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November 17, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Net Pirate Number Station What's it all about? [via]
posted by tellurian (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Um, they tell you..
posted by bhance at 4:38 PM on November 17, 2005


Numbers stations with video? That spoils the fun, doesn't it?

...

Having watched it for several minutes, I now want to go out and get a projector to display the video constantly on my loungeroom wall.

(The Conet Project is both brilliant and expensive)
posted by Jimbob at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2005


bhance's comment shows why cocky formatting on the post is pants.
posted by bonaldi at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2005


"Um, they tell you.."

So did tellurian, if you followed all the links.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:40 PM on November 17, 2005


Q: The constant stream of data being fed into your station makes me feel sad--and the droning of the video hosts is eerie, and they stutter a lot too —are you trying to hurt us?
posted by puke & cry at 4:40 PM on November 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


d'oh. christ.
posted by bhance at 4:42 PM on November 17, 2005


Let me be the first to say it:

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh
posted by blue_beetle at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2005


Like they say on the FAQ..

"Q: Why do you believe that this will be entertaining?"
posted by HuronBob at 5:00 PM on November 17, 2005


I'm confused, why would I want numbers broadcast at me?
posted by fenriq at 5:06 PM on November 17, 2005


Christ, why wouldn't you? Some people...
posted by Jimbob at 5:12 PM on November 17, 2005


Sue him how, in comedy court? How can a British citizen be sued by the Kazakhstani government?
posted by ChasFile at 5:12 PM on November 17, 2005


I don't know about you guys, but I want to find out what he's angry about.
posted by afroblanca at 5:14 PM on November 17, 2005


ChasFile, mate, you're in the wrong thread. I'll show you the way out...
posted by Jimbob at 5:15 PM on November 17, 2005


Jimbob can you help afroblanca too?
posted by tellurian at 5:21 PM on November 17, 2005


I think it is some Videodrome mind-control-making-weird-tumors-grown-on-your-body kinda thing.

I'm not watching it anymore. I'm scared.
posted by marxchivist at 5:25 PM on November 17, 2005


SKYKING SKYKING DO NOT ANSWER
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
TIME FOUR TWO
AUTHENTICATION MIKE HOTEL.
I SAY AGAIN
SKYKING SKYKING DO NOT ANSWER
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
TIME FOUR TWO
AUTHENTICATION MIKE HOTEL.
ERIKO OUT
posted by eriko at 5:43 PM on November 17, 2005


Long live the New Flesh!
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on November 17, 2005


I heard one of these late at night on shortwave in a distant land last year. Frightful, I tell you. It's total nonsense, and the presenter is so droning and serious. I prefer this kind of shortwave radio, to be honest.
posted by rschram at 5:55 PM on November 17, 2005


I heard one of these late at night on shortwave in a distant land last year

Has anyone else ever picked up a numbers station? I've had no luck, but then my $5 battery-powered shortwave receiver has never picked up anything so I might need better equipment.
posted by Jimbob at 6:01 PM on November 17, 2005


In my experience, those cheap radios work only in remote areas. I live in a city in the US now, so I've learned to love Coast to Coast and Dr. Laura. Oh, but soon....
posted by rschram at 6:02 PM on November 17, 2005


help afroblanca
Q: Are you angry about something?

A: We don't want to talk about this. It's private.

no of three hosts transmitting..43577954324679873168
8774643576842545578996963197454687351468784354
6423445654547663845235645776796780743543431553
4662447763578934554686235764234554275569547840
3557648932545476133457235658434379433556482345
4723345461335447631234561310466284757661437817
3921780346758143561132455478367549363746827453
6113341511346511634126447611364143566812436517
3655648335628478994344576524351335642345534645
2453523276135656747683434586462546562341264874
2354715365647825445766...there's something in the meantime.
posted by carsonb at 6:05 PM on November 17, 2005


Dear God,
What the fuck?
are you on drugs?
mathowie please hope me.
chorus
Damn you God,
What the fuck?
smoke weed.
mathowie please hope me.
posted by carsonb at 6:09 PM on November 17, 2005


carson out.
posted by carsonb at 6:10 PM on November 17, 2005


rschram: It's total nonsense
Maybe not, it could be the CIA or Mossad.
posted by tellurian at 6:13 PM on November 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


Imagine my surprise when the blog that hortense and i created, then never worked on (because we are too busy reading other blogs/filters and working) gets a via, Woot
thanks

/mildly embarrassed
still sick of Morons.
posted by blink_left at 6:27 PM on November 17, 2005


4 8 15 16 23 42 EXECUTE
posted by SPrintF at 6:45 PM on November 17, 2005


I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers were actually some kind of cypher. If I were into this kind of thing I'd try to figure it out.

And for the record, I'm with tkchrist and Marchivist. O'blivion is behind this.
posted by afroblanca at 8:20 PM on November 17, 2005


Man, I just looked at this now, at 11:25, and all three "feeds" appear off the air, no? I have no idea what this is; just that it's scary and disturbing, and reminds me of the various freak SW stations I listen to in the 1970's and 1980's, including "number stations, with "ocho...neuve...dos" being recited in disturbing voices. WTF? This all feels like we are about to be invaded by space aliens...WTF is this?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:28 PM on November 17, 2005


ParisParamus it's in the links.
posted by tellurian at 8:48 PM on November 17, 2005


Thanks, I know now. But, initially, I found this all so disturbing...

By the way, great post!
posted by ParisParamus at 8:50 PM on November 17, 2005


Metafilter: one............one..............one............ one.........one...........nine...........
posted by Hands of Manos at 10:33 PM on November 17, 2005


How disappointing -- no video of the bored man! (archive.org link)*:

The bored man [V20]

This obscure station was famous for it's announcer. The man sounded extremely bored. Not so strange when you have to repeat a sequence of numbers for half an hour. The transmissions were always live and because of this, you could hear background noises, voices and mistakes. Compared to other Spanish speaking stations, this one sounded very sloppy.


Jimbob, knowing when and where to listen might help. Many of the stations stick to a sort of schedule. Two places to check out:

Chris Smolinsky of Black Cat Systems has been tracking this stuff for years and maintains a database of interception reports.

Simon Mason is Chris's U.K. doppelganger. Here's his frequency list.

Email me if you'd like some tips specific to your location/equipment.

*Or the Mossad girl -- I always thought she had kind of a sexy voice.
posted by Opposite George at 11:46 PM on November 17, 2005


The entire 4-disc conet project is available for download at archive.org
posted by LimePi at 12:49 AM on November 18, 2005


Jimbob, I hang about 5 meters of wire from a tree and use it as an antenna for my little cheapish 12 band,I pick up number stations from time to time,
posted by hortense at 1:30 AM on November 18, 2005


A fake numbers station is about as funny as fake outsider art or rehearsed bloopers.

I've never had luck tracking numbers stations (cheap portable and in the Midwestern US) but thanks the Conet Project CDs and a host of websites I'm obsessed with them.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:17 AM on November 18, 2005


A fake numbers station is about as funny as fake outsider art or rehearsed bloopers.

I think I would have liked it more if they had used real numbers stations' voices and interval signals.
posted by Opposite George at 5:03 AM on November 18, 2005


Has anyone else ever picked up a numbers station?

Sure -- what you need is a shortwave that has a long antenna, and an gain control (for when you are near a powerful station, so you can avoid overloading the detector.)

They're boring and creepy. They all have common features -- some sort of hello signal, that tells you when a message is starting (sometimes music, sometimes voice), a message, usually repeated, then a a closing bit.

They don't stay on the air very long, though, so there is luck. The oddest one I found was sending in morse code -- I heard obviously mechanically generated morse in a band where you wouldn't expect morse at all. I'm not good with morse, but computers are very good at mechanically generated morse, so I fired up the software, and saw...

93523 65832 93718 29823 38512 98375 END END

(Numbers, here, are random.)

It's pretty certain that these stations are one of two things. First, messages to agents in the field. The agents will have small code books, using one time pads, to decode the signal. Secondly, as communications links of last resort for embassies and military bases. The problem is the limited bandwidth, but you can get a useful set of messages out if you have to, esp. if you know that there's a problem with other transmission means, or if you need to send a message that isn't obviously meant for the embassy.

It's a solid guess that at least half, if not more, of the traffic sent is fake, to muck up traffic analyisis. Basically, some stations broadcast every given period (days, hours, whatever) regardless of the traffic they really have. So, you'll hear,say, 30 minutes of numbers every other day, regardless of traffic. I'd assume that, unless things were *very* wrong, that they'd break up traffic if there was more than thirty minutes.

The USAF/USN EAM Messages are a bit scarier, if only for the tone of voice used in broadcasting them. EAMS are of three types. The first are precoded messages, they're read as a repeated six character string "PAPA ALPHA SIX NINER CHARLIE DELTA. PAPA ALPHA SIX NINER CHARLIE DELTA. ANDREWS (air force base) OUT" The second form starts with the six characters, then goes into a longer message, read again as phoentic characters.

The final type I've alluded to before, the FOXTROT broadcasts, which have the highest priority on the net -- I've heard them interrupt EAMS. These are the "SKYKING SKYKING DO NOT ANSWER". SKYKING is a callsign for "all stations", as is MAINSAIL, but MAINSAIL is used for general traffic. Whatever messages are being sent in this way, they're important enough to override all other traffic on the net. Some are repeated twice, some, four times.

There was a big increase in SKYKING traffic after 9/11, but that's dropped back quite a bit.
posted by eriko at 5:59 AM on November 18, 2005 [2 favorites]


Thanks eriko. I really enjoyed that.
posted by shoepal at 6:22 AM on November 18, 2005


My dad used to listen to numbers stations in the solarium with the lights off. I'm not sure if he's a secret angent or likes to pretend he's. Either way, hearing one with all of the atmospheric interference and weird space noise is definitely an experience. Also, he would listen to it camping which was even cooler cause there's only the stars and coyotes and then this voice reciting numbers in the middle of nowhere.
posted by kookywon at 8:34 AM on November 18, 2005


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