Ninth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 22:31:34 +0100 MET)

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Memory lane: 5-dashes [G13/E13]

by Simon Mason

This was a bilingual operation. Although the majority of the transmissions are in German, there was a small segment in English. Both languages have the same format and use the same female voice machine. The broadcast starts on the hour with the woman repeating a three figure number three times, followed by a five figure number and then a group count of the message to follow. At five past the hour slow dashes are sent, followed by the five figure groups of the actual message. Here are some headings that have been sent over the years:

948 948 948 71667 122
251 251 251 82385 109
901 901 901 29003 40
331 331 331 59900 72
211 211 211 26318 53
064 064 064 19250 94

The three figure group probably identifies the intended recipient and the five figure group was probably the key to decoding the message. The final numbers are the group count.

The woman used originally had a very sharp delivery; again, like someone barking out orders on a parade ground. This woman was practically shouting. Then, in March, 1991, the voice was changed. The new voice was the audio equivalent of those ransom notes you see on television cop shows where the letters have been cut from a newspaper. Some letters in the broadcast were sent slowly, some quickly, within the same five figure group. Also, the number nine is sent as "noyner". So, the number "12955" would be sent like:

Ems - zvo - noyner - funffunf

The spacing above gives some idea of the kind of delivery the woman uses. Also, each of the five tones sent before the message was preceded by a rush of white noise, as though an ancient tape recorder with automatic gain control was being used. The whole thing has a very amateurish sound. Around March, 1991 an English version of this station turned up using the same voice.


Zurbia | Quiz | Voice stations | Memory lane | Morse & RTTY stations
Various modes | Iraqi intelligence | Logs | 1998 Index
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