Numbers Station


This concept was mentioned in this set of posts -

Basic Definition


A numbers station is a shortwave radio station characterized by broadcasts of formatted numbers, which are believed to be addressed to intelligence officers operating in foreign countries.[1] Most identified stations use speech synthesis to vocalize numbers, although digital modes, such as Phase-shift keying and Frequency-shift keying as well as Morse code transmissions are not uncommon. Most stations have set time schedules, or schedule patterns; however, other stations appear to broadcast at random times. Stations may or may not have set frequencies in the HF band


Numbers stations are anonymous, shortwave AM radio stations that broadcast messages at pre-set times, sometimes periodically and sometimes random, on specific frequencies. They’re notable for their unusual tone and content, as the stations can be silent for most hours of the day or week, then jump to life with a collection of artificial human voices, sounds, Morse code, short songs, or even nursery rhymes. They also broadcast in a number of different languages.

Some Examples


Related Subjects


I love listening to all kinds of weird radio signals and I love checking on number stations, so I am happy to see a topic having been created for this.

For those who are interested, but not having the equipment themselves, like myself, you can listen on the internet using WebSDR.

A WebSDR is a Software-Defined Radio receiver connected to the internet, allowing many listeners to listen and tune it simultaneously. SDR technology makes it possible that all listeners tune independently, and thus listen to different signals; this is in contrast to the many classical receivers that are already available via the internet.

Here is a link, listing a lot of registered WebSDR servers out there:

When it comes to Number Stations and someone wants to listen to them, check out this website: is an international group of radio enthusiasts who came together during 2010 when activity from the station known as “UVB-76” increased. The mystery of this station inspired us to seek out other, similarly mysterious stations, and thus into the bizarre world of shortwave radio’s infamous number stations. Greatly inspired by the work of other online groups, Priyom has been developed to easily bring both the current and historical information about number stations into one comprehensive site, and to make the recording, listening and analysis of shortwave radio, number stations, and all related on-air enigmas accessible to all who are interested.

Here is a link on the above website to the current schedule of known Number Stations:


Here’s another video discussing listening stations as well as how to pick them up using digital programs/short wave/ etc, some of the programs/software they mention here could proof fruitful down the line, who knows, thought I’d share.


Numbers stations are a means for different agencies of governments to communicate with operatives out in the field. This includes spys, contractors, diplomats, etc.

They work off of the “one-time pad” version of communication. You have to have a previously designed one-time pad of many number-letter combinations which act as a 1-time key for the transmission. The numbers transmission are date & time coordinated to the one-time pad. Once that one-time pad combination is used, it is “scratched off”, never to be used again. Even if the one-time pad is obtained, the frequency-date-time is only known to the operative agent…which means the one-time pad is worthless in anyone’s hands.

I had a friend who followed number station, trying to crack their codes. After years, he gave up once it was revealed about the one-time pad usage.

There are also Tone Stations and many other variations. A Tone Station can be heard on the AM band at 15179.20.

Good luck to those trying to find those secrets!



It’s kind of surprising (and somehow refreshing) that analog radio broadcasts are still used by spies in this day and age.

Fun fact when I was looking up Emily’s Hallicrafters SX-28 radio: apparently it was one of the main radio receivers used by the British during WWII as a listening station for coded signals, which were then passed on to the codebreaking teams.


and as mentioned in the references above - Enigma connected to numbers stations. Also - with numbers stations, they originated in spycraft, but have expanded to other areas - so the “one-time pad” is in play for certain stations, but others might have something else governing the creation of the signal.

for reference - In cryptography, the one-time pad (OTP) is an encryption technique that cannot be cracked, but requires the use of a one-time pre-shared key the same size as, or longer than, the message being sent. - another reference and a great site for general definitions


Man, I’m keen on numbers stations. I mean, I’m no radio buff or cryptoanalyst or anything… mainly I like going gaga over crazy stuff I can’t understand. :smiley: I remember pleasant afternoons at an otherwise unpleasant job, when everyone else already left and I was alone in the office, listening to that archive of numbers stations recordings while reading SCP…yeah wait on second thought that’s not a very comforting or pleasant memory, nvm.


I am putting this here as a possible connection. Emily was very interested in the concept of a numbers station. And now, with the new phase in the waking titan website - this could be a reference, perhaps, to a numbers station.

(obtained by typing in 16 in the command line once the wake process was initiated)

They found strange things in the wrecks…
aberrations, data that spoke of worlds that
do not exist and events that did not happen.
One day Specialist Polo went out to investigate
one such craft, the life signature of a
Korvax still on board. They never returned.
Is this how Nada and Polo met?
Is this how my friends found each other?
There is a signal on the console,
a warning on repeat –
sixteen short bursts of data in a loop.