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Encryption on Amateur Radio
The primary purpose of this website is to
enable anyone who has copied an Enigma encrypted CW transmission from amateur radio station ZL3TK,
to quickly and easily decrypt that message. Be advised there
is no intention, and has never been any intention
that transmissions be encoded for the purpose of obscuring its
meaning, which is
acknowledged as a
prohibited activity on amateur radio in most jurisdictions.
On the contrary, using the accepted
definitions, nothing has been encoded into a data stream
Accordingly this website does not provide decoding
facilities. Instead parts of the messages were encrypted
using a complex letter-substitution algorithm through the use of a
Virtual Enigma Machine. The
mechanical Enigma concept was invented by Arthur Scherbius in 1918. This website provides both instructions and
hyperlinks to the resources necessary to easily decrypt any
of the messages unique to ZL3TK and correspondents. By
deduction, Enigma messages not associated with ZL3TK may also be
decrypted using keys provided by other sources. It is easily
demonstrated that Enigma encryption, as a security or obscuring
protocol, is well past its use-by date and can no longer be
considered a secure cypher in
any sense of the word.
An obvious secondary purpose of this website is to encourage
interest in all technical and historic aspects of the German Enigma machine
used during World War II, and while making
use of Morse code, foster a continuing interest in CW as a living
mode on the amateur bands.
For system accuracy, it is suggested that CW speed be limited to <
Re-transmits are quite acceptable but by their nature tend to waste good
For simplicity, the only model of Enigma machine referred to on this
website is the 3-rotor Wehrmacht/Luftwaffe machine fitted with a UKW B reflector.
And thirdly, significant challenges were
faced by German field troops when Enigma was mandated for security
while communicating by radio. To illustrate, each radio team
was composed of three men, only one of whom was on the key, while
the other two were needed to work the Enigma machine. By using
less than 10 watts (QRP), typical of a panzer radio, we are able add
a small measure of authenticity to our Enigma experience.
page explains (only superficially) the concept of encryption and the
place of the famous Enigma machine. Readers are encouraged to dig
deeper with the help of Mr Google.
Key pages show one for each month. These provide the
date-specific initial machine settings for the first and subsequent
messages in any one conversation.
For simplicity, these twelve key pages apply to all years, not just 2015,
and the initial machine
settings are not changed within a conversation even if messages span
Download the best
Virtual Enigma Machine
Many thanks are due to its
creator, Dirk Rijmenants
Enigma World Code
A fine practical site
established by Bruce Culp, N7CLH.
page describes the purpose of each part of
outgoing Enigma encrypted messages.
Incoming traffic is expected to follow the same format but may
Schematic for an
It provides a click-free, sinewave output specially for
transmitting MCW on FM transmitters. Obviously it has a range
The New Zealand Radiocommunication
An interpretation of the only clause relevant to Enigma.
All Copyrights and Trademarks remain the property of their
Anyone is free to use material from this website, however text
must be accurately transcribed, please do not misquote any part of
This is a simple website and is not claimed to be
definitive or complete in any way.
There are numerous more sophisticated resources available for
information, training and research purposes, which have been written by really clever
Every Enigma transmission from ZL3TK and respondents refers
https://qsl.net/ZL3TK for the
daily key and other decryption resources.