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