|Name||The Pip, Капля, 8C1Щ, ЙВБ1|
|Frequencies||3756 + 3771 (nighttime); 5448 + 6913, 6922, 7056 or 7126 (daytime)|
|Voice||Male and female, live|
|Emission mode||USB + carrier|
Rostov-on-Don, Russia; 47°17'58"N 39°40'25"E (72nd Communication Hub, callsign: Акация)
"The Pip", known among Russian listeners as "Капля" (Kaplya; English: Drop), is a Russian military commandment network serving the Southern Military District. It broadcasts on 5448 kHz during daytime, changing to 3756 kHz for nighttime.
While no other traffic is being sent, the station emits its signature channel marker. The traffic consists mainly of the following types of messages:
- Routine propagation checks, almost always addressed to ten units at a time (there have been instances of 9 or 11), identified by four character callsigns. Example: "Для 4РВЗ, 3ВСЬ, ДКЙ1, ЖД9В, 42БВ, 81БР, М7КС, ПМВ5, ЛЬГЙ, КЗИЬ, как слышно, как слышно? Приём" (Dlya [...] kak slyshno, kak slyshno? Priyom; English: For [...] how do you hear me, how do you hear me? Over). On most days there is a "dlya" style message between 18:00 MSK and 19:00 MSK.
- "Monolith" type messages addressed to either the collective callsign ЙВБ1 (JVB1) or, less commonly, to the individual units. The previous collective callsign 8C1Щ (8S1Shch) was in use for over 10 years, finally being changed at the beginning of 2021.
The Pip usually multicasts traffic, without the channel marker, on either 6913, 6922, or 7056 kHz during daytime with 7126 kHz being observed as of December 2019, and on 3371 kHz during nighttime. Some of these frequencies also carry exclusive traffic. On 7056 kHz, the callsign of The Pip's hub was revealed to be "Диск-05" (Disk-05). 6922 kHz sometimes leaks conversations from within the radio room via an open microphone, as per the below example.
Further to the above, Pip's hub callsign is now "Меза-07" (Meza-07) as of at least November 2019, confirmed on 6922 kHz.
As of at least June 2021 the hub callsign is "Нора-67" (Nora-67).
The frequency switch-over times depend on the season and can even vary by 5 - 30 minutes in a given season. All times are given in Moscow Time (MSK, UTC+3).
|3756 → 5448||08:30||07:30||06:00||07:30||08:30|
|5448 → 3756||17:00||19:00||20:30||19:30||17:00|
As of 2020, The Pip broadcasts messages to the following 66 callsigns:
12ЦИ, 27ЩЬ, 37ЦН, 3ВСЬ, 42БВ, 49ФТ, 4РВЗ, 53ОБ, 5ФСЩ, 5Й7Щ, 61ХЖ, 6И2Ж, 78МВ, 79АЙ, 7ВНЩ, 81БР, 8МУО, 8ЦЩЙ, 9ГСА, А3ПС, АГДТ, БО6Ц, В2MЗ, ВКЫ1, ВТХ3, ВЬЗЬ, ДЕАЫ, ДКЙ1, ДМЦ3, Ж7НЖ, ЖД9В, ЖСК4, ЖБЗУ, З7ПМ, ЗБИЛ, ЗЬ1Б, ЙХЬЙ, КЗИЬ, Л7О5, ЛИ27, ЛЬГЙ, М7КС, МУДР, Н1ДУ, НЛЦЕ, ОСОГ, ПМВ5, С7ЖГ, СБ7З, TЗЛM, TУЗР, ТЩЩС, Ф56Щ, Ф61Н, ФЫ5Е, ХЗ5Т, ХЦЛФ, Ц2ЗА, ЦИ9В, ЦИХС, ЩГЙП, ЩТ3О, Ы8ВМ, ЫМА5, ЬО6П, ЬУ1Б
Callsign А3ПС ceased to be included in reception checks in 2013, returning to service on September 16th 2020 - the first known instance of a defunct callsign returning to service.
Pip/Squeaky Wheel connection
We have known Pip and Squeaky Wheel to be associated with each other for several years now owing to several factors. When a "monolith" is transmitted by Pip with the callsign JVB1 (ЙВБ1) there is always a following "monolith" message transmitted by Squeaky Wheel with the callsign Альфа-45 (Al'fa-45) between 2 and 10 minutes afterwards, albeit with different message content. This, however, is usually not the case when Pip transmits a message with multiple header groups and only one codeword - in this case Squeaky Wheel will not typically transmit a follow-up message.
There have been instances of transmission from Squeaky Wheel with clearly audible Pip channel marker in the background having been picked up by the operator's microphone such as the below example. This demonstrates a direct connection in that the Squeaky Wheel operator is clearly monitoring the Pip. As can be deduced from the complete lack of follow-on message from Pip after a Squeaky Wheel transmission and also having never observed Squeaky Wheel channel marker bleeding into Pip transmissions, it seems that Pip does not need to monitor Squeaky Wheel.
Finally, as a "smoking gun", we have observed transmissions from both stations directed to the same unit(s) - callsign ПМВ5 (PMV5) is a good example of this as it is regularly asked to confirm reception with Pip in standard "dlya" messages and in April 2017 received a monolith transmission alongside two other callsigns transmitted from Squeaky Wheel.
On May 9th 2019 Squeaky Wheel accidentally began reading a message transmitted from Pip several minutes prior before the operator corrected herself and continued with the appropriate/correct message, definitively proving that Squeaky Wheel indeed copies transmissions from Pip.
- One of the station's operator places at the 72nd Communication Hub ("Акация")
- Circuit diagram of an actual Pip channel marker device (it is unknown whether it is still being used)