A SHORT HISTORY OF ENIGMA
The European Numbers Information Gathering & Monitoring Association
Much of the early information in these pages was supplied by ENIGMA, a non-profit making group of enthusiasts committed to investigating Number Stations heard on the Short-Wave bands.
Dedicated mainly to the activities of the Number Stations, there was always a small section given over to mystery signals on the Short-Wave bands. This section, entitled, "THINGS THAT GO BUZZ IN THE NIGHT! " was the inspiration behind this site.
ENIGMA had its origins in West Yorkshire, in the north of England. Chris Midgley, a numbers enthusiast for many years, founded the group in 1993, and along with his colleague Mike Gaufman, another numbers enthusiast, set about gaining members and producing ENIGMA's first newsletter. Produced with a minimum of members, this first printed newsletter consisted of 6 pages of information. Stations could only be identified by referring to some characteristic of the transmission, or, in the case of the more common stations, by arbitrary names that had become established among listeners. Stations in the newsletter include the "Two Letter German", "Alphabet Station", "Five Dashes" and "Station NNN".
By August 1994, ENIGMA was on to issue 6 of the newsletter, and was attempting to reduce some of the identification confusion by categorising Morse numbers stations by the use of designators, M1, M2, M3 and so on, and were issuing Control Lists of stations heard and details of their operating procedures and characteristics.
The categorisation continued, and soon all the speech stations , and oddities, were issued with similar designators, E for English, G for German, S for Slavic and so on, and stations were being grouped into "families" where it was recognised for example, a Morse station, a German station and a Slavic station were all run by the same organisation. The newsletters contained not only reports of stations and frequencies heard, but a variety of articles including some excellent single station studies.
All the work ENIGMA had done in identifying and categorising stations was published to members as two large booklets, in November 1988 and June 1999 respectively. The booklets contained all the identification, catagorisation and grouping information along with frequency lists various language tables and other relevant data.
In the summer of 2000, the founder of ENIGMA, Chris Midgely decided he could no longer continue with ENIGMA, which had become like an unpaid full-time job. Mike Gaufman, (his co-editor) attempted to keep ENIGMA going, but by October also was unable to continue.
ENIGMA existed for nearly a decade. In that time, a great deal was learned about the number stations. A system of identifying the signals, and classifying them into families was meticulously developed and is now used worldwide. A detailed newsletter was sent out twice yearly to a list of subscribers, which included Government and Secret Service departments. ENIGMAS's first newletter had 6 pages, the last, No.18 had 56.
As a newsletter based group ENIGMA ended, and this Closing Letter issued to subscribers.
Not to dismiss the contributions made by subscribers, listeners and other columnists, it must be acknowledged that the bulk of the workload was carried by these two people. Their achievements during this time should not go unrecognised.
This was not however the end of ENIGMA. Several enthusiasts were determined to keep the group alive, and changing from a printed to an internet based format, formed ENIGMA 2000.
As a newgroup based group ENIGMA 2000 has continued and built on the work started by Chris Midgley and Mike Gaufman, and led by Paul Beaumont and Mike L, the group continues to florish and produces a pdf newsletter bi-monthly as well as providing almost instant contact between members with logs and news via the online newsgroup.
For more information about ENIGMA 2000 click on the link below;