The Wireless-Set-No19 Group


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Recently I was given the privilege of visiting the offices of the GCSB (Govt. Communications Security Bureau). This came about from queries I made regarding New Zealand's use of the TypeX electro/mechanical coding machine. The GCSB keep one of every machine/cipher format ect they have used in the past.
The TypeXs' (all 10 of them, barring this one) were destroyed along with rotors and any spare parts under orders from HMNZ Govt. We met the chap responsible for their destruction;. he 'employed' local schoolboys too attack the machines with sledge hammers, then the remains were put back in their transit boxes...the boxes were filled with sand until each weighted not less than 300lbs....then they were taken on board an RNZAF aircraft and dropped into the ocean from 800ft. The weight was important so the boxes didn't hit the tail of the aircraft when dropped.

The GCSB, one boffin in particular, is keen to get their TypeX up and running. The biggest barrier is the lack of rotors so if anyone knows of a set of this rocking horse doo doo .....let me know and we can get another historical communications device restored!

Unfortunately, due to security, I was unable too take photographs of the machine but they did give me a CD with some images they took for me. I was impressed with the efforts these chaps went too and have included a selection of the images for those interested parties too peruse. On the groups image storage site.
As a 'value added' bonus they also had a WW2, 3 rotor, Enigma machine they bought out for us too view....a fascinating comparison...the TypeX being so unwieldy by comparison....but with obvious advantages.

A very interesting hour for myself and 2 compatriots. For the future GCSB hope too exhibit some of there 'treasures' in a more publicly accessible place, probably a new foyer.

Brent Bevan

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