Liberty Net: November 6, 2010

by Kevin Strom, WB4AIO

SUNSPOTS ARE UP, but our hemisphere gets less and less exposure to them as Winter approaches, making for some strange propagation, with the 75 meter skip going long, then short, and then long again. Some of the stronger Liberty Net regulars were down in strength this week, while a few of the western stations came in much better than usual. The ideas were as varied as the signal strengths, as listeners heard reports from as far afield as Havana and China as well as from a Rand Paul victory celebration in Kentucky.

Listen: 11/6 Liberty Net

Here are a just a few of the topics covered this time on amateur radio’s most consistently intelligent and exciting net:

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Spy Numbers Station Mystery Solved

by Kevin Strom, WB4AIO

AN ELECTRONICS collector in Germany has created a series of videos showing us the actual hardware used in the at once ubiquitous and mysterious “spy numbers” stations emanating on shortwave from Cuba (even today) and from Eastern Bloc nations (during the Cold War).

Apparently the technology used by the ’80s consisted of digital voice samples on EEPROMs, and paper tape (of the same kind used in my high school computer lab circa 1972) for the actual encoded messages.

Back in 1989, some jokester put on a faux “spy numbers” station on 7425 kHz (and a few other frequencies) that sent messages read by an accented female announcer consisting of Mexican food items instead of Spanish numbers — “Attencion — taco… burrito… tamale… tamale… nacho… — final… final…” Hilarious.

Here are the six videos followed by the original author’s commentary:

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