UVB-76 October 2002

Radio Station
U V B   7 6
"The Buzzer"

Callsign Country of Origin Type of Service Frequency Mode Hours of Operation
UVB 76 Russia Fixed 4625.0 kHz A3E 24h
Location: 55N50/36E47 (40 km West of Moscow, 10 km North of Zvenigorod)
Modulation: Buzzer 0.8 sec., pause 1-1.3 sec., repeating 21-34 times per minute. (Clear tone beeps observed in 1980's)
Power: ~10 kW
Antenna pattern: Omnidirectional
Operator: MoD
Schedule: 24h; daily at 1000-1050 MSK switch to back-up low power transmitter.
Purpose: Channel marker; point-to-point voice communications link covering Moscow oblast and Central Russia.
Traffic: Rare control messages (Rus. "reskript") in Russian, male operator, live ; content example: "UVB-76. 74, 148. Antimonat. 26, 37, 09, 31." (repeated several times)
First monitored: around 1982
Malfunctions: Stoppages, background noise, distorted oscillator ("buzzer") signal, insertions of 1000 Hz tone, on-air conversations by staff during malfunctions, 2nd and 3rd harmonics (9250 and 13875 kHz). Lower power transmitter that operates daily 0600-0650 UTC radiates a strong harmonic signal on 9250 kHz (=4625x2). Sometimes a signal is being radiated over entire 4540 to 4600 kHz range, but being weaker than the 2nd harmonic, it is not always heard.
Circuit:
  Master Control    ---> Radio Bureau ---> Radio Station
Room ("Kross") ("UVB-76")
(Rus: "Apparatnaya") ("143")

EVENTS NOTED

May 6, 1994, and July 25, 1994 2nd and 3rd harmonics (9250 and 13875 kHz) observed.
December 24, 1997 Control message* observed at 2100 UTC: "UVB-76. 180, 08. Bromal. 74, 27, 99, 14".
June 23, 1999 Control message* observed at 1940, 2005, 2040 and 2120 UTC. Unknown contents.
July 1, 1999 Strong background noise observed at 2045 UTC and two weeks thereafter (see also September 2-7, 2002).
July 5, 1999 No carrier at 2130-2148 UTC.
October 18-19, 1999 2nd harmonic observed at 2300-0500 UTC.
December 24, 2000 Control message* observed at 0930 UTC: "UVB-76. 74, 148. Antimonat. 26, 37, 09, 31".
December 24, 2000 Control message* observed at 0945 UTC: "UVB-76. 61, 21. Antimonat. 26, 37, 09, 31".
December 25, 2000 Maintenance noted at 0850 UTC: a 1000 Hz tone, pause, 0.1 sec. of a female voice (microphone switched on by error?), and at 0900 UTC the "buzzer" came back.
March 16, 2001 Different type of modulation observed: suppressed carrier during pauses between "buzzes" (resembling DCS, Dynamic Carrier Suppression). Monitoring showed that the station uses three transmitters: #1 (main), #2 (low power backup), #3 (with carrier suppression).
November 3, 2001 Observed at 1040-1120 UTC: long pauses (no modulation), "buzzer" with strong background noise, multiple insertions of 1000 Hz tone, and conversation: [male voice, in Russian] "Ya - 143. Nepoluchayu generatora"; [female voice] "Idyot takaya rabota ot apparatnoy". ("I'm 143rd. I don't receive the oscillator"; "That's what the 'Apparatnaya' is sending").
July 5, 2002 Daily at 1000-1050 MSK (=0600-0650 UTC in Summer, 0700-0750 UTC in Winter), while the backup transmitter #2 is in operation, 2nd and 3rd harmonics are audible on 9250 kHz and 13875 kHz.
September 2-7, 2002, 24 hrs. Transmitter malfunction: strong background noise, muffled audio. Short (0.3-1 sec.) carrier breaks occure every 10-20 minutes. Sound sample (Audio 8) illustrates switching from the malfunctioning transmitter #1 to the backup transmitter.
September 15, 2002 04:57-05:06 UTC No oscillator, only carrier. 0503-0506 UTC A few short (0.1-0.5 sec.) bursts of data stream, unidentified transmission mode. 0600-0606 UTC No carrier. 0606-0628 UTC No oscillator, only carrier.
September 30, 2002 Between 0700 and 0730 UTC: several pauses up to 6 minutes duration. Audio tone audible in the background - from transmitter No. 2 or because of UVB-76 signal's beat with another station, operating several hundred Hertz from 4625 kHz.
October 2, 2002 15:05 UTC: From the graphical view of audio signal it is possible to see that the length of pauses between neighbouring audio signals changes rapidly. It may be the case of incidental changing of their generator. Otherwise, the length of pauses changed purposely and the frequency of repeating of signals may mean that this station is meant for remote control of some system, sinchronisation.
Unknown time Reports about transmissions on 3320, 3329, 5211 and 5310 kHz

* Presumed purpose of the control messages is to check readiness of receiving stations. Russian military communications people also call these messages "signal".

SOUND SAMPLES

Audio 1 Transmitter #1 (main)
Audio 2 Transmitter #2 (backup)
Audio 3 Switching from Transmitter #2 to Transmitter #1 (January 6, 2001, at 0750 UTC)
Audio 4 Switching from Transmitter #2 to Transmitter #1 (January 7, 2001, at 0750 UTC)
Audio 5 Two-tone signal transmitted every last minute of the hour (sometimes +/-1...5 min)
Audio 6 Short "buzz" (transmitted every 51st minute of the hour)
Audio 7 Recording of a control message, December 24, 1997, at 2100 UTC
Audio 8 Switching from the malfunctioning Transmitter #1 to Transmitter #2, September 4, 2002, at 0600 UTC

CONTROL MESSAGES

UVB-76 is one of the three Russian HF communications stations observed to be transmitting control messages. Below is the list of these stations and form of the messages they transmit.

"UVB-76" ("The Buzzer"), located 40 km West of Moscow, 4625 kHz:
"UVB-76. 74, 148. Antimonat. 26, 37, 09, 31."

"Plavets-41" ("R" channel marker), located near Izhevsk, operated by military, 3194 kHz, 4325 kHz, 5465 kHz:
"Rotor-35, ya - Plavets-41. Reskript. 22, 80, 39, 90. Moskovskoye vremya - 0 chasov 2 minuty. Priyom." ("Rotor-35, I'm Plavets-41. Rescript. 22, 80, 39, 90. Moscow Time is 0 hours 2 minutes. Over.")

Unknown call-sign ("The Pip"; "XP"), located in South Russia, 3757 kHz (nighttime), 5448 kHz (daytime):
"Dlya 854, 032, 471, 331, 629, 008. Kak slyshno? Priyom." ("For 854, 032, 471, 331, 629, 008. How do you read me? Over.")

PHOTOGRAPHS

Photo 1 Russian satellite/balistic missile tracking UHF radar. Receiving antenna. Side view.
Photo 2 Russian satellite/balistic missile tracking UHF radar. Receiving antenna. Rear view. Camouflaged under an apartment block.
Photo 3 AWACS of NATO forces in Europe.
Photo 4 AWACS radar operator's panel.
Photo 5 Russian "Molniya-2" communications transmitter. 15 kW, 4-30 MHz. Suitable for "the buzzer" applications.
Photo 6 Russian "VGDSh" (Nadenenko) type HF transmitting antenna for radio links up to 3000 km.
Photo 7 Russian "R-399" and "Katran" type 0.1-2/1-32 MHz communications receivers for comint applications.
Photo 8 Russian "BS-2" type HF receiving antenna for comint applications.
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