Being interested in the great game as all things espionage is known, I read about this particular method for sending coded secret signals to spies in the field. Those clandestine operatives that are hidden among us tune in at certain times to certain shortwave radio frequencies. A sequence of spoken numbers is broadcast automatically to the target agents who could be anywhere in the known world. The agents copy and transcribe the numbers using deciphering methods such as ‘one time pads’ to decode the numbers into a meaningful message. One time pads are unbreakable if used correctly and as the name stated, the encryption is used only once then disposed of.
Number Stations Still Going For The Spy Audience
Those radio amateurs (HAMS) that ‘surf’ shortwave channels are fascinated by these mysterious emanations from the ether. Anyone with a decent shortwave receiver should be able to pick them up. Thought to be a relic of the Cold War, this means of covert communication is still a valued tool to contact secret agents anywhere!
We recently watched a good action thriller movie called ‘The Numbers Station’ (2013) starring excellent actors John Cusack and Liam Cunningham with Malin Akerman.
I was pleasantly surprised as the movie managed to make the unglamourous and probably monotonous subject to non-spy enthusiasts quite exciting 😉
Where the transmitting stations are located is a mystery, and of course spy agencies deny that they exist. A British number station is rumoured to be based in Cyprus?
The best known of the number stations was the “Lincolnshire Poacher”, which is thought to have been run by the British Secret Intelligence Service.
Below are two YouTube items