Skyking, Skyking, Do Not Answer

After some aimless browsing, I somehow came to be reading about the Jim Creek VLF facility in Washington State, used for communications with (or, more accurately, communications to) submarines. Even with miles and miles of wire antennas in the air, and even with more than a Megawatt out, the signal isn’t able to penetrate very far in saltwater.

This reminds me of the Skyking broadcasts carrying instructions to nuclear-equipped Air Force resources. There are both Emergency Action Messages and Skyking broadcasts, with the latter apparently having higher priority. They’re read live over the air and are, of course, encrypted messages.

They’re arguably similar to the various numbers stations, which broadcast information encoded with a one-time pad and are used to communicate information to people in the field. For example, see The Lincolnshire Poacher, which begins with the titular melody being played repeated, presumed to be an attention signal to aid in tuning. Many of the numbers stations use a recorded voice reading off numbers or letters. Some of what we know was confirmed when the US tried five Cuban spies.

One thought on “Skyking, Skyking, Do Not Answer

  1. “Skyking Skyking do not answer” – wow, that brings back memories. I’m just old enough to remember that on HF but locally it was also a VHF usage.

    In my town there was a small 220 community comprised of fringe operators. They used 220 because they wished to keep above the hoi polloi. They were “led” (if that’s the word) by a vocational school instructor with a thick Brooklyn accent, whose call ended in ASS. Every Saturday I’d hear these groupers using the catchphrase to announce their coffee shop get-togethers. Their nickname for ASS was Agent Orange.

    These Agent Orange groupers hung out on a repeater made from CobMidLegg boards. –Essentially the conversion documented in the WA6ITF book. The 220 repeater was effectively so private that we used it for coordinating jammer sting ops.

    I would like to pass some bumph about WRS/Glenayre UHF radios and their history but I can’t find a direct email for N1ZYY. I worked at a Glenayre subsidiary in the 1980s and knew some of the parent staff. Could you please contact me? My call works at Hotmail.

    73 Dan VE7DES

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