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Network

The North Korean diplomatic shortwave network follows a forwarding tree structure, as they limit contacts between their stations to hops of usually no more than 5000 kilometers. Pyongyang sits at the root at the tree structure, as ultimate origin or recipient of all messages between it and embassies. Messages from Pyongyang are transmitted and relayed by North Korean embassies across the world, hop by hop along each branch of the distribution tree, until they are received by their final recipients. Messages from embassies are relayed and forwarded back to Pyongyang in the reverse way.

Embassies in the network are typically equipped with an 8-element shortwave LPDA. Stations are identified in two different ways:

  • The modem ID appears as the first byte of each packet in the DPRK-ARQ protocol, and identifies the peer station on the link - the destination of the packets rather than their source.
  • The embassy "MF" numbers are used in the message headers to identify the origin or recipients of the messages. Historically they already appeared in former DPRK diplomatic transmission formats, prior to the DPRK-ARQ modem.

Station locations can be determined from signal propagation observations, direction-finding and triangulation, the presence and orientation of antennas on embassy buildings, contents of cleartext messages, and identifying information (countries, time zones, phone numbers...) mentioned in cleartext operator chatter.

Continent ID Modem ID Location Downstream stations Upstream station
Asia - 0xD3 Pyongyang Multiple (main hub) -
Europe - 0xA5 Moscow Multiple (main hub) Pyongyang
MF02 0xA4 Warsaw   Moscow
MF03 0xA6 Prague  
MF04 0xA8 Bucharest  
MF06 0xAA Sofia  
MF08 0xAB Berlin  
MF11 0xAD Stockholm  
MF15 0xB4 Vienna  
MF16 - Bern   Geneva
MF17 0xB3 Rome   Moscow
MF21 0xB5 Geneva Bern
Asia MF23 0xBC ?   Pyongyang
MF24 0xBD Hanoi MF33, MF50
MF25 0xBE Vientiane   Jakarta
MF26 ? ?  
MF29 0xC2 Jakarta Vientiane, MF26 Pyongyang
MF30 0xC3 Kathmandu MF41, MF69
MF31 0xC4 ? MF35
MF32 0xC6 ?  
MF33 0xC7 ?   Hanoi
MF35 0xCA ?   MF31
MF36 0xCC Damascus Kuwait City Cairo
MF38 0xC8 Phnom Penh   Pyongyang
Europe MF40 0xAC Madrid Conakry, Dakar, Havana, MF63 Moscow
Asia MF41 ? ?   Kathmandu
Africa MF45 0xCD Cairo Damascus, Kinshasa, Luanda Moscow
MF46 0xCE Tripoli    
MF50 0xE4 ?   Hanoi
MF51 0xD6 Dakar   Madrid
MF53 0xD2 Conakry  
MF59 0xB1 ?   MF69
MF63 0xD4 ?   Madrid
MF66 0xD5 Kinshasa   Cairo
MF69 0xD0 ? MF59, MF70 Kathmandu
MF70 ? ?   MF69
MF71 ? ?   Madrid
MF76 0x64 Luanda   Cairo
North America MF79 0xD8 Havana Caracas Madrid
South America MF86 0xDF Caracas   Havana
Asia MF91 0xCF Kuwait City   Damascus
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