By Rob Beschizza at 6:21 am Tue, Dec 2, 2008
I am highly confused.
#1: Glad that you wrote that, I didn’t comment earlier because I didn’t want to be the first to ask “What is it that I’m hearing???“
Agent X, is that you? I thought I told you never to call me at work…
but srsly, look up the Conet Project. These number broadcasts have been around for a while, and are thought to be international-espionage related as at least some have been determined to have been broadcast from embassy compounds in the US and abroad.
Excellent for spooky, creepy Halloween background music.
Horrible if you happen to be ‘shrooming your face off…
Numbers stations (and disembodied, single radio-type voices in general) have disturbed and fascinated me for a long time.
This video is a bit weird, though. What’s with the space bits?
Ok, now that I realize what it is, it’s a little cool. The thing is completely mystifying at first though. Here’s what I initially wrote–
This reminded me of the Onion article where YouTube sponsors a contest for its users to create something other than “unwatchable trash.”
A few years back someone released 2-CD set of the South American number stations.
I have always thought they were one-time pads for encryption for use by agents in the field.
See Numbers Station on Wikipedia – some Cuban spies have been caught receiving orders through encrypted transmissions.
Transmitting numbers on shortwave radio may be low-tech (it’s been around since WWI, it seems), but it’s so safe and effective that apparently everybody does it: the U.S., Europeans from east to west, Russia, China, and even Colombian drug smugglers.
There was a rumor that these transmissions came from a tower located in Tysons Corner, Virginia — right next to a bustling shopping mall. This was later denied and has never been confirmed. There was a verified transmission from a place called the “Warrenton Training Center,” which (no surprise) is not in Warrenton but in nearby Remington, Virginia, about 30 miles south of Tysons Corner. Since the end of the Cold War these transmissions have dimiished, but I heard them loud and clear on a cheap radio near Washington, DC a few years ago. If you Google some of these places you’ll find out more.
Even if most numbers transmissions are innocent in nature, it would be an excellent way to convey secret information. Basically uncrackable if the right crypto is used. Very inefficient, though. Faster to just bury the coordinates of the doomsday space laser in a LOLcat pic using steganography.
There used to be a numbers station in the next village to me, it’s the only significant thing on it’s Wikipedia entry:
As they broadcast in the ‘open’ they are easy to locate, but that’s not the point – as it’s a shortwave broadcast, their always located in the country of origin anyway…
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