Recording Radio History: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee via BBC World Service

Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace (photo: BBC)

Ten years ago, my wife–then fiancée–and I lived in the UK, and were fortunate enough to attend The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebration on the vast lawn at Buckingham Palace. It was without doubt the largest party I’ve ever attended, packed to the gills with the British public–a thoroughly amazing event, featuring a who’s who of past-and-present British musicians and personalities, encouraging attendees to join them in their bit of fun–and, of course, God save the Queen.

Yesterday, I re-lived the energy of that party as I heard (and recorded) the follow-up event these ten years later–The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, on the BBC World Service–as heard from remote Ascension Island.

When hearing live events like this on shortwave–especially ones like this that celebrate national heritage–I know I’m listening to history in the making. The crowds applauding and cheering in a live broadcast over shortwave reminds me of a former era when British Expats across the globe relied on the BBC World Service to connect them with ol’ Blighty.

Ascension Island, marked with an "A" (image: Google Maps)

I recorded these broadcasts from my home in the southeastern US, hearing the BBC World Service relay station on the tiny, isolated Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The broadcast was heard at first on 15,400 kHz, then moved to 9,915 kHz coinciding with their normal broadcast schedule. The broadcast, while completely intelligible, is weak in the beginning, but gains considerable strength by the end. There are summer static crashes heard as storms moved through the southeast US. I divided the broadcast into two parts, coinciding with my shift from one frequency to the other.

I also included a BBC WS news broadcast in Part 2 which followed the end of the show.

Either use the embedded audio player below, or simply click here to download the mp3 files for Part 1 and Part 2.

I used the WinRadio Excalibur to record both of these segments. Its synchronous detection helped deal with fading (QSB) present at the beginning of the recording.

Once again, history is made…and archived on shortwave radio.  Enjoy!

Spread the radio love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.