There was a turn-out of 15 for the LRS 2020 Video Night, presented by Peter Dick GM4DTH on 8th January 2020 at the Edinburgh Cine & Video Society in Fettes Row. Peter chose two films about the Cold War. 


 Spy in Bonn receiving coded messages from a "Numbers Station", prior to her arrest by police.

The first was a short (14 mins) from ITN Roving Reports called "The Spy Catchers" (1963). The setting is Bonn in West Germany and gives an indication of the level of espionage from the communist bloc on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It shows how a "numbers station" was received & features a simulated raid to catch an agent. It was estimated that one person in 16 in Bonn was a communist spy at that time.


The second video was "Empire of Noise" (2006). (Click for YouTube link). (50 mins)

The title refers to the sound of the jamming modulation used by Soviet jamming stations in the short-wave broadcast bands prior to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990. It includes footage from former Soviet-controlled countries. Some attention is also given to the world of the Internet and how it is managed, with China being used as an example. A really depressing view of the world of short-wave broadcasting in the 1950s onwards, fortunately now gone forever.


Josef Stalin exercised Total Control over the citizens of the USSR and the other communist bloc countries.          One method was to prevent their reception of Western propaganda broadcasts on the short-wave bands. 


This required the use of very high-power (QRO) jamming transmitters and extensive antenna arrays. A number of different jamming modulation types were employed to try to prevent reception of the western program content. Examples were played throughout the film, crating a very unpleasant experience. 


Propaganda transmitters from the West targeting the USSR.


The large coverage area required the use of many jamming transmitters.



Example of Sky Wave western stations targeting Poland being countered with sky-wave jamming signals.


The audience in the ECVS screening room.

Many thanks to Peter for a very interesting, if chilling, show.