Tag Archives: BBC World Service

Alex’s BBC World Service frequency chart

BBC-WorldService-Frequencies

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alex, who has just informed me that he’s created a printer-friendly A4 sheet guide to BBC World Service frequencies for the 2016 summer season.

You can download his BBC World Service chart by clicking here (PDF) or by visiting his website Shortwavetimes.com where he has a number of charts.

Many thanks, Alex!

Catch the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast?

Sony-ICF-SW55-Midwinter-Antarctica

Listening to the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast in the parking lot of the Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica in Québec, Canada.

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.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van2-Midwinter-Antarctica-001

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.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van-Midwinter-Antarctica

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.

CC-Skywave-Midwinter-Antarctica

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.

Help record the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today!

800px-Antarctica.svg

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

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

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!

BBC Waveguide and Letterbox archives now available online

Waveguide

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Barraclough, who writes:

BBC World Service Archives continue to put up programmes on the main site, they were previously available on a beta site you had to register for and were allowed to add tags or edit data. 64 editions of Waveguide, their radio broadcasting developments programme now up, first one 21 April 1988. last one 14 March 2001.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0338l70/episodes/guide

There were only 4 editions of the long running Letterbox on the beta site but they have been transferred over, includes the final edition. None of World Radio Club in the archives unfortunately.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p033dqhr/episodes/guide

Many thanks for the tip, Mike! I’m happy the BBC is making their archives even more accessible as a part of their strategic plan. Please let us know if you note any other archives of interest!

From the BBC Archives: The first 21 years of the World Service

BBC-AT-WAR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares a link to the excellent archived radio documentary, The first 21 years of the World Service, via the BBC World Service‘s online audio archives.

The recording/broadcast dates from December, 18 1953. Here’s the description of the recording:

The first 21 years of the World Service: how it began in 1938, its important role in WW2 and its aftermath, including historic moments as they were first broadcast by Churchill, de Gaulle, Eisenhower.

Click here to listen to the documentary via the BBC World Service.

VOG Interval Signal

I learned an interesting fact in this documentary: I had no idea that the BBC used the Greek radio interval signal for their Greek language service while Greece was occupied in WWII. After liberation, the BBC Director General “solemnly” handed the famous interval signal–“the sound of shepherds’ pipes mingling with the bells of their flocks”–back to Greece. Amazing.

The Greek radio interval signal is one of my all-time favorites. Indeed, my mobile phone’s ringtone is the VOG interval signal:

If you would like to add this ringtone to your mobile phone, check out this post from 2013.