Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations Types

The following is just a small amount of the information contain on The Numbers Racket, a Multimedia CD-ROM about Spy Numbers Stations.

ENIGMA Classifications

The European Numbers Information Gathering and Monitoring Association (ENIGMA) has compiled a listing of the various Numbers Stations, and assigned each a designator. This helps in reducing confusion between the various stations.

It is not meant as a replacement for the "given names" for Numbers Stations. It is by these names that most stations are commonly known. Referring to stations purely by a number/letter combination would completely remove most of the excitement that comes with listening to these stations.

ENIGMA Classifications


 E1     Ready Ready

*E2     Arabic Man / The Babbler

 E3     Lincolnshire Poacher

 E4     Cherry Ripe

 E5     The Counting Station
 E6     English Man - aka The Russian Man, ends 00000
        a.      2 group commencing 11111
        b.      3F ID with 5F group in "call"

 E7     English Man - ending with 000 000

 E9     Magnetic Fields
 E10    Phonetic Alphabet - NATO Designators (MOSSAD)
 E11    Oblique

 E12    NNN

 E13    Five Dashes

*E14    The Counting Station 4F "control" transmission

 E15    Phonetic Alphabet - pre-NATO Designators (Nancy Adam Susan)

 E16    Two Letter 

 E17    English Lady - aka The Russian Man ends, 00000

 E18    Fife Free (Edna Sednitzer)

 E19    Irish Man 

 E20    Two message English Man 

 E21    The Counting Station old 4F format (replaced by 3/2FG format) English accent
        a. American Accent

 E22    Arabic Man 2L/F
 E23    Swedish Rhapsody, was G2


*G1     Tyrolean Music Station
        a. Irregular Tunes - 1st section
        b. Irregular Tunes and phrase message 1st section

 G2     Swedish Rhapsody, now E23
        a.Counting variant

*G3     Gongs or Chimes

 G4     Three Note Oddity

 G5     The Counting Station
        a."Zwei" variant
 G6     German Lady - aka The Russian Man, ends 00000

 G7     German Lady ends 000 000 
        a.    774 type variant
 G8     Four Note Rising Scale
        a. Single repeated 5F groups
        b. Rapid dots intro
*G9     Saxaphone Piece
        a. 3/2 group variant
*G10    Bert Kaempfert

 G11    Strich

 G12    NNN

 G13    Five Dashes

 G14    DFC37 and DFD21

 G15    Papa November (Two Letter)
        a. Papa November read over notes
 G16    Two Letter 

*G17    German Lady (5420 kHz)

*G18    Eight Note rising and falling scale

 G19    German Man, ends 000000

*G20    Spruch
        a. one 5F group
*G21    Music and Morse

*G22    Edna Sednitzer

*G23    2M8, Hitler's Birthday


*S1     "Aida"

 S2     Drums and Trumpets (Last Post) 
        a. With Bugle
        c. 3F Nomer then reversed
        d. 5F Nomer

S3      Czech Words

*S4     Edna Sednitzer

*S5     OLX (Old format with null messages)

 S6     Russian Man 00000
        a. 55555 00000 format
        b. Two groups commemcing 11111
        c. Single 5F group repeated
        d. ID + 111
        e. Two message
        f. 00000 00000 (possible TX error)

 S7     Russian Man 000 000
        a. Multiple two group
        b. Multiple single group message using same ID
 *S8    YT

*S9     Polish Counting

 S10    Czech Lady (piano, later five notes)
        a. 555 "idler" format
        b. 5 note intro, 3 versions
        c. 3F ID with "idler"
        d. 3F ID
*S11    "Presta"

 S12 "Cherta"

 S13 Russian Counting and announcements, two minute (UPT76, etc)
 S14 Russian Counting and announcements, long duration (Shield 58/South 96, etc)

*S15 Rapid Dots (earlier OLX format)

*S16    OLX

*S17    Czech Lady control 5FG
        a. No circuit No,Indexing or group count
        b. "01" group count
        c. 313-5F, "05" group count
?S18    Czech Man 3FG 5FG

 S19    Czech Man control
        a. 000 format

*S20    "Aifada"

 S21    Russian Lady


 S25    Russian Man control
        a.11111 22222 format
        b. With message
*S26    "Zyt Zyt" ("Hush Hush" in Polish)

 S27    Czech Lady II

 S28    The Buzzer (formerly XB)

Other Langauges

*V1     The Skylark (aka The Mad Violinist) 
        a. With additional tune

 V2     Spanish Lady 
        a. 150/150/150 type (three messages, all 150 count)


 V5     The Counting Station
*       a. 4F
 V6     Spanish Lady 00000

 V7     Spanish Man 000 000

 V8     Eastern Music - Arabic, 6645, 11292 kHz
 V9     Oriental Langauge, 5738, 6280, 8036 kHz
*V10    Schlosst

 V12    NNN - French

 V13    New Star Broadcasting

*V14    The Counting Station "control" transmission

 V15    Radio Pyongyang - North Korean Numbers

 V16    Chinese Numbers 

 V17    Romanian 3FG +000
 V18    NNN - Hungarian

 *V19   WTR21 - Don't Cry For Me Argentina

 V20    The Bored Man

 V21    The Babbler

* No longer in existance

Morse Code

 M1     2-Tone hand-keyed, ends 000
        a. End of Month variant
        b. As a. but with message
        c. All other variants inc. 3 long dash ending
 M2     CW version of NNN, ends AR Long Zero 
 M3     / Ends ==000
        a. With triplet element
 M4     LOLO Long Zero

 M05- 6 Fig 000000 Long Zero
  *M6    OLX
        a. Rapid dots tuning sig.
  M7     Formerly Rapid Dashes MCW ends 000 + TS

  M8     Cut Numbers, Ends AR AR AR SK SK SK (Cuba)

  M10    Formerly Rapid Dashes CW 2 fig DK, End 000
        a. Triplet 000
        b. Additional groups, ends Triplet 000
        c. 5F Headers
        d. GC sent 3 times

 M11    Variation of M1
  M12    Ends 000 000(3 or 4 fig. DK) 
  M13    Ends 3 long dashes

  M14    Ends 00000 or 5 long dashes
 M15- DEA 47
  M16    8BY

  M17    MCW ends VA
  M18    4 fig pseudo time signal
  M19    MPL
  M20    V ends == 000 
  M21    ????? 14 fig pseudo time signal type. 
  M22    4XZ
  M23    Odd/Even Many Variants (all long zero)
  M24    Ends 5 long dashes, see M14
        a. 2nd addressee, hand keyed
  M25    KKN, KRH, KWS series
  M26    98
 M27- BTV

  M28    HEP

  M29    VDE ends AR
        a. No preamble
        b. Extended preamble
 M31- FDC, FDG etc series 
  M32    (Russian Military Net) 
  M33    P8K Long Zero 
  M34    1 12345 2fig IDs, no ending 
        Alteration "11 12345"
  M39    3 fig IDs + 4 elements of 5 figure
 M36  Deleted, it was actually P8K 

 M40- CQ 3 fig
 M41- WZD
 M42- KUL etc network
 M43- 6XM8/C37A group
  M44    Continuous Letters
  M45    S21 Morse, ends 000 
  M46    3 fig cumulative 
  M47    /2/3fig cumulative (JST) 
 M48- The Skylark, Ciocirlia Morse
 M49- G8A morse
  M50    Hand Keyed 5431kHz+ 4947kHz Many Variants
  M51    100x 5L groups
  M52    2fig:6fig, long zero

  M53    747.3F, ends "== AR AR VA VA".   YT / BVT Family?
        a. Hand Keyed variant
 M54- V89T,only null message format known
  M55   F x 6, 000 000,long zero, null message

  M56    1fig:5fig, long zero


  M58    ===3lt   UNDER RE-EVALUATION

  M63    A2A  
 M64- "= 3F 3F = 11111 5F, AR"
 M65- Ends "= = QRU QRU SK SK"
 M67- Ends 0000 (Turkish?)
        a. 3F 2F 7777


 MX SLHFMs     
 MXC Clusters 
 MXF FSK Mode      
 MXL Solitary long-term
 MXS Solitary short-term      
 MXP "P" with message
 MXV irregular V 

 X1  Bugle
 X6     Six Tone Station
 XC     Crackle
 XB     Buzzer  (now S28)
 XF     Faders

 XE     Echo
 XW     Workshop
 XP Polytone 

 XPH    Polytone High Pitch
 XPL Polytone Low Pitch
 XM     Backwards Music / Whales
 XX     Pip
 XS  Saw/Whine 
XXX     Fast CW pips, 3595Khz

Copyright 1998 Chris Smolinski. All Rights Reserved. 
Last Update: September 1, 1998. 

Details about some selected Numbers Stations

V2 5 Digit Spanish YL

This is by far the most commonly heard type of numbers station in North America. A typical transmission starts with "atencion", then a three digit block and a two digit block, such as "atencion 932 86". The three digit block is believed to be the recipient. This preamble is sent for several minutes, followed by two two-digit numbers, the second of which is the message length. Then the actual message is sent, as a series of five digit blocks. The transmission ends with the words "final, final". Sometimes three finals are sent.

Typical transmission:

Atencion 245 01     (rpt)              Message to 245
01 51               (rpt five times)   51 blocks will follow
45892 05157 ...                        Message
final final                            End of message (sometimes three finals)
Listen to the stationV2 Cuban DGI Atencion Station

A variant of this type transmits a five digit preamble "atencion 04499" for example, for a few minutes, followed by recipient and the count, such as "04499 150". Then the actual message is sent. Transmissions with a count of 150 are very common, presumably they are training exercises.

Typical transmission:

Atencion 04499      (rpt)              Message to 245
04499 150           (rpt five times)   150 blocks will follow
45892 05157 ...                        Message
final final                            End of message (sometimes three finals)

Yet another variation has just occured! Starting January 1, 1997, 5 Digit SS/YL Number Stations have started sending three messages in each broadcast! Here's the observed format:

Atencion 72302 51782 41592   (rpt)     Messages to 72302, 51782 41592
72302 72302 72302 72302 72302          First message is to 72302
43459 90932 ...                        Message
51782 51782 51782 51782 51782          Second message is to 51782
83743 24830 ...                        Message
41592 41592 41592 41592 41592          Third message is to 41592
65382 18439 ...                        Message
final final                            End of messages (sometimes thee finals)

Only time will tell if this is a permanent change.

AM modulation is sometimes used, although USB is also reported. I have heard many stations which seem to be using reduced carrier sideband, with modulation on one of the sidebands, and a lower power carrier, sufficient for reception on AM receivers.

These transmissions often have technical problems (poor audio, hum, distortion, sometimes big "accidents" like starting to play the Radio Habana opening music! I once heard a very distorted transmission, the distortion was caused by the fact that Radio Habana audio was bleeding into the audio!

Listen to the stationV2 with a bird in the background

As you can guess, it is commonly believed that these transmissions come from Cuba.

V2 Schedule

       UTC KHZ   M T W T F S S 
      ==== ===== = = = = = = = 
      0000 12215           X
      0100  3389   X
      0100  3926             X
      0100  6768           X
      0100  6778   X
      0200  3245             X
      0200  3292   X
      0200  4029         X
      0200  5762           X
      0200  7887             X
      0200  9024     X
      0200 12215         X
      0300  4174 X
      0300  4479     X
      0300  6855 X
      0300  7555             ?
      0300 10236 X
      0300 11566         X
      0400  4035 X
      0400  4479         X
      0400  6768 X
      0400 10120   X
      1000  4028 X     X
      1000 10510 X
      1100  4028 X
      1100  4036     X
      1100  4507       X
      1100  6933           X
      1100  6984       X
      1100  8186       X
      1100  9095 X
Schedule maintained by Bob Broehrig (

V5 3/2 Digit Spanish YL - aka The Counting Station

Five digit blocks are also sent, but with a distinct pause between the third and fourth digits, making it sound like a three digit and then two digit block, hence the 3/2 designation. This station is also referred to as The Counting Station due to the count heard at the beginning of the broadcast, and is believed to be operated by the CIA. These stations replaced the 4 Digit format, which is no longer heard.

Typical transmission:

015 015 015 1234567890  (rpt)          Message to 015
Ten tones                              Signal that message will begin
Grupo 186 Grupo 186                    186 blocks will follow
969 70     376 60...                   Message

E5 3/2 Digit English YL - aka The Counting Station

These transmissions are very similar to the five digit transmissions, except that a distinct pause is heard between the third and fourth digits of each message block. It is not known if this signifies a different encryption system than used in the five digit transmissions. This station is also referred to as The Counting Station due to the count heard at the beginning of the broadcast, and is believed to be operated by the CIA. These stations replaced the 4 Digit format, which is no longer heard.

Listen to the stationE5 American CIA Station The Counting Station

E5/V5 Schedule

==== ======= = = = = = = = ==== ===================================
0100 13452.0     X   X     SS   //15651
0100 15651.0     X   X     SS   //13452
0300 10665.0 X     X       SS   //11491
0300 11491.0 X     X       SS   //10665
1200 13906.0     X       X EE   //15732
1200 15732.0     X       X EE   //13906
1200 14577.0     X     X   EE
1300 14739.0   X     X X   EE   //16198
1300 16198.0   X     X X   EE   //14739
1400  5407.0             X EE   //7836
1400  7836.0             X EE   //5407
1400 13555.0         X   X EE   //15732
1400 15732.0         X   X EE   //13555
1400 15895.0     X         EE
1500 11072.0     X         EE   //12175
1500 12175.0     X         EE   //11072
1700 13450.0             X EE   //14448
1700 14448.0             X EE   //13450
1700  7585.0   X X         EE   //9219
1700  9219.0   X X         EE   //7585
1800 13444.0           X   EE
1800 11072.0       X     X EE   //13465
1800 13465.0       X     X EE   //11072
1800  8080.0     X         EE   //9160
1800  9160.0     X         EE   //8080
1900 11072.0             X EE   //13465
1900 13465.0             X EE   //11072
1900 14787.0           X   EE
1900  6970.0     X         EE
1900  8085.0 X             EE   //9219
1900  9219.0 X             EE   //8085
2000  7836.0 X             EE   //9090
2000  9090.0 X             EE   //7836
2100  7620.0     X       X EE
2200  9219.0   X           EE
2200 10426.0 X             EE   //11545
2200 11545.0 X             EE   //10426
2200  6960.0 X   X         EE   //8152
2200  8152.0 X   X         EE   //6960
Schedule maintained by Bob Broehrig (

5 Digit Spanish OM

Male Numbers Stations are rather infrequently heard. One version of this station appears to air live messages, and has been nicknamed The Bored Man due to the rather unenthusiastic voice used by the station.

The formats of these stations are not as well known as the YL stations, due to their limited number of transmissions. Indeed, they may well be operated by another organization, some have suspected drug traffickers, due to the poor technical quality, and the use of live, rather than taped, announcers.

Monitored transmission:

Atencion                       (rpt three times)  
7 2 Biente Nueve
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10           Count


Atencion 7 2 Noventa
final final                    All done

E3 5 Digit English YL - aka Lincolnshire Poacher

This is a variation of the five digit English station. The tune "Lincolnshire Poacher" (which sounds like "Pop Goes The Weasel") is played at the beginning of the transmission. This station is most often heard in Europe and the eastern part of North America. It is believed to be transmitting from Cyprus, with a target of the Middle East, presumably Iran or Iraq. It is often heard being jammed.

Listen to the stationE3 British MI6 Station The Lincolnshire Poacher


E4 5 Digit English YL - aka Cherry Ripe

The sister-station to The Lincolnshire Poacher. Transmits to Asia, presumably from Guam.

Schedule SUN - FRI (UTC):
1000Z	20474//23461
1100Z	17499//23461
1200Z	17499//23461
2200Z	17499//24644
2300Z	17499//22108
2400Z	17499//22108
0100Z	19884//21866
Frequencies used in the past: 

E6 5 Digit English OM/YL - aka The Russian Man

This is a variation of the five digit English station. First, the voice is best described as unisex, some hear it as male, others as female. The Russian man often puts very good signals into the USA. This station continuously changes frequencies.

Typical transmission:

529                     (rpt)          Message to 529
834 834 167 167                        167 blocks, 834 means ???
96970 96970    37660 37660...          Message, each block repeated
834 834 167 167 00000                  End of message
Listen to the stationE6 Russian Station The Russian Man

4 Digit German YL

Similar to the five digit German stations described below. Rarely heard (at least in North America).

E16/G16 5 Digit English/German YL - aka 2 Letter Phonetic

These transmissions often open with tones or some sort of music. Sometimes, a two letter phoentic phrase is heard, such as "Papa Romeo". The preamble opens with "achtung" and a three digit block, generally presumed to be the recipient. (Perhaps it is really the number of the one time pad to be used to decode the message, and the two letter phonetic sent at the beginning is the recipient. This makes sense to me because the agents would listen at the beginning of the transmission to see if the message is for them.) This is followed by "gruppen" and the number of message blocks to follow. The message closes with "ende".

Formerly commonly heard in Europe, and North America. This would tend to indicate a European transmission site. Indeed, several years ago, transmissions were DFed to a then East German location. These stations have been rapidly disappearing, Whiskey Lima may be the last one left.

Whiskey Lima is heard 0400 on 5770 USB (Sundays only?)

Listen to the stationE16 German BND Station Alpha Uniform

E10 3 Letter Phonetic (MOSSAD)

A female voice is used to repeat a three letter phonetic phrase (followed by a number), such as "Papa November Oscar Two". This can go on for hours before a message is sent. The message consists of blocks of phonetic letters.

A "One" is sent after the identifier (such as "Papa November Oscar One" if no message follows, a "Two" is sent if a message will follow. Extremely rarely, some other number is sent, presumably this indicates a higher priority message follows?

It is generally believed that MOSSAD (the Israel Intelligence Service) operates these stations, and they are often referred to as MOSSAD transmissions. Transmitter sites include Israel, and Israeli embassies and consulates, due to the extremely high signal strengths reported by listeners close to such facilities. In fact, one can assume that many number station transmissions occur from embassies and consulates, as this allows nations (especially those without the resources or friendly allies to situate transmitters abroad otherwise) to place transmitters close to the target areas. International law allows countries to communicate using radio from their embassies.

Typical transmission:

Echo Zulu India Two      (rpt)         Message to EZI
Message Message Group 22 Group 22      Message of 22 blocks of five letters each
Text Text                              Message follows
Kilo Papa Tango Romeo Golf             Message
Bravo Alpha November Kilo Mike...      
End Of Message                         Message finished
Repeat Repeat                          Sometimes the message is repeated
Message Message Group 22 Group 22      Message of 22 blocks of five letters each
Text Text                              Message follows
Kilo Papa Tango Romeo Golf             Message
Bravo Alpha November Kilo Mike...      
End Of Message                         Message finished
End of Transmission                    That's all folks
Listen to the stationE10 Israeli Mossad Station Echo Zulu India

MOSSAD Frequencies

2270    JSR
2626    FTJ
2743    ULX
2844    YHF
2953    VLB
3090    CIO
3150    PCD
3270    KPA
3417    ART
3640    VLB
3840    YHF
4165    CIO
4270    PCD
4360    CIO
4463    FTJ
4604    ROV
4665    VLB
4780    KPA
4880    ULX
5091    JSR
5170    EZI
5230    SYN
5339    TMS
5437    ART
5530    MIW
5630    SYN
5820    YHF
6370    KPA
6500    PCD
6598    NDP
6658    CIO
6745    MIW
6840    EZI
7445    MIW
7605    SYN
7918    YHF
8464    SYN
8641    KPA
9130    EZI
10352   SYN
10970   MIW
11565   EZI
12950   SYN
13533   EZI
14750   SYN
15980   EZI
17170   SYN
17410   EZI
19715   EZI

New Star Broadcasting Station

Believed to transmit from either Mainland China or Taiwan, using Mandarin. Broadcasts usually begin at the beginning of the hour, opening with flute music. Then the station name and program number are given, followed by the recipient number, date of the messagem and number of characters.

OLX MOI Prague, Czech

OLX transmits in both CW and voice. The CW transmission begins with "VVV DE OLX" repeated before the start of transmission.
This station has not been reported since the flooding in Central Europe in Summer, 1997

Swedish Rhapsody

M8 (Cuban Cut Numbers)

M8 is the CW version of V2. It also suffers from the same technical blunders. M8 uses the "cut numbers" system, where each digit is replaced by a letter as a shorthand abbreviation, as shown in the following table:
0       A
1       N
2       D
3       U
4       W
5       R
6       I
7       G
8       M
9       T

M8 Schedule

==== ===== = = = = = = =
0100  4506       X
0100  6850         X
0200  4016       X
0200  5116         X
0200  5419 X       X X
0200  5758     X
0300  4016 X         X
0300  4028   X     X   X
0300  4479           X
0300  4506     X       X
0300  5419       X
0300  5758         X
0400  3244             X
0400  4016       X
0400  4034           X
0400  4506         X
0400  9062             X
0500  7630             X
0500  9062             X
0500 10127           X
0700  9064             X
0700  9153 X   X   X
0700  9238   X   X   X
0800  8079 X
0800  8089         X
0800  8095 X   X   X
0800  8136   X
0800 10237             X
0900  9238         X
0900 10127   X   X
0900 10448 X
1000  9153 X       X
1000  9238   X
1000 10714       X
1100  4173 X   X   X
1100  4328 X
1100  4478   X   X X
1100  6797       X
1100  6854       X
1100  7846   X X
1100 10127 X   X   X
1100 10345   X   X
1100 10446   X   X
1100 10714     X
1200  4508       X
1200  6767           X ?
1200  6797 X   X   X   X
1200  6825       X
1200  6854     X
1200  6866         X
1200  6933   X   X   X
1200  6982 X
1200  7890   X
1200  7997             X
1200  8135           X
1300  6786             X
1300  6854       X
1300  6866           X
1300  6932   X       X
1300  6982 X           X
1300  7320         X
1300  7890   X   X   X
1300 10566         X
1400  7890           X X
2300  4506       X
Schedule maintained by Bob Broehrig (
Last updated February 6, 2000

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