Y-STATIONS were British signals intelligence collection sites
established during the First World War and used again during the
Second World War . The sites were operated by a range of agencies
including the Army , Navy and RAF plus the
Foreign Office (
MI6 and MI5
General Post Office and
Marconi Company receiving stations ashore
* 1 Background
Direction finding Y stations
* 3 Y station sites in Britain
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 Bibliography
* 7 External links
The "Y" stations tended to be of two types, for intercepting of the
signals and for identifying where they were coming from. Sometimes
both functions were operated at the same site, with the direction
finding (D/F) hut being a few hundred metres from the main
interception building, because of the need to minimise interference.
The sites collected radio traffic which was then either analysed
locally or if encrypted , passed for processing initially to Admiralty
Room 40 in
London and during
World War II
World War II to the Government Code and
Cypher School at
Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Arkley View
In the Second World War a large house called "Arkley View" on the
outskirts of Barnet (now part of the
London Borough of Barnet ) acted
as a data collection centre, where traffic was collated and passed to
Bletchley Park and it also acted as a Y station. Many amateur radio
(ham) operators supported the work of the Y stations, being enrolled
as "Voluntary Interceptors". Much of the traffic intercepted by the Y
stations was recorded by hand and sent to Bletchley by motorcycle
couriers and later by teleprinter , over post office land lines . The
name derived from Wireless Interception (WI). The term was also used
for similar stations attached to the India outpost of the Intelligence
Wireless Experimental Centre (WEC) outside
DIRECTION FINDING Y STATIONS
Lydd HF Direction Finding Station 1945 Captain Louis Varney G5RV
2nd from left
Specially constructed Y stations undertook direction finding on
wireless transmissions. This became particularly important in the
Battle of the Atlantic where locating
U-boats was vital. Admiral
Dönitz told his commanders that they could not be located if they
limited their wireless transmissions to under 30 seconds but skilled
D/F operators were able to locate the origin of their signals in as
few as six seconds.
The design of land-based D/F stations preferred by the Allies in
World War II
World War II was the U-Adcock system , which consisted of a small,
central operators' hut that was surrounded by four 10-metre-high (33
ft) vertical aerial poles, usually placed at the four compass points .
Aerial feeders ran underground and came up in the centre of the hut
and were connected to a direction finding goniometer and a wireless
receiver, that allowed the bearing of the signal source to be
measured. In the UK some operators were located in an underground
metal tank. These stations were usually in remote places, often in the
middle of farmers' fields. Traces of
World War II
World War II D/F stations can be
seen as circles in the fields surrounding the village of
Y STATION SITES IN BRITAIN
National HRO communication receiver was extensively used by
the RSS ">
Y-stations in World War I
* ^ Pidgeon, Geoffrey (2003). "15. Box 25 - The RSS and Hanslope".
The Secret Wireless War: The Story of
MI6 Communications 1939–1945.
UPSO. pp. 103–118. ISBN 1-84375-252-2 .
OCLC 56715513 .
* ^ R.B. Sturtevant, AD7IL (December 2013). "The Secret Listeners
of 'Box 25, Barnet'".
Popular Communications . CQ Communications, Inc.
32 (4): 22–26. ISSN 0733-3315 .
* ^ Nicholls, J., (2000) England Needs You: The Story of Beaumanor
World War II
World War II Cheam, published by Joan Nicholls
* ^ McKay, S. (2012). The Secret Listeners. Aurum Press. ISBN 978 1
78131 079 3 .
* ^ The operators huts can still be seen in the centre of the
* ^ "The National Archives – Piece details HW 50/82". Retrieved
* ^ "Brora Intercept Y Station Operations Building". Royal
Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
Retrieved 13 December 2014.
* ^ "
Gilnahirk Y Station". Retrieved 2015-07-22.
* ^ "Hawklaw Intercept Y Listening Station". Buildings at Risk
Register for Scotland. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
* ^ "
HMS Forest Moor is Decommissioned".
Navy News . 17 November
2003. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 12 May
* ^ Fry, Helen (2007). The King\'s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens: Germans
Who Fought for Britain in the Second World War: Sidney Goldburg.
History Press. ISB