Monday, June 02, 2014

I Heart Ramsgate

Not so long ago I went to Ramsgate for the first time.
A friend had been there and posted a picture on Instagram of a junk shop situated under the arches on the marina. I wanted to go there because I saw an interesting typewriter and I was curious.
When I did go and have a look I found a Sony ICF-2001D shortwave radio. It was very dusty in its little hiding place and had no cover for the battery compartment. At £5 it was worth a gamble. When I got some batteries later in the evening I discovered that it worked perfectly. I was really happy just to be able to pick up local French stations on FM as I could see the French coastline from where I was tuning in.
Tonight has changed everything. My small, second hand £5 wonder has delivered not one but two numbers stations. I've been fascinated by these for years and wondered if I would ever hear one live. Thanks to an iPad app that decodes CW (morse code) I've been able to establish that the broadcasts are indeed numbers stations.
As you can see from the picture above, this is the standard format for sending messages encoded using the One Time Pad cipher.
I'll never know what the message says or who it was intended for but at least I know that some things never change and that the golden age of SW coded transmissions is far from over.