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Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)
On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast–an international radio broadcast intended for a small group of scientists, technicians, and support staff who work for the British Antarctic Survey.
This is one of my favorite annual broadcasts, and I endeavor to listen every year. Once again, the SWLing Post called upon readers to make a short recording of the broadcast from their locale.
Below are the entries, roughly organized by continent and country/region, including reader’s photos if provided. If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.
So, without further ado….
The 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings
SWL: Willy, OZ4ZT Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Notes: Here is a short recording of BBC AMB on 5985kHz. It was recorded using the IC 7300’s internal record function. Antenna used was a dipole for 7MHz.
SWL: Klaus Boecker Location: JN49AC in Germany Notes: Attached please find the link to my reception Video of the 2017 Midwinter broadcast. and a photo. Just failed the first seconds, because I’ve muted my headphones and was wondering why I couldn’t hear anything. Hihi.
For the reception, I used my good, old Kenwood R1000 and my homebrewed mag-loop.
Recorded via soundcard and processed with Audacity. The Video later on is done with the NCH VideoPad Software.
SWL: Tony Roper Location: Ruhpolding, Germany Notes: 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast being received on my Tecsun PL-660 whilst in Ruhpolding, Germany. Antenna was just the supplied wire hanging vertically from the window. Wasn’t expecting much due to the surrounding hills but was pleased to pick up the Ascension transmitter.
SWL: Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw Location: Formia, Italy Notes: I used the Tecsun PL-660 with its telescopic antenna and only on Dhabbayya frequency 6035 I had a bit of difficulty. I’m on my home balcony in Formia, Center Italy, Tyrrenian sea.
SWL: Andrea Coloru (IW3IAB) Location: Italy (locator JN55XI) Notes: I used an AOR 1500 with a long wire antenna (about 40 meters). My QTH locator is JN55XI and best frequency was 5985 kHz. There was light overlap by an RTTY station but reception was loud and clear. Other frequencies were bad, too much fading or unreadable.
SWL: Davide Borroni Location: Saronno, Italy Notes: I listened BBC Midwinter with SINPO 34333 on 6035 kHz AM Thanks for show !
I use my Hallicrafters receiver R45 ARR7 and Siemens E401 , magnetic loop antenna:
Davide with his Siemens E401 magnetic loop antenna.
I was curious to listen this transmission and Wednesday I tried to receive it with a little Tecsun PL-300wt and its antenna. My QTH is impossible for electric noise (I live in a flat on a bank with alarm, neon, and so on) but I listened the transmission on 6035 khz SINPO 24131 (quite inaudible), on 7360 kHz SINPO 34232 so I’ve listen on 5985 kHz SINPO 44333 (in record attached with ID), I’ve listen transmission from 21:30 to 21:50.
SWL: Cap Tux Location: Scotland Notes: BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2017. Cerys Matthews (Catatonia) presents music requests and special messages to the staff at the British Antarctic Survey, broadcasting in English, June 21 2017, 2130-2200 GMT on 5985 kHz (transmitter power of 300kW, transmitter location: Woofferton, UK).
Recorded with an SDRPlay RSP2 using SDRuno and a homebrew passive Mag Loop.
SWL: Ayrshire, Scotland Location: Scotland Notes:
Tonight I rushed home from work in time to hear the broadcast. Signals were good at my QTH in Scotland, even though we had thunder storms to the East of Scotland.
I made several (shaky) videos on my smart phone. As you will see from the videos, my receivers are more of the classic/old type, but reception was good with my home made antennas.
Details of my receivers, antennas and location are on the youtube videos.
I have posted one of reception from Wooferton on 5985 kHz Am, and one of
reception from Ascension on 7360 kHz AM.
I also heard Dhabayya with a good readable signal, but the first two were the best signals best with me.
SWL: Mark Hirst Location: Basingstoke, England Notes: Please find enclosed a short extract from yesterday’s broadcast, plus a picture of the radio used just before the programme started. Again it was so interesting to hear a broadcast aimed to such a small audience with heartfelt messages from their friends and family.
SWL: Rawad Hamwi Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia Notes:
[Wednesday] I tried listening to the BBC Antarctica Midwinter Broadcast (for the first time) from northern Saudi Arabia and really I enjoy it so much! All the 3 frequencies were loud and clear but the most audible one was 5985 kHz
I filmed the entire 30 min broadcast and the video is uploaded on YouTube
Here are some details I included in the video description
Date/Time: 21/6/2017@21:30 UTC | 22/6/2017@00:30 Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)
Frequencies: 7360 kHz – 6035 kHz – 5985 kHz
Receiver: Sony ICF 7600GR
Antenna: 30 LM Longwire Antenna
Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia
SWL: Richard Langley Location: New Brunswick Notes:
I had good luck with recording the BAS broadcast both here and using the U. Twente receiver. Attached are two two-minute clips, one from the start of each recording. Also attached [above] is a photo of the “listening post” at the back of my yard.
The Elecraft KX2 which I hooked up to a NASA PA 30 multi-band compact wire antenna that I suspended in a tree.
None of the frequencies used for the Midwinter broadcast were ideal for my location and time of day (after all, these broadcasts target Antarctica!) but last year I did successfully receive the 41 meter band broadcast.
The KX2/NASA PA 30 provided the best reception results, but sadly the recording turned out quite poor due to an incorrect setting on my Zoom H2N digital recorder.
Fortunately, I did make the following video of my Sony ICF-SW100 in action:
SWL: Nace Magner Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky Notes: I listened to the signal on 7360 kHz from the back porch of my home in Bowling Green, KY. I used a 35′ end-fed external antenna located about 20′ up in a tree. I received a similar quality signal using the external antenna with a Kaito 1103 radio. I also received the signal on the Kaito using only its whip, although the signal was substantially weaker.
Thank you for your excellent work on the SWLing Post.
SWL: Jon Pott Location: Michigan Notes: My first attempt at catching the Midwinter broadcast; I wasn’t expecting to pick up anything at all, but the Ascension Island location came through well enough that I could positively identify it when I compared to BBC’s recorded broadcast.
Recording of my reception (the beginning of the recording corresponds approximately to the 4:00 mark in the BBC recording below).
Location was western Michigan in the U.S.
Elevation: Approx. 212m ASL
SWL: David Iurescia (LW4DAF) Location: Argentina Notes: I’m sending you the first seconds of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, using a Yaesu FT 840 and a half wave dipole, 30 Km south from Buenos Aires. It is on 7360 Khz. It had good signal, but too much noise here.
From Propaganda to Journalism: How Radio Free Europe Pierced the Iron Curtain
The end of the Second World War signaled the beginning of an information war in Europe. As the military alliance between the Soviet Union and its main western allies — the United States and Britain — came to an end, the USSR backed small communist parties that asserted ever-tighter control over much of Eastern Europe.
Speaking in Fulton, Missouri in March 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned of an “Iron Curtain” of totalitarian control sealing off half the continent. His speech heralded the beginning of an ideological “cold war” that would last for more than 40 years, a struggle in which citizens of the eastern camp were only meant to hear one side of the argument.
“We talk about the Iron Curtain as a physical barrier, but it was also an information curtain,” says A. Ross Johnson, a former director of Radio Free Europe and author of a history of RFE and its companion station, Radio Liberty, which broadcast into the Soviet Union. “All the communist regimes saw control of information as a key to their rule.”
An SWLing Post contributor also recently shared the following PDF article by A. Ross Johnson for the Wilson Center. Here’s the summary:
To Monitor and be Monitored– Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the Cold War
Monitoring of Soviet bloc radios was an important input to Radio Free and Radio Liberty broadcasts during the Cold War. RFE and RL also monitored the official print media and interviewed refugees and travelers. Soviet bloc officials in turn monitored RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasts (while jamming their transmissions) to inform themselves and to counter what they viewed as “ideological subversion.” On both sides, monitoring informed media policy.
RFE and RL monitored their radio audiences through listener letters and extensive travel
surveys, while the Communist authorities monitored those audiences through secret police
informants and secret internal polling. Both approaches were second-best efforts at survey
research but in retrospect provided reasonably accurate indicators of the audience for RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasters.
Recently, an SWLing Post reader asked this simple question:
“If you were me, would you laminate a super-rare QSL card?”
The short answer–? Please don’t!
Never laminate a QSL card, photo, page or postcard
You should never apply heat-seal or adhesive (cold) seal lamination to a QSL card or any other paper memorabilia if your ultimate goal is to protect and archive it.
Why? Doesn’t lamination, for example, make your card impervious to moisture (and spilled coffee)? Sort of. So that makes it safe for the long term, doesn’t it? Well…not exactly.
These forms of lamination, over time, basically destroy printed media. In the short term, laminating your cards can look great, and will keep some of the coffee off (though it may still seep in the sides); in the long term, however, the (petroleum-based) plastic can “off gas,” causing a detrimental chemical reaction with the media it attempts to protect. Plastic can also be acidic. Coupled with the lamination heat (or the adhesive, in the case of cold-seal lamination) these processes can actually speed up the aging process “causing progressive deterioration and eventual embrittlement,” according to one archiving source.
I feel fairly passionate about this because, during my undergraduate studies, I worked for my university archives department where I was taught (by an excellent and knowledgeable archivist) to handle, document, index, and preserve sensitive documents, books, photos, cards, slides and other forms of media (known in the trade as “ephemera”). Many times, we’d receive important documents or photos from donors who had laminated them, believing they were archiving these items for future generations. Alas, we saw the results of the lamination damage first-hand: decades-old items that had been heat-laminated were separating and clouding up, often tearing apart the item inside. Our head archivist likened laminating to a self-destruct mechanism.
Take away? Lamination is a very bad idea for the long-term protection of any print media.
How to archive a QSL card––or any document, for that matter
Archival sleeves come in all forms. This one holds four cards and fits in a three ring binder.
Fortunately, there are effective (and fairly affordable) ways to properly archive and organize your QSL card collection, as well as other sentimental and/or valuable ephemera.
Look for archival transparent sleeves supplied to libraries. These are generally made of polyethylene, mylar/polyester, or another transparent archival material that passes the Photographic Activity Test (PAT).
In short: If you find an archival sleeve, from a reputable seller that passes the P.A.T. test, you’ll know it’s safe.
Archival products are acid-free, lignan-free, and chemical softener-free, thus should not interact or bind with the media you’re preserving as non-acid-free items are prone to do. With anything I wish to archive, I go with archival quality all the way.
For example, I make sure not only the clear sleeves or pages are archival, but that the binder or box containing the items are acid-free and of archival quality, as well. Any labels I use are archival, as well . That may seem like overkill to many, but it’s just what an archivist would do!
Storage of the media is also important; you don’t want to put your cards in archival sleeves and then leave them in a damp shed or shack where moisture can become trapped between your card and the encapsulating archival sleeve; mold could still develop. So a dry, somewhat temperature-controlled environment is key. Generally speaking, keeping ephemera indoors where you live may be a better option.
Sources of Archival Materials
A simple acid-free box can store hundreds of QSL cards in archival sleeves sleeves.
Archival products are more expensive than standard office products, but they’re worth it. Make sure you’re purchasing the best quality you can afford. Two of my favorite suppliers are Gaylord Archival and Light Impressions, though there are many other reputable ones out there.
Amazon and eBay offer sources of archival quality products, as well, and pricing can be more competitive than either of the retailers I’ve listed above.
As for myself, I only buy archival products from retailers that specialize in them. Both Light Impressions and Gaylord Archival have helpful staff you can call on the phone. They’ll help you find the best material for the preservation of your collection of QSL cards or whatever else you may want to protect.
I’d rather support Light Impressions with my purchase knowing that their standards are strict and their reputation rides on their products meeting strict archival standards. If you’re going to pay for something to protect your memorabilia, I say, go for quality!
And in the meantime…give the heat lamination a miss.
Good luck with your long-term archiving! And don’t forget to share those rare QSL cards with us here.