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Numbers Stations: Mystery Over The Airwaves

Aunt Spiker

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[I did do a search - and nothing came up]

Numbers Stations: Mystery Over The Airwaves : NPR

In the shadowy corners of the shortwave radio spectrum, you can often find mysterious mechanical voices counting off endless strings of numbers — in English, Czech, Russian and German … even Morse code. But who's listening?

The voices are coming from what are known as "numbers stations," and they've long been thought to be part of international espionage operations. In fact, the Russian spies recently captured here in the U.S. may have been getting orders from Moscow via a shortwave numbers station.

Thousands of enthusiasts all over the world track numbers station broadcasts, but no one's been able to crack them yet. Stout says that's because the transmissions use an unbreakable encryption system called a one-time pad: encryption key is completely random and changes with every message.
Crazy and cool!
 

Hoplite

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Numbers stations are awesome. Maybe Im just a huge nerd for being that curious about possibly meaningless broadcasts, but I'm horribly curious.
 

LimeLight

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I bet if they did crack it, the message would read 'Don't forget to drink your ovaltine!'.
 
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Aunt Spiker

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I was quite surprised - that article was full of facts I didn't know.
I didn't know waves could travel for such a long distance, for one thing - that's just crazy!

Nor did I ever imagine that you can't track them down.

In this high-tech world it's amazing that the one crack-proof method of secret communication is something so old.
 
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