Radio MDZhB

If you have a shortwave receiver, tune it to 4625 kHz. You’ll hear something that on the surface sounds strange, but the reality is even stranger still. According to the BBC, the radio station broadcasts from two locations inside Russia — and has since 1982 — but no one claims ownership of the station, known as MDZhB. According to the BBC:

[For 35 years, MDZhB] has been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.
Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it.

If you don’t have a shortwave handy, you can always try one of the many web-based software defined radios. Search for 4.6 MHz, and pick a location that should have propagation to Russia and you are all set.

The BBC mentions the station started in 1982, but actually the station has changed identity several times and appears to have started in 1973. The station is known as UVB-76, “the buzzer,” ZhUOS, and MDZhB. In addition to cryptic messages, there have been occasional reports of background conversation, indicating the transmitter has staff and an open microphone.

What could it mean? No one knows. One time an enigmatic “COMMAND 135 ISSUED” message appeared on the frequency. There is speculation that if the broadcasts were to stop it would initiate an automatic nuclear retaliation. Others think it is an emergency frequency that would only be activated if Russia were under attack.

We’ve talked about spy stations on shortwave, before. If you are starting your own spy ring, you probably ought to read this.

27 thoughts on “Radio MDZhB

  1. Why is this all of a sudden a thing again. This is a coordination channel for military command. You can hear this buzzer received at the command post in most (all?) military drafting commissariats. They are probably interested in knowing when to start preparations for military events.

        1. I cannot believe nobody replied to your snow globe comment: I suppose the readers here are all too young to understand the reference…

          I would stay and chat, but I need to go now: Dr. Nice Eyes is calling…

  2. There are such points! They are in Russia and the United States. I used to live near one of them. If they stop transmitting the signal, then the “nuclear retaliation” regime is turned on. And the rest of the world will not matter at all, why and from what side the reason. Everyone will have a full (fucked up) end….

    1. Speaking of Wideband SDR, I used to listen to tune into Loran on 100 kHz occasionally to hear to teletypewriter-like chatter, since it is dead here in the USA. Seems today, it is off the air even in Europe. Anyone else hear it lately?

  3. I’m skeptical of the ‘go silent in nuclear war’ argument. For one thing, an attacker could simply mimic the signal.

    Mostly likely its a joke started by a teenager long ago and now continued well into midlife. He’s reading these posts and laughing at the speculation.

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