Spy Numbers in the Movies – the one Wikipedia forgot

Posted on April 10, 2014


My article on Spy Numbers stations in the January issue of Radio World Magazine has already been added to the “Further Reading” section of the Wikipedia article on the topic.

The Wikipedia article also contains a section which lists the places where numbers stations have been referenced in mass media. But they are missing one:

Toy Soldiers.

This 1991 TriStar Pictures movie staring Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Andrew Divoff, Mason Adams and Denholm Elliott is set in a private school for privileged boys. The school is taken over by terrorist-drug-cartel-types who want to use the student population as leverage to get the head terrorist’s father out of an American jail.


It’s Die Hard goes to boarding school, but it’s an excellent movie and one of the best parts occurs when the head terrorist/kidnapper receives a coded message via shortwave, using numbers, to relay information on how his father is faring in prison.

The station they use is nice – a Kenwood TS-940S tuned to 3.619.33 MHz with an SM-220 station monitor and an MC-60 microphone.


Though the the terrorists seem to be set up for two-way communication, they are only ever seen using handheld transceivers as they coordinate their counter-attacks against the advances of law enforcement.


But in this movie – even though they have really awesome radio gear to play with – these terrorists underestimate the resourcefulness of the precocious American youths they’ve kidnapped. And, while the terrorists win a few battles, it’s the “Toy Soldiers” in this film who win the war.

Here’s and audio clip of the numbers: