We pretty much all know by now that television is switching over to a digital signal next year, and without a converter box, we will no longer be able to receive our favorite shows. That’s hardly news.
But what’s gonna happen to that huge bandwidth of broadcast signal? It’s not going to simply dissappear… There is plenty of speculation as to who is going to be using those signals, from cell phones to emergency broadcasts to homeland security.
What about those of us curious enough to hold on to our regular tvs, or happen to have some of those old-school radios that pick up TV signals? What do you think we may be able to find scanning those “unused” frequencies?
Have you ever heard of a Numbers Station?
Scanning the shortwave dial, occasionally you will come across a funny little robotic voice (usually female) reading off a series of seemingly random letters and numbers. Reports of accidentally finding such stations date back to World War I, which could make them among the earliest radio broadcasts. References to them have been used as plot points in films since Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film Orphee, appearing in Red Dawn, Toy Soldiers, Vanilla Sky and the television series Lost.
Funny thing is, nobody (at least nobody you or I are likely to know in our lifetime) has any idea where these signals are really coming from, or what their purpose is.
In 1997, Iridial Disks released a 4-CD collection called The Conet Project a found-sound project based on the work of numbers station enthusiast Akin Fernandez. The collection has been circulating around the underground since. As of recently, Iridial has released the collection as a series of free downloads from their site.
It’s highly unlikely that anything broadcast along these newly acquired frequencies would be broadcast unencrypted. Without delving any further into speculation, all we can do is hold onto our rabbit ears and see for ourselves.