The Haunting Transmissions of UVB-76

By on March 19, 2014 // Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries // 8 Comments

Image: Thomas Anderson via CC by 2.0
Image: Thomas Anderson via CC by 2.0

It would seem UVB-76 went active again last night.

Also known as The Buzzer, this shortwave radio station has existed since the late 1970s, usually broadcasting nothing more than a repeating buzz tone. But sometimes, like last night, that tone is interrupted, replaced with a mysterious voice transmission.

It broadcasts on the frequency 4625 kHz. No one really knows why. It’s thought to originate from somewhere in Russia, and you can listen to it online, if you want (here or here). Nothing too exciting at the moment, just those short, monotonous buzzes.

But last night, like I said, another voice came across the station.

Theories about what the broadcasts mean are innumerable. Are they secret messages transmitted to Russian spies? Maybe. It’s often called a “numbers station,” after all, and that’s their purpose. Or perhaps it’s just an innocuous radio station with some very eclectic programming.

The broadcast on September 1, 2010, for example, was interrupted by a short fragment of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Little Swans.” From Wikipedia:

“At 2225 UTC on September 1, 2010, the buzzer was interrupted by a 38-second fragment of “Dance of the Little Swans” from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake. Four days later on September 5 at 1230 UTC, a female voice was heard counting from one to nine in Russian; just over an hour later, at 1339 UTC, the buzzing silenced for a quiet male voice to read a voice message.”

Weird.

To listen to other recent UVB-76 voice transmissions, they’ve been logged over at Priyom.org. There’s definitely something creepy about those messages…

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About the Author

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.
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  • Brandon Ryan

    Any word on what this translates into?

    • Rob

      Not sure. One person left a comment on that video saying, “TERRAKOTA M.D.ZH.B M.D.ZH.B 81 26 TERRAKOTA, over.” Maybe that’s it. MDZhB is the name the station apparently switched to in 2010, but it’s still mostly known as UVB-76.

      From what I’ve read, these transmissions are usually just short strings of words and numbers and sometimes Russian names.

  • GirlParanormal

    I work in Radio, there should be a way to track where the transmission is coming from, has no one tried?

    • Rob

      People have definitely tried. UVB-76.net has a page where they show their attempt at finding it: http://uvb-76.net/p/triangulation.html

      I think I read that there’s something about the signal itself that makes it difficult to trace. It’s apparently moved locations at least once before, too, also in September 2010 (a lot of activity happened at that time, I guess).

    • GirlParanormal

      Does anyone own the station?

  • Strelnikov

    It’s owned by the Russian military, and the point of the station is to be a “frequency holder”; if something big were to happen, the transmitter would switch over to the radio traffic network of the Russian Army Western or Central Military District. Those infrequent spoken messages are just technicians doing sound checks to test the microphone.

  • D R A W K W A R D

    Radio transmissions are usually more or less on their own once sent out. This could be that it’s sent awhile back and now we just get it..

  • Twitan

    XD I was listening to the recording and all of a sudden Steven Universe starts on another tab so I was just like ‘what why is it broadcasting the- oohhhhh’