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Author Topic: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes  (Read 17292 times)

Fansome

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Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« on: August 29, 2010, 0409 UTC »
Thanks to corq for referring this to me.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-08/25/russian-numbers-station-broadcast-changes

Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
By Duncan Geere 25 August 2010

The output of a mysterious radio station in Russia, which has been broadcasting the same monotonous signal almost continuously for 20 years, has suddenly changed.

Numbers stations are shortwave radio stations that broadcast computer-generated voices reading numbers, words, letters or Morse code. Their purpose has never been uncovered, but evidence from spy cases suggests that they're used to broadcast coded information to secret agents.

Over the past week or so, the output of one particular station that broadcasts from near Povarovo, Russia, increased dramatically. The station has a callsign of UVB-76, but is known as "The Buzzer" by its listeners because of the short, monotonous buzz tone that it normally plays 21 to 34 times per minute. It's only deviated from that signal three times previously -- briefly in 1997, 2002 and 2006.

In early August, a garbled recording of a voice speaking Russian was heard by listeners. A few days later, on 23 August at 13:35UTC, a clearer voice read out the following message twice: "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", before returning to its normal broadcasting.

Since then, a number of other distorted voices have appeared over the normal buzzing transmission, as well as knocks and shuffles, as if someone were moving things around inside the broadcasting room. It's believed that the transmission site has an open microphone, which occasionally picks up sounds from technicians working within the broadcast site.

Various fans of the station have begun the process of trying to decode the signal. Interpreting the numbers as co-ordinates gives a location in the middle of the Barents Sea, between Norway and Russia, where there's large scale oil and gas production, and where the Russian army plans to test anti-aircraft missiles in the near future.

Others suspect that it might be a transmission that signals the availability of another system -- like a dead man's switch, possibly even for Russia's Cold War-era Dead Hand fail-deadly system, which was to trigger ICBM launches if a nuclear strike from the United States was detected. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it may have been repurposed.

The transmissions continue, and are being documented on the Wikipedia page for the station. If you'd like to help, it's possible to listen in yourself, as one fan has rigged up a web stream of the signal. It's currently very busy, however, so if you have difficulty tuning in, then try again later.


Offline SW-J

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 0547 UTC »
Since then, a number of other distorted voices have appeared over the normal buzzing transmission, as well as knocks and shuffles, as if someone were moving things around inside the broadcasting room. It's believed that the transmission site has an open microphone, which occasionally picks up sounds from technicians working within the broadcast site.

Oh that's too good - a chance to hear some inside-ops stuff!

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Offline outhouse radio

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'Russian Buzz'
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 0553 UTC »
used to hang out with some Russians  they were BUZZERS too!!   they stayed BUZZED all the time  ;)  ;)
« Last Edit: August 29, 2010, 0600 UTC by outhouse radio »

cmradio

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 2143 UTC »
Ok.... not one mentions the frequency of this thing ???

Peace!

Offline L Cee

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« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 0102 UTC by L Cee »
L Cee
East Coast - USA

cmradio

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2010, 0408 UTC »
Thanks! :)

Fansome

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 2058 UTC »
More from the Spooks list:
 
Message: 1
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 13:49:32 -0400
From: Ryan Kirby <ryan.sdefect@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTi=KtUs8KOFcSXzv8QVMVX3NviFEKFPSHBa+H710@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
Listened between 0300 and 0800 eastern. Receiver Location Leuneberger,
Germany.  All that was observed was signal sweeping. Occasionally a 2
buzz transmitting would be heard (once every 15-30 minutes). Similar
sound to the typical buzzer, but the note was lower than normal.
Spacing was much closer together (much less than a second). As of
right now, nothing can be heard on 4.625mhz. This could be due to
ionic conditions or it is still down.
 
I am almost certain at this point that this is a scheduled outage for
upgrade or maintenance. Which leads me to believe the previous voice
message was informing whoever is listening to move onto a different
station for information.
 
This would be typical for military/clandestine ops. You would have a
predetermined B mode of communication. When A is not going to be
available they will tell you to switch to "frequency B" or
communication mode b. Anyone listening in has no idea what that
frequency is or what mode of communication you will be using, so it
doesn't compromise anyone in the field.
 
We did this with radio comm whenever we felt that comm was
compromised. We would announce a code which meant to switch to
secondary frequency and cease all comm on primary.
 
I would keep an eye on other Russian numbers stations (including Cuban
and middle eastern) to see if any broadcasts are slightly out of the
norm. This may indicate the buzzer coming back up. And if it does,
then we're on our way to breaking the code xD
 
Ryan
 

------------------------------
 
Message: 2
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:01:16 -0400
From: Ryan Kirby <ryan.sdefect@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTikGgBTtv4zTGcC0eJXXLL1sxOGC0q-wBbsT1R9f@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
UPDATE: 1357 eastern
 
The buzzer's carrier just came back up. Heard a voice broadcast that
lasted only a few seconds. I wasn't paying attention at the time so I
dont know if it was numbers, and propagation is poor.
However, there is STILL activity on the frequency. It's safe to say at
this point, over 12 hours after the normal transmission stopped, that
the buzzer isnt going to be offline for good.
 
I'm thinking its maintenance/upgrade.
 
Ryan
 
 
------------------------------
 
Message: 3
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:06:26 -0400
From: Ryan Kirby <ryan.sdefect@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTinVHwE5ZEQGH_tspadxiipKQGOY8QhpXpYkPhoZ@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
UPDATE: 1405 eastern.
 
TONS of activity:
Another voice message. NOT numbers.
The normal buzzer tx interrupted with clips of some type of flute
music or something.
 
Now's the time to be listening.
 
------------------------------
 
Message: 4
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:14:07 -0400
From: Michael Colonna <tunercar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTi=ugfK+0Yd57JoW30HjfXhzd99cmQxm6u5kD=7S@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
At around 18:10 Zulu I could hear someone counting from 1 to 10 over and
over in Russian.  I am listening through a remote receiver in Germany, and
the signal fades in and out somewhat.  There also appeared to be an alarm
going off for about 30 seconds that sounded like a goose.
 
Interesting times.
 

------------------------------
 
Message: 5
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:16:03 -0400
From: Ryan Kirby <ryan.sdefect@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTi=RS+gXHEAiKe+bUBT8JdOsbigzcv0fUtdV9CjE@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
UPDATE: 1411 eastern
Sorry for the spam of updates, but there is a LOT OF activity going on on.
NOW numbers!
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
 
Adin, Dva, Tree, Cheteeree, Pyat, Shest, syem, vosyem, deveht, nil
 
 
high pitched male or female synthesized voice.
I am managing to get recordings on my phone. I wasn't ready for this
so records aren't good quality
 
 

------------------------------
 
Message: 6
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:19:03 -0400
From: Ryan Kirby <ryan.sdefect@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTik=nCzOSOHUiwwqgeXZG6x4p6HY_sfKF6GYJxAi@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
Can confirm. Listening on same receiver.
Was goinging 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9 0
and is now going 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Then normal "buzzer"
then something that is either horible music or a Goose mating with a
dialup modem.
 
Records will be posted after activity dies down.
 

------------------------------
 
Message: 7
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:19:58 -0400
From: Michael Colonna <tunercar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTikO1vaSmQggKh1Fat4UtC_zvcxAX-iJoa2fm_nt@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
And now at 18:14 I just heard the old buzzer come back after the counting
ended.....and also some music in the background....and then a brief data
burst....now back to the counting, over and over, "adin, dva, tri, cheteriy,
pyat, shyest, cyem vocem, dyevat, dyesat," 1 -10 over and over.....then the
buzzer again.....some microphone feedback and then music.....the
buzzer.....over the course of the past 5 minutes it seems to keep switching
transmissions.
 
 
------------------------------
 
Message: 8
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 14:03:29 -0500
From: Gene Marlin <genemarlin@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTikrSn6YNunjW3RCv=QfB_myc+8FF9kTgtnMMhEO@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
If the transmitter is being worked on, those are probably test messages. Is
anyone making recordings?
 
 
 
------------------------------
 
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Visit http://www.spynumbers.com/ for complete information about Spy Numbers Stations
 
 
End of Spooks Digest, Vol 80, Issue 4
*************************************

Fansome

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 2101 UTC »
Message: 1
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2010 22:49:06 -0400
From: Alex Mclean <amclean17@gmail.com>
Subject: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to maintenance
   or   replacement
To: spooks@mailman.qth.net
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTi=jHL7NhP6BZ33Lucm+khw9WWVCqM973=mK9Jfx@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
This morning UVB-76 The Buzzer went off the air at about 4:00UTC
Instead is now being broadcast morse code question mark (. . - - . .)
over and over again, and sporadically the familiar buzzer re-appears.
 
Also strange is that it is also broadcasting a short clip of Dance of
the Little Swans from Swan Lake intermittently. This is confirmed to
be broadcast from UVB-76 and is not interference from another
broadcast.
 
Also heard has been activity over the microphone. I have personally
observed the sound of male voices speaking Russian and it sounds like
they are moving furniture. Anyone can recognize the sound of wooden
table legs sliding across a hard floor.
Other general activity has been monitored today.
 
It can be speculated that the station is undergoing maintenance or
replacement of some kind. It is apparent that there has been changes
made to the broadcast by a real person in the control room indicative
of testing and maintenance.
Why they're playing a clip from Swan Lake is anybody's guess, but it's
certainly a quaint style that is all but absent from numbers stations
today.
Honestly I think the last eccentrically styled numbers station was The
Swedish Rhapsody, which also became more bland in its later years of
usage.
 
 
You know I'm not sure if UVB-76 really qualifies as a numbers station
but it's certainly an abnormal station. Do inform me if discussion of
it doesn't really belong here.
 
Anyway that's the news. After a 28 year broadcast with no known
interruptions, The Buzzer is off the air and it cannot be certain
whether or not it will return.
 
Here is a link to a blog I have been reading about the subject, it's
very active right now:
http://uvb-76.blogspot.com/
 
 
------------------------------
 
Message: 2
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 02:43:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom H <swler007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID: <753567.75874.qm@web52901.mail.re2.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
 
Hi
 
The buzzer tones were about 1KHz off freq. Some reported hearing it being "tuned in" as well. I did manage to record the music and test tones. Give a listen. http://soundcloud.com/user2618956/uvbwmusic
 
Tom
 
 
 
-
------------------------------
 
Message: 3
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 08:38:54 -0500
From: Zack Widup <w9sz.zack@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Spooks] UVB-76 Buzzer experiencing outage due to
   maintenance   or replacement
To: Shortwave Spy Numbers Stations <spooks@mailman.qth.net>
Message-ID:
   <AANLkTi=ARuX1GzeLLF-pFoZRagrOqbOm2Tbt+=obppQq@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
 
I listened for it several times last night. All I heard here in Illinois was
some signal sweeping that frequency range, down to up, a couple times a
second.
 
Zack
 

Offline Tube Shortwave

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 1427 UTC »
The only thing I have ever heard on 4625 USB is that dang wideband sweep generator.

cmradio

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 2331 UTC »
The only thing I have ever heard on 4625 USB is that dang wideband sweep generator.

Yup, me too!

Being right on the coast, the CODAR easily hits 30+ when they scan the waters around Vancouver Isand. Even the continuous AK one makes listening annoying ::)

Peace!

Fansome

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2010, 0039 UTC »
I haven't tried listening myself, but there have been a bunch more posts on the Spooks list about this. Just to summarize, it seems that there are now people spoofing the Buzzer on that frequency; in fact, it's being referred to as the work of "the pirates", although I doubt that it's the same pirate crowd that's on 6925. Some of the Morse has actually had references to various people on the mailing list, so those transmissions are definitely hoaxes. As to some of the other stuff, music, counting, voices, and so on, the consensus is that it's probably not the Buzzer.

cmradio

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 1126 UTC »
Hmmm, Oak Bay Marina in Victoria, BC  has an assignment of 4621 KHz USB ... they wouldn't be too happy with spoofs in this neck of the woods.

Peace!

Offline Tube Shortwave

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2010, 1519 UTC »
That reminds me...  There is a CODAR installation in Bolinas that uses 11m.  Haven't tried to copy it here yet, but I imagine SWLs in Hawaii hear it well at times.

cmradio

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 1957 UTC »
11M?

They looking for shallow, fast moving tsunami waves over the open sea with that one I assume?

Peace!

Offline s52ab

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Re: Mysterious Russian 'Buzzer' radio broadcast changes
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2010, 2051 UTC »

 

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