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UVB-76 Russian Buzzer article in Wired

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OCO

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The latest issue of Wired has a long article about the Russian Buzzer (UVB-76) and it's followers (20 years of listening to 24x7 of what sounds like my neighbor's electric fencer when the weeds get too tall). The linked website is just a preview, but there's plenty of info just by Googling "Russian Buzzer" . I listened to one of the streaming feeds for about two minutes - started to fall asleep:wink:
 

SCPD

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Thank for both links. Very interesting. I have only caught uvb76 1 or 2 time here in Queens NYC. I do check it a much as i can but have not heard it in about 7 months.
 

Token

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The Buzzer, also called S28, UVB-76, or UZB-76, or a few other names, is an “oddity”. It has been operational in one form or another since 1982 (the tone or buzz has gone through a few changes over the years). But the articles that have been done on the Buzzer have all taken specific approaches to the story and each kind of slants it their own way.

Yeah, the buzz is annoying and not very interesting in itself. I mean, once you get over the initial questions of “why” and “who”, questions you will likely never know the answers too.

Basic annoying buzzer here, for people who might not have heard it before: Numbers Station, Russian, S28 (UVB-76 or Buzzer), June 04, 2011, 2225 UTC, 4625 kHz USB + Carrier - YouTube

As for listening 20 years 24x7, that really has not happened on any noticeable scale. For the past 29 years most listeners who have bothered with the Buzzer have occasionally tuned in and pretty much confirmed, yep, still going, and moved on to something else. This is an important thing to remember. Then in 1997 (Christmas Eve) a voice message was heard on the Buzzer. And again in 2000 (Christmas Eve), 2002, and 2003. But 2002 and 2003 were part of the same flurry of activity, in December of 2002 a voice message was noticed and then several were reported over the next 3 months until about March of 2003.

There are several possible explanations for this activity and the surges in it. The following is my opinion, and I would have trouble proving it, but it fits with what I noticed in the hobby at the time and from talking with various people about the issue.

Personally, I believe that there were many more messages sent, but until someone stumbled on the first one no one really paid attention to the boring Buzzer long enough to hear them. The flurry of activity in late 2002/early 2003 corresponded with a few dedicated listeners spending time on the station for the first time, and the activity “faded” when those listeners moved on to other things. And after that the Buzzer received minimal attention from the hobbyist community for a number of years.

When the Internet really became a going thing, I mean common, and oddities like the buzzer got mentioned they sometimes grew in the telling. What was this odd Buzzing thing? Did it really control Russia’s Nuclear Arsenal as a sort of Dead Mans Switch? This last possibility was really a driver when the Buzzer went off the air in June of 2010. Many people on the Internet claimed (incorrectly) “in 28 years it has never stopped!” And further, since it was associated with nuclear arms (very, very, improbable) this must be an Earth shaking issue. Google Russian Buzzer Stopped to see some of the “out there” post on it. Even today in the #wunclub, #monitor, (both on StarChat) and the #priyom (on FreeNode) IRC channels occasionally someone, generally without a radio receiver who heard a rumor on the Net, will stop by and exclaim “I heard the Russian Buzzer stopped!”

This surge in interest did, however, have another affect. It actually got a few hobbyist back into paying attention to the Buzzer. And they found that messages were seemingly more common than had been previously noted or believed. The Internet allowed other things to happen, such as dedicated remote receivers that did, for the first time, actually monitor the Buzzer 24x7. This found even more messages. And this also led to more rumors of “the Buzzer stopped!” by users who do not understand that Net based audio sometimes glitches or pauses.

Today it is not unheard of for the Buzzer to send 5 to 8 voice messages in a single day, as many messages in a single day as had been heard for the entire first 20 years of operation. Is the station indeed sending more messages? Or is this seemingly increased activity a result of people paying more attention to the station?

Examples of recent Buzzer voice messages here:
Numbers Station, Russian, S28 "Buzzer" voice, August 22, 2011, 1350 UTC, 4625 kHz USB +Carrier - YouTube
Numbers Station, Russian, S28 "Buzzer" voice, October 08, 2011, 1330 UTC, 4625 kHz USB +Carrier - YouTube

Perception can be driven by data distribution. For example I have seen it suggested a couple of times on the Internet and by at least one media source (who contacted me for information) that the Vietnamese numbers station now known as V30 was aimed at sending messages to California. When I investigated why people might think that it turns out I was causing it myself. Since I was essentially at that time the only English language listener regularly reporting hearing the station there was an assumption in the English reading community that I must be in the target area. The fact is, and probably what skewed the perception, I was possibly the only English language listener willing to dedicate a receiver to recording every single transmission of the station, to better these receptions I built a Rhombic antenna pointed at the region, and I published the reception results.

So yeah, the Buzzer is not the most engaging thing to listen to, and I rarely listen to it myself, just every once in a while I tune in and say to myself “yep, it is still there”. But, the mystery around it is kind of cool. And you have to admit, a station that transmits for 29+ years pretty much non-stop with no strong explanation of why is kind of intriguing.

T!
 

E-Man

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I find this stuff of most intrerest, in fact I find it more interesting than whats in the MT and other monthlys. I am thankful for those that provide this info. Happy Turkey Day!
 

k9rzz

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The latest issue of Wired has a long article about the Russian Buzzer (UVB-76) and it's followers (20 years of listening to 24x7 of what sounds like my neighbor's electric fencer when the weeds get too tall). The linked website is just a preview, but there's plenty of info just by Googling "Russian Buzzer" . I listened to one of the streaming feeds for about two minutes - started to fall asleep:wink:
+1

I don't appreciate being force fed.
 

Token

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I stopped after 'also'.
+1

I don't appreciate being force fed.
Since none of the post in this thread prior to your response contain the word “also” except mine, and you were the first to post 34 minutes after me, I must assume your response is aimed at my post.

If you honestly stopped after “also” instead of actually reading and absorbing the information then how can you be sure it does not contain information that will not be found in a quick Google search?

As near as I can tell no one has force fed you or anyone anything. You were either telling the truth and stopped reading after “also”, thus not force fed, or you were not telling the truth and voluntarily read on, voluntarily continuing something is generally not considered being force fed. Since you felt strongly enough about the information contained to make two post that contributed nothing to the thread when the easiest, and quickest, response would have been to hit the back button, a thinking person cannot help but assume the later, you actually did read on after “also”. And the information contained must have intrigued you enough to cause you to return to the thread a second time, a thread you apparently publicly abhor but still feel the need to revisit. I have already made a bet about if you will return to this thread yet again, but either way, come back and participate or not return, it is a win-win for me.

To the OP, please accept my apology for the unintentional hijack my on-topic post seems to have caused. The Internet is an interesting place, kind of a village or small hamlet really, despite its immense size, with its mixture of personas.

T!
 

OCO

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Token:
I like to read.... I enjoyed your posts. I wish I could share the entire article from Wired - I would recommend it, as the author actually went to one of the Russian Buzzer sites. If you've got access at a library, it's worth looking up..
 

Token

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Can anyone confirm that 4.625kHz is still active, I haven't been hearing anything for few months now..

Thanks
Yes, the Buzzer, Enigma station S28, is still active on 4625 kHz, I hear it buzzing away as I type this. What radio and antenna are you using to receive the Buzzer? Do you normally hear it at your location?

T!
 

OK2BCK

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Yes, the Buzzer, Enigma station S28, is still active on 4625 kHz, I hear it buzzing away as I type this. What radio and antenna are you using to receive the Buzzer? Do you normally hear it at your location?

T!
Hi Token

I have been able to hear the buzzer since early 2012 (if I remember this right) when I installed active antenna for my AOR. I've been using it to wake me up in the morning to go to work, (one of nice features on AOR receivers) but suddenly maybe 2-3 months back it disappeared. And I haven't heard it since.

I didn't notice any difference in the active antenna performance.

Because I was able to hear the buzzer consistently for few months, perhaps something changed on the transmitter side (power/antenna configuration...) if you say it is still on. I'm not sure if it could be just a coincidence with the propagation? Would you be able to tell if the buzzer used to be stronger from where you are?

[sorry about the typo: 4.625MHz]
 

Token

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Hi Token

I have been able to hear the buzzer since early 2012 (if I remember this right) when I installed active antenna for my AOR. I've been using it to wake me up in the morning to go to work, (one of nice features on AOR receivers) but suddenly maybe 2-3 months back it disappeared. And I haven't heard it since.

I didn't notice any difference in the active antenna performance.

Because I was able to hear the buzzer consistently for few months, perhaps something changed on the transmitter side (power/antenna configuration...) if you say it is still on. I'm not sure if it could be just a coincidence with the propagation? Would you be able to tell if the buzzer used to be stronger from where you are?

[sorry about the typo: 4.625MHz]
This is only one possible answer, but it kind of feels right.

The key here might be time of day and propagation. You say you use it to “wake up in the morning”. I assume your wake-up time has stayed roughly consistent over the time you have been trying to hear the Buzzer. However, sunrise, and its affect on propagation, has been happening earlier as you enter your Summer time (now actually shifting to later as you move towards Fall).

Your local sunrise today was at 0551 local (for Napier). 3 Months ago (call it October 1) it would have been at 0647 local, 6 months ago (call it July1) sunrise would have been at 0733 local. Propagation at the Buzzer frequency is going to shut down pretty rapidly after sunrise. If you are attempting to use the Buzzer as an alarm at say 0700 local (plus or minus a bit, later fits better) that might explain why you can no longer hear it at the time you are used to hearing it.

If this is the reason you are no longer hearing the Buzzer on wake up then give it a month or two, it should return to what you had before, minus cycle variations.

Besides local sunrise you also have to consider local sunset at the source. There may only be a couple months out of the year when a dark path exist to you from the source, and at this freq you definitely will need a dark path, or mostly dark, for those kinds of distances.

T!
 

OK2BCK

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This is only one possible answer, but it kind of feels right.

The key here might be time of day and propagation. You say you use it to “wake up in the morning”. I assume your wake-up time has stayed roughly consistent over the time you have been trying to hear the Buzzer. However, sunrise, and its affect on propagation, has been happening earlier as you enter your Summer time (now actually shifting to later as you move towards Fall).

Your local sunrise today was at 0551 local (for Napier). 3 Months ago (call it October 1) it would have been at 0647 local, 6 months ago (call it July1) sunrise would have been at 0733 local. Propagation at the Buzzer frequency is going to shut down pretty rapidly after sunrise. If you are attempting to use the Buzzer as an alarm at say 0700 local (plus or minus a bit, later fits better) that might explain why you can no longer hear it at the time you are used to hearing it.

If this is the reason you are no longer hearing the Buzzer on wake up then give it a month or two, it should return to what you had before, minus cycle variations.

Besides local sunrise you also have to consider local sunset at the source. There may only be a couple months out of the year when a dark path exist to you from the source, and at this freq you definitely will need a dark path, or mostly dark, for those kinds of distances.

T!
Thanks Token, it makes perfect sense. I have been tuning into the frequency few times now during the night but can't hear the buzzer.
I'm gonna keep an eye (ear) on it as times goes towards winter here.
 

Token

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Your best bet to hear it is going to be pre-dawn. Much earlier than that and the source site is not in darkness yet, and after your dawn we have already discussed what should happen. At your sunset the source is already in daylight I think, so that probably will not work for you.

T!
 

kb2hpw

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I heard it very well here tonight (19Jan2013, 0030 UTC) in the Albany area, upstate NY. Simple 80m wire dipole. Seems like it has gone silent as I type this however.
I find this type of thing fascinating. Appreciate your posts.
 
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