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August 26, 2010


Creepy Russian UVB-76 Broadcast Changes After 20 Years

UVB-76 Satellite ImageThis may seem like a deviation from the normal topics I cover, but I’ve been quite intruigued by the recent news of an unusual broadcast from the Russian military UVB-76 numbers station. Numbers stations are radio broadcasts that transmit morse code, or computer-generated voices reading out a series of numbers or words. Their purpose is generally unknown but thought to be used to broadcast orders to military or spies. One rumor suggests it is involved in Russia’s Dead Hand (aka. Perimeter).

UVB-76, located in Povarovo, Russia (northwest of Moscow), is a shortwave radio transmission (4625 kHz – AM suppressed lower sideband) that has been transmitting short monotonous buzz tones since 1982. Voice messages from UVB-76 – also known as “The Buzzer” – have only occurred three confirmed times in the past 20 years, the last known instance being the 23rd of August 2010 (recording below). During this broadcast the buzz tones stopped, and were replaced by the Russian-language broadcast which translates to:

UVB-76, UVB-76 — 93 882 naimina 74 14 35 74 — 9 3 8 8 2 nikolai, anna, ivan, michail, ivan, nikolai, anna, 7, 4, 1, 4, 3, 5, 7, 4

Some believe the transmission referred to the coordinates 74.14N 35.74E, located in the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway and Russia, where Russia is planning on testing anti-aircraft missile systems.

There is also belief that the installation is simply used for ionosphere research, as a Russian science journal indicated research being performed on the same frequency. Although this wouldn’t explain the cryptic messages.

Live streams of UVB-76 are available here (AM feed, USB feed). Photos of the purported installation here. Some more archived info here.

Anyone have any other ideas? Conspiracy theories? In all likelihood, it may be nothing propulsed into the mainstream. It wouldn’t be the first time.

[Update 1/09/2010] Dedicated UVB-76 forums are now open – join in the discussion there.

[Update 2/09/2010] Follow regular UVB-76 activity updates here, and find out what’s currently happening.

[Update 10/09/2010] You can also join in on the live chat.

4625 kHz (AM suppressed lower sidebands)
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mara
    Dec 24 2010

    A colleague of mine, who is incidentally a former Russian military officer, has been telling me they had just forgotten to turn it off after the Cold War was over and that it is linked to the missile defence complex which goes allegedly 8 storeys down underground.

    Come to think of it, it is not all that far from where I am, but I would not venture out into that location in case what:))
    Mind also that some of the words in the transcribed broadcasts are indeed Russian words or names which may contain cryptic reference to something/somebody, while other words in the code are seemingly absolutely meaningless in any language.

  2. shaky1987
    May 23 2011

    @Mara, i highly doubt that this station, which has been broadcasting for more than 20 years was simply ‘left on’ over the cold war. This would’nt explain the constant staffing the station has had, plus the massive spike in transmission activity over the past year. It most likely is just a numbers station.

  3. Oct 5 2011

    It could be a propagation signal

  4. K
    Nov 5 2018

    It’s communication among Russia’s allies. In Vietnam, the Secret Service/Public Security building always has HF Antenna for this radio frequency.

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