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UVB-76. The secrets of the most mysterious radio station.


A mysterious radio signal at 4625 kHz frequency has been broadcasting to the entire world from the Leningrad region. It’s mostly just buzzing, but sometimes it’s a code. Anton Tsuman reports.


Remote woods to the north of St. Petersburg. A typical landscape for these places. It is from here that a mysterious radio signal – at the 4625 kHz frequency – has been broadcasting to the entire world. For thirty years it has been a focal point for radio experts – with its bizarre and sometimes terrifying messages.

UVB-76 is the name of the station, which was born in the times of the Iron Curtain. It was almost immediately branded as “buzzer”, “ghost radio” and “doomsday radio”. Over the years of its existence, it has had an own Wikipedia page and several fan clubs. Those meticulously collect recordings of the broadcasts and speculate as to what the mysterious and numbers mean.

There are different versions – from broadcasting top secret intel to codes of ballistic missile launch. We made an experienced radio expert Nikolay Sashenin listen to one of those broadcasts – and he immediately identified a code typical for the military.

Nikolay Sashenin, radio expert: “In the first case, we can hear whistling and a telegraph-like signal. In the second – we can hear a voice recording over the microphone. It transmits coded information. And there’s interference too – but not critical, you can hear the numbers pretty well.

Darkness, damp walls, rusty pipes. Digger Daniil Bardin takes us through the underground labyrinths of Krasnaya Gorka – where a military base was once located. After the fall of the USSR, the military have been gradually leaving these places, revealing a 19th century fort, an abandoned military town and army loot. There are dozens of such sites across the Leningrad region and stalkers say the most unexpected things can be found there

Daniil Bardin, digger: “There are many blocked pathways, for instance. Some times you stumble upon a brick wall – start dismantling it and see more pathways behind it. Or warehouses and radio rooms. Those were usually hidden as deep as possible, so it would be difficult to find those.

Its quite possible that someone from the military just forgot to deactivate a radio beacon. Because a similar broadcast was made from a similar military town – only in the Moscow region. And since 2010 it has moved to the north of St. Petersburg. Radio experts have managed to establish the coordinates thanks to a game they created years ago.

Anton Tsuman, reporter: “Sporting radio tracing or, in simple terms, “Fox hunting” became particularly popular after the Great Patriotic War. The essence is simple – establish the source of a radio signal with this device and do it quicker than a rival team”.

At first, we naively tried to find the source of the mysterious signal. But as professional radio tracer Alexander Fisenko explained to us, you would need a more powerful and often unavailable devices for that. But he has his own version of the mysterious radio station’s designation.

Alexander Fisenko, professional radio tracer: “You can say that the current system is a double to the existing radio systems. If official channels go down for some reason, this network of radio beacons would allow us to communicate with any place in the world”

Its quite possible that this station belongs to the “back-up” ones. But who could be its owner? We went to the “Krasin” ice-breaker for answers. Engineer Viktor Bogatyrev has been running the radio coms of the legendary ship for almost twenty years. And he assures us – despite the museum status, all of the exhibits are still capable of receiving transmissions.

Unfortunately, we were unable to hear the mysterious numbers in real time. Either the signal was too weak, or maybe the UVB-76 broadcasts went on a break. The experienced radio man showed us a document showing who could have possibly used the frequency, despite doubting its existence.

It turns out that the mysterious radio station is an everyday channel of communication for the military or the navy, a technical channel. But the legends surrounding the station will forever be part of “mysterious St. Petersburg”. In 21-st century terms, UVB-76 is a brand, which could be used as a basis for a horror movie or a video game. But even that would not answer the question – who sent out this signal and what for?