The Buzzer

I know, I know. You already have plenty to worry about. And I hate to do this to you. But, as a professional “journalist,” it is my sworn duty to deliver content that gives people sleepless nights. So, I present to you, The Buzzer. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The ether is alive with wonderful radio things. Baseball games, news, talk radio, and all kinds of music. Simply wonderful. However, unfortunately, the ether is also alive with The Buzzer. More specifically, I am referring to a curious shortwave signal broadcast by (presumably) the Russian military and nicknamed The Buzzer. We have previously looked into the dark world of numbers stations. The Buzzer is very much a part of that dark world.

Before we go any further, you should listen to The Buzzer. This Youtube channel rebroadcasts the actual Buzzer, in real time, live from some secret Russian facility. Warning! The legal department at Sound and Vision insists that I present this disclaimer. Once you hear The Buzzer, you will never unhear it. You have been warned.

The Buzzer broadcasts at 4625 kHz, otherwise known as UVB-76. If your shortwave radio is properly set up, you can tune into The Buzzer yourself. The Buzzer broadcasts every minute of every day, month after month, year after year. The question is, what are the Russians up to?

That question has vexed plenty of amateur shortwave enthusiasts, and also probably an entire row of cubicles in the CIA headquarters in Langley. Why broadcast a tone over and over? Are the Russians just messing with us, or is there something more nefarious going on? Analysis has shown that (apparently) there is no data hidden in The Buzzer. Although, who's to say that a message might be slipped into a particular Buzz when no one's looking?

So what is The Buzzer? One theory is that The Buzzer is a marker, a kind of place holder. The Russian Military is staking claim to that frequency; as long as they are broadcasting, it deters anyone else from using it. (Although, it is not uncommon to hear other non-Russian broadcasts trolling The Buzzer.) In this theory, the Russians are saving 4625 kHz for some future use. When the day comes and they need that channel, they would (at last) turn off The Buzzer and instead broadcast some other signal. And presumably that signal would be so important that it would justify the time and trouble to reserve that channel for so long.

Now, let me just put something out there. You'll recall that in the movie Independence Day, the aliens broadcast a radio signal that turned out to be a count-down timer. When the timer hit zero, they blew up the world. Next time you are laying awake at night, consider what might happen when suddenly The Buzzer goes silent.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

jmilton7043's picture

What a buzz kill!

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