TECH

UVB-76: What Is This Russian Number Station Really Saying?

02/01/2015 11:49 GMT | Updated 02/01/2015 12:59 GMT

If you were planning on leading a more explicable life in 2015, look away now.

The Daily Mail has published a fresh new account of UVB-76, a mysterious Russian transmitter which has apparently pumped out meaningless noise interspersed with coded, maybe-military messages since at least 1982.

Known as 'The Buzzer', the transmitter is so strange that it almost appears constructed specifically to annoy conspiracy theorists.

But despite dozens of 'theories', no one has ever managed to prove what the Buzzer is, and what it's actually doing. In fact, no one even knows if the name UVB-76 is correct, since (quite hilariously) conspiracy theorists think they may have misheard a 'Z' as a 'V'. The former location of the transmitter is known, but not its current whereabouts.

We recommend you read the full account over at the Mail, which includes interviews with those who listen obsessively to the tower and attempt to find its location.

(That said, the mystery is well known - and has even been the subject of academic papers...)

Here are some of the best nuggets from the piece.

  • The Buzzer literally buzzes for less than a second, 25 times every minute
  • It has done this for 33 years, more or less uninteruppted save for occasional shifts in tone
  • You can listen live right now on the internet
  • One of the most recent messages read out over the network comprised: "'T-E-R-R-A-K-O-T-A. Mikhail Dimitri Zhenya Boris [MDZhB, the callsign of the station]. Mikhail Dmitri Zhenya Boris. 81 26 T-E-R-R-A-K-O-T-A.'"
  • November 2014 saw 28 messages read out on the network

Head over to the Mail for the full story, or just listen in. Who knows, you might end up cracking the code.*

*You won't.