“The Buzzer” speaks! (Voice transmission confirmed at UVB-76)

Wednesday, 25th August 2010 by

Regular readers may remember our post from 2009 about a Russian shortwave radio station, UVB-76, that has been emitting a short buzz tone on the AM frequency almost continuously since 1982. In the following 28 years the buzzing had only ever been interrupted on 3 occasions ... until 2 days ago.

On August 23rd 2010, for the first time in over four years, the tone was once more interrupted – to be replaced with a Russian voice that said:

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 - (repeated twice)

While it is believed that UVB-76 is a specialised Numbers Station (used to transmit encoded messages to spies) the messages themselves have never yet been decoded – although perhaps all that is about to change…

The names used in the message are used in some Russian spelling alphabets, and spell out the first word - "naimina", which one commenter at the UVB-76 blog translated as "on names". Another commenter suggests that "74 14 35 74" could be interpreted as longitude and latitude coordinates: 74.14N 35.74E.

So why would UVB-76 be broadcasting a geographical location in the middle of the Barents sea? How about a Russian anti-aircraft missile launch revealed on the same day:

The Russian Air Force is together with Air Defence units preparing a shooting exercise with the S-300 anti-Aircraft missile system from the island of Kildin in the Barents Sea.

Although, that all seems a bit ridiculously obvious, doesn't it? The Russians are well aware that there are people continually monitoring this broadcast - so why is it so easy to connect the broadcast with the activities of the Russian armed forces?

In the last 2 days, more voices transmissions have come from UVB-76, as well as grumbles, knocks, shuffles, beeps, and a completely new buzzing noise, that nearly drowned out the sound of the original buzzer altogether.

So what does it all mean? Is someone just checking the system still works, or is this the precursor to impending total annihilation?

There's lots more information about the mysterious UVB-76 at Wikipedia.

Thanks to uvb-76.blogspot.com via @rodti.