Coming from somewhere in Russia, a radio station has been baffling interested parties for decades. With its slightly changing, but constant broadcasts, the radio station UVB-76 has revealed very few, if any, of its secrets. Sure, its purpose may be as innocuous as a weather station, but the mystery surrounding it is irresistible.
What is UVB-76?
UVB-76 is named for the start of most of the voice transmissions, at least in its first few decades. More recently, each transmission has begun with the presumed designation MD2hB. This change corresponded with a change in the radio station’s rough transmission location. The location is definitely in Russia and was first traced to Povarovo. Now, it is transmitting somewhere near Lozhki.
The so-called UVB-76 is a radio station operating on the shortwave frequency 4625 kHz. The Russians call it “The Hummer” and others know it as “The Buzzer” because of the sound it currently makes, which started as a blip. It emits about 25 buzz tones per minute at a near-constant rate. Each buzz lasts for about 1.2 seconds with a space of 1 to 1.3 seconds in-between. The only interruptions come from a voice speaking Russian. These used to be infrequent, but have become more frequent in the past two decades.
UVB-76 has been transmitting since the late 70s or early 80s, but definitely since at least 1982. There have been some changes in the buzzing and transmissions, but the broadcast has been near-constant since its discovery with little to no indication of its purpose. This begs the question, why has no one come forward to claim ownership.
Voice Transmissions and Open Mic Interference
All of UVB-76’s voice transmissions seem to be in some sort of code that includes letters, numbers, and names. For example, the February 21, 2006 transmission went, “UVB-76, UVB-76. 75-59-75-59. 39-52-53-58.5-5-2-5. Konstantin-1-9-0-9-8-Tatiana-Oksana-Anna-Elena-Pavel-Schuka. Konstantin-8-4. 9-5-5-Tatiana. Anna Larissa Uliyana-9-4-1-4-3-4-8.”
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It is assumed that the buzzing on UVB-76 occurs over an open mic. Occasionally, voices, music and other sounds have been picked up in the background. An excerpt from “Dance of the Little Swans” was heard for 38 seconds on September 1, 2010. Phone conversations were heard off and on for about half an hour on November 11, 2010. These conversations picked up two instances of a person mentioning an officer on duty, which hints at a military purpose.
While there have been no concrete admissions of ownership or great evidence of its purpose, there have been some hints over the years. The former Lithuanian Minister of Communications and Informatics said that they transmit the voice messages to make sure the stations that receive the messages are paying attention. However, that does not explain the buzzing. Some have posited that the station is used for ionosphere research.
Perhaps the most plausible theory when it comes to this mysterious radio station, though it leaves much to be explained, is Russian military communications. The voice transmissions mentioning officers corroborate this. Furthermore, people claim to have found an abandoned military base near the first location, which contained paperwork showing a radio tower operated there on that frequency. However, this leaves you to wonder why they are saying nothing about the station if it is unimportant enough to leave paperwork laying around. If it is supposed to be secret, then why haven’t they covered up the transmissions better?
It is certainly odd that something as public as this radio station can still have so many secrets. Anyone can listen to it with the right equipment, but no one can find out who is using it. Everyone can potentially gain access to the voice transmission, yet no one knows what they mean. It is a great mystery that may lose its allure if the truth comes out and is mundane. For now, it remains a fascinating subject for conspiracy theorists and cold war history buffs.