Mystery Signals of the Short Wave

Dedicated to the more unusual, strange, bizarre and apparently meaningless signals on the short wave bands !

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Squeaky Wheel  -   S32  (formerly XSW)

Frequencies:   3828.9 kHz   &   5474 kHz   USB  

Frequency Schedule
5474 kHz Daytime Frequency
3828.9 kHz Nighttime Frequency

Other frequencies previously used
3650 kHz 3815 kHz 5474 kHz 5641 kHz

It is not known when this signal first appeared, but it was first being reported towards the end of the year 2000. It has been heard on various frequencies, and from October 2001 settled on 3828.6 kHz where it could be heard with good strength in the UK during the evenings.

Once you have heard the signal it is easy to see why it is nicknamed the "Squeaky Wheel", since it sounds like an old bicycle being wheeled down the road!

Listen to this sample;

  Squeaky Wheel - 2007  (53 kb)

Analysis seems to show a pattern similar to FSK teletype signals, two sharp peaks 500Hz apart, but the peaks alternate with the "Low-High-High" pattern of the audio.

Several monitors reported this station to be a Russian frequency marker, along with "The Pip" and "The Buzzer". This was soon confirmed by the reception of infrequent speech transmissions which were transmitted in the same format as "The Buzzer" and "The Pip". Once the speech transmissions were heard, ENIGMA changed the designation of the station from XSW to S32 to update the listing from an unidentified noise to a slavic voice transmission

The "Sqeaky Wheel" transmissions ceased regular transmissions in Spring 2007, but was heard infrequently several times during the summer and autumn of 2007.

The transmissions appeared again in 2008, and thanks to a report from Gary in Suffolk I was alerted to a strong transmission on 3828.9kHz one evening late in September. Monitoring the station over a period of a few weeks, it seemed to have settled into a schedule using 3828.9kHz at night, and - changing over around 0400 GMT - using 5474kHz during the day.

The station had also changed signature tunes slightly too. The fast, high pitched tones were now slower and deeper, now sounding more like the smaller brother to it's companion station "The Buzzer".

Here is the new sample;

  Squeaky Wheel - 2008  (112 kb)

The station is still operational, though reception into the UK is infrequent and often weak.

Updated November 2008