Thursday, January 08, 2015

Number Stations: The Creepiest, Unexplained Things on the Airwaves

Story by Mark Newton on the Movieplot website about our HF numbers station. As usual some of it is incorrect. For instance:

"What do the 'The Lincolnshire Poacher,' 'The Buzzer,' 'Cherry Ripe,' 'Wop Wop,' 'Three Day Mystery' and 'The Workshop' all have in common?

"Well, if you immediately know the answer to that question, you're either a shortwave radio enthusiast or a spy.

"All of these are the nicknames of some of the dozens of bizarre number stations which appear from time-to-time on shortwave radio frequencies. No one officially knows where they come from because no one officially takes responsibility for the often strange, repetitive and, admittedly, creepy broadcasts.

Well some of the numbers broadcasts from the past have been IDed positively as spy numbers station thanks to several public trials of spies and court transcripts. Some of the numbers have also been tied up with known military activity (e.g. Russian Air Defense, Russian and Chinese military, etc). One series of numbers was identified as a message conduit to U.S. Drug agents in Latin and South America.

"Due to official denial that number stations even exist, no one has actually come forward to explain their use. Despite this, a number of assumptions can be made."

Again as I mentioned above, not quite true. But admittedly some still transmitting today are still unknown for who uses them and what they are used for.

You can click here for the complete story.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Can Your Solve the Mystery of UVB-76?

Happy New Year to all my readers, and friends. Let's start the New Year out right with an HF radio mystery.

Can you solve the mystery of UVB-76??? Check it our at

From the Wikipedia article on The Buzzer:

"UVB-76, also known as The Buzzer, is the nickname given by radio listeners to a shortwave radio station that broadcasts on the frequency 4625 kHz. It broadcasts a short, monotonous About this sound buzz tone, repeating at a rate of approximately 25 tones per minute, for 24 hours per day. On very rare occasions, the buzzer signal is interrupted and a voice transmission in Russian takes place. The first reports were made of a station on this frequency in 1982. Its origins have been traced to Russia, and although several theories with varying degrees of plausibility exist, its actual purpose has never been officially confirmed and remains a source of speculation.

"The station is commonly referred to as the Buzzer among English-speaking radio listeners, while Russian listeners refer to it as жужжалка (žužžalka) – "the buzzer". Its official name is not known, although some of the voice transmissions have revealed names which may be call signs or another form of identification. Up until September 2010, the station identified itself as UVB-76 (Cyrillic: УВБ-76), and it is still often referred to by that name. In September 2010, the station moved to another location, and it has used the identification MDZhB (Cyrillic: МДЖБ, phonetic spelling "Mikhail Dmitri Zhenya Boris") from then onwards. It has been suggested that the correct identification until September 2010 was actually UZB-76 (Cyrillic: УЗБ-76), and that the Cyrillic letter Ze (З) had been misheard as the letter Ve (В). However, it is still referred to as "UVB-76" by most people. Although the station, by and large, has used these two codes at the beginning of most voice transmissions, a few voice messages have used other identification codes. This makes it uncertain whether the names are actually the call sign of the station, or some other identifying code.

"The station transmits using AM with a suppressed lower sideband (R3E), but it has also used full double-sideband AM (A3E). The signal consists of a buzzing sound that lasts 1.2 seconds, pausing for 1–1.3 seconds, and repeating 21–34 times per minute. Until November 2010, the buzz tones lasted approximately 0.8 seconds each. One minute before the hour, the repeating tone was previously replaced by a continuous, uninterrupted alternating tone, which continued for one minute until the short repeating buzz resumed, although this no longer occurs since June 2010.

"The Buzzer has apparently been broadcasting since at least 1982 as a repeating two-second pip, changing to a buzzer in early 1990. It briefly changed to a higher tone of longer duration (approximately 20 tones per minute) on January 16, 2003, but it has since reverted to the previous tone pattern."

See additional Wikipedia material at

There is a great Daily Mail article featuring an interview with UDXF luminary Ary Boender by clicking here.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Teak Publishing Releases New Winter 2014-2015 Shortwave Guide - Available Now at Amazon

So why should you listen to shortwave radio? Quite simply shortwave radio is your window to the world.

The best source of global information continues to be shortwave radio. Throughout the world, shortwave remains the most readily available and affordable means of communication and information. It lets you listen to voices from around the world. You'll also learn about the lives and concerns of people from all walks of life, from soldiers, to farmers, to retired scholars. Shortwave radio provides nearly instantaneous coverage of news and events from around the world.

Shortwave listening, or SWLing, is the hobby of listening to shortwave radio broadcasts located on frequencies between 1700 kHz and 30 MHz, also known as HF or the High Frequencies bands.

If you live in the U.S., you can easily listen to shortwave broadcast stations from countries like North/South Korea, Iran, Australia, Cuba, China, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Japan, England, Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United States and many other counties if you have a shortwave receiver, and you know when and where to listen!

That when and where to listen is covered comprehensively in the pages of a new edition of the International Shortwave Broadcast Guide.

The International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (Winter 2014-2015 edition), by Amazon bestselling author Gayle Van Horn, W4GVH, is that all important information resource you need to tap into the worldwide shortwave broadcast radio spectrum. It is a 24-hour station/frequency guide to “all” the known stations currently broadcasting on shortwave radio at time of publication. This unique shortwave resource is the “only” publication in the world that offers a by-hour schedule that includes all language services, frequencies and world target areas for each broadcast station. There are new chapters that cover basic shortwave radio listening and Who’s Who in the Shortwave Radio Spectrum. Also extensive work has been done to improve the readability of this edition on the various Kindle platforms.

The International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (Winter 2014-2015 edition) is now available for purchase worldwide from at The price for this latest edition is still US$4.99. Since this book is being released internationally, Amazon customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia can order this electronic book (e-Book) from Amazon websites directly servicing these countries. All other countries can use the regular website.

This new e-publication edition is an expanded version of the English shortwave broadcast guide formerly printed in the pages of Monitoring Times magazine for over 20 years. This one of a kind e-book is now being published twice a year to correspond with station seasonal time and frequency changes.

If you enjoy listening or monitoring HF shortwave stations, and you miss the monthly English frequency listings formerly published in the late Monitoring Times magazine, and multilingual station listing in the old MTXpress electronic magazine, this valuable tool will now be your new guide to listening to the world.

Frequency updates between editions will be posted on her Shortwave Central blog at:

And, the good news is that you do not even need to own a Kindle reader to read Amazon e-book publications. You can read any Kindle book with Amazon’s free reading apps.

There are free Kindle reading apps for the Kindle Cloud Reader, Smartphones (iPhone, iTouch, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry); computer platforms (Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and Mac); Tablets (iPad, Android and Windows 8), and, of course, all of the Kindle family of readers including the Kindle Fire series. A Kindle e-book allows you to buy your book once and read it anywhere. You can find additional details on these apps by checking out this link to the Amazon website at

For additional information on this and other Teak Publishing radio hobby books, monitor the company sponsored Internet blogs – The Military Monitoring Post (, The Btown Monitor Post ( and The Shortwave Central ( for availability of additional e-books that are currently in production.

You can view the complete Teak Publishing book catalog online at Click on the Teak Publishing radio hobby e-book link at the top of the blog page. You can learn more about the author by going to her author page on Amazon at

The International Shortwave Broadcast Guide will have wide appeal to shortwave radio hobbyists, amateur radio operators, educators, foreign language students, news agencies, news buffs and many more interested in listening to a global view of news and events as they happen. 

If you are an amateur radio operator or shortwave radio enthusiasts, and want to hear what is happening outside the ham bands on that transceiver or portable shortwave radio in your shack, then this new e-book from Teak Publishing is a must in your radio reference library.

Here are a few of the public comments from radio hobbyists who purchased the first two editions of this Amazon e-book.
Five Stars By  Frank S. Excellent for the price. Glad I found this.
Shortwave Broadcast Guide by Kindle Customer. Since Monitoring Times is no longer in publication, this guide is required for the dedicated shortwave listener. There is information provided that I have found nowhere else. It will be a welcome addition to any listener's equipment. Gayle Van Horn has been publishing this research for many years and the followers are numerous, from beginners to professionals. The author's work is accurate, concise and thorough. If you have a shortwave radio, you need this publication as much as a set of earphones. There is none better.
Very Good Source for Shortwave Stations Broadcast Schedules by Kenneth Windyka. I've got to admit up front that I don't have a strong interest in this part of the hobby. HOWEVER, Gayle Van Horn makes it easy to determine what one can hear on the short wave bands during a particular time period (in GMT time sorted format). I also like the internet reference available, so that one can listen to programs via the internet even if its' not possible via the shortwave radio.

NJ Shortwave listener hears International Frequencies with new guide help by Stanley E Rozewski, Jr. This e-book is complete and accurate in presenting a low cost SW frequency guide and important must read topics for the new or experienced user. I liked the easy reading format, and understandable frequency guide. I will order the second edition next year.
This is my go-to-first reference by Mary C Larson. When I turn on the shortwave receiver and want to find out what's on and where to look, Van Horn's handy frequency guide is a smart place to begin. The format is not unlike the one Monitoring Times (R.I.P.) used each month. Presumably, updated ISBGs will be published twice per year, but you can check for the updates on her blog, (

Good value by DrP. This is an excellent well-written book that is very affordable when compared to encyclopedic guides, e.g., the WRTH. Much the same information is included. The first part is a nice introduction to SW listening pitched to the beginner. Included is an informative section on purchasing a radio spanning low-end <$100 models up through the most advanced transceivers. The bulk of the book contains a list of world-wide SW broadcasters, organized by frequency band. This makes it ideal for browsing one band at a time, but much less so if you want to search for broadcasts from a particular country.
I like this one by Charles. I have only had a brief chance to scan through this book. From what I have seen of it I will enjoy getting in to it.

Shortwave Is Not Quite Dead By James Tedford (Bothell, WA United States). It was barely breathing as of late, but there is still a lot you can hear on shortwave radio. You need more than a little dedication, and a better-than-adequate radio to hear what remains on the HF bands, but if you have those, you will be rewarded with a lot of interesting audio programming. This book is a good guide to what is currently available over the international airwaves.

Five Stars By  Kindle Customer
Came on time. Packaged right. Looks as shown. Works as advertised.


Monday, December 08, 2014

A Note to European DX’ers About K1N Navassa – in English, Deutsch, Russian, Spanish, French, Greek, Italian

Interesting article by Ralph Fedor K0IR and Glenn Johnson W0GJ, for European DX’ers in exclusive to DxCoffee.

The end of January will be historic and I hope to make at least one contact (like I did for Amsterdam Island) and be among the lucky to add a new one to the totals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Father-Son Team Claim ARRL Triple Play Award

It probably doesn't happen often, but a father-son pair of amateur radio operators were both awarded the ARRL Triple Play Award within a 24 hour period of each other.

The Triple Play WAS (Worked All States) Award is available to all amateurs worldwide who must use Logbook of the World (LoTW) to confirm QSOs (contacts) with each of the 50 states on voice, CW, and digital modes.

My son Loyd Van Horn (W4LVH) and me - Larry Van Horn (N5FPW) were awarded our ARRL Triple Play awards on Monday and Tuesday of this week within 24 hours of each other. I'm sure those that logged into the LOTW website on Tuesday did a double take to see the father-son team at the top and bottom of the Triple Play Awardee list.

Both father and son agree it was a lot of fun to work toward the Triple Play Award. I would like to personally thank each and every one of the hams listed below for helping me achieve this amateur radio milestone. Without their patience on-the-air and diligence to upload to LOTW, I would probably still be scratching around the bands for contacts. Bravo Zulu to one and all and thank you.
US StateCWPhoneDigital
Arizona (AZ) KB7QN6KZK6LL
California (CA) AK7VW6UX/PAD6WL
Colorado (CO) K0RVW0EEANA0CW
Connecticut (CT) NN1NK2DW1AN
Delaware (DE) W3PPK2EWA3QHJ
Florida (FL) K4LMK4SNAI4FR
Illinois (IL) N2BJN2BJN2BJ
Indiana (IN) AJ9CW9IMSK9WX
Kentucky (KY) KY4KYK4FTK4UOL
Louisiana (LA) KZ5DW5EAWB5TEQ
Maryland (MD) N3QEN3COBW3LL
Massachusetts (MA) K1BGK5ZDN1BAA
Michigan (MI) NE8JN8OCW8JWN
Minnesota (MN) W0EFK0SIXK0IR
Mississippi (MS) K5GDXW1AW/5W8DM
Missouri (MO) W1AW/0N0AZZWB8EJN
Montana (MT) W1AW/7N9RVKE1HA
Nebraska (NE) W0KTN0AIEK0IDT
Nevada (NV) W1AW/7K7XCK7SFN
New Hampshire (NH) K1ROAE1PKA2KON
New Jersey (NJ) KE2DNJ2BBK2BB
New Mexico (NM) W5MPZW1AW/5K5AM
North Carolina (NC) W4DXAW4NHWJ2D
North Dakota (ND) N7IVKD4POJNT0V
Oklahoma (OK) K5CMAF5QKF5S
Pennsylvania (PA) K3MJWK3YTLAA3B
Rhode Island (RI) W1OPK2CW1GSH
South Carolina (SC) W4LVHW4LVHK4TGK
South Dakota (SD) W0OJYKD0SK7RE
Tennessee (TN) N4NAK3JAEAC4M
Vermont (VT) AB1NJW1NVTW1/E74OF
Virginia (VA) K4CQK4KDJW4KRN
Washington (WA) W6AEAKW7YW7MRC
West Virginia (WV) W8WVAW8WVAKU1T
Wisconsin (WI) W9AVK9MUK9OM

You can get more info on this award on the ARRL website at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Antares AJ-26 main engine failed earlier this year during Stennis testing

I find it very interesting that the engine that exploded during last night's Antares launch has had a checkered past including an explosion on one of the engine test stands back in May of this year at the NASA Stennis facility in Mississippi.

According to the story written by Chris Bergin at NASA on May 22, 2014, "One of the AJ-26 engines set to launch with a future Antares rocket has failed during testing at the Stennis Space Center on Thursday. Sources claim the engine “exploded” on a Stand located in the E Complex at the famous rocket facility. The failure is currently under evaluation, although it may delay the next Antares launch that is tasked with lofting the ORB-2 Cygnus to the International Space Station (ISS)."
What makes this story even more interesting is that the Antares launch vehicle’s main engine is the Aerojet produced AJ-26 – a rebuilt version of Soviet NK-33, originally intended for the massive N-1 launch vehicle.

The tanking for the Antares was contracted to the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau from the Ukraine. Yuzhnoye has extensive knowledge in producing kerosene rocket bodies as the producer of the Zenit launch vehicle.

You can read the complete story at