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Warrenton Station C
Sumerduck Road State Highway 651
Remington Station, Fauquier County, VA

Warrenton Station C [Remington Station] is a primary High Frequency transmitter facility for the National Communications System, to include CIA Office of Communications. The facility, which with its security fence represents something of a challenge to the photographically minded visitor, is marked by an amazing number and variety of antennae of every conceivable type and configuration in a profusion surely unmatched in the Free World.

The Warrenton Training Center [WTC] is a communications training and support facility of the National Communications System [NCS]. The US Army serves as executive agent for the administration and management of the facilities on behalf of the NCS. Center employees include civilian personnel assigned from various NCS signatory agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Department of State.

The Warrenton Training Center was first esablished on 01 June 1951 as a Department of Defense Communication Training Activity with the US Army Element designated as the executive agent for administration and management of the center. On 10 June 1973 the center was transferred to teh Department of the Army and redesignated as the US Army Training Group, Warrenton Training Center, under the staff cognizance of the US Army Security Agency, the Army cryptologic service element of the Central Security Service. In consonance with mission realignments, on 01 September 1982 the center reverted to Defense Department control as the Warrenton Training Center with facility management by the Army as executive agent on behalf of the National Communications System.

The Warrenton and Remington sites are well known to shortwave listeners as the home of several of the Numbers Stations heard throughout the shortwave bands. One curious phenomena of many of the Numbers Stations is the poor quality of the audio. There is often what has been described as a "rushing of air" sound heard in the background. It's not due to interference, it can be heard even when the signal is excellent. There is quite possibly a higher data rate encrypted signal being sent at the same time as the number codes. The white noise of a pseudorandomly modulated signal sounds a bit like rushing wind. Listen to your modem as it's making a connection for an approximation to this sound. From this perspective, the overt audible numbers traffic would simply constitute a beacon to facilitate reception of the actualy message traffic concealed in the pseudo-noise which would otherwise be impossible to reliably receive.

The stations have always used some sort of automated system for reading out the numbers. Years ago, you could hear a little "click" between digits, as though they spliced tape together, or whatever computer system they used introduced a glitch between digits. Today it usually sounds much better. Others have mentioned hearing some of the lower tech quality numbers stations apparently using "real" people to read the numbers, sometimes a mistake was heard, and the announcer had to back up and start again. It would seem that the voice was that of a real person, although today it might be a composite of several voices (time station WWV did this recently). There are distinctive voices heard though. For example, there's the "Warrenton Woman", her transmissions have been DFed to Warrenton.

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Updated Monday, April 06, 1998 10:08:09 AM