Monthly Archives: June 2018

It’s Field Day weekend 2018: find a local event, have fun!

If you live in North America and have an interest in becoming a ham radio operator, this is the weekend to check out what amateur radio is all about, and meet local radio enthusiasts.  

It’s Field Day!

What is Field Day?  I’ll quote from the ARRL, who sponsors the event:

“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.”

GOTAMany Field Day sites have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station where non-licensed individuals are welcome to play radio. It’s a fantastic way to try your hand at transmitting with a little guidance and encouragement from the more experienced. Indeed, even if there is no GOTA station, you will often be invited to try out the mic.

You’ll find that ham radio operators are very welcoming on Field Day–after all, spreading the word about the fun of amateur radio is what it’s all about. Indeed, I’ve shown up unannounced to a number of Field Days over the years; once I got some serious radio time with the Charlotteville Amateur Radio Club while on vacation in Prince Edward Island, Canada and I’ve spent the past two Field Days with the Québec Amateur Radio Club (Club Radio Amateur de Québec). It’s all been amazingly fun.

Gaétan Trépanier (VE2GHO) making final adjustments to the club’s HF Yagi during Field Day 2017

This year, I should be back home and plan to spend Field Day with my buddy Vlado (N3CZ) in the Field! We plan to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and operate for a few hours. Later, we’ll likely stop by some local clubs on the air.

Keep in mind that there are many shortwave listeners among the amateur radio community; indeed, many hams became interested in the hobby through SWLing.

The ARRL has made it quite easy to find registered Field Day locations in your region. Click here to find a local Field Day event near you–and have a great Field Day!

Reminder: Help record the 2018 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today

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 successful listener events from years past, 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).

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

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.

Audio should be in the MP3 format and videos either hosted on YouTube or Vimeo so that I can easily embed them without having to convert and upload myself.

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.

Frequencies

This year, there have been few details about the broadcast announced in advance–I’ve seen no test broadcast announcements as in years past–so my fingers are crossed that it’ll take place on the air, on schedule.

Please note that the broadcast begins at 2130 UTC on (Thursday) June 21, 2018. The following frequencies were provided by Mauno Ritola who sourced them from a German SWL list serve:

From ASCENSION

7360 kHz

From DHABAYYA

6035 kHz

From WOOFFERTON

7230 and possibly 5985 kHz

UPDATE via Richard Langley:

Updated frequency list from BBCWS Audience Relations via World of Radio list:

5985 Woofferton 184°
7360 Ascension 207°
9890 Woofferton 182°

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 hope I’ll be able to receive the broadcast this year–I’m traveling again, but will have a receiver in tow. Worse case, I’ll snag the broadcast from a WebSDR in Europe (which is a pretty easy catch).

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! Woo hoo!

Tidlow explores 1970s CB radio culture through photos

(Source: British Journal of Photography)

Dart Player, from the photobook Eyeball Cards: The Art of British CB Radio Culture. © David Titlow, Four Corners Books

David Titlow is Eyeballing 1970s Citizens Band Radio culture

Before mobile phones and social medias, there was Citizens Band Radio – a now largely defunct technology whose culture has been unearthed by David Titlow. With the project going on show at PhotoEast festival from 24 May – 24 June, we revisit an article first published in August 2017

“It was before mobile phones, before the internet. It was the initial form of mass communication, a way you could chat to your friends for free,” says David Titlow as we talk about CB Radio, the now-obscure 1970s and 80s technology.

“I remember lots of people in Suffolk got a CB radio and thought they were in the Dukes of Hazard,” he laughs. “It was the same all over the country. It was a fascinating phenomenon.”

It’s the subject of Titlow’s new photobook, which brings together portraits of Citizens Band (CB) Radio users with their ‘calling cards’, known amongst the community as ‘eyeball cards’. These cards were a form of personal promotion – pseudonyms and artistic illustrations were used as a means of identifying the CB user, expressing something of their personality as well as giving the recipient their details.[…]

Click here to read the full article and enjoy Tidlow’s excellent photos.

Tom’s field portable HF antenna snags VOK’s summit broadcast

Tom’s field portable car roof HF antenna.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who shares a recording he made of the Voice of Korea on June 14, 2018. This English broadcast focuses on the Singapore summit and is, no doubt, historic in its content. [Note that we’ve posted other recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.]

TomL notes:

Recorded on my noisy Lenovo laptop, SDRPlay RSP2, and an unamplified 18.5 foot antenna on the roof of my SUV.

I’m most impressed with the quality of his recording–VOK is not the easiest station to snag in the US midwest:

Click here to download the audio recording.

Thank you for sharing, Tom! I love your field portable vertical–obviously, it’s doing a fine job and your car must make for a decent ground plane!

FTIOM & UBMP, June 24-30


From the Isle of Music, June 24-30:

This week, our special guest is Joaquín Betancourt, whose many roles in music in Cuba include the direction of Joaquín Betancourt y su Joven Jazz Band, a big band that is
an important ensemble for young Jazzistas in Cuba. We interviewed him in the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldan in La Habana about the new recording Mambazo, and we will listen to some of that.
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US). This has been audible in parts of NW, Central and Southern Europe with an excellent skip to Italy recently.
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, Sun, June 24 & Tues, June 26, 2018
Episode 68 presents “Mexico in Chicago” with new releases by Mariachi Herencia de Mexico and Sones de Mexico, two award-winning groups in Chicago
1. Sundays 2200-2230 UTC (6:00PM -6:30PM Eastern US) on
WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesdays 2000-2030 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe. If current propagation conditions hold, the broadcast should reach from Iceland to Western Russia, Scandinavia down to North Africa and the Middle East, AND a long bounce to parts of New Zealand.