Cherry Ripe (numbers station)

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"Cherry Ripe"
Broadcast area Humpty Doo, Australia
Frequency Several shortwave frequencies between 18.864 and 21.866 MHz
Format Numbers station
Language(s) English
Affiliations Royal Air Force (Speculated)
Owner MI6 (Speculated)
Sister stations Lincolnshire Poacher

Cherry Ripe is the nickname of a discontinued shortwave numbers station that used several bars from the English folk song "Cherry Ripe" as an interval signal. The station was believed to be operated by the British Secret Intelligence Service and to have emanated from Australia. It was thought to have previously broadcast from Guam. It consisted of an electronically synthesised English-accented female voice reading groups of five numbers, e.g. "3-5-7-6-1". The final number in each group was spoken at a higher pitch. It is likely that the station was used to communicate messages to undercover agents operating in other countries, to be decoded using a one-time pad.

Cherry Ripe had a more famous and much more active Middle-Eastern cousin, the Lincolnshire Poacher, which also used several bars from the English folk song of the same name as its interval signal.[1] The Lincolnshire Poacher had long been suspected as being operated by Britain and had been detected as emanating from RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus. Apart from the interval signal, the format and voice of the two stations was identical, though as of July 2008 the Lincolnshire Poacher appears to no longer be active. In September 2009, Cherry Ripe moved their transmitter to Humpty Doo, Australia. [2] In December 2009 Cherry Ripe also went off the air.[3]


This schedule was accurate as of January 2006. All times are UTC, frequencies MHz.[2]

00:00 18.864
01:00 19.884
10:00 20.474
11:00 18.864
12:00 18.864
13:00 18.864
14:00 18.864
22:00 18.864
23:00 18.864


  1. ^ "Spy Number Station Profile". Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  2. ^ a b "E3 Lincolnshire Poacher". 1988-12-21. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  3. ^ "NSNL 147 - Voice stations". Retrieved 2016-08-17.

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