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Short-wave Listening Nostalgia

This page is about recapturing some of the long lost sounds of short wave radio, as we used to hear them in what might be called the 'golden age' in the 1970's.



Audio Simulations

Rugby MSF on 2.5 Mc/s

Rugby Radio Station used to broadcast standard time and frequency signals on 2.5, 5 and 10MHz up until the early 1980's when the service was discontinued. In the early mornings, the 2.5 MHz transmission was usually a good clean signal here in Sheffield and I have striven to simulate this as accurately as possible in this clip...

Loran A on 1.95 Mc/s

AAnyone who listened to top band in the early 1970's will remember the sound of the Loran A pulses on 1.95 Mc/s. It was phased out by about 1980. Loran A was a hyperbolic radio positioning system that had a lot of similarities to the British wartime Gee- you can read all about it on Jerry Proc's excellent web site here.



G03 Gong Station Simulator Application

screenshot

You can download a program by clicking this link that simulates the eerie sound of the East German Gong Station which was a feature of the short waves certainly from the 1970's until it went off the air in 1990.

As far as is known, East Germany operated two 'numbers stations'; one G04 the '4-note rising scale station' being operated by the Ministry for State Security (in German, Ministerium fur Staatsicherheit, or MfS) or the dreaded Stazi as it became known. The other station, generally known as G03 or the Gong Station was operated by the Directorate of Reconnaissance (in German, Verwaltung Aufklärung or VA) and was probably used to communicate with military spies abroad. The transmitter site was probably Dessau although transmissions to agents started from 1959 from Bernau, although it is unlikely they were in the Gong Station format at that time. You can read about the format here on Simon Mason's number station web site.

The station had a very distinctive and eerie sound that few will forget, using the chimes from a clock as the interval signal. When received in the UK the fading and interference from other services just served to enhance the eeriness of it. Here we present a PC program that simulates the operation of this station, using sound samples taken from real recordings made during the station's life. Most are from a recording made in 1978; a few are composites made up from various recordings. Previously, I could not find the word 'Ende' in any of the available recordings but thanks to the sharp eyes (and ears!) of Bert, PA3HJH we now have it!

About the program

The program (Version 1 revision 5) is written in Java and you will need the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed for it to work. It was written on 1.6.x but will run OK on earlier or later versions. Download the zip, and unzip it to a convenient place on your computer. Double click the file 'G03sim1r5.jar' to run it.

Here is a 3-minute sound clip of a sequence generated by the program:

Instructions

To get started quickly, click the 'Random' button. You will see that the large text box fills with 5-figure groups, and that an Agent ID and group count have been populated. If you now click 'Start', the simulation will begin. The right hand text area is a text representation of what is being currently sent. You should hear the sound straightaway. You can set how long the program sends gongs and the traffic list for- in real life, this was 10 minutes and 5 minutes respectively. Please note that this program is in an early stage of development and the audio rendering is far from perfect! If demand is there, I will continue work on it but for now this is it.

You can also type your own message into the message box, and send it to an agent number of your own choice. There are a variety of ways you can encrypt a plain text massage into 5-figure groups. Remember that G03 sent each group twice in real life. The program automatically calculates the group count when you click 'Start'.

Disclaimer

The program is offered in free or charge and in good faith but with no warranties whatsoever. I have tested it on a number of computers running WIndows XP and Vista but I cannot gurantee it will work on your mix of hardware and operating system. You use the program entirely at your own risk, and I will not be held responsible for any loss, damage, injury or death howsoever caused as a result of using the software.

The previous version is available here: go3sim1r4 if the new work is not working.

Feedback

I would love to hear what you thought to the the content on this page; if you enjoyed it, if you had problems or if you think anything is inappropriate please email me at alancordwell(at)blueyonder(dot)co(dot)uk. I look forward to hearing from you.




Last Modified 15/6/2017; previous mod. 20/5/10