The Conet Project: Creepy Short Wave Number Stations

On November 22, 2014 by Tim Newman

Conet Project Short Wave Radio Recordings

Believed to have started airing shortly after World War II, Number Stations are a creepy and mysterious phenomenon. These short wave stations transmit recordings of human voices or robotic speech in a variety of languages, speaking or counting and occasionally interspersed with short sections of music.

The Number Stations have been given names like “Spanish Counting Man”, “Swedish Rhapsody”, “Rapid Descending Tri-tone” and “Deep Nuclear Drone”, all sounding as creepy as they should. It’s thought, by some, that they were were set up to mimic weather stations used during WWII and send coded information to spies in the field. Others believe these methods have been used since before World War I to transmit clandestine info to agents on foreign shores.

There are no official descriptions or excuses for the channels, they just exist, hanging in the audible ether for anyone to track down if they so desire. The Conet Project set out to hunt down as many of these odd recordings as they could and record them for prosperity. The Conet Project was released as a multi-CD pack with more than 170 of these number stations found and recorded.

It seems that these messages may have been used by spies and/or drug smuggling operations in the past. Whether they’re still being used, who knows? But one things for sure, they sound pretty weird and creepy and that’s why I’m putting a couple up here. They’ve inspired the likes of Mike Patton, The Melvins and Boards of Canada and when you listen to the recordings below you can certainly pick that up.

As I mentioned, officially, these channels are not recognised. One interesting incident occured in 2006 though. One of the more famous channels – “The Lincolnshire Poacher” uses three different frequencies, but one day in 2006 a North Korean radios staion – Voice of Korea – started transmiting in that frequency. It could have been a mistake, but let’s presume it wasn’t. Who knows what they’re up to.

Here’s a few recordings from the Conet Project’s Sound Cloud account:





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