We called a secret MI6 phone number

By James Cook on September 5th, 2013

After The Kernel reported on the mysterious Russian radio signal UVB-76, we were inundated with anonymous tips. One email informed us of a legendary radio signal originating from Cyprus nicknamed the “Lincolnshire Poacher”, and run by the British Secret Intelligence Service.

According to our anonymous source, the radio signal ran from 1976 to 2008, far longer than has previously been reported.

Archived recordings of the old radio signal are available to listen to on the internet, but The Kernel has learned that the Poacher lives on as a secret telephone number for MI6 agents in the Middle East.

Our source, “Mr Bland” (we presume not his real name), tells us that after the Lincolnshire Poacher radio signal closed five years ago, it was moved to a UK telephone number. According to Mr Bland, that number is +44 1252 230 607. The number turns out to be registered in Aldershot, Hampshire in the south of England.

Like UVB-76, the Lincolnshire Poacher is a numbers station, which means a line of communication through which spies can securely receive encrypted messages at specific times. Anyone can call the number or tune into the radio signal of a numbers station.

But unless you have a “one-time pad”, issued to spies for single use with a numbers station, to decrypt the signal at the other end, there’s no way of working out what is being transmitted.

We decided to call the number anyway – and got lucky. Here’s what we heard at the other end of the line.

As you can hear, when the message ends, our mysterious spy controllers hang up on us. Seeking more information and evidence, we replied to Mr Bland. Our email failed to reach its destination: his email address had already been deactivated.

Comparing the recording of The Kernel’s telephone call with archived recordings of the Lincolnshire Poacher signal reveals an exact match in tone and transmission pattern. Internet sleuths on the trail of the old Lincolnshire Poacher radio signal now have a new point of origin to hunt down.

Update: Oops! The Kernel took out an MI6 spy system