Sunday, 23 September 2018


Our thanks to Things Magazine for reintroducing us to an old obsession with a keen, juried resource that makes becoming wholly and irretrievably enticed too easy with an overview of number stations and the accompanying service Priyom (прием, reception) monitoring on all channels.
These high-frequency shortwave signals bounce off the Earth’s ionosphere (relatedly, here’s a secret Cold War undertaking to maintain vital communications in case of sabotage of undersea cables) of strings of formatted numbers are presumably for (since no one knows for sure aside from some anecdotal admissions) intelligence agencies to communicate with field operatives. I can remember turning the dial on an old multiband unit and coming across voices reciting random numbers and finding it a quite unaccountable let down (one mostly got static) until learning it might be an artefact of spycraft. I certainly didn’t have the luxury of an online directory and simulcast. Decoded at the receiving end with a single-use key, the messages relayed are pretty resistant to cryptological scrutiny (should one practise good housekeeping and not reuse codes) and this low technology way of passing information and instructions maintains a low profile. Check out the schedule of regularly reoccurring broadcasts at Priyom at the link above to “eavesdrop” on matters of world security or perhaps barge in on an ad hoc conversation.