer, but probably has the most information focused specifically focused on numbers station. They are a relatively new group (started in 2010) of relatively young web savvy users who got bitten hard by the numbers bug starting in 2010, about the time web based remote receivers became widely available. Most of these users don't have radios of their own, or rely on their own radio les soften than remote receivers. The Priyom web site has the most complete, up to date, online calendar of predicted numbers transmissions right there on their front page.

By the way, remote receivers has really opened this up. listeners can monitor and follow stations that propagation conditions would never have allowed them to hear before the advent of remote receivers. http://www.websdr.org/ and https://sdr.hu/ are two extremely good sources of remotes.

Yeah, you might say I have heard these once or twice

By the way, although they may remind you of US mil HF-GCS transmissions (the "sky kind" kind of stuff), such military transmissions are not generally grouped with numbers stations.

T!
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
We used to record those, feed the output into a mainframe daily and analyze the traffic to look for spikes in activity which meant something was up.

Old school tradecraft like this still used by Cuba, DPRK, Iran.

Now days the Russians just use files hidden in plain sight encrypted in Facebook and Snapchat...
Also used by ISIS and other radical Islamic groups. And dissidents in countries such as the middle east and central/south America.
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Old 02-20-2019, 09:54 AM
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Ya my java is blocking all those links.
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Old 02-20-2019, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
We used to record those, feed the output into a mainframe daily and analyze the traffic to look for spikes in activity which meant something was up.
Unless you know who or where the recipient is, does such traffic analysis really matter? Literally, if a long message is sent and I do not know who the recipient is, and it could be anyone in thousands of miles radius of the target region, potentially tens if not hundreds of millions of people, what can that tell me? And the typical coverage of shortwave numbers stations is often measured in 10's of thousands of miles. For example, V07 is a Spanish language, Russian sourced, numbers station that is transmitted from far eastern Russia, but is readily heard all over the Pacific, from Australia to Japan, as well as the western US and a good portion of South America.

Some well run numbers station will not have traffic spikes to indicate anything. The traffic will happen at the same time on a given day, on a regular schedule. The traffic length will always be not less than X and not more than Y groups. Padding (junk data) will be added to the traffic to keep the message lengths correct and to periodically lengthen messages towards the longer end of the acceptable limit.

That is how we were taught (in the 70's and early 80's) to build traffic when we used military message formats that were similar to, but not identical to, numbers stations.

And that is how some numbers stations are run today.

But some stations do not appear to care if you can glean anything from traffic complexity, some stations regularly transmit "nulls", that is messages with no data, when they have nothing to say. The Russians, particularly, do not seem to care if you know the traffic patterns, since you can still never recover the data. And so some of the Russians stations transmit "nulls" when no traffic is being transferred. Literally transmissions were the data is "zero zero zero zero zero zero" in the scheduled time / day / frequency.

On the other hand, the Cubans, the Koreans, both north and south, the Taiwanese, and some of the Chinese stations normally make their transmissions about the same length and it seems they always transmit unless there is a technical failure. So it could probably be assumed they are trying to mask analysis.

A Vietnamese station (now inactive for the past few years) sent the same message for months on end, on the same frequency and at the same times of the day, only a couple times a year changing it, and that was an odd habit indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
Old school tradecraft like this still used by Cuba, DPRK, Iran.
Cuba and DPRK have active stations (although DPRKs only reactivated a couple years ago after about 15 years of inactivity), but to the best of my knowledge Iran does not have an active numbers station.

As I said in my other post, Russia, Poland, the Ukraine, Cuba, China, North Korea, South Korea, Egypt, and Taiwan all have active regular numbers stations today. A few other irregular stations are periodically heard whose source locations have not been confirmed. Several similar format transmissions are heard that are known not to be spy related stations, and these are generally not lumped in with "numbers stations". Narco traffickers have been known to use similar formats, although typically for short durations, with a schedule/habit/format showing up for a little while and then disappearing forever.

Some known military formats are very similar to numbers stations.

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Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
Now days the Russians just use files hidden in plain sight encrypted in Facebook and Snapchat...
The Russians still use numbers stations, with many such transmissions on an average day. Online techniques, while undoubtedly used, put the recipient in greater danger than one way secure voice links. Some agents, based on documented evidence presented in court by the FBI (Ana Montes is an example of one such case), appear to be run mostly by direct contact and numbers stations. By the way, in the Montes case other methods of communications (particularly telephone, online, and encoded pager traffic) appear to have possibly played heavily in her demise.

T!
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