Listening across the globe: 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast!

We gathered in the Comms Office to listen to the audition, during which our loved ones sent us their messages. Even though we all can talk to our families and friends on the phone with relative ease today, it was still a very touching moment. (Credit: Michal Krzysztofowicz, Halley VI Research Station)

We gathered in the Comms Office to listen to the audition, during which our loved ones sent us their messages. Even though we all can talk to our families and friends on the phone with relative ease today, it was still a very touching moment. (Credit: Michal Krzysztofowicz, Halley VI Research Station)

On Sunday, 21 June 2015, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast–an international radio broadcast intended for a small group of scientists, technicians, and support staff who work for the British Antarctic Survey.

This is one of my favorite annual broadcasts, and I endeavor to listen every year. This year, the SWLing Post called upon readers to make a short recording of the broadcast from their locale. We received a total of thirty (!) recordings, from every continent (save Antarctica, that is; I’m sure the BAS team were too busy celebrating)…Wow! Thank you, participants!

Below are the entries, roughly organized by continent and country/region, including reader’s photos if provided. (If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.)

So, without further ado….

The Recordings

SX-99-Dial


Africa

Morocco

20150623_204701

SWL (Shortwave Listener): @K7al_L3afta
Location: Chaouia-Ouardigha, Morocco
Notes: The BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. Woofferton transmitter.
Receiver: Tecsun PL-660 + 15m wire antenna.


Asia

India

GuptaSWL: Babul Gupta
Location: Barasat, West Bengal, India
Notes: Babul listened to the broadcast with his ICOM IC-R75 receiver, connected to a 176 meter long beverage antenna oriented in a West South direction.


Malaysia

Maylasia
SWL: Timm Breyel
Location: Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Notes: Here is a sound file of the broadcast monitored in central Malaysia, using the frequency 5.985 kHz via Ascension Island at 21.30 UTC. By 21.35 UTC, QRM from presumably Myanmar Radio overwhelmed this frequency. Worst of all, reception on 9.590 kHz via Wooffeton was in audible due to strong QRM from PBS Xizang. Transmission on 5.905 via Dhabbaya was the only audible signal after 21.35 UTC, and it was a paltry (SINPO) 15341, best heard in USB.


Australia

Australia

Australia

SWL: Rob Wagner (VK3BVW)
Location: Mount Evelyn, Victoria, Australia
Notes: All three freqs noted here at Mount Evelyn, southeastern Australia: 5905.1 – Off freq and with a slight hum but a good signal, 5985 – Best of the three freqs, strong and clear, 9590 – Good signal but with moderate QRM from PBS Xizang co-channel. Pity! I suspect that freq would not have been as good down south either. Overall, a reasonable success this year.


Australia

Shack
SWL: Michael Stevenson
Location: Port Macquarie, NSW on the east coast of Australia
Notes: “5905 kHz Dhabbaya was only just fair and rather noisy while 5985 Woofferton was fair and still noisy with 9590 kHz Woofferton was the strongest signal but was marred by CRI China here in Port Macquarie, NSW on the east coast of Australia!”


New Zealand

NewZealand

SWL: Chris Mackerell
Location: Motueka, New Zealand
Notes: Receiving setup: Elad FDM-S2 SDR, Wellbrook ALA-1530S+ loop. QTH Marahau, Tasman District, New Zealand 41.00S 173.01E


Europe

Cyprus

SWL: Arjen Huisman
Location: Kissonerga, Cyprus
Notes: Attached my recording of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter broadcast on 5985 kHz. last Sunday June 21st. Something about my listening conditions: I have been listening with a JRC NRD-535DG to which a 13,5 longwire has been connected, hanging outside on the (large) uncovered balcony of my apartment, 3rd (top) floor.

Arjen Huisman - Shack Arjen Huisman - Antenna siteI live about 500m from the coastline of the western part of Cyprus, about 8 km. north of the city of Paphos in a village called Kissonerga. Generally reception conditions are very good here, so close to the sea with no high buildings around.


Denmark

Denmark

SWL: Willy Andersen (OZ4ZT)
Location: Soeborg near Copenhagen, Denmark
Notes: Willy used an Icom IC-756 Pro with an inverted V antenna. He noted that 9590 kHz and 5985 kHz were equal in signal strength and quality.


Germany

Germany
SWL: Gunther Rose
Location: Wetter, Germany

Notes: Here is my recording of the last 1,5 minutes of the Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2015 on 5985 kHz. My receiving-setup: Tecsun PL-880 with telescope antenna (indoor near a window on the 4th floor), line out to Macbook (audacity-software) Unfortunately I got lots of RFI from my neighbour’s powerline adapter so the signal from Wooferton was strong but not noise-free.


Italy

MIA STAZIONE (1)SWL: Alessio Proietti
Location: Rome, Italy
Notes: Receiver: Tecsun PL-660 Antenna: Homemade dipole 20 meters long, 6 meters height Frequency: 5985 kHz AM


Italy

bbc1
SWL: Gabriele Somma (IZ8094SWL)
Location: Salerno Roccapiemonte, Italy
Notes: recorded the broadcast on his Icom IC-PRC1500 with an antenna at 10 meters high.


Italy

SWL: Giuseppe Morlè (Joseph)
Location: Ponza island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy
Notes:  I heard the BBC broadcast with my AOR AR 3030 receiver and Mini Whip antenna, and Tecsun PL-660.

Giuseppe-Morle-Immagine-122


Netherlands

SWL: Jonathan Marks
Location: University Twente, Netherlands
Notes: Here’s a clip from the University Twente SDR reception from Woofterton 5985 from 2145 onwards.


Poland

SWL: Dominik
Location: southwest Poland
Notes:  5845 kHz


Portugal

SWL: Sérgio Pimenta
Location: Porto, Portugal
Notes: [H]ere is my reception in Portugal (Porto, northern of Portugal), using a Tecsun PL-310ET with just the telescopic antenna on my kitchen window, very strong signal.


Romania

SWL: Tudor Vedeanu
Location: Gura Humorului, Romania
Notes: Receiver setup: Eton E1XM, 60m wire antenna.


Russia

Russia-003SWL: Dennis
Location: Moscow, Russia
Notes: BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2015 – for SWLing.com. Moscow. Grundig Satellit 1400 built-in mini whip.


Spain

SWL: Michael Haun
Location: Menorca, Spain
Notes: Please find 2 recordings from your special Midwinter broadcast: 5905 kHz (S9+10, rapid fading, quite noisy) and 5985 kHz ( S9+40, fantastic signal).

Haun1

Receiver used was a PERSEUS SDR and a 5×10 meters active loop antenna. Keep up the good work and 73 also to all in the Antarctica!


Turkey

SWL: Oktay Egi
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Notes: I am located in Istanbul, Turkey. I used Sony ICF-SW77 for listening with internal antenna on 5905 KHz. The sound was not clear but understandable. Time was 21:35 UTC.


United Kingdom

SWL: Mark Harper (MW1MDH)
Location: Saltney, England
Notes:  “I’m running an IC-R75, on an internal, RF systems Windom, the ATU isn’t connected in the attached video. I’m located in Saltney, which is about 2 miles west of Chester, but just over the Welsh border by about 200 yards, I’m also just north of Wooferton! Hope the audio is ok, I’m running my 75 on an external speaker, just off to the side.”


United Kingdom

SWL: “Driverfilms”
Location: Newcastle Under Lyne in Staffordshire, England


United Kingdom

SWL: Andrew Svonja
Location: Hinckley, Leicestershire in the Midlands in the UK
Notes: On Sunday 21/06/15 at 21:30 UTC I recorded a segment of the BBC Winter Solstice broadcast to the Antarctic–SINPO reading was a complete 5 across the board


United Kingdom

SWL: Stephen Cooper
Location: Southport, England,
Notes: 9,590Khz on the Elad FDM-S2 with a 15m random wire.


North America

Canada

Canada

SWL: Fred
Location: London, Ontario
Notes: The recording was made using a camera in AVI format, which has been converted to MP3. The time stamp on the video is 17:46 EST. The recording is from a Grundig Yacht Boy 400. The best reception was by laying the Grundig flat with the radio antenna facing North East. No longwire or external aerial was used. I was also able to receive the signal on my Tecsun PL-380, but the signal was very muffled with excessive static.


Canada

SWL: Richard Langley
Location: Hanwell, New Brunswick, Canada

Richard's Tecsun PL-880 and digital recorder in a protective plastic case outdoors.

Richard’s Tecsun PL-880 and Tecsun digital recorder in a protective plastic case outdoors.

Notes: Richard listened to the broadcast on 9,590 kHz. He notes that it was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in AM mode with 3.5 kHz RF filtering.


United States

SWL: Dan Robinson
Location: Potomac, Maryland, USA
Notes: using a JRC NRD-515 receiver, with Wellbrook 1530 loop antenna.

Dan also included the following audio recording:


United States

SWL: Frank Colella
Location: Westchester County, New York
Notes: Sangean ATS-909 receiver


United States

A screen capture of the TitanSDR Pro as I recorded all three frequencies of the BBC Midwinter broadcast simultaneously.

A screen capture of the TitanSDR Pro as I recorded all three frequencies of the BBC Midwinter broadcast simultaneously.

SWL: Thomas Witherspoon
Location: North Carolina, USA
Notes: I recorded the broadcast on a total of three SDRs simultaneously: the TitanSDR Pro, Elad-FDM-S2 and the WinRadio Excalibur.

Screen capture of the WinRadio Excalibur

Screen capture of the Elad FDM-S2

I was very pleased to hear the broadcast on 9590 kHz. Since North Carolina was not in the path of this broadcast, it was a weak signal. All three receivers were using the same large outdoor horizontal delta loop at 60′ above the ground.

Screen capture of the WinRadio Excalibur

Screen capture of the WinRadio Excalibur

The following embedded audio player, should contain all three recordings. Note that the FDM-S2 recording (which is perhaps the best of the three) starts in the middle of the broadcast.


South America

Brazil

Brazil

SWL: Flavio PY2ZX
Location: Brazil
Notes: Also noted the three frequencies in Brazil but 9590 kHz sounds better despite the presence of PBS Xizang. Great to hear such friendship spirit through the shortwaves! Congratulations BBC and BAS team. My recording:


Colombia

BBCMidwinter2

SWL: Rafael Rodriguez R.
Location: Bogota, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Notes: Greetings from Colombia. I could only hear the signal at 9590 KHz. The location is [at] a park close to my house (aprox. Lat 4 72 62 N Long 74 02 85 W; alt 2577 m over level sea).

BBCMidwinter1

I use a Degen DE1103 with Sony AN61 Antenna, to record a Sony ICD-P320 digital recorder.


Thank you!

Once again, many thanks to all of you who submitted your recordings of the BBC Midwinter Broadcast! We’ll be sharing this post with both the British Antarctic Survey and the BBC World Service. And to all of you, from the SWLing Post: Happy Midwinter! Happy Summer/Winter Solstice!

Please note that any map graphics used in this post were originally designed by NuclearVacuum and Ssolbergj–they have been modified for this post under a Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 3.0.

7 thoughts on “Listening across the globe: 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast!

  1. Dan Robinson

    Absolutely stunning collection of all of these broadcasts, a lot of work Tom, thanks. . . from all of us in the SWL community

    Reply
  2. Keith Perron

    In 2015 this broadcast is not needed anymore. Those posted in Antarctic have so many other means of communications. All this highlights is that shortwave is a legacy form of communications.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Oh, I think the broadcast honors a winter celebration and long-held tradition; highlighting the vast distance between home and these isolated parts of the globe. True, they have excellent access to digital content in most of these Antarctic stations. But shortwave radio has so much more style and panache than an Internet stream.

      That’s probably why they still go out of their way to tune in.

      Reply
  3. Michael Stevenson

    I think it is wonderful that this tradition continues on shortwave, what is wrong with keeping some old technology to keep the tradition going, it gives pleasure like having and driving a vintage car or motorcycle, it may not be a s good as current more modern items but the old can give so much pleasure and fun, sometimes, modern and more perfect technology becomes a bore!!!!

    Reply
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