I've been a shortwave radio nerd (I'm not quite a geek, because I don't have a giant antenna or my Ham radio license) since the late 80s, when I picked up a cheap shortwave receiver to go with my Radio Shack police scanner. My parents lived near the top of a hill, so I got great scanner reception, and it was pretty trivial to run a longwire antenna out of my second-floor bedroom and out the window, to pick up BBC World Service, Radio Moscow, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle broadcasts. (For real fun, try to pick up anything from North Korea these days, especially Voice of Korea. Though the recent nuclear test is very serious, the official state radio broadcasts are fucking hilarious. They contain stories about Kim Jong Il's magnificent, uh, "achievements," which aren't quite Pat Robertson claiming he can lift an SUV over his head or whatever, but come from the same shelf of the crazy closet.)
Though I spent countless hours spinning the dial in the dark (I don't know why, but it always seemed appropriate to listen to shortwave in the dark. It made it even more spooky than it already was, and therefore that much cooler) I never caught one of the mysterious Numbers Stations contained on The Conet Project until last year.
Numbers Stations are one of those phenomena that will puzzle some people and entertain others, but will capture the imagination and passion of a select few who, like me, once exposed to the mysterious and intriguing voices skipping off the atmosphere from places unknown and crackling in their headphones want to know everything there is to know about them.
If you're one of those cryptonerds, you'll definitely want to check out this story on the Numbers Stations on YouTube, which originally aired on Utah's KUTV. There isn't a whole lot of new information there, if you're a Spooks subscriber or a regular reader of N&O, but the graphics are cool, the story is edited very nicely,and it's a great way to introduce to your perplexed friends and neighbors exactly why the Numbers Stations are so spooky and cool. If you're interested (or if you've gotten a friend or neighbor interested) you can buy the 4 disc Conet Project, or you can download it for free from irdial.
If you've read this far, you may be interested in this experiment that Akin Fernandez (the producer of Conet) is doing:
The current pressing of The Conet Project is identical to the original, in every detail but one. This edition has 4 CDs, the 80 page booklet and two postcards instead of one.
The second postcard will enable you to take part in a world-wide experiment we are unleashing, called "The Conet Project: Six Degrees of Separation". We are using these cards to attempt to track down the staff that operated Numbers Stations in the past, wherever in the world they are now living.
Everyone on earth is connected to everyone else; it only takes six steps to get from any one person to any other person on the planet, hence the phrase 'Six Degrees of Separation'. If this really is the case, then we should be able to track down people who worked in Numbers Stations from the last three decades, simply by deploying the special cards that we have produced.
Hopefully the people that we are able to locate (and that are willing to divulge their secrets to us) will have kept a private, detailed record of what they did, the decisions that were made, who made them, why, and everything else we are keen to know. We may finally find out why a little girl's voice was thought to be appropriate for use in a Numbers Station!
You'll get a postcard that you can send in to irdial when you buy the discs, if you know someone (or are someone) who can help those meddling kids and their dog solve a bit of the mystery. Irdial also has a pgp key for encryption and one could use tor for anonymous digital communication, should that be more convenient.
Oh! and you cryptonerds? This remains unsolved. Nyahh.