We now have a fifth Russian military circular station with a channel marker! First there was Buzzer, then Pip, then Wheel, then R marker, well let us introduce to you the D marker!
On Thursday 11th February 2015 we have found a new Russian military channel marker, akin to the buzzer! This is not something we expected to find in 2015 but rather would expect the opposite, less and less shortwave usage and more movement towards newer systems. The frequency for this new channel marker is 5292kHz which is a station Priyom found to be sending Monolith messages - the same kind of messages sent by the Buzzer - back in November 2011, so to see that this channel has only now received a marker is certainly a surprise to us.
The marker itself, much like the R marker for Plavets-41, sends one letter in morse code repeated over and over - the letter D. Oddly enough it seems that whatever equipment is being used to send this morse marker is somewhat faulty as you can often hear it send a letter B (morse D is one dash followed by two dots whereas morse B is one dash followed by three dots).
Another interesting element of this new channel marker is the similarity in sound, when heard with USB filter, to that of a temporary buzzer used on 4625kHz in 2012 for only two or three days when their regular hardware was being repaired or serviced. When heard with a CW filter this channel marker sounds like regular CW, see below for recorded examples;
5292kHz marker down/up - as you can hear, when the channel marker is down there begins what seems to be a carrier at the top end of the sideband
5292kHz marker with CW filter - you can hear there are a lot of instances of marker sending B as well as the usual D
5292kHz marker with USB filter - you can hear two or three instances of the marker sending B whilst mostly sending D
5292kHz first Monolith message heard on this frequency - logged in 2011 by Avare & Gwraspe
4625kHz similar sounding tone from S28 Buzzer - this temporary buzzer device was used at the end of August in 2012
For the obvious reasons we are now referring to this station as "D Marker" and will continue to monitor it for activity and to establish with which other Russian military stations of the same format are part of this particular network (much as S30 Pip and S32 Squeaky Wheel are part of a same network).
*EDIT* As of 1850z on February 23rd the marker seems to have stablised to one letter only and is now giving continuous "B". What we were calling the D marker (later D/B marker) is now being referred to as B marker.
At the current time of 1220UTC this channel marker is not audible in Nahabino, Moskovskaya Oblast', but in Joensuu on Finland's Southeast border with Russia the signal strength is between S5 and S7, leading me to assume that this military hub/station is located in or near St. Petersburg. Ary Boender of UDXF and Numbers & Oddities has pointed me in the direction of a group of recent news articles with information on a new Russian Federation airforce base on Franz Josef Land which is an uninhabited archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, as well as naval expansion with new S400 missile sites and current war games - this could very well be related to this new channel marker and a sign that we can expect HF traffic to increase.
Article by Gwraspe