One of the least examined aspects of Peoples Temple’s history was its relationship with the Federal Commiunications Commission (FCC). The relationship was also an important one: Jonestown’s only medium of direct and immediate communication with the outside world was through its HAM amateur radio; the Concerned Relatives oppositional group knew of the Temple’s use of its HAM radio – and of its misuses as well, such as conducting Temple business on its bandwidths – and alerted the FCC of the violations; and HAM operators around the US started reporting their own experiences with communications from Jonestown. With all these considerations in mind, history student and HAM operator Josef Dieckman launched a website to document all aspects of Jonestown radio. The site was active for several years in the first decade of the 2000s before going offline. This website has restored as much of the site as has been possible to do, and has archived it below.
Some of the links within these articles are no longer operational and have been disabled.
|By Fielding McGehee III
Reprinted here with permission
|Temple Radio Code|
|Ed. note: Peoples Temple used coded messages in shortwave broadcasts between Jonestown, Georgetown and San Francisco, in part to circumvent FCC regulations on conducting business over amateur airwaves. In the first section of codes, for example, Peoples Temple cloaked its legal discussions, which were not permitted under its HAM radio license, with references to medical procedures.
To ensure that different radio operators understood each other, the Temple created a code book of aliases and cryptic phrases, the contents of which are published below.
Although the book is undated, the "Us" and "Them" listings includes Debby Layton among the Temple antagonists, and Terri Buford among the loyalists. This means the book was compiled sometime between May 1978, when Debby defected, and October, when Terri left Jonestown.
|The Code Book|
|Letter from Jeannie Mills about radio code names|
There are several sections to the code book, and several styles of type, suggesting more than one compiler. One result of this compilation by multiple users is some of the categories are alphabetized only by first letter, and some not at all. The reverse dictionary aspect of the book, the listing of the people for whom there are codes, is also alphabetized only by first letter. If you wish to locate the code name for a specific individual, we recommend you use your "Find" function for that person.
Following the main code book are several supplemental sheets of codes also located in Temple files now housed at the California Historical Society.
Following all code sheets is an alphabetical listing of the people named in the book, along with whatever identifications we have of them.
The code book was recovered in the Jonestown community following the mass deaths and released under the Freedom of Information Act. The copies of these lists were furnished by the California Historical Society.
We have tried to make the entries internally consistent, correcting misspellings and punctuation errors, noting abbreviations, and cross-referencing codes wherever possible. For copies of the original pages of the code book, contact:
The FCC Tapes
Temple Radio Code
The FCC Investigation
My Articles FCC Documents Ham Recollections Jonestown Logbooks
What I am Working On Temple Call Signs Comments Page
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