Paul receives report confirmation from BBC test transmission

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul Walker, who writes:

Remember the “transmission tests” from Babcock and Wooferton last summer? I finally got an email QSL…

My original email is first along with an audio sample of what I heard….

Original message sent on Tuesday, August 11, 2015:

I wanted to send you a reception report after hearing your broadcast.

“This Is A Test Transmission” on 15745khz heard at 1655UTC/11:55am Central today (08/10/2015) in Beaumont, Texas (far southeast corner of the state). This is 4 1/2 minutes, recorded until abrupt sign off in mid song.

I used a Sangean ATS909X with a PK’s Loop 6-18mhz tuneable Shortwave loop. The loop can be tuned to a certain frequency with a dial and can be rotated.

Tuning the loop to your exact frequency and orienting it in your general direction resulted in a pretty decent signal with good audio. The signal was about a 5 out of 10 with some fading, but generally pretty steady.

A link to the 4 1/2 minute audio clip is here:

Do you offer QSL’s? I would very much appreciate a QSL card or letter via regular mail if that is possible.

Warmest Regards,
Paul Walker

Fast forward to yesterday (Wednesday, January 27, 2016):

Thank you for your report and I confirm the details are correct. These transmissions were to fault-find on a 300 kW sender at the UK HF transmitter station at Woofferton.

The engineers needed a long test time as the fault was of an intermittent nature.

Babcock, Woofferton is the only remaining UK HF sender broadcast station and also is the only one with this transmission test audio and email address.

The audio is contained in a file playout system and incorporates non-copyright music and voice announcements from one of the employees at the transmitter site.

Thanks for your interest.

73

Dave G4OYX,

(Retired) Senior Transmitter Engineer Woofferton 1982-2012.

Very cool, Paul! And many thanks to Dave Porter for supplying Paul’s confirmation!

If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend Dave Porter’s video presentation of Woofferton on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/wooffertonuk) and this history of WOF (http://www.bbceng.info/Technical%20Reviews/technical_reviews.htm).

Download the 1923 “first Wireless Christmas” edition of The Radio Times

RadioTimes1923

(Source: BBC Genome Blog via Mike Barraclough)

The much-loved Christmas edition of the Radio Times made its first appearance in 1923. 

It was all very different to today’s multi-channel, on-demand world. There was only radio, and London station 2LO had a meagre five-and-a-half hours of programmes on Christmas Day.

But to some extent, the first Christmas issue set many traditions which have prevailed for decades in various guises. The cover was a warm splash of colour and very festive in tone, while the publication’s austere masthead was festooned with snow and holly.

John Reith, who went on to become the BBC’s first director general, was given the first page to deliver a message to listeners, in which he deliberated the meaning of Christmas and then inevitably talked about the joy of broadcasting and the “first Wireless Christmas”.

“The loud speaker is such a convenient entertainer,” he wrote. “He doesn’t feel hurt if a cracker is pulled in the middle of a song, or offended if the fun grows riotous during his performance”.

While Reith was keen to talk up the virtues of broadcasting, the magazine was packed with adverts for radio sets and cartoons about the joys of consuming radio programmes.

But Christmas is all about giving, and we’d like to offer you the chance to download the first Christmas issue. It’s a fascinating document and we hope you will enjoy it. Happy Christmas fromBBC Genome!

Download a PDF version of the 1923 Christmas Radio Times by clicking on this link

BBC World Service receives funding increase

BBC-AT-WAR(Source: BBC Media Centre via Jonathan Marks)

Statement on newly announced Government funding of the World Service

Tony Hall, the Director-General of the BBC, said:
“I warmly welcome today’s announcement. It’s fantastic news.

“This new funding is the single biggest increase in the World Service budget ever committed by any government.

“The millions announced today will help the BBC deliver on our commitment to uphold global democracy through accurate, impartial and independent news reporting.

“The World Service is one of the UK’s most important cultural exports and one of our best sources of global influence. We can now further build on that. The funding will also help speed us on to our target of reaching half a billion people globally.”

  • Enhanced TV services for Africa
  • New radio services for audiences in North Korea; radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea
  • Additional language offers via digital and TV in India and Nigeria
  • More regionalised content to better serve audiences to the BBC Arabic Service
  • Dedicated TV output for Somalia and a fully digital service for Thailand
  • Enhanced digital and TV services for Russian speakers, both in Russia and surrounding communities
  • A video-led digital transformation of Languages services
  • To expand the impact and future-proof World Service English

In Korogocho, Koch FM focuses on water sanitation

KenyaMap

(Source: BBC Media Action)

On Global Handwashing Day, Diana Njeru looks at how a radio station constructed from a shipping container is helping people improve their health in one of Kenya’s largest slums.

On the banks of a slimy grey river, a man is using a handcart to dump a barrel of human waste into the water. Sliding down the slope, the cart slips from his grasp and it tumbles in, forcing him to wade through the sludge to retrieve it.

This was the scene before me as I visited Korogocho slum last week, one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements and home to over 150,000 residents.

A shipping container turned studio

Just up the road from the river is Koch FM, a popular community radio station BBC Media Action is helping to support through tailored mentoring to improve the technical skills of its staff. The station’s studio – constructed from an old shipping container and sound proofed with egg boxes – has been run by a team of passionate volunteers since 2006.

[…]Clean water is very hard to come by. In slums like Korogocho, people must either rely on rainwater or water vending points run by cartels. This toxic environment paired with limited awareness of good hygiene means life-threatening but preventable illnesses like diarrhoea are all too common.

To help tackle this, BBC Media Action mentor Davie Njuguna is currently working with staff at Koch FM to help them produce programmes that address water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues.

Continue reading on the BBC Media Action blog…

Video: “The very particular world of amateur radio”

BBC-Yaesu

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Nick, for sharing this 2013 video produced by the BBC. Here is the description from YouTube:

“In the face of the internet, mobiles and instant messaging you might expect the hobby of amateur radio – or HAM radio as it’s also known – to be on the decline.

But in the last three years, the number of amateur radio licences has risen by over 8,000 – with 80,000 currently issued in the UK.

Using designated frequencies, amateur radio enthusiasts communicate with people over the world. Many prefer the relaxed approach of ‘rag chewing’ or chatting at length with people, who often become friends – while at the opposite end of the spectrum ‘contesters’ compete to make as many contacts as possible in a given period.

The hobby is also a public service, with Raynet (in the UK) stepping in during emergencies when regular communication networks fail. Amateur radio enthusiasts are currently contributing to relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.”

Shortwave Radio Recordings: RCI, BBC, VOA circa 1979 & 1981

HalliDial

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares the following recording and notes:

A few snippets from my old shortwave tapes that were too short to upload individually. These were made using a GE portable multi band that had poor selectivity, hence the annoying ute during the BBC clip.

Times of individual clips are:

  • 00:00 – 01:59: 1979, July 19 – RCI, frequency announcements in English and french.
  • 01:59 – 09:51: 1979, July 20 – BBC, newscast, bothered by an annoying utility station.
  • 09:51 – 11:38: 1981, August 28 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2
  • 11:38 – 14:52: 1981, August 29 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

BBC sets plans for next decade

BBC-AT-WARMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill, for sharing a link to this article which summarizes the BBC’s plans for the next ten years.

BBC director general, Tony Hall, said the corporation will become an “open BBC for the internet age”.

While Hall was quick to add that funding cuts would equate to “the loss or reduction of some services” he also highlighted several efforts that would include shortwave and mediumwave broadcasts, including:

  • “Significant investment” in the BBC World Service, including a daily news programme for North Korea and more broadcasts to Russia, India and the Middle East
  • A news service for Ethiopia and Eritrea on medium wave and short wave

Of course, we can expect more cuts to BBC World Service shortwave broadcasting over the next ten years even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned in Hall’s speech. If we’re lucky, the BBC will continue to broadcast into those parts of the world that still rely on shortwave. Specifically mentioning North Korea, Ethiopia and Eritrea appears to be a nod in that direction.

Click here to read this article on the BBC News website.

Also, The Guardian has posted the full text of Tony Hall’s speech. It’s worth reading.