Prague has a very special place in my memory, largely due to the role
by Radio Prague itself. The original interval signal from the early 1970s
was very recognisable all over the short waves and encouraged me to tune
to the last news from Czechoslovakia. As I listened, I became interested
life behind the iron curtain and your station was one of the most open and
interesting of the Warsaw pact stations, even if your announcers had a
peculiar way of ending sentences!
Prague also conjures up images of great beer halls such as the world
U Fleku. I can picture myself in the Knight Hall or perhaps Vaclav's Room
with a glass of beer and a dish of bacon dumplings, smoked pork and
a little sauerkraut and horseradish on the side. Truly a beer drinker's
As a fan of the space race, I also followed the flight of the first
non-Soviet or American to travel into space with great interest. This
cosmonaut was Vladimir Remek, who in 1978 visited the Salyut 6 space
station. Later, he became Deputy Director of the Flight Research Institute
Then of course there is the beautiful architecture. Wonderful romantic
streets and buildings largely untouched by modern developments. In short,
Prague is a magnificent city for a weekend break, or a summer holiday.
However, the most enduring impression of Prague to a short wave radio
enthusiast such as I is its unique place in radio history. It was the home
to a very strange form of transmission, a station so obscure that very few
people would have ever heard of it, let alone actually tuned in.
A small street in Prague called Nad Stolou houses the Ministry of the
Interior, or Ministerstvo Vnitra in Czech. In the early 1990s a strange
radio station broadcast from this building, sending odd messages to
persons. This station was one of the so called number stations which do
nothing other than send five figure groups out into the ether. The Prague
station was unique amongst the examples in other countries in that it was
quite open in its activities.
It was the only number station to actually send out a QSL or confirmation
reception card to its listeners, of which I managed to obtain a couple of
examples. It also used a proper call sign called OLX, although officially
OLX was in fact issued to the Czech Press Agency CETEKA. OLX operated 23
hours per day with mind numbing precision in both Morse code and voice
At the top of the hour a Morse signal tapping out VVV DE OLX would begin.
Then, either a Czech female voice appeared repeating something like Yedna
Dva Yedna over and over, or Morse sending the same thing. The actual
consisted of five figure groups read out with a robot like rhythm. "Pyet,
Deviet, Shtiri, Shi, Nolla" , Dva, Dva, Nolla, Shi, Pyet" and so on.
would go on for ages, inducing a soporific state of mind. A voice coming
straight from the heart of the Czech capital sending a message to whom? No
So when I think of the city of Prague, it's this mysterious station that
springs to mind, sadly ended in 1996. A simple lesson in Czech number
pronunciation from a mysterious lady. Read about and hear this station on
my website at http://www.simonmason.karoo.net/page61.html