|[AMRadio] Numbers Stations - NPRs slant|
acohen at texas.net
Sat Nov 13 11:54:16 EST 2004
I was never in on the busy signal thing, but I did do something
similar. Telephone numbers that had the suffix beginning with 99 were
designated as "official" numbers for internal phone company use. As I
recall, you could dial xxx-9929 and have a friend dial xxx-9930, and
the two of you could hold a conversation.
I also had a friend who discovered that old pay telephones used to use
the sound of the falling coins striking a bell to determine whether the
money was properly deposited in the phone. Every evening my friend
would take a cassette tape recorder with a recording of the sound of
the coins being deposited in the telephone and use it to talk to his
girlfriend! He never got caught.
On Nov 13, 2004, at 11:13 AM, Jim Isbell wrote:
> Speaking of cults. did you ever hear of the cult of folks that
> communicated over the telephone on a bussy signal? I tried it once
> and it worked!!
> I cant remember just how it worked but I think you called a number
> that was bussy and then you listened between the beeps for the voice
> of another person. The other person had also called the busy number
> and the two of you were then connected and could chat between the
> beeps. That may not be exact, its been 10 years since I tried it.
> What I never figured out was how the other person knew what number to
> call, maybe it didnt matter as long as you got a busy signal. It was
> sort of like a blind CQ, you never knew who you would get, just some
> mysterious voice that appeared between the beeps.
> I dont know if it still works or not.
> On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 09:02:03 -0500, Alan Cohen <acohen at texas.net>
>> It seems to me that the cult existed long before NPR ever reported it.
>> They certainly were not the ones who released a CD of number stations,
>> nor were they the folks on both sides of the Atlantic who bought the
>> the things. As noted here by others, people have spent many hours
>> logging the stations and writing about them.
>> As a boy, I remember reading Tom Kneitel's articles about them in
>> Electronics Illustrated. Conspiracy theories about the things have
>> been around for years.
>> So yeah, I would say that there was a cult of people who were into
>> numbers stations. It was interesting to learn that there are people
>> out there still discovering them.
>> Hats off to NPR for doing good radio!
>> Who knows? Perhaps some people out there found that report on number
>> stations interesting enough to buy a shortwave radio. A few may even
>> find their way into our hobby.
>> In any case, it is certainly a lot more interesting than the usual
>> radio fare. It sure beats the likes of morning drive blatherers like
>> Howard Stern and Don Imus, the right wing echo chamber of Limbaugh and
>> Hanity, the semi-automatic no-personality bad music juke boxes that
>> populate the FM band, and 99% of the other garbage on commercial radio
>> these days.
>> Alan Cohen
>> On Nov 13, 2004, at 7:20 AM, Mark Foltarz wrote:
>>> Funny how NPR and the liberal media freaks mentioned in the story
>>> can take
>>> something like a UTE such as a number station and turn it in to a
>>> cult! I
>>> remember when I actually liked listening to NPR. Even 'A Prarie Home
>>> has gone sour like a bad compost heap. Bummer.
>>> Number stations were certainly used for clandestine applications.
>>> But also
>>> there are more innocuous uses. For example, maritime operators and
>>> private industry used number groups to send company (i.e. private)
>>> Only intended recipients could decode the groups into anthing
>>> One might contend "Why use such primitive means in this day of
>>> Have you ever worked in an office or other bureaucracy where you see
>>> something could be done simpler or better? But no one in the office
>>> wants to
>>> change, or it takes a long time for something to change. This is the
>>> same kind
>>> of latency or inertia. Business usually has to repond a little
>>> Ultimately, sending number groups is real simple. The music you
>>> hear at the
>>> begining of some of the number groups is purposely poppy, sugar sweet
>>> or just
>>> plain annoying to make it easily recognizeable to the intended
>>> Number ststions seemed to be more abundant before the end of the
>>> USSR. So
>>> was woodpecker jamming and 'over the horizon' radar jamming of SWBC.
>>> I almost
>>> miss the buzz saw sound blanketing parts of the spectrum. It was a
>>> challenge to hear a station under such a barrage. Around 1989 it all
>>> sort of
>>> just stopped.
>>> de KA4JVY
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