Numbers & oddities: Column 6

editor: Ary Boender

[Back to list]


Welcome to the 7th edition of 'Numbers & Oddities'. Since last month the 'Miscellaneous SSB' column from Mike ceased to exist and has merged with 'N&O'. From now on you can send me also 'normal' stuff that doesn't fit in any of the other columns.



Channelmarkers

I heard channelmarker 'F' from Gdansk on 4556 kHz. This is most probably a Polish navy frequency. It is also reported on 7039 kHz but I think that this is incorrect as I hear very clearly 'C' and 'S' on 7039 kHz. F (..-.) can easily be mistaken for C (-.-.)

'C' is now also on 16331.85 and 'S' on 16332 kHz. 'R' is DFed and appears to be in Ustinov (Izhevsk) in the eastern part of European Russia.

Mossad

CIO is now also on 8025 kHz. VLB is heard on 3417 // 6270 and FTJ on 4665 kHz.

There seems to be something wrong with the broadcasting equipment that the Mossad, the Israeli military and government stations are using. It was first heard in the second week of June and it's still there while I'm writing this on July 17th. During that period you could here something that sounds like the ringing of a telephone and on top of that a sort of clicking sound. When the telephone sound appears, then you could hear all the Mossad transmissions that were on the air at that particular moment, all at the same time. On 10125 kHz, this whole thing sounded even weirder as there is a Moscow station 1 kHz away that produces a constant 'white noise' type of sound which is some sort of high tech digital mode. Maybe you can imagine how this sounded when it all blended. The most interesting frequency was 10125 kHz, but also on 8127 kHz something unusual has been heard. This Mossad frequency carries on USB Israel Defence Forces Radio (Galei Zahal). It was first thought that this was KOL Israel but it appears to be Galei Zahal's traffic information service which carries mostly music and id's as "Kol Ha-Galgalatz" ("Voice of Galgalatz"). News summaries are sometimes carried on the half hour with some news bulletins relayed from Kol Israel Israel's Network B on the hour. During the Galei Zahal broadcasts the same situation occur as on 10125 kHz. The same happened to a couple of RTTY stations who apparently transmit from the same site just like Galei Zahal. The transmitter site is near Tel Aviv. Maybe this is still going on when the Newsletter comes out. Try your luck on 10125 kHz.

MI6

Apart from the well known 'Lincolnshire Poacher' station, MI6 also operates another, less frequent heard, station. This station uses an interval signal that sounds like the old folksong 'Cherry Ripe' and is played on a flute. I heard them recently on 14469 kHz at 13.00 UTC. They have been noted on 17499 kHz at 12.00 UTC as well and at 13.00 UTC on 20474 and 23411 kHz. The station is known to Numbers-dxers as 'the Cherry Picker'

Nancy Adam Susan schedule

Nancy Adam Susan schedule
11.00 18000 kHz BEC
12.00 17502 kHz NAS
12.30 11170 kHz NSA
13.00 11000 kHz BEC
14.00 14000 kHz FYP
16.30 6715 kHz NAS
17.00 14000 kHz FYP
17.30 5835 kHz MSA
18.00 5835 kHz WSS
19.00 4130 kHz SAR
20.00 5530 kHz NAS
21.00 4130 kHz MSA / RSM

Brotherhood update

A new sked for messages to RAU can be found on 13880 kHz at 08.10 UTC. UXW has a fixed sked at 09.10 UTC on 14426 kHz with RLX in Moscow, the other end of the link is on 13506 kHz. The link id for both stations is 40034.

8BY / P8K

Recently number station '8BY' has been DFed and it appears that it is operating from France, somewhere near Paris. The user is unknown but there are rumours that it might be DGSE related. Frequencies: 7668, 10248, 12170, 14931 and 18302 kHz. Another station that is around for many years is 'P8K' which will be DFed during the next couple of weeks and I would not be surprised if this one comes from France as well.

The USAF numbers broadcasts, pt1.

They are there for many years; easy to catch and yet completely ignored by the majority of the dxers. A bit strange when you know that there are many numbers-dxers who spend years to figure out how the numbers stations work, who are looking for patterns and try to break the codes. Yet they ignore the EAMs and Foxtrot messages. Therefore I thought it would be nice to take a closer look to these messages. We'll kick off with the Foxtrot or 'Skyking' messages, which all of you probably have heard before. They can be heard on all GHFS frequencies.

Here's a sample: "Skyking, Skyking, do not answer. Papa Tango Three. Time Three Five. Authentication Whiskey November. I say again; Skyking, Skyking, do not answer. Papa Tango Three. Time Three Five. Authentication Whiskey November. Croughton out."

Perhaps the most common question asked by a new military ute monitor is the question "who is this SKYKING character, and why can't he answer?" These broadcasts to SKYKING are more commonly known as FOXTROT broadcasts. You can read about them in Larry Van Horn's Utility World column in the Dec 94 Monitoring Times (which includes a picture of a USAF FOXTROT broadcast pad). As with the EAMs, they are usually ignored when they are broadcast on the GHFS. Most of the information below is derived from posts on the Grove BBS. I thank the participants in the discussions on the BBS, in particular Jeff Haverlah who wrote the major part of this article.

What follows is not 'who' or 'what' these "SKYKING" broadcasts are, but rather how they seem to manifest themselves on HF, at least from a CONUS (=CONtinental USa) viewpoint.

The construction of a Foxtrot message is as follows: 'Skyking, Skyking, do not answer' is the normal callup text for Foxtrot messages. This is followed by a 'trigraph', 'timestamp' and 'authentication'.

Trigraph
All characters of English alphabet can be used. All numerals from 1 though 9, plus zero are used. There are all alpha-character trigraphs; combinations of alphanumeric trigraphs; and all numeric trigraphs. The trigraphs NEVER change during a FOXTROT cycle.
Timestamp
Two digits that represent the minutes-unit of time of the broadcast. The digits will change to reflect the time of broadcast by a specific station. Sometimes, the stations seem to fudge the timestamp (missing the minute-change.)
Authentication
Conventional Wisdom - the 'alpha''alpha' authentication does not change during the echo cycle. Common situation now - the 'authentication' does indeed change during the echo process. Yet, there are still instances where the 'authentication' does not change. In multiple FOXTROT situations ("more to follow"), the 'authentications' are static across each message (each authentication is the same for each 3/2 DNA.) If the authentication changes in mid-rotation, it seems to change for each grouping in the cycle at the same point.

The Foxtrot messages appear to have the highest precedence of any transmission on the GHFS. Example of precedence:

Other presumed FOXTROT broadcasts: 'YELLOWBLOOD' 3/2 DNAs heard on 6788, 11191, 11244 kHz. Presumed USN related; possibly USMC. But not sure. The station that broadcasts these transmissions never id's itself. The broadcast is sometimes echoed by at least one other station, again with no id given. These broadcasts sometimes indicate the use of a schedule. Example: +/- h+53 minutes in late 1994. Transmission pattern: 'YELLOWBLOOD, YELLOWBLOOD. Do not answer. Break "trigraph timestamp authentication."'

As mentioned above, these broadcasts have apparently been around on the U.S. HF military frequencies for decades. The transmission patterns and frequencies changed somewhat in 1992 and since 01 June 1992, they have manifested themselves on the GHFS as follows: (note: although the following is the result of many years of monitoring these messages, some of the info given is 'tentative'. Your comments or adjustments are highly appreciated

-Ary-).

Next month we'll take a closer look at the EAMs. I'd like to thank Enigma, Mike Chace, BBC Monitoring Service, Leif Dehio, Jeff Haverlah, Larry van Horn and all the others who sent me their findings. Keep it coming ! 'till next month, Ary.


---