Fifteenth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sat, 03 July 1999 10:53:44 GMT)

Book review | Czech transmitting sites | Voice stations
FAPSI intercepts | Logs
Index | NS NL Home

Products and books review

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Editor.....Bob Margolis
136 East Woodland Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045-1729

ENIGMA's Numbers Stations Booklet in two parts, photocopied on A4-size paper.

17-21 Chapel Street
West Yorkshire, BD1 5DT

Both parts combined for five British Pounds, including postage, inside the United Kingdom, seven GBP outside the U.K., and U.S. $15.00 to America and Canada.

ENIGMA (European numbers Information Gathering & Monitoring Association) is an organisation devoted to monitoring and learning details about the so-called "numbers stations" that are heard over short-wave radio. It was formed in 1992 and has more than 300 members in 30 countries

Its two-part booklet is intended for use by subscribers to ENIGMA's newsletters, but they are just as useful to non-subscribers who also want to probe the mysteries of the numbers stations.

Part One, published November 1998

If you're one of the many listeners who is fascinated with the large variety of short-wave radio numbers stations, then this booklet is definitely worth having, as it provides a detailed examination as to what can be heard today. The booklet doesn't go into the histories of the stations, thus setting an active tone rather than a passive one. "The aim of this booklet is for it to be the definitive identification guide... so that monitors will be more able to predict and locate transmissions," it is stated in the Introduction to Part One of the booklet.

Leading off the informational tour is a glossary of terms used in discussions about numbers stations. Then the reader learns what numbers stations are, their modes of transmissions, and how to identify, analyse and log them. Each station's format is described from beginning of transmission to the end, and how it is different from other numbers stations.

Various types of broadcast schedules along with choices of frequencies are discussed next. It is noted that, "Many European-only stations rarely venture above 7MHz," which explains why so little of the traffic heard by listeners in Europe reaches the shores of the Western Hemisphere. Stations that are heard world-wide, such as the so-called "Lincolnshire Poacher" station, named for the old English folk song that is used as its signature tune, is due to "the large well-known agencies which tend to use the higher frequencies; this reflects their world-wide interests," the booklet states.

The meat and potatoes of Part One follows with all the known types of transmissions arranged by family groups and ENIGMA's reference number for each one.

Morse Code is presented next, followed by operators' procedural codes and the four types of cut numbers Morse Code stations that are commonly heard.

A detailed list of frequencies ends the 58-page document. The frequencies listed were recorded during a 10-year period.

Part Two, published June 1999

This part, consisting of 40 pages, goes into more specifics about numbers stations so that the listener can positively identify them. Explained are the stations' formats and methods of operation.

Not covered are the 6XM8/C37A and FAPSI network stations because "these are intended for use with teleprinter terminals, and therefore not intended for agents in the field," the Introduction to Part Two states. The only non-Morse or non-voice mode covered is Polytone, the Introduction explains, which is intended for intended for field agents. Also not represented are borderline stations that do not fit the usual numbers stations' patterns.

Details of some of the languages used by numbers stations are given, with numbers one through nine, plus zero, in English, German, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbo-Croat, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Russian, French, and others. The listener will be able to tell what language he's hearing with the aid of these helpful listings.

Order information is presented at the top of this review. Payments may be made by Sterling or U.S. dollars cash, or Eurochecks, AMEX checks (in Sterling), U.K. checks, or postal money orders made payable to "ENIGMA."

Before sealing that envelope, you might consider joining the association. This would entitle you to four issues of the ENIGMA newsletter and you could become a contributor to it. The cost is 6 British pounds for delivery inside the U.K. and 10 for airmail postage elsewhere.

Cash and checks are acceptable as indicated for the booklet order.

Book review | Czech transmitting sites | Voice stations
FAPSI intercepts | Logs
Index | NS NL Home