Freaky Friday – UVB-76

Buzzer by Matthew H on Flickr. He granted use of the photo under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

Buzzer by Matthew H on Flickr. He granted use of the photo under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

UVB-76 is an old call sign for a Russian station at 4625kHz known as The Buzzer. It’s been in operation at least since 1973. It has pretty much been continuous for over 40 years with occasional breakdowns and short outages. It buzzes about 25 buzzes per minute but the rate has varied over time. Occasionally it is interrupted by a heavily accented Russian voice reading common first names, Russian phonetic alphabet, and numbers. Many believe it is a peculiar type of numbers station.  But why the constant buzzing?  Do the shifts in tone and frequency have meaning? Despite the fall of the Soviet Union it continues. Who are the messages for? What do they mean?   Is it an apocalypse dead man switch to nukes?

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