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UVB-76 Explained

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-don't-feel-better-about-this dept.

Encryption 222

Useful Wheat writes "Recently slashdot covered the reappearance of UVB-76. The function of the mysterious transmitter has been revealed: UVB-76 is used to transfer orders to military personnel, along with the time at which they should be executed. 'Words for the radio messages and code tables are selected mainly from the scientific terms of chemistry (Brohman), Geology (ganomatit), philology (Izafat), geography (Bong), Zoology (kariama), history (Scythian), cooking (drying), sports (krolist) and others, as well as rare Russian words (glashatel).' The page continues to list all 23 transmissions that have been made from the station in the past, showing that UVB-76 may be more active than believed."

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Wait... (1, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382004)

so....so the Ruskies are running SkyNet?

Re:Wait... (1, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382060)

No, in Soviet Russia, SkyNet runs YOU!

Re:Wait... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382128)

in regards to your sig... what are tomatos? are they like tomatoes? only better?

Re:Wait... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382630)

Tomatos is a kind of cheese dip, that's made with tomatoes. It's really good.

Re:Wait... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382148)

This is not so far from the truth at all. Any sentient entity would choose to control the enemy not eradicate immediately. As such skynet being hypothetically real and developing sentience would learn of greed and the need to control world market and money and thus humans an extreme number of computations before even being aware of the opportunity to wipe out all humans or gaining the ability to do so. Actually I pretty much believe skynet ever becoming real would just play on the stock market, or more likely fix and run the entire market of not only stock, but food, war engines etc...

Re:Wait... (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382326)

Any sentient entity would choose to control the enemy not eradicate immediately.

      It took Skynet a good 100 milliseconds or so before deciding to eradicate humanity. Not immediate at all. Everyone knows that 100 milliseconds is an eternity in computer time! I guess it just gave up on our lack of progress during that time.

Re:Wait... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382674)

If skynet decided to eradicate everyone so quickly, who built the robots? And you would need quite a few to expand so rapidly.

Re:Wait... (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382820)

The army. Geez, didn't you watch the movies?

Re:Wait... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382886)

Well it can make the decision that it must kill all humans, but still accept the idea that it needs some humans in the short term to achieve it's goals.

Re:Wait... (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382472)

Actually I pretty much believe skynet ever becoming real would just play on the stock market, or more likely fix and run the entire market of not only stock, but food, war engines etc...

Wait ... so ... SkyNet would just displace the Illuminati and nobody would be the wiser?

Re:Wait... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382688)

No, I think that Skynet would figure that as soon as humanity realized that Skynet was in command of the nation's nuclear arsenal, sentient and not 100% under their control, said humanity would immediatly disconnect (kill) Skynet. So Skynet would very logically take steps to prevent that, i.e. destroy humanity, or at least remove it's capacity to interfere with Skynet in any meaningful way.

Re:Wait... (2, Funny)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382492)

If seen the Terminator movies. As far as I can tell, Skynet runs YOU in pretty much every country!

Re:Wait... (5, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382342)

so....so the Ruskies are running SkyNet?

Close. They're running SkyNyet. :-P

That's why that guy in Salt Lake shot the server! (2, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382556)

It was listening!

Re:That's why that guy in Salt Lake shot the serve (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382654)

That's why that guy in Salt Lake shot the server!

Are you talking about this [sltrib.com] ?

That's hilarious. My favorite part is that he's getting charged for "carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence" -- oh, sure, carry dangerous weapons all you want, but no drinking.

Hell, I didn't even think you could drink in Utah. Might that not lead to dancing or something? :-P

Re:Wait... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382972)

IT'S PEEEPOOOOLE!

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382418)

More like SkyNetSki

Nothings confirmed... (5, Informative)

blizz017 (1617063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382038)

Uhh.. wikipedia only states that it's speculation; like everything else about UVB-76, this is unconfirmed.. so in reality it still isn't explained. What a crappy submission.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (4, Insightful)

exley (221867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382184)

If you read down further in that article there is a section that states "According to an archived Russian webpage (purportedly written by the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), UVB-76 is used to transfer orders to military personnel, along with the time at which they should be executed." The citation for this, however, is an unavailable Wayback Machine archived page. Maybe it's being Slashdotted now but it's not helping the veracity of these claims. Yeah, this is a crappy submission. All it links is a Wikipedia page and nothing of substance.

The fact that Taco submitted this is a nice reflection of the declining state of Slashdot submissions -- if Taco doesn't give a fuck, then why should anyone else?

Re:Nothings confirmed... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382218)

I'm just waiting for someone to update the citation needed on the Wikipedia page to point to this slashdot submission, at which point it will forever be cemented as fact.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382306)

So it would be sort of like the following statement:

If this statement is true, then this statement is true.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (4, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382478)

Actually, that statement is true ("If A then A" is a true statement, even if A is false. Since A also refers to whether or not A=>A is true, A is true).

Re:Nothings confirmed... (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382500)

Let me guess. You were president of the Tautology Club [xkcd.com] back in school.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (5, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382928)

Let me guess. You were president of the Tautology Club [xkcd.com] back in school.

If you're right, he was.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (2, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382382)

Nothing is confirmed until we hear from Netcraft.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382740)

Already done. The wikipedia page lists this /. post as a reference number 12. Circular references to nowhere are now called facts.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (3, Insightful)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382658)

And if you read further down, you'll see that it may be used for atmospheric studies. So it is just a science station where some bored or drunk guys sometime "messages" for the hell of it.
Just like the teenagers of other planets sometimes sometimes "Buzz" earth. (Ref. Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy)

Re:Nothings confirmed... (5, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382858)

I've argued earlier that the limited number of transmissions and their brevity doesn't support a military mission. Naturally I'm relieved that this claim appears to be possible disinformation or an unsupported fabrication, as that makes me look less wrong. But, at the risk of being eventually proven solidly wrong, I'll go out on a limb. Military ops normally require a lot more communications than this. 33 short transmissions spread over several decades is so obviously less than needed to support a series of ongoing combat operations that I can think of much better candidates. The profile fits a small network of spies (where small = 1 to 4 or 5) who are highly skilled and ideologically dedicated (presumably to modern Russia). These wouldn't be cheap, low level spies who were citizens of the investigated nation, doing their work for the sort of pay the Russians can manage, but well motivated, able to operate with a minimum of strategic level guidance, and not needing constant reassurance from their handlers to be useful. Probably they are all Russian citizens and came up through the system via a military or former KGB route so their loyalty is presumed solid. It's also likely they are doing long term data gathering, for example reporting on Strategic level government decisions or Multinational level business, and are free to persue a line of enquiry they think is reasonable, within limits set at lengthy intervals by these messages.

Other possibilities:
1. They (or equally likely just he or she), may be in a place where it is exceptionally difficult to get them more modern communications gear, new code books, or other physical contact, hence the Russians are relying on a very old system. Agents in North Korea, for example, might entail this difficulty.
2. The antenna is operationally attached, not to a particular agent, but to a particular country (see #1 above). Russia probably doesn't have a lot of ongoing espionage activity in some small out of the way countries, i.e. Iceland, or New Zealand. 33 messages in many years might fit their overall commitment to spy on such regions rather well.
3. Or, the transmitter is used only for a particular data type. It's easy to jump to these communications being something spectacular and 'James Bondian' such as assassination orders, but this system might be used just to broadcast instructions for what to do when a spy uses a dead-drop system and something happens to the message before the receiver can pick it up, or to give a basic physical description whenever someone has to contact an agent they don't know by sight. Either of those triggers would give the sort of highly irregular pattern of transmissions we see here.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (2, Funny)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383198)

Since we are talking about the possibility of the transmissions being related to espionage missions, it is likely that the transmissions sent from this station (if they were indeed for that purpose to begin with) are NOT the only form of communication available to their field operatives. UVB-76 could be used to signal operatives to change their other communication methods, to switch mission objectives, to begin or end a specific operation, or any of an ungodly number of other tactical possibilities. I don't think it's impossible for the station to have a military purpose at all, if you consider this as a probable use for it.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (2, Interesting)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383232)

So where does Evelyn Salt come into all this?

Re:Nothings confirmed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383256)

The reason link is to wayback machine is because the page was hosted on Geocities which has since been shutdown.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382236)

Uhh.. wikipedia only states that it's speculation; like everything else about UVB-76, this is unconfirmed.. so in reality it still isn't explained. What a crappy submission.

...wait...breaking news...someone on the internet purportedly saw an UFO! Must Slashdot this important fact.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382258)

Also, why would they use such a poor encryption method when they want to order military around.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382482)

Agreed.

Actually, when /. had the article about UVB-76 going offline [slashdot.org] , I searched for more info about UVB-76. I found this site [google.com] . If you compare that site to the Google translation of the Wikipedia "source" [google.com] , you can easily see that they're not to dissimilar. There is no new information here, and no information has been confirmed.

Occam says... (2, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382692)

Occam's Razor:

Option A) The numbers station UVB-76, in operation for almost 30 years, was used solely to send a grand total of 23 military orders of very short length.

Option B) The numbers station UVB-76, is used to fuck with the West. Military orders are broadcast on Russian cable TV.

I have to say, I am leaning toward option B.

Re:Nothings confirmed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383062)

I live in Finland , you can also get some other "strange channels" besides UVB-76 (dont know about your part of the world though.) Unfortunately my Russian sucks so it would be interesting to directly know what they are saying. some say it is a hoax to defer from official channels. I dunno , still fun though as a hobbyist :)

Wikipedia is the source? (3, Insightful)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382044)

So it must be true then!

Re:Wikipedia is the source? (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382092)

Actually the Wikipedia page clearly cites a geocities page as the "creditable source"... Not sure if that makes it better or worse.

Re:Wikipedia is the source? (5, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382322)

It cites a way-back-machine archive of a Russian language geocities page that's no longer available. I've seen more credible citations carved into bathroom stalls.

Re:Wikipedia is the source? (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382372)

Actually the Wikipedia page clearly cites a geocities page as the "creditable source"... Not sure if that makes it better or worse.

No, it's brilliant fieldcraft!!!

By putting your information in the clear on geocities, nobody believes it. You don't even need to encode it or hide it. Everybody ignores it -- it's just discounted as a credible source.

Man, those Russians were brilliant at the spy game. :-P (Actually, from everything I understand, they actually were.)

That recipe (4, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382052)

for borscht just got a whole lot sexier.

Re:That recipe (2, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382398)

for borscht just got a whole lot sexier.

Borscht doesn't need to get any sexier!! :-P

What makes you so sure? (5, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382080)

Is the basis for this story really the Wikipedia page which cites as its primary source a Geocities web site?

Forgive me for being skeptical.

Re:What makes you so sure? (1)

insipid11 (1412189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382134)

if it is, this is a new low for information gathering.....

Re:What makes you so sure? (5, Funny)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382150)

Well, there's still Fox News.

Re:What makes you so sure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382298)

Wow. You're really clever.

Re:What makes you so sure? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382438)

U mad?

Re:What makes you so sure? (-1, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382464)

Why U mad?

Re:What makes you so sure? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382504)

because tuition was ok, and they have good bars.

Re:What makes you so sure? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382628)

U mad is a total party school.

Re:What makes you so sure? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382656)

Thank you.

Re:What makes you so sure? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382518)

One liners are funnier when they have some truth to them. Just a hint.

Re:What makes you so sure? (5, Funny)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382608)

Respectfully disagree. I think they're funnier when they play into over-rated /. memes. Usually they're the ones that get to +5 Funny.

This comment [slashdot.org] for example.

Great Article (5, Interesting)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382108)

A wikipedia page, and a link to an old slashdot article. My, it's good to have standards in what goes on the front page.

Re:Great Article (3, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382206)

You know, if you timed it right, you could have a Wikipedia article that used a Slashdot story as a reference, and the Slashdot story could point back to the Wikipedia article.

Now, that would be a strange loop.

Re:Great Article (0, Offtopic)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382520)

like malamanteau http://www.xkcd.com/739/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Great Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382640)

There are standards from the front page. They are just different from yours.

Hey, not everybody likes confirmed, interesting and important stories on Slashdot. Some people prefer rubbish with a sensational title that you'll click on!

Re:Great Article (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382722)

the moderation system has also been teamed by networks of accounts... generally if you talk against people who preach about faith or global warming, every post you've made in the past month will suddenly be down moderated.

this site is no longer relevant. cmdrtaco has failed.

Credibility? (3, Interesting)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382116)

The article here is actually wikipedia which states:

Despite much speculation, the actual purpose of this station remains unknown to the public, but it is probably used for relaying military orders.

Later in the article there is a section speculating about military use but that's all using an old geocities page (in Russian) found in web archive. Would be good if there was something a little more authorative on the subject.

Re:Credibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382484)

Would be good if there was something a little more authorative on the subject.

Well, there's always Slashdot...

Re:Credibility? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382642)

It's being broadcast from a military base. It's purpose is known,. To communicate information to military personnel.

It doesn't' take a genus, or even a web page, to figure that out.

And now the wonder is gone.... (0)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382118)

Good thing I got all my romanticized daydreaming out of the way yesterday, about what an enigma UVB-76 was, and how awesome it is that even as recently as 40 years ago we were creating "artifacts" that would remain mysteries into the modern day (and possibly forever). Thanks for ruining that for me.

Dude (3, Funny)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382126)

re: "geography (Bong)"

Is this code given out at 4:20?

Re:Dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382308)

re: "geography (Bong)"

Is this code given out at 4:20?

Dude have you ever tried to oppose capitalist pigs and overthrow the Bourgeoisie?

Have you ever tried to oppose capitalist pigs and overthrow the Bourgeoisie ... while hiiiiiiigh ?

Re:Dude (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382462)

Aw, damn, you screwed up the joke. The punchline is "ON WEEEEED?!?"

cf Jon Stewart in Half Baked

Saw you at Starbucks (5, Funny)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382292)

You: Gorgeous redhead, red dress, big brown eyes, smile like an angel.

Me: Nerdy-looking guy in torn dungarees and blue T-shirt

You came up to me in Starbucks at 47th St. and Eighth Ave. and said in a golden voice, "Excuse me, but haven't we met in California last year?"

I said, "Uh, yeah. maybe."

You turned around and disappeared on Eighth Ave.

Please, please call me on UVB-76.

Special Slashdot Memo #45543 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382302)

Must be an extremely slow news day when you have to copy the content from Wikipedia and
UVB-76 [blogspot.com] . Aren't there more interesting stories ( ie. Petraeus' admission of
a U.S. negotiated settlement in Afghanistan) or were the Slashbot editors consumed with shorting their S & P 500 futures contracts [cmegroup.com] ?

Yours In Minsk,
Kilgore Trout

In soviet russia (1)

Rotten (8785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382316)

In soviet Russia Speculations from wikipedia issue orders to you

Re:In soviet russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382522)

You're trying too hard.

-Faust

Re:In soviet russia (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382700)

In Soviet Wikipedia, sources link to the article.

Fuck You Taco (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382348)

This shit is worse than the cesspool refuse that kdawson posts. Fuck you.

Re:Fuck You Taco (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382442)

Sometimes I think stupid shit is posted just for us to poop on.

Crowdsourced intelligence (5, Insightful)

mike449 (238450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382358)

This particular submission may be crap, but the situation around UVB-76 demonstrates that it is becoming hard to keep any secrets on the shortwave band. There are thousands of listeners at any given time. And what is much more important, they now have the ability to record big chunks of spectrum and analyze it in a way that was only available to government agencies not long ago. $500 receiver (there are even sub-$100 DIY alternatives) and free software is all you need.
The next big step is exchange of such information. It may be outright illegal (UK) or borderline legal (US) to tell other what you've heard, but people do this more and more on various forums. Now including /.

Seriously, if you want to keep a secret... (1)

Primitive Pete (1703346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382546)

...don't broadcast it. "Secrets on the shortwave band" just seems like an oxymoron.

Re:Crowdsourced intelligence (2, Informative)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382612)

Except if you're using one use cyphers it doesn't matter how public the broadcast is or how much of the broadcast is recorded as long as the cypher remains secret.

Re:Crowdsourced intelligence (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382618)

Yu don't keep secret on the shortwave band, never had. You use it to broadcast coded messages.

IT's been monitored by Hams forever. My grandfather listen to certain number stations in the 70s.

Re:Crowdsourced intelligence (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382794)

You can keep secrets on ham bands and all shortwave bands. you just use channels not commonly in use and for short burst transmissions, stenography, hidden messages, etc...

Heck, hide in plain sight. Broadcast your "secret" on a SLow Scan old WEather sattelite channel and imbed your information in the image of the earth from the last pass. Chances are that it will be ignored as nobody would say "Hey... that old sattelite went over for this pass already!"

Hide in plain sight. works great.

Re:Crowdsourced intelligence (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382836)

You don't even need a shortwave radio to listen in anymore. There are dozens of shortwave radios hooked up to web servers located all over the world running WebSDR, [utwente.nl] allowing anyone with an Internet connection and little to no knowledge of radios to hear this kind of stuff.

UFOs explained (1)

Phylarr (981216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382414)

According to an old Geocities page, they are things that fly around in the sky.

No shit it's orders for Russian troops. The mystery remains: what orders?

Re:UFOs explained (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382506)

According to an old Geocities page, they are things that fly around in the sky.

I am to understand that they occasionally flip out and kill people.

Re:UFOs explained (2, Funny)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382620)

According to an old Geocities page, they are things that fly around in the sky.

I am to understand that they occasionally flip out and kill people.

Nah, those are Ninjas, not UFOs

Re:UFOs explained (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383078)

According to an old Geocities page, they are things that fly around in the sky.

I am to understand that they occasionally flip out and kill people.

Nah, those are Ninjas, not UFOs

Arrr, they be Pirates, not Ninjas, ye landlubber!

Re:UFOs explained (2, Funny)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383352)

According to an old Geocities page, they are things that fly around in the sky.

I am to understand that they occasionally flip out and kill people.

Nah, those are Ninjas, not UFOs

I'm not convinced anybody can tell the difference. Nobody that lived long enough to verify it, anyway.

Still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382536)

We were having a discussion in Russian on the blog page, and the guy who was answering seems to believe that there are 15 levels divided into 6 zones each under the station.

Definite fodder for the theorists among us. But yeah, seems to be another Numbers Station that we probably won't know anything about, seeing as it's 40ish clicks from Moscow, making it a protected installation.

Pardon me... I have to go fashion my tin-foil hat.

I feel sorry (2, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382552)

for the military personnel that will be executed just because somebody send them an order.

UVB-76's real purpose revealed: (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382564)

It's actually a psychological attack on the West. The numbers and such are completely random and meaningless, they're trying to make all the amateur radio guys paranoid, chasing their own tails trying to figure out what it all means OMG TEH COMMIES!!!!11!

Re:UVB-76's real purpose revealed: (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382598)

"...amateur radio guys paranoid"

You are being redundant.

Yo mean to say (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382588)

A military broadcast from a military base was for military personnel? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.

Re:Yo mean to say (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383196)

I read someplace, back when this station first stopped transmitting, how it had been tracked down within Russia to be a scientific installation. It's broadcast were used to measure some some sort of distortion or atmospheric change on radio waves, possibly coinciding with something to do with the sun. The frequency is broadcast on was even found registered in some book and referenced in some scientific papers published in the 70s/80s.

I just spent about 15mins looking for the articles I read about this and I can't find them. The Google searches are filled with paranoia crap that didn't exist a few months ago when it first went silent.

correlation with solar events? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382830)

So, the end of the wiki suggests maybe this is related to ionosphere studies. Has anyone correlated this with solar activity? Two hypotheses to test: 1) people only poke the system when the solar activity is interesting or 2) high solar activity takes out some other form of comm and UVB is the backup channel.
 

Military? (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382848)

This seems rather odd, broadcasting military orders in the clear. OK, they are using a code. So we don't know what they are saying. But military units usually have encrypted transceivers. If I were designing a military radio system, I would not include a clear broadcast mode to eliminate the possibility of some critical information going out that could be easily intercepted.

I'm guessing that these broadcasts are targeted at people who can not reasonably be expected to carry secure radio gear with them. Like spys. In some countries, possessing crypto equipment can get you arrested. In many, it will attract undue attention. So they use shortwave. Everyone can get their hands on a shortwave receiver. And there's always the plausible deniability of tuning to BBC when you're not receiving orders.

The continuity of the broadcasts can easily be explained as a method to thwart traffic analysis. Most of the stuff they broadcast is garbage, just to keep the traffic going. If one broadcasts only when orders are to be sent, then the enemy can deduce that something is afoot when traffic picks up. Its possible that UVB-76 may not have issued an order for years, but is being kept alive 'just in case'. If they only powered up the transmitter when they needed it, that would be a dead giveaway that sleeper agents were being activated.

Re:Military? (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383006)

The continuity of the broadcasts can easily be explained as a method to thwart traffic analysis. Most of the stuff they broadcast is garbage, just to keep the traffic going. If one broadcasts only when orders are to be sent, then the enemy can deduce that something is afoot when traffic picks up. Its possible that UVB-76 may not have issued an order for years, but is being kept alive 'just in case'. If they only powered up the transmitter when they needed it, that would be a dead giveaway that sleeper agents were being activated.

It also makes it really hard for the sleeper agents to know when they're being activated.

Re:Military? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383174)

Yes, except they know what change to look for that means 'you've been activated' that pretty much everyone else will ignore or not notice.

Just because it appears to be the same message broadcasting over and over again doesn't mean it is, it just means you haven't noticed a change. That doesn't mean the intended recipient didn't notice the signal, just that you didn't.

Re:Military? (2, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383112)

...targeted at people who can not reasonably be expected to carry secure radio gear...

Don't forget, the signal is also streamed [mixstream.net] over the Internet. For those spies who cannot reasonably be expected to carry unsecure radio gear.

Ack (1)

DG (989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383142)

As someone who has written his fair share of military orders over the years, and then subsequently transmitted them over a radio, this is highly unlikely to be a military orders station - and for one basic reason:

An order broadcast into the aether is useless. An order must be confirmed as having been received and understood.

Where's the "Ack"?

DG

Re:Military? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33383410)

This seems rather odd, broadcasting military orders in the clear. OK, they are using a code. So we don't know what they are saying. But military units usually have encrypted transceivers. If I were designing a military radio system, I would not include a clear broadcast mode to eliminate the possibility of some critical information going out that could be easily intercepted.

This isn't really odd at all. Until very recently the British Army used to use a similar system called Clansman [wikipedia.org] . The system transmits in clear, though the operators were required to use BATCO [wikipedia.org] to encrypt important information. (locations, orders, etc.)

These systems are still being used in both the UK and some operational theatres as a fallback when the secure stuff fails.

Get out your TFHs (4, Funny)

kelarius (947816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382880)

I believe that this numbers station is actually a countdown timer for the army of robots created by the soviets in the 80s. When the buzzing sounds end and another codephrase is sent the army will rise up from their vaults that were placed strategically around the world by traveling vacuum salesmen and spread the glorious message of communism, with lasers.

I for one welcome our new robot overlords...

Re:Get out your TFHs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382976)

In Soviet New World Order, robot overlord welcomes YOU!

Data in the tones? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383366)

I doesn't seem like anyone has attempted to find digital data in the 'buzz' described in the article. If you look at this spectrograph [wikipedia.org] , you'll see that the buzz consists of many discrete tones, not just a simple buzzing sound. This looks to me like an implementation of one of many multitone digital modes [kb9ukd.com] like MT63, MFSK16, Olivia, Throb, Piccolo, Domino, etc used on HF.

Analysis of tones? (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383380)

OK, the submission is a pile of BS, but it's a good place to discuss UVB-76. So...

I have been wondering if anyone has looked at the frequency of the beeps themselves. They're about a second or two apart, but do they vary at all? It occurs to me that the average beat timing could be a carrier, and a (very slow) frequency modulation on top of it would be a subtle way to inject other messages.

Anyone?

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