Friday: transmission tests for Sunday’s Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

1024px-Antarctica_6400px_from_Blue_Marble

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Wagner, who reports:

HFCC is now listing a test transmission (as the BBC usually does) before the official Antarctic broadcast. The test will be held on Friday June 19 at 2130-2145 UTC. All frequencies listed [below] will be tested INCLUDING the 7425 Ascension outlet! Tests usually consist of a simple feed to BBC WS English programming.

  • 7,425 kHz, Ascension, 207 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, Woofferton, 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, Woofferton, 182 degrees
  • 5,905 kHz, Dhabayya, 203 degrees

What’s interesting about this is that 7425 wasn’t listed in the finally three freqs chosen for the broadcast, but they are including it in the test! Sounds like they are having “an each-way bet” (as we say in Australia) – 7425 may still possibly be used as a backup for the actual broadcast on June 21.  Cheers, Rob VK3BVW

Many thanks, Rob!  These test broadcasts will give us a good idea which frequencies to focus on during the official broadcast on June 21, 2015.  I’ll be listening Friday at 2130 UTC!

[Update: Note that I originally noted the broadcast time as Thursday in the title of this post. Apologies! I’ve since made this correction. The test broadcast is Friday night (June 19, 2015).]

BBC At War: new series sheds light on WWII broadcasting

BBC-AT-WAR

Many thanks to several SWLing Post readers from the UK who have pointed out this new BBC Two documentary: The BBC at War, Presented by Jonathan Dimbleby.

BBC Two describes the documentary as, “[a]n enthralling series exploring how the BBC fought not only Hitler but also the British government to become the institution it is today.”

Of course, the BBC iPlayer is region-locked, so you either need to be resident in the UK or using a proxy server in order to view. The first episode is available to view now; the second will be soon.

Click here to view Episode 1: The War of Words.

2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast frequencies confirmed

800px-Antarctica.svgMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Stephen Cooper, who has confirmed the frequencies that will be used for the 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on June 21 at 21:30 UTC.

Again, this year, I’m calling on all SWLing Post readers and shortwave radio listeners to make a short recording (say, 30-60 seconds) of the show and share it here at the Post. Click here for details.

Stephen received confirmation of the following frequencies directly from the BBC World Service:

  • 5,985 kHz,
  • 9,590 kHz,
  • and 5,905 kHz

Evidently, these were the frequencies chosen from the following that were tested:

  • 7,425 kHz, Ascension, 207 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, Woofferton, 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, Woofferton, 182 degrees
  • 5,905 kHz, Dhabayya, 203 degrees

I think it’s safe to assume that the same antenna paths will be used from the tests. I had hoped an Ascension Island frequency would have made the cut as it’s typically the frequency I hear best here in eastern North America. Of course, the selections were made based on actual test reception in the various parts of Antarctica where the team is located.

Please note these frequencies and take a little time to submit your recording! We look forward to sharing and mapping them across the globe.

Help record the 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on June 21

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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!

Regular SWLing Post readers know that I’m a huge fan of the Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast (and without fail, it falls on my birthday each year!).

Hit the record button!

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey's new base (Source: BBC)

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey)

This year, I’m calling on all SWLing Post readers and shortwave radio listeners to make a short recording (say, 30-60 seconds) of the show and share it here at the Post.

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 BBC World Service receives the post, too.  The recordings will be arranged by geographic location.

Are you in?

If you’re interested in participating, mark your calendars for June 21st!  I’ll post updates and frequencies about the Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast here on the SWLing Post. Please follow the tag: Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast…and get ready for some cool solstice fun!

[UPDATE: Click here for the latest broadcast frequencies.]

Thanks for the shout out, Click!

BBC_ClickSome of you may recall this recent post about listening to the BBC World Service program, Click, via shortwave radio.

SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, discovered that Click hosts Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson mentioned his shortwave research at the conclusion of the show’s most recent episode.

The podcast of this episode, which focuses on the Nepal Quake Project, is available online and well worth hearing.

Richard also kindly provided us with this brief audio excerpt from Click during which the hosts discuss shortwave radio:

Listening to BBC “Click” on shortwave

PL-680-BBC-Click-Frequency

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

“Last January, I wanted to see if I could hear the BBC World Service’s technology program “Click” via shortwave.

BBC_ClickI was and still am a regular listener to the podcast but I was home on a Tuesday afternoon stranded by a snow storm and tuned to one of the frequencies used by the World Service for west and central Africa, which usually come in reasonably well in eastern North America. To my disappointment, another program was aired at the time “Click” was going out on the real-time online streamed service. I kept listening but “Click” didn’t appear on shortwave later that afternoon either. In general, the programs going out shortwave were not the ones being streamed over the Internet.

I made enquiries to Bill Thompson, the knowledgeable co-host of “Click” and to others about when “Click” aired on shortwave but came up empty.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I got an e-mail from Bill asking me if I’d heard back from the BBC about the airing of “Click” on shortwave as he’d passed on my request for information. Unfortunately, I hadn’t, but his e-mail reminded me of my effort and so I did some more digging.

I once again scoured the BBC website and eventually found the World Service FAQ page. And, on that page, we find the answer to the question “Where can I find a schedule and frequency for BBC World Service programmes?”with the online program schedule as well as the program schedules for radio transmissions to the various world regions, including local AM and FM radio, DAB radio, satellite radio, and, for some regions, shortwave radio.

I noticed that, according to these schedules, “Click” is broadcast by radio at various times on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, depending on the target region, including some broadcasts by shortwave.

So, on Tuesday afternoon this week, I took one of my portable shortwave receivers (a Tecsun PL-880) to work and operated it from the back of my SUV in the parking lock of my building with a short wire antenna fed out through the rear window and recorded the audio.

Low and behold, I heard “Click” at 19:32 UTC on 15400 kHz from one of the transmitters on Ascension Island. Reception was not bad given the fact that the signal is beamed in the opposite direction to us and there’s a fair degree of radio-frequency interference (RFI) from various electrical and electronic devices in and around my building. The signal would have been much stronger in the African target zone. A short audio clip of the start of the program is [below] (lasts one minute).

I’m sure I could find a quieter location RFI-wise like one of the university’s playing fields and might try that next week.

After confirming that “Click” is indeed still on shortwave, I decided to make a chart of all the “Click” broadcast times including those via shortwave as the “Click” website only gives the times of the online streamed broadcasts. [Click here to download a] PDF-version of the chart. A “bullet” indicates a broadcast of “Click” by any transmission method for each target region. If, in addition to other types of radio broadcast, shortwave is used, then the frequencies (in kHz) and transmitter locations are listed. I think all the information is correct but I’m happy to receive corrections. The schedule should be good until October and I’ll try to produce an updated version after that.

It is good to see that the BBC technology program is still available via shortwave – a still-useful technology in many parts of the world. And, although I’ll still listen to “Click” via the podcast, it’s nice to know that I can still catch it on a Tuesday afternoon with a shortwave receiver.”

Click here to download Richard’s PDF chart of Click shortwave broadcasts.

Many thanks, Richard! Like you, I’ve been a long-time fan of Click. Indeed, five years ago, I had the honor of being interviewed for the program [then known as Digital Planet].

I’ve heard Click a number of times via the BBC World Service on shortwave, but never noted the times and frequencies.  Thank you so much for compiling this info for us, Richard, and happy listening!

Readers: Note that if Click’s shortwave schedule doesn’t work for you, you can always subscribe to Click’s podcast, or listen online

Note: This post was updated December 3, 2015 with current broadcast schedule.

BBC shortwave frequencies and schedule for Nepal earthquake relief

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BBC-Nepal(Source: BBC Media Centre press release)

BBC World Service broadcasts Lifeline programmes in Nepal

In response to the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, the BBC World Service is now broadcasting additional programming on shortwave in both Nepalese and in English.
BBC Media Action – the BBC’s international development charity – is working with the Nepali Service on BBC World Service (radio and online) and local partner radio stations to broadcast ‘Lifeline’ programming.

Liliane Landor, Controller of World Service Languages, says: “Information is vital and we are doing all we can to make sure that our audiences in the affected areas receive their local and regional news as well as ‘Lifeline’ programming designed to give practical information to help deal with the aftermath of the earthquake.”

The Nepali language programme is available on shortwave as follows:

Nepali dawn transmission (01:30-01:45 GMT)
11995 kHz (25 metre band)
15510 kHz (19 metre band)

Nepali evening transmission (15:00-16:00 GMT)
9650 kHz (31 metre band)
5895 kHz (49 metre band)

The availability of World Service English on short wave to Northern India and Nepal has been extended with the service now starting one hour earlier than normal at 23.00 GMT.

Additional frequencies for World Service in English (to S Asia) from 23:00 GMT to 24:00GMT
5895 kHz (49 metre band)
9540 kHz (31 metre band)

From 00:00GMT the broadcasts continue as normal on 12,095kHz, 9,410kHz and 5970kHz