Sunday, September 27, 2020

"The Key Messenger" and reconstruction of a secret WW2 radio station

Original building, Switzerland

Ludwig Combrinck ZS5CN has taken on quite an interesting project - dual projects, in fact.

First of all, he is in the process of writing a book about a secret radio station set in WW2-era Switzerland. The book will be fictional but with tidbits of actual events being the inspiration behind many of the scenarios.

The book "describes the activities (and excursions) of the operators of a small covert radio station active in Switzerland during and after WW2 as part of the activities of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and other allied agencies."

And "The story sketches alternative scenarios to many historical events."

As if writing the book weren't enough, Ludwig is building a replica station of his book's subject. According to Ludwig the original radio station was located near Luven Switzerland and was used to both relay traffic to the SOE in the UK and to spread disinformation to the Nazis by periodically posing as either Allied or Axis radio operators and sending bogus information.

Despite the fact that we know Switzerland to have been neutral during WW2, this neutrality was not

Replica station in South Africa

100% - during the Battle of France, German aircraft violated Swiss airspace at least 197 times. In several air incidents, the Swiss shot down 11 Luftwaffe aircraft between 10 May 1940 and 17 June 1940.

So it is entirely possible that such a station existed with Swiss consent. Regardless, it's a great launching point for a book that doesn't claim to be factual.

In the meantime, Ludwig makes frequent updates to his series of pages that describe his re-creation process and the status of its various aspects, including that of the building itself as well as the radio gear it contains. Interesting reading and a very unique project!

No word yet from Ludwig on when the book(s) may become available.




  1. Great website John, it has my interest. Now I have start reading. And hope the book(s) will be ready at some time. 73, Bas

    1. Hello Bas - he makes periodic updates to his website as the status progresses so hopefully the book will be completed eventually. I wonder if the idea of the book inspired him to build the station or if it was the other way around?
      73 - John

    2. From some text onm the site I conclude that he gathered some of the original after war equipment that belonged to the Luven station:

      "From what I could gather, the Mosley beam was built to receive WWV on 10 and 15 MHz, but the operators removed the trap coils and adjusted the element lengths to operate on 13.2 MHz. I can easily adjust this antenna to operate on the 20 m amateur band as it would be useless as it is. I suppose this was done on the instructions of some agency in the USA."

      It is intriguing. Is it fictional? Or did it really happen may be at another location? And how did the equipment get into the RSA... He seems to have loads of old and rare equipment like the Collins gold dust twins...

      73, Bas

    3. Yes, I have a lot of the same questions. At some points, I don't know where truth ends and fiction begins. Sort of like Covid-19 (there I go again)!
      73 - John

  2. Hi, the web address has changed to