Good Recording Taken YESTERDAY of Shortwave Radio Broadcasts to Cuban Spies in The Field 1

Good signal of Cuban Spy Numbers HM01, Oct.7

By Bulgarian DX blog

LZ2GPB and OBSERVER’s blog dedicated to the hobby of DX-ing: from longwave, mediumwave and shortwave all the way up to VHF radio and satellite monitoring.

NUMBERS STATION   Good signal of Cuban Spy Numbers HM01, Oct.7

0455-0550 on 10860 secret/hidden site (Bejucal) Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0555-0650 on 10345 secret/hidden site (Bejucal) Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0655-0750 on  9330 secret/hidden site (Bejucal) Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

Editor’s Note:  Recorded YESTERDAY, three good quality recordings of Havana’s High Frequency (i.e., “shortwave” or “ham radio”) broadcasts to its officers and agents in the field. For the last 25 years, Cuba has been slowly transitioning from HF to internet-based communications. At this point, only its technological dinosaurs still use HF.

The Stupidly Simple Spy Messages No Computer Could Decode 1

Numbers station_The Daily BeastEvery day, hour after hour, the world’s spies send top secret information you can easily listen in on.

By Shan Harris, The Daily Beast

When I was 10 years old, I found a shortwave radio in a crumbling old leather trunk where we kept family photos and other memorabilia. As I spun the dial, tinny, modulating noises, like the song of an electronic slide whistle, emanated from the radio’s small speaker. Staticky cracks and pops competed for airtime. The sounds swished and swirled, unintelligible and unremarkable. But then, emerging through the clamor, was a voice.

I might have run right over it with the dial, but the voice’s rhythmic, steady pacing caught me up short. It wasn’t a deejay. Nor a commercial. And he wasn’t singing. He was just speaking. The same line, over and over again.

“7…6…7…4…3.” Pause. “7…6…7…4…3.”

I don’t remember if those were the exact numbers. But they were numbers. A repeated sequence which had no obvious meaning, and was entirely devoid of context. To find him here, amidst the screeches and howls of the shortwave frequencies, was like coming upon a man standing in the middle of a forest, talking out loud to no one.

How long had he been here? Who was he talking to? He had that officious tone of the recorded telephone operators who chastised you for dialing a wrong number. “Please hang up, check the number, and dial again.” And the same distracting static I’d heard in those messages filled the background. I wasn’t sure if he was speaking live, or if he’d been recorded and set loose to play into the air.

But there was an urgency to his tone. And a purpose. As if he were talking to me. Imploring. Listen. Hear me now. 7…6…7…4…3. Did you get that? 7…6…7…4…3.

I was simultaneously terrified and captivated.

I never touched the radio again. My curiosity was suppressed by a feeling of dread that I had heard something not meant for me. But I never stopped thinking about it. The voice became a character I passed around with friends during late-night ghost stories. The Bell Witch. The Killer in the Back Seat. The Numbers Man.

Article continues here: Numbers Stations


Cuba’s Mysterious ‘Numbers Station’ Is Still on the Air 5

Illustration: Shaye Anderson

Illustration: Shaye Anderson

by Joshua Kopstein, Motherboard

On August 18 at 22:00 UTC, I heard a government intelligence agency transferring encrypted messages to spies over the radio.

Or at least, that’s the most common explanation for what I heard.

I dialed to the correct frequency—17480 kHz—using an internet-connected radio tuner maintained by a university in the Netherlands. Suddenly, over waves of static, an eerily-robotic woman’s voice began speaking a series of five-digit number sequences in Spanish.

About three minutes later, the numbers repeated in the same order, but this time each sequence was followed by a digital bell-like tone and a harsh blast of noise, like a 56K modem trying to connect to AOL in the 90s. This continued for about 20 minutes, each sequence punctuated by the bizarre noise blasts.

Then, static.

This is HM01, sometimes called “Voce De La Chica,” a shortwave numbers station believed to be operated by the Cuban intelligence directorate, Dirección de Inteligencia (DI).

To the casual listener, numbers stations are mysterious broadcasts of voices speaking streams of numbers which, in at least some cases, are encrypted messages being sent to government spies.

They have long seemed like Cold War relics, born in a time when spying meant boots-on-the-ground and internet surveillance was impractical or irrelevant. And yet, HM01 continues to operate in what the NSA has called a “golden age” of internet-enabled signals intelligence, and despite historic progress in US-Cuba relations earlier this summer.

While evidence suggests HM01 is operated by the Cuban government, it’s virtually impossible to tell who it’s sending to, which is one of the main tactical advantages of numbers stations: You can easily see the intended recipient of an email, but you can’t prove someone listened to a radio broadcast unless you catch them in the act.

Shortwave radio listeners (or SWLs, as they are known) have followed stations like HM01 for decades. According to members of, an online community of radio enthusiasts that monitors numbers stations, HM01 is a close relative of “Atención,” a government station that has operated for decades and whose transmissions wereused as key evidence in a case that convicted five Cuban spies in the late 90s.

Article continues here: HM01






Reception of Cuban Spy Numbers Station HM01 on Tuesday, August 4th 2

By Bulgarian DX blog

CUBA   Reception of Cuban Spy Numbers station HM01 on Tue, August 4

from 0630 on 11462 secret / hidden tx ?Bejucal? Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

from 0745 on 13435 secret / hidden tx ?Bejucal? Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

from 0815 on 11635 secret / hidden tx ?Bejucal? Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

Editor’s Note:  High Frequency (HF) radio broadcasts — better known as “shortwave” or “ham radio” — have been the workhorse of Cuban Intelligence communications for decades. That said, Havana’s use of HF radio for espionage continues to decline, most likely as its spies transition to internet-based means.

Updated High-Frequency (HF) Broadcast Schedule for Cuban Spies Worldwide 1

numbers stationsCuban “Numbers Station” HM01 with new start/end of transmissions: 

By Bulgarian DX Blog    

xx54-xx18 broadcasts 24 minutes; xx18-xx28 open carrier/dead air;

xx28-xx48 broadcasts 20 minutes; xx48-xx54 change of frequencies.

0454-0548 on  5855 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri0

454-0548 on 12120 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri, not active

0454-0548 on 11462 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0454-0548 on 14375 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

0554-0648 on 10345 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0554-0648 on ????? secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, ex 9330

0654-0748 on  9330 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0654-0748 on 13435 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0754-0848 on  9065 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0754-0848 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0854-0948 on  9240 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0854-0948 on 11462 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0854-0948 on 12120 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

0954-1048 on  5855 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0954-1048 on  9155 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0954-1048 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0954-1048 on 12180 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

1554-1648 on 11435 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

1654-1748 on 11530 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

1754-1848 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

2054-2148 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2054-2148 on 16180 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

2154-2248 on 10715 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2154-2248 on 17480 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

2254-2348 on 11530 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2254-2348 on 17540 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

Editor’s Note:  According to reliable defectors and émigrés, most Cuban spies have moved from HF to internet-based communications. Those still on HF (or morse code in some cases) are technology dinosaurs whom Havana is unwilling or unable to move into the 21st Century.

As Normalization Effort Continues, Cuban Spy Broadcasts Continue…… 3

numbers stationsAs expelled spy-diplomats Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin push for greater US concessions, their spy colleagues continue to go “old school” in targeting the US…..

Recent Cuban “Numbers Stations” broadcasts from Havana to the regime’s spies abroad:

February 9th

February 8th

February 6th

January 20th

January 16th


Cuban National Released in White House Deal with Havana Now Back in the U.S. 3

Rolando Sarraff in 1996, the year he was imprisoned by the Cuban government (L)and more recently (R). Sarraff was sentenced to jail by the Cuban government for spying for the United States. He was freed in a prisoner exchange with the United States last month. (Family photo)

Rolando Sarraff in 1996, the year he was imprisoned by the Cuban government (L) and more recently (R). Sarraff was sentenced to jail by the Cuban government for spying for the United States. He was freed in a prisoner exchange with the United States last month. (Family photo)

By Missy Ryan, Washington Post

A Cuban national imprisoned for nearly two decades as an American spy is now in the United States, his family said Tuesday, the first confirmation of the former U.S. agent’s whereabouts since he was released in last month’s deal to overhaul ties with Cuba.

Rolando Sarraff, a cryptographer with Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence, was imprisoned in 1995 on suspicion that he was passing secrets to the United States. Information provided by Sarraff helped U.S. officials dismantle networks of Cuban spies in the United States, one illustration of the mutual hostility that characterized U.S. dealings with Communist Cuba for more than 50 years.

The White House secured Sarraff’s release last month as part of President Obama’s sweeping agreement to thaw U.S. ties with the island nation. The deal also included the return of an American aid contractor held by Havana and the release of three Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the United States.

But since the deal was announced Dec. 17, Obama administration officials have declined to confirm whether Sarraff was taken to the United States, or whether he was in U.S. government custody somewhere else. For weeks, family members in Cuba, Spain and the United States said they had not been informed by either the U.S. or the Cuban government about his whereabouts.

This week, his sister, who lives in Spain, said she finally heard from her brother. “He’s well, and he’s in the U.S.,” Vilma Sarraff told The Washington Post. She declined to give details.

The Sarraff family’s confirmation of the former agent’s whereabouts were first reported Tuesday by the Associated Press

Missy Ryan writes about the Pentagon, military issues, and national security for The Washington Post.


Cuba’s Vested Interest in Discrediting CIA Spy Rolando Sarraf Trujillo 9

Raul Castro

Raul Castro

By Chris Simmons

In December, Rolando “Roly” Sarraf Trujillo was identified as the high-value American spy traded for three Cuba spies. In the weeks since, some Republicans, a self-serving former Cuban spy named Bill Gaede, and the Castro regime have joined forces to diminish the importance of Roly’s service to America.

The Republicans are motivated by their mistrust of President Obama. In contrast, Havana’s attacks are driven by the fear its global spy networks will realize they have been betrayed – not by Sarraf Trujillo — but rather by their Cuban masters. Over the last 20 years, a “perfect storm” of events came together to make Havana’s agent communications extremely vulnerable. This fact is well-known to the regime’s leadership, which has inexplicably done little to protect its spies in the field.

I – as well as anonymous intelligence sources in Washington – identified Roly as a Directorate of Intelligence officer assigned to an element known as Department M-XV (Agent Communications). With this placement and access, he would have been able to identify strengths and weaknesses in the High Frequency broadcasts (i.e., shortwave or “ham” radio) that Cuba has transmitted to its spies every day for decades. Sadly, the three-man CIA ring in which Roly served was compromised in 1994. Unable to escape the island like his colleagues, he was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in jail in 1995.

Thus, it’s no coincidence that in 1996, the FBI was able to start reading parts of the HF broadcasts from Havana to its largest spy ring in America. Known as the Wasp Network, this group of 43+ spies stretched from the Florida Keys to New York City and as far west as Louisiana. The Bureau’s code-breaking, while slow and imperfect, proved good enough to arrest 10 Wasp members in September 1998. During these arrests, the FBI acquired physical copies of the encryption and decryption software used by Cuba. It also seized nearly 1,000 encrypted computer disks with roughly 15,000 pages of material.

In August 2001, two more Wasps were arrested and their encryption seized. A month later, Cuban master-spy Ana Belen Montes was arrested at the Defense Intelligence Agency. A covert search of her apartment months earlier had discovered her encryption/decryption software program as well as numerous messages she failed to destroy. The Montes investigation originally began in 1998 as an “unidentified subject” (UNSUB) case. However, sufficient evidence didn’t come together to pinpoint a specific person until September 2000.

In May 2002, another Wasp was arrested and his cipher program recovered. Finally, in June 2009, Cuban spies Kendall and Gwen Myers were arrested. Technology dinosaurs, the couple were part of a handful of Cuban spies who stayed with Morse Code for roughly 30 years, long after almost everyone else had switched to encrypted voice messages.

Rolando Sarraf Trujillo allowed Washington to first gain insights into Havana’s spy networks two decades ago. This knowledge was then amplified by the practical experience the Bureau gained reading Wasp Network communications for over two years. This was followed, in turn, by another huge breakthrough — the subsequent arrests of more than 16 Cuban spies (most of whom took plea agreements and cooperated with the US). In these arrests, the US likely acquired over a dozen working copies of Cuba’s cipher software. Now, with Rolando Sarraf Trujillo presumably being debriefed somewhere in the United States, the US government is adding additional depth to its understanding of Havana’s spy communications.

These events, taken together, should strike terror in the heart of every Cuban spy. If we assume NSA recorded every HF broadcast Cuba sent over the last several decades, then the possibility exists that (at least theoretically), with enough time, people, and funding, Washington could eventually break every message Havana sent.

Even with its communications security in a 20-year freefall, Cuba continues transmitting daily HF broadcasts. So for all those disposable Cuban spies serving secretly throughout the US, I’d recommend you start sleeping with one eye open. Washington is closer to finding you than you ever imagined.

Cuban Relatives of U.S. Spy in Dark After News of Release 3

Vilma Sarraff Trujillo

Vilma Sarraff Trujillo

By Phil Stewart and David Adams

(Reuters) – His release from a Cuban prison has been as cloak-and-dagger as his spying career ever was.

Not even the family of Rolando Sarraff Trujillo appears to know what has happened to the Cuban man believed by some to be the U.S. informant secretly freed in a prisoner swap between Cuba and the United States that was announced on Wednesday.

“All I can say is that … my brother has disappeared,” his sister, Vilma Sarraff Trujillo, said by telephone from Spain on Friday, noting that Sarraff’s family in Cuba has not heard from him in days and has not been able to pry any information from Cuban officials. “We don’t know anything.”

Unlike the televised homecoming of Alan Gross, the former U.S. aid worker who became a household name in diplomatic circles, the United States and Cuba have declined to publicly disclose the identity of the freed spy.

The White House and U.S. intelligence agencies on Friday declined to confirm or deny media reports that Sarraff, who had been in a Cuban prison since 1995, was indeed the freed spy.

There’s good reason why he might be out of sight.

“He’s probably in some very quiet place being debriefed. They want to know exactly what happened,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. “It would be a standard thing.”

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence’s office credited the unnamed freed spy as having been “instrumental in the identification and disruption of several Cuban intelligence operatives in the United States.”

Chris Simmons, a former senior counter-intelligence official at the Defense Intelligence Agency, described Sarraff – familiarly known as “Roly” – as a cryptographer who worked for Cuba’s director of intelligence, citing accounts from Cuban defectors.

He said Cuba communicated with its spies through short-wave radio, using groups of numbers to send coded messages. Sarraff would have been able to help the United States break that code.

“Roly was arrested in 1995. Almost immediately the FBI can read Cuban communications,” Simmons said, saying he believed Sarraff was the one released based on the U.S. government’s description of the spy’s work.

Feature continues here:  Cuban Relatives

U.S. Spy in Havana Exposed American Moles 4

An image provided by Cuba shows President Castro, right, Wednesday with members of the ‘Cuban Five’ who were released in a U.S. prisoner swap.  European Pressphoto Agency

An image provided by Cuba shows President Castro, right, Wednesday with members of the ‘Cuban Five’ who were released in a U.S. prisoner swap. European Pressphoto Agency

Intelligence Officer Whom Obama Singled Out for Prisoner Exchange Helped Convict Agents for Cuba in Washington

By Felicia Schwartz , The Wall Street Journal,

WASHINGTON—In announcing the prisoner exchange that set up a momentous shift in U.S.-Cuba relations, the Obama administration this week made an unusual disclosure, revealing the existence of a key intelligence agent, and detailing specific cases he helped to crack.

The U.S. informant, identified on Thursday as Rolando Sarraff Trujillo by those familiar with his role, had been convicted and imprisoned in Cuba for nearly 20 years for helping Washington. He was recently freed and flown to the U.S.

Undisclosed before this week was Mr. Sarraff’s secret role as an American operative in Cuba who provided critical information that prompted the 1998 arrests of a group of spies known as the “Cuban Five,” intelligence operatives sent to infiltrate U.S. groups opposed to the regime in Havana.

In remarks at the White House, Mr. Obama, without naming Mr. Sarraff, said that he was “one of the most important intelligence agents the United States has ever had in Cuba.”

In a separate set of prominent U.S. espionage cases, Mr. Sarraff also provided information leading to the detection and conviction between 2001 and 2009 of a group of American government officials for funneling information to Havana, the officials said.

The Americans included the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba analyst at the time, Ana Belén Montes, and former State Department official Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn Myers, officials said.

All are still serving prison sentences.

In a speech Wednesday, Cuban President Raúl Castro didn’t name Mr. Sarraff but said he was “a spy of Cuban origin.” He has been widely identified as a former Cuban intelligence officer imprisoned in Cuba on espionage charges since 1995.

Mr. Sarraff was a cryptographer in Cuba’s intelligence service, said Chris Simmons, who headed a unit on Cuba for the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1997 to 2004.

Mr. Sarraff was arrested in Cuba in 1995, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1996. He had provided information about the codes used by Cuban spies in the U.S. to communicate with Havana, Mr. Simmons said. Cuba typically used shortwave radio to communicate with agents in the U.S., he said.

U.S. officials used the information to decipher communications and identify spies, even long after he was arrested. “Once you have the insight, if you’ve got enough time, money and resources, you can go back and look at everyone,” Mr. Simmons said.

Feature continues here: Roly