If you live in the UK, you might take note that the retailer, Maplin, has the Intek PL-660 on sale for 59.99 GBP. Though I’ve never held an Intek PL-660 in my hands, I’m pretty certain it’s simply a rebadged Tecsun PL-660. (Readers, please correct me if I’m wrong.)
Only a couple of hours ago, I packed up the Sony ICF-SW55 and CC Skywave portables in search of a quite spot to listen to the BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. I’m currently traveling in Canada and staying in a condo–the RFI in this building couldn’t be much worse. There was no way I’d hear the broadcast through the noise.
In search of an outdoor listening spot, I stopped at a couple open/green areas but in both cases, there was radio interference nearby. Finally, I found a quiet spot in the rather large parking area next to the gorgeous Saint-Anne-de-Beapré Basilica.
At this point, I only had three minutes to put a fresh set of batteries in the Zoom H2N recorder, connect it to the ICF-SW55 and hope that somehow I’d hear the 7,360 kHz broadcast from Ascension Island which, in fact, was directed toward Antarctica–not Canada!
I had my fingers crossed as the time hit 17:30 local (21:30 UTC).
Fortunately, I was rewarded with a signal! Not exactly armchair listening, but let me tell you I’m as pleased as punch!
After tinkering with the position of the receiver, antenna and recorder, I discovered that I achieved the best reception by placing the Sony on top of my car.
I ran the line-out audio (orange cord) to my Zoom H2N recorder inside the van and monitored the broadcast with my earphones hooked to the recorder.
About halfway through the broadcast, I remembered I had the CC Skywave in my bag as well, so I turned it on and walked around the van. It, too, could receive the BBC Ascension Island signal with some strength, but the SW55 had an edge on it in terms of AGC stability.
Still, very impressive reception for such a small portable with such a modest antenna.
It’s always a treat to enjoy the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast live, knowing that the BAS crew, wintering over in Antarctica, are enjoying it at the same time!
That, in a nutshell, is the magic of shortwave radio.
Please share your recordings!
I’ve already received almost a dozen recordings from SWLing Post readers! Thank you so much!
If you have a recording of the 2016 Midwinter Broadcast that you’d like to submit, please do so by Friday. Sometime this weekend, I plan to publish a post with all of the recordings and your photos.
Please send your recordings with any notes and photos to my email address which can be found on the Contact page.
Every year, the BBC broadcasts a special program to the scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. The BBC plays music requests and sends special messages to the small team of 40+ located at various Antarctic research stations. Each year, the thirty minute show is guaranteed to be quirky, nostalgic, and certainly a DX-worthy catch!
After the successful listener event last year, I’m calling on all SWLing Post readers and shortwave radio listeners to make a short recording (say, 30-60 seconds) of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today and share it here at the Post (frequencies and time below).
The recording can be audio-only, or even a video taken from any recording device or smart phone. It would be helpful to have a description and/or photo of your listening environment and location, if possible.
If you submit your recording to me, I will post it here on the SWLing Post–and insure that the British Antarctic Survey receives the post, too. The recordings will be arranged by geographic location.
The broadcast will take place from 2130-2200 UTC today on the following frequencies (thanks to Alokesh Gupta for the tip):
- 5,985 kHz WOF 300 kW / 184 deg to Antarctica English
- 6,035 kHz DHA 250 kW / 203 deg to Antarctica English
- 7,360 kHz ASC 250 kW / 207 deg to Antarctica English
- UPDATE: 9,720 kHz WOF 300 kW (Thanks to Richard Langley who notes that, per Glenn Hauser’s DXLG group, this frequency is not confirmed.)
I’m sure there will be live reports in the SWLing Post chat room during the broadcast. Please sign in and share your report as well!
I’m uncertain if I’ll be able to receive the broadcast this year–I’m traveling at the moment in Québec, but will have my trusty Sony ICF-SW55 and C.Crane CC Skywave in tow.
I’ll plan to seek out a quiet park away from man-made noise and give listening a go!
The Midwinter broadcast is one of my favorite programs of the year. I suppose, in part, this is because it happens on June 21–the Summer/Winter solstice–which also happens to be my birthday!
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jerry (WWØE), who shares a link to this rare Sony CRF-1 on eBay.
Here’s an excerpt from Bigapple59’s (the Seller) description:
This Ebay listing is for a Sony CRF-1 “portable” radio manufactured in Japan from 1981- 1986 and selling for a new price of around $1,795 not including the power supply. When using the CPI inflation calculator, the price when adjusted for 2016 dollars would be over $4,600! As you can determine, this radio was a premium portable that would outside the price range of anyone except the wealthy who desired the absolute best radio and had the money to purchase it. The time of this manufacture was also a time when Sony reached a height in worldwide respectability with it’s manufacture of Walk*man cassette players. From what we can determine gleaned from various sources, this radio was used by well-heeled buyers and by various media personnel who wanted a good shortwave radio to tune to the BBC, Voice of America, and other stations when they traveled internationally and to remote locations. Indeed, information related to this radio mentions that it can be tucked under the airline seat.
The CRF-1 is very scarce and is sought after by collectors. We have sold hundreds of radios and receivers here on Ebay, but do not commonly have a CRF-1 to offer for sale. Not only is this a scarce unit, but it is in nice overall cosmetic and operational condition. There are a couple of minor marks on the radio, but these can be considered as acceptable for the age of this unit and for it’s relative scarcity. Please note that there is a modification of extra inputs on the rear panel which are believed to be for external antenna and ground, but untested to verify.
Operationally, the radio works wonderfully with no known issues or problems. The front panel lights all illuminate and give off a nice green glow in a darkened room, but which are hard to see during daylight and do not show in my pictures. The included power supply can be adjusted to accommodate voltages ranging from 100 – 240 volts AC. Beneath the power supply is a battery harness clip that is used when you install D cell batteries for operation.
This CRF-1 comes with it’s AC power cord, a copy of the user manual, receiver reviews, copy of the service manual, a Theory of Operation document (not shown), and a CD that has many of the aforementioned documents on it. The unit has the battery holder at the bottom of the battery compartment. This is removed and then snapped on top of the batteries to secure them when the power supply is not being used. This CRF-1 also comes with it’s internal ACP-122W power supply which is not always present and can sell for a handsome sum of money when located for sale. One of these ACP-122W’s sold awhile back in Germany for nearly $300.
I’m sure SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, will know all about the CRF-1 and can, perhaps, comment.
The BuyItNow price for the CRF-1 is $1,695.00 US–a hefty sum and well out of my budget. For what it’s worth, Bigapple59 has a very good reputation on eBay and seems to specialize in the sale of rare solid-state receivers.
Regardless if you’re a Sony collector or not, it’s still mighty fun to take a close look at these benchmark receivers of yesteryear. Hey–one can dream!
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, John, who hosts TheReportOfTheWeek channel on YouTube and writes:
This is John from VORW Radio International and I wanted to let you know that I will be having a special shortwave broadcast on June 21st and 22nd. The broadcast will consist of talk and music and I hope to provide listeners in Europe, Asia and North America with a good time over the airwaves, with some good music!
The schedule for the transmission is as follows:
Tuesday June 21st
WBCQ – 7490 kHz – 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM Eastern 0000 – 0100 UTC – North America
Wednesday June 22nd
Shortwave Service (Via Armenia 100 kW) — 15780 kHz — 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM Eastern 1100 – 1200 UTC – Asia
Channel 292– 6070 kHz – 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern 1500 – 1600 UTC – Western, Central and Southern Europe.
Shortwave Service — 6005 kHz — 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern 1800 – 1900 UTC – Central Europe
Any reception reports will be met with an E-QSL card and can be sent to email@example.com
Thanks for letting us know about your broadcasts, John!