The Mystery of Radio Station UVB-76

I’m fascinated by the mysterious broadcasts made by numbers stations (you can read more about them here and here). They come and go, but UVB-76–also known as The Buzzer–has been operating for more than 40 years. All we hear is a buzzing sound that’s interrupted every few months (!!!) by a thickly-accented Russian voice reading out “U-V-B-76” and then a series of numbers and code words. Then the buzzing resumes. Listen.

So what is this?  The transmission seems to be coming from Povarovo which is a town near Moscow, although there’s evidence to suggest the transmitter has been moved to somewhere in western Russia.  Those who study numbers stations believe that this is a military station that sends coded messages to units across the Western Military District. Or it could be some kind of scientific research effort.  There’s even a theory that it’s a system designed to launch an automated nuclear counter-strike in case Russia is the target of an attack.   But until anyone cracks the code–which is unlikely–we’ll never know.

If you have a shortwave radio, you can pick up UVD-76 at 4625 kHz. If not, there are a number of live streams available.

(Via The Daily Mail)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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