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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The Pip   -   S30 (formerly XT)

Frequency:   3756 kHz   &   5448 kHz   USB

Frequency Schedule
5448 kHz Daytime Frequency
3756 kHz Nighttime Frequency

Operates 24 hours a day, switching from one frequency to the other early morning and late afternoon, the changeover time varying by several hours over the year.   In the UK the station is only audible from late afternoon and throughout the night-time hours.   A small overlap of a few minutes is noted when both frequencies are transmitting at the same time.  This would indicate two transmitters, and possibly two sites are in use.

ENIGMA report the transmitter site as being near the town of Krasnodar, in Southern Russia.

This station sounds very much like a standard time-signal, with the exception that it sends no information on the minute, or hour, and sends 63 pulses a minute!

  "The Pip"  (24 kb)

5450 kHz is used by RAF VOLMET, and The PIP is often heard  quite  strong on top of this signal.  3756 kHz on the other hand, is within the 80 metre amateur band.  Surely this signal cannot be so prominent, and yet be apparently unknown? 

Occasionally, the station stops sending the repetitive "Pip", and sends short live voice messages. One report to Enigma , indicates that on April 24 1998 at 2241 UTC, the Pip stopped for approximately two minutes and a Slavic male voice was heard giving out phrases with pauses between. The Pip then resumed.

On Sunday 27 December 1998, I monitored two such transmissions from "The Pip" on 3756 kHz USB. One of these, at 0330 UTC was recorded and can be heard by clicking on the speaker icon below.

  A "Pip" Voice Transmission (74kb)

Message reads   "Dlia   854 032 471 331 629 008   Kak slisnno?   Priom"

In English   "For   854 032 471 331 629 008   How do you read me?   Over"

On 13 January 1999 on 5448 kHz USB, a further transmission was heard at 0738 UTC by Rimantas Pleikys in Lithuania.  Rimantas believes that these are Control Messages to check the readiness of the of the receiving station operators, who would then be required to log the transmission details and to relay them back to control using an alternative link.  This could either be on short-wave, land-line or satellite.

Rimantas further tells me that he thinks that "The Pip", "The Buzzer", and the "R" Morse beacons, (single channel markers known as "Plavets-41" or "Swimmer-41" in English), all belong to the same organisation.   All three are now known to send occasional voice messages using Male Russian voice in USB, the content of which is similar.

Use is believed to be a Russian Military marker, or some form of "Status" monitoring system.   It is possible that these short-wave links provide a backup system for some services on satellite or landline.

ENIGMA reports further voice transmissions on April 17th 1999 and on May 5th 1999, (Thanks to John from Derby UK). All messages were short in duration. Subsequent reports indicate the short speech messages occur on an irregular basis several times per year.

On 9 March 2004, I received an email report from a licenced amateur station, George WA2RCB, so say that he was able to hear the station with an S-5 signal at 01:14 UTC (8:14 PM local), near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. This is a remarkable achievement even given the extremely unusual propagation conditions we experienced around this time. Paul Beaumont of ENIGMA 2000 was by co-incidence working Spain with 10 Watts on 80 Metres that same evening and noted weak stations coming in from the USA. Around a month before this event a report of "The Buzzer" was received from the same American state.

Sincere thanks to Rimantas Pleikys for additional information and for allowing me to make this information freely available, and to Taras Young who provided the translation of the signal featured above,

Update July 2004