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Author Topic: Current Active Numbers Stations  (Read 17004 times)

vhavrilko

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Current Active Numbers Stations
« on: March 31, 2013, 1415 UTC »
ALCON,

Does anyone have a list of the current active numbers stations.  All I have is the attached file which is a good reference but may not be the most current located at http://www.simonmason.karoo.net/page51.html. Thanks.

V/r
Vince
Mountain Home, ID

Offline Token

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 1634 UTC »
ALCON,

Does anyone have a list of the current active numbers stations.  All I have is the attached file which is a good reference but may not be the most current located at http://www.simonmason.karoo.net/page51.html. Thanks.

V/r
Vince
Mountain Home, ID

That list is VERY old.  Even when new it was not a good listing as it was incomplete then (and more so now) and listed a frequency if a station had ever been heard on it (that the author was aware of), regardless of if the station was still active or active on that frequency. I am not bagging on Simon, far from it, but I don’t think that list was ever meant to be all knowing or a schedule of where to find stations.

Some numbers stations change freqs pretty often, others stay pretty fixed.  Some numbers stations are now gone and have not been heard in years, and many new ones have been identified since that list was done.

If you are looking for one all inclusive place to find schedules and frequencies for numbers stations no such place exist.  You will have to sift data for yourself a bit.  Numbers stations do not advertise their schedules and in order for one to be developed a listener has to compile the data and make the schedule, and since some of the stations change frequently it is often a case of “this is what it did last month, who knows what it will do this month”.

A good starting place is the Enigma 2000 web site ( http://www.brogers.dsl.pipex.com/enigma2000/ ). The bimonthly newsletters are a good starting place for schedules, known schedules are included in the newsletter and past receptions are listed also, so you can get a feel for stations that do not have known schedules.  On this web site is also the Enigma Control List (ECL), it is the “master” list of known and identified numbers stations.  It contains very little in the way of frequencies and schedules, but does identify the format of each station.  Unfortunately the ECL does not identify well some of the stations no longer on the air.  You really have to sift the newsletters and some of the other white papers to get a feel for what is going on.  You will also find recordings and examples of stations on this site.

Right here and associated with this web site you will find the Spynumbers Database ( http://www.spynumbers.com/numbersDB/ ). The DB is a pretty good tool, unfortunately it runs in surges.  Because the DB is only as good as the data users put in it, and when no recent data has been put in then the results are less than stellar.  You can search and sort the DB as you want to help determine what freqs and times a station might be on.  Keep in mind that if you are seeing data that is years old it is unlikely to be applicable today.

The Numbers and Oddites web site ( http://www.numbersoddities.nl/ ) is also a good resource.  It has examples and recordings of numbers stations.  The newsletter is a good source of what is active and what is not.  Ary also addresses the issue of numbers stations that have not yet been identified.  The Enigma group assigns the identifiers, but they also take their time before assigning an ID so as NOT to create issues of incomplete understandings of if a station is actual, fake, pirate, new format for old station, etc.  Ary often assigns temporary IDs until Enigma assigns a permanent one (if they do for that signal).

Another good resource is Priyom.org ( http://www.priyom.org/ ).  This is a relatively new group however they have really tried to make a good website.  You will find descriptions of numbers stations and a schedule for many stations.  The schedule, while very nice, is NOT all encompassing or complete.  The group that does that website is primarily European (as is E2K), and the schedule tends to be skewed towards what might be heard in Europe.

That is some good starter information.


Numbers stations that I know are still, or at least recently, active (there are others probably, these are just the ones I have recent first hand knowledge of):

E06
E07
E11
E17
E25
G06
G07
G11
S06
S11
S21
S28
S30
S32
V02 (although maybe not for much longer)
V07
V13
V16
V21
V22
V24
V26
V30
M01
M03
M08
M12
M14
M21
M24
M45
M51
M94
M95
M97
X06
SK01
HM01


Also many “oddities” stations, such as MX, XSL, XPA, and XM.

Hope that helps,

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 1815 UTC »
Token,

Thank you very much for the useful information.  I bookmarked all the websites that I did not have.  I will still input the old frequencies into my WinRadio Excalibur just in case they become active again since the memory is only limited to hard drive space and I have plenty. HM01 is a new designation to me.  What does the HM signify? I just heard that station on 11530 kHz with what sounded like a 5-digit count or a 3/2 count but I am not sure because the signal was weak.

It is nice to get back into the hobby again because I was getting a little burned out with work and school.  Best to always put some time aside for some interesting activities like monitoring pirates, clandestines, and numbers. Although there are not as many numbers and clandestines as they were in the 80s and 90s, it is interesting to see them still flourishing in the 21st century.  I have not delved too deep yet in this aspect but I was wondering if anyone has attempted to decode any of these messages on a computer.  The utilization of one-time use codes is probably still a very effective deterrent against interception even in this age of high technology.

Take care,

Vince
Mountain Home, ID
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 1817 UTC by vhavrilko »

Offline Token

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 1604 UTC »
HM01 is a new designation to me.  What does the HM signify? I just heard that station on 11530 kHz with what sounded like a 5-digit count or a 3/2 count but I am not sure because the signal was weak.

The “HM” in HM01 stands for Hybrid Mode 01, the first Hybrid Mode station recognized by Enigma 2000 as a valid spy numbers station.

Most designations have been in use for years and are pretty straight forward.  Voice stations use “E” (English), “G” (German), “S” (Slavic), or “V” (Various, anything voice not covered by E, G, or S).  Morse code stations use “M”.  Unknown and other transmission that Enigma felt deserved a designation received “X”.    And that was the way it was for a few years, but time marches on and technology advances.

The Cubans introduced a digital mode to their numbers schedule.  No voice, just digital.  Since this signal could be tied to spy numbers (unlike several other suspected signals, such as X06 and XPA) E2K decided to assign it a designation, “SK01”.  Although I actually do not know the reason “SK” was selected I suspect it was because the original digital mode used by SK01 was primarily a BPSK, but also several other modes were experimented with.  SK01 has since changed to RDFT, and it has used only that for the past 5+ years.

Last year the Cubans started experimenting with a transmission that combined the voice from its V02a station with the RDFT digital data format used by SK01.  This station went through a few changes over a period of about 6 months until it stabilized to what is found today.    Apparently E2K decided that this was a valid numbers station and that it needed a designation to identify it.  They decided on “HM01”, Hybrid Mode 01, as it is a hybrid of the digital SK01 and the voice V02.  And yes it does use a five figure group between each data burst.

The Enigma group has always been very deliberate in assigning identifiers.  They appear to want to get it right the first time.  Several times in the past an identifier has been assigned only to almost immediately have to rescind or delete it.  They seem to try to make sure that does not happen again.  Several stations in the recent past I would have assigned an identifier to have not yet been designated.

It is nice to get back into the hobby again because I was getting a little burned out with work and school.  Best to always put some time aside for some interesting activities like monitoring pirates, clandestines, and numbers. Although there are not as many numbers and clandestines as they were in the 80s and 90s, it is interesting to see them still flourishing in the 21st century.  I have not delved too deep yet in this aspect but I was wondering if anyone has attempted to decode any of these messages on a computer.  The utilization of one-time use codes is probably still a very effective deterrent against interception even in this age of high technology.
 

I think there are as many numbers and clandestines today as there were at any one time in the 80’s and 90’s.  The difference is who they are sourced from, who they are aimed at, and who is (or can be) listening to them.

In the past Europe was the hot area.  Today it is Asia.  The majority of the newest numbers stations are Asian.  And this presents multiple issues.

A numbers station targeting Asia is quite possibly not going to be heard well in Europe or the majority of the US because of timing and propagation.  For example Korean V24 (a long running station, going back to the 70’s, just using it as an example) apparently only transmits between 1200 and 1630 UTC and uses frequencies below 7000 kHz.  This frequency range is a night time path range, and there is little overlap when both Europe and Korea, or the US and Korea, are both in dark or just out of darkness.  So this station has not very often (by comparison to European oriented stations) been reported.

However, during the same time when V24 was almost unreported in Europe and the US it was well documented and frequently monitored in Japan.  But, the European and US based numbers monitors, while sharing info amongst themselves, really had little or no exposure to the Japanese language monitors.  Not only was the station hard to hear in Europe or the US, but what was being monitored was being reported in a language the US and European monitors seldom understand.

Following ages are approximate, pulling from memory here and could be a little off.  There have been no new G stations designated in about 9 years, no new E stations in 6+ years, and no new S stations in more than 10 years.  The most recent designations have been V stations (most recently, V30, 2 years ago), almost all Asian, and several M stations assigned (most recently M97, 2 years ago), also mostly Asian.  And more Asian stations have been received but are not well enough understood or documented for E2K to assign a designator.  There is one new English station that should probably eventually receive an E2K designation.

As for decoding, yes, computers make things faster and easier, but OTP based codes are still just as secure as they have ever been.  On one of my YouTube channel recordings of V24 I have had several claims from apparently different users that someone has decoded the transmission, however I see nothing to support that it was indeed decoded.

T!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 1722 UTC by Token »
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 0121 UTC »
Token,

Thanks for the reply.  My position here close to the 'left' coast makes it a little easier to hear Asians.  I will target those frequencies in the future.  Also, please read my most recent post about decoders.  I am trying to get Rivet to work but have had no luck.  I am also waiting for a usb to serial port cable for my RadioCom 6 to run with my Excalibur.  I am new to this aspect of the hobby and I am stumbling just like I did when I first started to learn SPSS and statistics in my PhD BA program.  I am not a natural at it so it takes me awhile to get it so any help is much appreciated.

V/r
Vincent

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 0246 UTC »
I don’t used RadioCom 6, pretty much every feature it has can be duplicated with lower cost or no cost software, although not all in one package.  What are you wanting to achieve with it?

I do not use Rivet, I have other software that achieves the same stuff.  Ian has done good stuff in making Rivet, I just have not needed it.  I keep meaning to play with it but never seem to get around to it.

If you are going to look for Asian stations I can give you a few starting points.

V24 and M94 should be the easiest for you to receive.  These are South Korean numbers stations, V24 being voice and M94 is Morse code.  V24 normally sends a couple of messages a day, up to 6, but M94 only sends 4 times a month.

V24 starts with a musical lead-in.  The music matches a time slot and recipient.  This means what you hear on one transmission may not be used for another.  After the music the station goes into a female voice in Korean, eventually announcing 5 digit groups.  Each message is repeated twice per transmission.  The same message is sent in the same time slot two days in a row.

V24 and M94 transmit in AM and all transmissions are between 1200 UTC and 1630 UTC.  With the frequencies in use you will probably have a fair to good path anytime before about an hour after your local sunrise.  It should fall off pretty quickly after that point.

The following is V24 and M94’s current schedule.  Keep in mind they change at will and without notice, so don’t be surprised if a transmission does not take place or you find an “extra” not defined on the sched.  I update this schedule as needed, generally when major changes occur.  The day numbers on the left are days of the month.
http://token_radio.home.mchsi.com/V24_M94_latest_sched.JPG

Next easiest for you will probably be Chinese V26 and M95.  This station keep sa much less structured schedule and can be hard to anticipate.  In general they are on the air every morning at about 1000, 1100, 1200, and 1300 UTC.  They may also be on other times.  The frequencies used are one of two sets, 4243, 7345, and 9054 kHz, all USB, or 4283, 7553, and 9153 kHz, also all USB.  They tend to alternate sets, meaning that if they were on set A at 1000 they will probably be on set B at 1100.

The sequence of transmissions, regardless of frequency or start time, is most often the same.  The first signal seen is a Chinese 4+4 digital modem, this will be on the above frequencies but in LSB.  After the 4+4 ends then M95 will start, it might be directly on the above listed frequencies or it might be 1 kHz low.  This 1 kHz low is probably caused by the operator leaving the transmitter in LSB and keying the CW.  After M95 ends then V26 will start.  The pauses between each mode will be highly variable, for a few seconds to minutes.

The next easiest for you in your location, but getting a little unlikely, might be Vietnamese M97 and V30.  M97 should be OK, but conditions might have faded before V30 is online.  Neither station are on every day and the days they are on is unpredictable, there seems to be no reason to the days they skip and hit.  About the only thing that seems constant is that they do not transmit on Sunday.  V30 transmits fewer days than M97.

M97 transmits its CW message at about 1500 UTC on 10375 kHz.  The start time is generally a few minutes before 1500, up to 5 minutes before.  V30 transmits its voice message in USB on 10255 kHz at about 1600 UTC, again it is quite likely to be a few minutes early.  Both stations transmit three repeats of the same message one after the other with gaps between each repeat.

Notice that all three of those sets I just IDed for you are morning time (local morning for you) stations.  There are also some evening stations but I do not know their schedules as well, I am working on that.

Hope that helps, lets see if we can get you your first Asian ;)

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 0256 UTC »
Token,

Thanks!  I will place those in memory now.  What software do you use to decode non-voice transmissions?

V/r
Vince

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2013, 1401 UTC »
Token,

Thanks!  I will place those in memory now.  What software do you use to decode non-voice transmissions?

I use several.  FLDIGI, MULTIPSK, SIGMIRA, and Sorcerer, but my most used is Hoka Code 300.

I am not a huge digital sigs guy though, so many of them are encrypted that you often cannot get much out of them.

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2013, 0551 UTC »
Token,

Thanks for the valuable info...I will look into them as well as what WinRadio has to offer.

V/r
Vince

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2013, 0606 UTC »
Token,

How do you get Hoka Code 300.  I did a search and found Hoka Electronics but their prices were extremely high.

V/r
Vince

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2013, 1348 UTC »
Yes, professional tools like Code 300, Krypto500, and go2MONITOR are somewhat expensive (I have not used go2MONITOR, but understand it is pretty good), no doubt about it.  But they also do, in one package, far more than any inexpensive hobby software can do.  You can build up most of the same capabilities with multiple hobby software packages, a little bit here and there.

When you talk about the WinRADIO stuff I assume you mean the Advanced Digital Suite.  I have this software, but I really do not think it is a very good package at all.  It is capable, but you can get almost every feature in free software, but not in an integrated package.

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

Offline Land5urfer

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2013, 1728 UTC »
There is a wealth of info and insight in this thread!  :o

Thank you!
Sangean ATS 909X
SW Ontario, Canada

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2013, 1735 UTC »
I agree...it is helping me to focus on another aspect of the hobby which is digital mode reception but I am taking baby steps towards getting proficient due to career and educational obligations.  

Token,

If I purchased that WinRadio Advanced Digital suite, would I be able to decode CW?  It does not mention anything about it on the website.  I would have paid extra for my Excalibur if it already contained a decent digital mode conversion and display module.

V/r
Vince
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 1754 UTC by vhavrilko »

Offline Token

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2013, 2343 UTC »
No, the WinRadio ADS does not do CW.  But several free pieces of software do, such as fldigi, CWDecoderXP, Sorcerer, and a few others.

Keep in mind that no software CW decoder works even close to as well as the human ear does.  Even when the human ear can clearly hear the CW a piece of software will be making mistakes.  Also, if the person sending has a sloppy fist even the best CW software will make hash out of it.

T!
T!
Mojave Desert, California USA

vhavrilko

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Re: Current Active Numbers Stations
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2013, 0109 UTC »
Token,

Thanks again.  I heard HM01 this morning so I will post that report soon.  I am working on my case assignment and would like to complete most of it before I take a break.

V/r
Vince

 

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