Numbers stations lurk on the shortwave bands and finding them generally is a challenge. However, fans of shortwave radio have been following them for years now, documenting when and where they were found. The strange factor is, no one knows for certain what numbers stations are or what they are for.
Talking to the proprietor and workers members at WPAQ gave me the sense that I was on the right track. Or maybe I ought to say the radio station is on the right track to giving their audience what they want and want to hear. However, to get the true feeling of the success of that endeavor, it was mandatory to actually communicate to an important people…the listeners.
My conclusion is that for the people who live inside the attain of a local radio tower, their station is the heartbeat of their group. And the explanation can be summed up in two phrases, credibility and reliability. It is all about understanding and trusting the people which are delivering the leisure and information into your house. And, most of all, figuring out they are going to be there once you tune in.
The most distinguished objective said for numbers stations is that they are for spy purposes. The idea is that the spies are purported to be in entrance of their radio at a certain time of the day. They are outfitted with tiny one-time pads which include codes which might be used only once and then each web page is destroyed. The initial codes tell the spy which page and which code they are using for the day and the remainder of the numbers are the precise message.
Entertainment, the likes of which rural Americans had never recognized, was now available through the radio. Neighbors gathered together to hearken to exhibits such as Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen and Our Miss Brooks. Jack Benny, Red Skelton and Bob Hope became welcomed household guests. And music may very well be heard in the mountains, valleys and across the plains of rural America courtesy of the radio.