World Mysteries 101: The Ghostly, Strange UVB-76 Radio Station

UVB-76 Russia Radio Station Mystery

(When searching for UVB-76, it is alleged that this is one of the secret radio station emitting a strange buzzing tone to the secret listeners. Image source: Slavorum)

We all love a good mystery (especially if it is paranormal related) and I noticed this mentioned in one of the top 5 strange things happening around the world. Just what is the purpose of the radio station and what is the meaning of the tone send out.

Some Background

Frankly speaking, no one can confirm the origin of the secret radio station but in general, it is agreed that it is Russian based and belongs to the military.

UVB-76, also known by the nickname “The Buzzer”, is a shortwave radio station that broadcasts on the frequencies 4625 and 4810 kHz.

It broadcasts a short, monotonous buzz tone, repeating at a rate of approximately 25 tones per minute, 24 hours per day.

Sometimes, the buzzer signal is interrupted and a voice transmission in Russian takes place. The first reports of a station on this frequency were made in 1973.

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Another take on this station would be this interesting article that appeared in BBC Future:-

It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.

Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz.

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Speculations on the purpose

Why would someone be transmitting a meaningless tone over and over again for years? There have been a number of speculations.

It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to.

The frequency is thought to belong to the Russian military, though they’ve never actually admitted this. It first began broadcasting at the close of the Cold War, when communism was in decline. Today it’s transmitted from two locations – the St Petersburg site and a location near Moscow. Bizarrely, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, rather than shutting down, the station’s activity sharply increased.

There’s no shortage of theories to explain what the Buzzer might be for – ranging from keeping in touch with submarines to communing with aliens. One such idea is that it’s acting as a “Dead Hand” signal; in the event, Russia is hit by a nuclear attack, the drone will stop and automatically trigger retaliation. No questions asked just total nuclear obliteration on both sides.

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Weird Voice Messages

Then in between the meaningless tone, there seems to be a series of coded voice messages:-

Voice messages from UVB-76 are very rare. Only three such messages have been intercepted in its 20-plus-year history:

At 21:58 GMT on December 24, 1997, the buzzing abruptly stopped to be replaced by a short series of beeps, and a male voice speaking Russian announced: “Ya — UVB-76. 18008. BROMAL: Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 742, 799, 14.” The same message was repeated several times before the beep sequence repeated and the buzzer resumed.

A similar voice message was broadcast on September 12, 2002, but with extreme distortion (possibly as a result of the source being too close to the microphone head) that rendered comprehension very difficult. This second voice broadcast has been partially translated as “UVB-76, UVB-76. 62691 Izafet 3693 8270.”

A third voice message was broadcast on February 21, 2006 at 7:57 GMT. Again, the speaking voice was highly distorted, but the message’s content translates as: “75-59-75-59. 39-52-53-58. 5-5-2-5. Konstantin-1-9-0-9-0-8-9-8-Tatiana-Oksana-Anna-Elena-Pavel-Schuka. Konstantin 8-4. 9-7-5-5-9-Tatiana. Anna Larisa Uliyana-9-4-1-4-3-4-8.” These names are found in some Russian spelling alphabets, similar to the NATO phonetic alphabet

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And these series of coded messages have continued even in 2020 where there is a global pandemic in place:-

On August 21, 2020, a very long message with 16 callsigns was heard at 17:25 UTC

‘M4T 5PTsB LNTM ZhD9S MSZh7 28YA YeDGShch 7U8T KhIZhJ OMP4 58Shch1 53AJ AMVS 34ShchK V’TD YeIYJ 69 536 32 000 24 664 75 363 81 077 90 617 42 765 89 276 80 984 65 798 07 393 98 234 13 379 16 021 27 767 66 461 68 580 GNYeTOTOR 73 21 86 73; ‘M4T 5PTsB LNTM ZhD9S MSZh7 28YA YeDGShch 7U8T KhIZhJ OMP4 58Shch1 53AJ AMVS 34ShchK V’TD YeIYJ 69 536 32 000 24 664 75 363 81 077 90 617 42 765 89 276 80 984 65 798 07 393 98 234 13 379 16 021 27 767 66 461 68 580 GNYeTOTOR 73 21 86 73.

On August 24, 2020, one message was heard at 16:28 UTC

ANVF ANVF 217O 217O 83 466 95 436 KUMOZhBAN 64 79 23 75;
ANVF ANVF 217O 217O 83 466 95 436 KUMOZhBAN 64 79 23 75.

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Final Thoughts

One has to accept that there will be other secret radio stations similar to UVB-76 that are on the other side of the spectrum of the Cold War. One would have watched a number of conspiracy, a secret agent like movies in the past and in reality some of it is not far from the truth.

Who knows what is embedded in what seems like boring, meaningless repeated tones – I recall watching an episode in the Star Trek The Next Generations where Counselor Troi embeds a secret message in other standard messages. There was another episode where Captain Picard did the same.

The more interesting would be the voice messages with it’s encrypted, coded messages. This reminded me of the Nazi’s Enigma Machine which would not have made any sense to others but to the actual sender and receiver. Since it is related to the military, it is unlikely it will be revealed to the world but it does give other the challenge of trying to decipher the code.

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