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Satellite photo of UVB-76 transmitter in Povarovo, Russia.

UVB-76 (sometimes referred to as UZB-76) is the call sign of a shortwave radio station that usually broadcasts on the frequency 4625 kHz (AM suppressed lower sideband). It is known among radio listeners by the nickname The Buzzer. It features a short, monotonous About this sound buzz tone , repeating at a rate of approximately 25 tones per minute, for 24 hours per day. The station has been observed since around 1982.[1][2] On rare occasions, the buzzer signal is interrupted and a voice transmission in Russian takes place. Despite much speculation, the actual purpose of this station remains unknown to the public.



[edit] Normal transmission

A spectrum for UVB-76 showing the suppressed lower sideband.

The station transmits a buzzing sound that lasts 0.8 seconds, pausing for 1–1.3 seconds, and repeating 21–34 times per minute.[1] One minute before the hour, the repeating tone is sometimes replaced by a continuous tone, which continues for one minute until the short repeating buzz resumes.[3] Between 07:00 and 07:50 GMT the station transmits using lower power, when transmitter maintenance apparently takes place.[4]

The Buzzer has apparently been broadcasting since at least 1982[1] as a repeating two-second pip, changing to a buzzer in early 1990.[5][6] It briefly changed to a higher tone of longer duration (approximately 20 tones per minute) on January 16, 2003, but it has since reverted to the previous tone pattern.

[edit] Malfunctions

Frequently, distant conversations and other background noises can be heard behind the buzzer; this suggests that the buzzing device is behind a live and constantly open microphone (rather than a recording or automated sound being fed through playback equipment) or that a microphone may have been turned on accidentally.[7] One such occasion was on November 3, 2001, when a conversation in Russian was heard:[1]"Я — 143. Не получаю генератор." "Идёт такая работа от аппаратной." ("I am 143. Not receiving the generator (oscillator)." "That stuff comes from hardware room.").[8]

[edit] Voice messages & other sounds

Voice messages from UVB-76 were very rare until a sudden spate of activity in August 2010.[9] They are usually given in Russian by a live, female voice and repeated.[10] Around 7[11] such messages have been intercepted in over twenty years of (non-continuous) observation. Some well known examples of such messages include:

The station has recently been spoofed by European pirate radio operators. Morse code transmissions on frequency addressed shortwave listeners by name with expletive-laced messages. It is impossible to determine which transmissions, if any, are originating from UVB-76 due to pirate interference.[18]

[edit] Location and function

The station's transmitter is located near Povarovo, Russia [19] at 56°4′58″N 37°5′22″E / 56.08278°N 37.08944°E / 56.08278; 37.08944 which is about halfway between Zelenograd and Solnechnogorsk and 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Moscow, near the village of Lozhki. The location and callsign were unknown until the first voice broadcast of 1997.[citation needed]

The purpose of UVB-76 has not been confirmed by government or broadcast officials. However the former Minister of Communications and Informatics of the Republic of Lithuania has written that the purpose of the voice messages is to confirm that operators at receiving stations are alert.[3][13][20]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e Boender, Ary (January 2002). "Oddities". ENIGMA 2000 Newsletter – Issue 8. http://www.cvni.net/radio/e2k/e2k008/e2k08odd.html. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  2. ^ "The UK’s leading mobile question and answer service passes 22 million answers", Response Source, March 22, 2010
  3. ^ a b c "Russian HF Beacons". Thirty-second edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter. 2000-12-24. http://www.cvni.net/radio/nsnl/nsnl032/nsnl32mx.html. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  4. ^ Michalski, Jan. "Radio Station "UVB-76"". Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20091027003813/geocities.com/uvb76/. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Morse Stations". Seventy-fifth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter. 2004-08-02. http://www.cvni.net/radio/nsnl/nsnl075/nsnl75ms.html. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  6. ^ Boender, Ary (1995). "Numbers & oddities: Column 1". World Utility News. http://www.cvni.net/radio/nsnl/nsnl000/nsnl0a.html. 
  7. ^ "Mysteriózní rádio už 30 let vysílá záhadný signál a teď i tajnou šifru", Technet.cz, August 27, 2010 (English)
  8. ^ "Sierra Papa India Echo Sierra", Forth, March 20, 2010
  9. ^ Newitz, Annalee, "They're broadcasting those Russian numbers again", ion9, August 27, 2010
  10. ^ "El misterio de las emisiones de radio secretas", ABC, August 26, 2010 (English)
  11. ^ http://googlesightseeing.com/2009/07/the-buzzer-uvb-76/
  12. ^ a b Michalski, Jan. "Радиостанция "УЗБ-76"" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2003-04-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20030414090619/http://www.geocities.com/uvb76/uvb76.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  13. ^ a b "Single Letter Markers". Posts from the SPOOKS and WUN listservers. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-11-25. http://web.archive.org/web/20071125051007/http://dxworld.com/markers.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  14. ^ "August 23, 2010 9:35AM PST Voice transmission confirmed". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBFA1p_-UAI. 
  15. ^ "UVB-76 wakes up, 4chan message warns of World War, New World Order", From The Old, August 25, 2010
  16. ^ Cutlack, Gary, "Mysterious Russian ‘Numbers Station’ Changes Broadcast After 20 Years", Gizmodo Australia, August 25, 2010
  17. ^ "Recorded transmission", UVB-76.com, August 25, 2010 1631 UTC.
  18. ^ Ary Boender: "Numbers & Oddities (the Spooks Newsletter)", Edition #155, August 2010 [1]
  19. ^ Geere, Duncan (August 2010). "Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes". WIRED.CO.UK. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-08/25/russian-numbers-station-broadcast-changes. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  20. ^ Pleikys, Rimantas (1998). Jamming. Vilnius Lithuania: Rimantas Pleikys. http://www.zilionis.com/jamming/jamminge.htm. 

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