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Cavalier
07-26-2012, 04:46 AM
I'm currently working on an novella which took an unexpected turn. The main character, a half-mad survivor of a cataclysm, is broadcasting as a numbers station. (Actually, as three numbers stations, but she's not aware of it.) I had thought I was going to keep it at that, but after introducing a tech geek, I realised I'm in a little spot. This techie would have her amateur radio license, and I know very little (although I am very interested) in how communications are relayed in shortwave.

This would start out as the tech geek stumbling across the numbers station. When she tries to hail it, it actually breaks pattern and converses with her. They exchange location information and they sign off. Then stuff goes wibbly, but that has nothing to do with the actual conversation.

The questions I have: I want to give the tech geek a call sign which is entirely fictional--as this is post-apocalyptic, it can be really anything, but she's the type who's very proud of her call sign and would use it. What would be a realistic call sign (but one that wouldn't be mistaken for a real one--this is an alternate universe, and the country she's from (Acadia) no longer exists)?

Would the phonetic alphabet be used for call signs?

What would be a realistic frequency to use? Since the FCC has no real presence (still around, but not as much) there would be plenty of pirates out there, but the tech geek's rather law-abiding.

If I'm not clear on what I need to ask, please ask me to clarify. As I am very new to the idea, I may not be asking the right questions.

Thank you so much!

WeaselFire
07-26-2012, 11:33 PM
What era? My skill set comes from the 1970's, so it may not apply anymore, but a station would normally give its call number, assigned by the government, in any calls. Something like:

"CQ. CQ. This is DKXY4180 contacting the station broadcasting on 6840 kilohertz..."

Numbers stations wouldn't have a protocol for answering. :)

Might look at the Conet project. They used to (still do?) record the messages. Might also check out http://www.starchat.net/chat/?chan=wunclub.

By the way, 6840 kHz is/was a real numbers station, used to be operated by the Yugoslavs.

Jeff