It’s a Numbers Game…

If you listen to shortwave radio long enough you will probably stumble upon something unusual outside of the normal broadcast and amateur bands. The shortwave frequencies are broken up and allocated for specific uses. Shortwave broadcasters are allocated certain frequency ranges to stay within, as well as ham/amateur radio operators. Below is a list of the frequencies allocated for broadcasters.

120 metres 2300-2495 kHz
90 metres 3200-3400 kHz
75 metres 3900-4000 kHz
60 metres 4750-4995 kHz
49 metres 5900-6200 kHz
41 metres 7200-7450 kHz
31 metres 9400-9900 kHz
25 metres 11600-12100 kHz
22 metres 13570-13870 kHz
19 metres 15100-15800 kHz
16 metres 17480-17900 kHz
15 metres 18900-19020 kHz
13 metres 21450-21850 kHz
11 metres 25670-26100 kHz

Here is a list of the frequencies for the ham/amateur radio operators

180 metres 1800-2000 kHz
80 metres 3500-3800 kHz
60 metres 5250-5450 kHz
40 metres 7000-7200 kHz
30 metres 10100-10150 kHz
20 metres 14000-14350 kHz
17 metres 18068-18168 kHz
15 metres 21000-21450 kHz
12 metres 24890-24990 kHz
10 metres 28000-29700 kHz

These unusual signals you may happen upon are called “Numbers Stations‘ and may sound something like this.

Many articles have been written about these mysterious transmissions. Some theories thrown out are these are a type of code to communicate with spies in the field or used by drug smugglers. The most common broadcast I’ve heard is usually a Spanish female speaker repeating numbers in groups of 4 or five. Sometimes there may be tones heard in between the reading of the numbers.

If this fascinates you and peaks your curiosity, here are some links to peruse:

NPR audio segment titled “The Shortwave Numbers Mystery
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP5J9-D7_jw

Wikipedia article on Numbers Stations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_station

BBC article titled “The Spooky World of Numbers Stations
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24910397

I came across two broadcasts of a numbers station recently. Both were a Spanish speaking female repeating numbers in groups of five. They were on different frequencies and at different times, but sound like the same voice to me. The first is shown above and the 2nd below.

Some wierd and intriguing stuff! šŸ‘½

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