Video postcards: wishing you a “Happy” weekend from Antarctica

(Image: FT5ZM)

Wednesday, as I listened to (and attempted to record) this year’s annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, I couldn’t help but recall the W4DXCC conference three years ago, during which representatives from the Amsterdam Island DXpedition (FT5ZM) gave a one-hour multimedia presentation about their journey, including their on-air accomplishments.

It was, to say the least, all fascinating.  Even the expedition’s financing interested me.

But I particularly found the logistics of the whole enterprise intriguing, such as the crew’s equipment choices in the form of emergency provisions, food, medical and camping supplies…Also fascinating, of course, was the description of the lengthy voyage to the island and back aboard the Braveheart.

The Braveheart and FT5ZM crew

I’ll never forget what the presenter, Bob (K4UEE) noted regarding the anticipated landing on the island.  Here they were, he explained, heading to one of the most remote islands in the world, and its only inhabitants were twenty-seven French scientists with the TAAF (Terres australes et antarctiques françaises). The DXers had to spend several weeks there, and––especially considering the close quarters––worried they could find common ground with these dedicated and apparently very serious scientists, and were uncertain about whether the two diverse groups could get along during their stay.

Then, en route to the island, Bob and the DXers discovered this video produced by the Amsterdam Island scientists. It immediately settled their concerns:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Aw, whoever said serious scientists have to be serious all the time?

Bob said that after watching this video, the whole FT5ZM team knew they were in for a treat. And as it turns out, they were.  Not only were the scientists a fun group who shared their sense of humor, but they also shared their enjoyment of rather superlative cuisine on that far-flung isle.  It seems that French scientists don’t venture to a remote island without proper provisions…and a proper French chef!

I rediscovered this video several months later, and also unearthed a number of other “Happy” videos from the 2014 TAAF teams.

And so, for your Friday enjoyment, here are the rest of the videos, too:

Terre Adelie

Click here to view on YouTube.

Crozet Islands

Click here to view on YouTube.

Kerguelen

Click here to view on YouTube.

Here’s to a happy weekend!  Cheers!

It’s Field Day weekend 2017: find a local event, have fun!

If you live in North America and have an interest in becoming a ham radio operator, this is the weekend to check out what amateur radio is all about, and meet local radio enthusiasts.  

It’s Field Day!

What is Field Day?  I’ll quote from the ARRL, who sponsors the event:

“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.”

GOTAMany Field Day sites have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station where non-licensed individuals are welcome to play radio. It’s a fantastic way to try your hand at transmitting with a little guidance and encouragement from the more experienced. Indeed, even if there is no GOTA station, you will often be invited to try out the mic.

You’ll find that ham radio operators are very welcoming on Field Day–after all, spreading the word about the fun of amateur radio is what it’s all about. Indeed, I’ve shown up unannounced to a number of Field Days over the years; once I even got some serious radio time with the Charlotteville Amateur Radio Club while on vacation in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This year, I’m joining the Québec Amateur Radio Club (Club Radio Amateur de Québec), for the second year in a row, and I’m looking forward to it very much!

Keep in mind that there are many shortwave listeners among the amateur radio community; indeed, many hams became interested in the hobby through SWLing.

The ARRL has made it quite easy to find registered Field Day locations in your region. Click here to find a local Field Day event near you–and have a great Field Day!

Senate Hearing: ABC & HF broadcasting

First thing I tuned to with my Elecraft KX2 in August 2016 was Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz. Radio Australia is no longer on shortwave.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nigel Holmes, who shares the following link to the ABC & HF broadcasting Senate Hearing and notes:

http://parlview.aph.gov.au/mediaPlayer.php?videoID=355749

3 hours in total.

Three quality options for streaming/download – Hi 1400 MB, Med 675 MB & Lo 250MB

Witnesses in order
1. DFAT (Foreign Affairs & Trade)
2. 52′ Gary Baker (ex-Broadcast Australia) and NH (ex-ABC/RA)
3. ABC
4. 2h22′ Graeme Dobell (ex-ABC/RA journalist & ABC Pacific correspondent) (By far the most interesting testimony, a tutorial in South Pacific geopolitics. Who knew the Australian Constitution refers to the S Pac in the External Affairs Powers area??!!)

I was tickled by Sen. Xenophon’s retort, “What, they don’t have ears?!” to ABCs assertion that letters of support (for HF b’casting) from the hobbyist fraternity were irrelevant. Sen. Xenophon could have added, “What, they don’t vote, pay taxes or are entitled to have a view of ABC?!”

A couple of you had trouble locating the submissions to the enquiry, they’re found here:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Shortwaveradio/Submissions

Many thanks, Nigel, for sharing this and for your regular updates from the Senate.

From the Isle of Music & Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, June 25-July 1

From the Isle of Music, June 25-July 1
This week, Bobby Carcassés discusses some of his new Cubadisco-winning album Blues con Montuno with us, and we listen to some of the best tracks. Later, we listen to music from the other nominated albums in the Jazz Soloists category of Cubadisco 2017,
Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, June 29
Episode 18 of Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, a musical variety program that features everything from everywhere EXCEPT music that you are probably familiar with, will air on WBCQ the Planet, 7490 KHz, Thursday, June 29 from 2300-2330 UTC (7:00pm-7:30pm EDT in the Americas). 

 

Lowell Thomas: “The Forgotten Man Who Transformed Journalism”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Patalon, who shares the following story from The Smithsonian:

The Forgotten Man Who Transformed Journalism in America

Lowell Thomas was the first host of a TV broadcast news program, and adopted a number of other new technologies to make his mark in the 20th century

By the time Lowell Thomas turned 25, he’d already worked as a journalist, earned multiple degrees, and found a place on the faculty at Princeton University. But seizing a rare opportunity during World War I changed him from youthful overachiever to media heavyweight. During that conflict he met T.E. Lawrence, soon-to-be famous as “Lawrence of Arabia”—and Thomas played a large part in giving Lawrence that fame. The encounter launched Thomas into the media stratosphere with a groundbreaking multimedia presentation that captivated millions.

But while Lawrence’s work ended abruptly with his untimely death, Thomas went on to live a long, remarkable life. He traveled Europe, the Middle East, India, Afghanistan, New Guinea and Tibet, even meeting the Dalai Lama. He made fans out of Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill and led a prolific career in the news, making reports by print, radio, and TV—and reshaping them all into more formal, serious mediums.

Yet for a man with such a hyperbolic life, his legacy has been largely forgotten. Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at New York University, set out to remedy that lapse in public memory with his new biography, The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th-Century Journalism. Smithsonian.com talked with Stephens about his book, and why Thomas still matters today. […]

Click here to continue reading the full article at The Smithsonian online.

Many thanks for sharing this, Bill! What a fascinating fellow.