UVB-76’s American Cousin

Radio waves are constantly everywhere around us.  No matter where you go above ground, if you possess a radio you can be sure to turn on a radio and hear about the latest news or hear the melodic tunes of any generation.  But these signals traveling across the airwaves have a stranger side to them as well.  UVB-76, the mysterious numbers station coming out of Moscow has been in the news since 2010 when it mysteriously vanished and then reappeared.  And there’s another numbers station that has been raising questions lately.  The mystery signal known to listeners as the “Yosemite Sam” numbers station is strange to listen to, but the data-burst that comes once a minute from a reservation within the continental US may have just as much of a mystery as the elusive UVB-76.

The signal sets off every minute with a data-burst and the phrase “Varmint, I’m gonna blow you to smithereens!” spoken by the famous cartoon character Yosemite Sam.  And while no one knows just who this signal is intended for or who is broadcasting it, a number of theories have sprung up around this elusive station.  The audio clip is from the 1949 cartoon entitled “Bunker Hill” and the source of the transmission is thought to be a Laguna Indian Reservation in west-central New Mexico.  The harsh sound you hear at the beginning isn’t an old rocking chair from the depths of hell creaking, it’s actually a databurst.  So who could the mystery signal be intended for?

As with other numbers stations, this signal has proven to be quite a mystery.  And the phrase, “I’m gonna blow you to smithereens” has left many listeners with a chilling feeling of dread in the back of their minds.  Could the strange signal actually be related to our own nuclear weapons somehow?  And why include such a vague reference in your number’s station?  Theorists have speculated that the strange signal could have originated in the 1980’s during the Cold War, but it wasn’t officially recognized until 2004.  Shortly after it was discovered, in December of that year it went offline – possibly because the operators of the station realized their project had been discovered.  But shortly after that the same signal started churning out the same mysterious repeating message.

Fans of the Bugs Bunny cartoons will relate that the stations namesake, Yosemite Sam, is known for his vitriol and violent temperament – often shooting first and asking questions never.  The attitude of this character associated now with the number’s station is only one of the mysteries that has fanned the flames of this mysterious artifact of radio communication.

Reports have been scattered since the station first went offline in 2004 of the station disappearing once again, but these cannot be confirmed as it has always returned by the time any real investigation into its continued existence gets underway.  And so we can only hope this mystery will one day be solved and possibly shed some light on the mysterious subject of numbers stations.

Here’s a youtube video showing the station’s mysterious signal in action.