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!

Spread the radio love

49 thoughts on “Reminder: Help record the 2018 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today

  1. Pingback: Update: BBC Midwinter broadcast recordings | The SWLing Post

    1. Roger Fitzharris

      Please accept this “corrected” post from yesterday’s. Thanks.

      Revised Reception Report for the 6/21/2018 BBCWS Transmission

      Thanks for the BBCWS schedule and updated frequency list for their Annual Antarctic
      Midwinter Broadcast on 6/21/2018.
      This was my first experience with monitoring this broadcast.
      Although I was unable to make any recordings, I would like to to share my informal reception report. I was using a 2-yr old Tecsun PL-880 receiver connected to an (7-m) indoor (roll-up) antenna (Sangean ANT-60).
      Best reception was on 9890 kHz with Signal Strength ranging from 47 to 25 dBµ. The Signal-to-Noise Ratio ranged from 20 to 00 dB. (estimated S-meter equivalent ranging from S3 to S5).
      As indicated from the low SNR value there was a significant amount of QRN (background noise and/or static). Likewise, the signal strength values are indicative of a fair amount of QSB. No surprise there, because the weather at my receiving site in SW Ohio was moderately heavy rain with thunder storms in the tri-state region.
      I was able to receive a faint, barely perceptible, to very weak signal on 7360 kHz
      (estimated S-meter equivalent ranging from S1 to S2).
      I was unable to receive any signal on 5985 kHz.
      Some observations, my best reception (on 9850 kHz) was broadcast from the Woofferton transmitting site (Azimuth 182°, PWR 250 kW) located in Ludlow, Shropshire, England, which is located 6116 km (~3800 mi) from my listening post in SW Ohio.
      Barely perceptible reception (on 7360 kHz) from the Ascension Island transmitting site, Azimuth 207°, PWR 250 kW, which is located 8883 km (~5520 mi) from my listening post in SW Ohio.
      Since the Ascension island transmitter is more than 1700 miles away from my listening post In SW Ohio, I did get significantly better reception from the Woofferton transmitting site on 9580 kHz. Azimuth settings for the respective antenna beams, 207° vs. 182°, were obviously targeting Antarctica and not SW Ohio.
      In conclusion, it was a rewarding SWL experience for me; and it reinforced some SWL Basics:
      • You cannot expect $2000 performance from a $200 receiver.
      • You cannot expect hi-fidelity reception when monitoring SW broadcasts
      • Shortwave signals have to travel vast distances. The imperfections of the ionosphere lead to fading and distortion along parts of the signal path. And, there is no such thing as a “super powerful” receiver that ‘pulls-in’ weak stations with ‘local’ quality.
      • Learn about the shortwave bands, propagation, and the limitations of your receiver.
      It will pay huge dividends
      • Do not always assume that a long (10-m or more) random wire antenna will work wonders.
      If your receiver is a portable, you may find that such an antenna will cause too much signal to be fed into the receiver’s sensitive circuitry, which can result in overloading.

      Reply
  2. Roger Fitzharris

    Reception Report for the 6/21/2018 BBCWS Transmission

    Thanks for the BBCWS schedule and updated frequency list.
    This was my first experience with monitoring this broadcast.
    Although I was unable to make any recordings, I would like to to share my informal reception report. I was using a 2-yr old Tecsun PL-880 receiver connected to an (7-m) indoor (roll-up) antenna(Sangean ANT-60).
    Best reception was on 9890 kHz with Signal Strength ranging from 47 to 25 dBµ.
    The Signal-to-Noise Ratio ranged from 20 to 00 dB. (estimated S-meter equivalent ranging from S3 to S5).
    As indicated from the low SNR value there was a significant amount of QRN (background noise and/or static). Likewise, the signal strength values are indicative of a fair amount of QSB. No surprise there, because the weather at my receiving site in SW Ohio was moderately heavy rain with thunder storms in the tri-state region.
    I was able to receive a faint, barely perceptible, to very weak signal on 7360 kHz (estimated S-meter equivalent ranging from S1 to S2).
    I was unable to receive any signal on 5985 kHz.
    Some observations, my best reception (on 9850 kHz) was broadcast from the Woofferton transmitting site located in Ludlow, Shropshire, England. Azimuth 182°, Pwr 50 kW, which is located 6116 km (~3800 mi) from my listening post in SW Ohio.
    Barely perceptible reception (on 7360 kHz) from the Ascension Island transmitting site, Azimuth 207°, Pwr 250 kW, which is located 8883 km (~5520 mi) from my listening post in SW Ohio.
    Seems to me I should have gotten somewhat better reception than I did on 7380 kHz. Granted, the transmitting station was more than 1700 miles farther away; but the Ascension transmitter supposedly had more power and a somewhat better azimuth setting for its antenna.
    Nevertheless, it was a rewarding SWL experience.; and, for me, reinforced some SWL Basics:
    • You cannot expect $2000 performance from a $200 receiver.
    • You cannot expect hi-fidelity reception when monitoring SW broadcasts
    • Shortwave signals have to travel vast distances. The imperfections of the ionosphere lead to fading and distortion along parts of the signal path. And, there is no such thing as a “super powerful” receiver that ‘pulls-in’ weak stations with ‘local’ quality.
    • Learn about the shortwave bands, propagation, and the limitations of your receiver.
    It will pay huge dividends
    • Do not always assume that a long (10-m or more) random wire antenna will work wonders.
    If your receiver is a portable, you may find that such an antenna will cause too much signal to be fed into the receiver’s sensitive circuitry, which can result in overloading.

    Reply
    1. Richard Langley

      Why do you say that Woofferton was transmitting with 50 kW? The old 50 kW transmitters were retired long ago. According to Wikipedia, the “Woofferton Transmitting Station currently has ten HF transmitters. There are 3 x Riz 250 kW (installed 2007-2008), 1 x Riz 500 kW (installed 2006), 4 x 300 kW Marconi B6124s (installed 1980) and 2 x 250 kW Marconi BD272s (installed 1963).”

      Reply
      1. Roger Fitzharris

        Nice Catch. I also notice your Sangean ATS-909X is handling your 83-m horizontal loop antenna with ease. Not so sure my Tecsun PL-880 would be able to do that.

        Reply
        1. DanH

          Thanks, Roger. 909X RF gain was set to MAX, no need to back it off on this signal. I sometimes reduce 909X RF gain when using this antenna for RHC, CRI or some of the US SW stations. Using the 6 kHz IF filter here. I posted this video of BBC Woofferton from last month as a comparison. It shows what shortwave can do when propagation, time, frequency, etc. are working for you and not against you.

          Reply
  3. Dean Bonanno

    Fair reception….better than 2017, not as good as 2016

    2130z YL talking to OM can’t make out most words on 7360 (weaker on 5985 and 9890)
    2133z “Total Eclipse of the Heart” Bonnie Tyler
    2135z YL and OM (live) singing unid song
    2136z Refrain of Tyler song….9890 might be strongest/clearest now
    2138z Unid song – OM singer
    2139z YL “I Love You”….other individuals passing on greetings/regards
    2346z “Ain’t No Sunshine” Bill Withers
    2347z More greetings
    2348z Unid acoustic guitar song YL singer
    2350z Elderly OM passing on fond wishes
    2151z Refrain of Withers’ song to more personal messages
    2153z Two young YL’s singing Happy Birthday
    2156z YL “Hello Danny….”
    2158z Group singing “Jingle Bells” – first day of Winter in Antarctica
    2200z Off

    Reply
  4. Dean Bonanno

    I did not make a recording but here’s a reception report, my fourth year in a row of reception of it:

    Reply
  5. Dean B

    I didn’t make a recording but here’s a reception report, my fourth year in a row of reception of the broadcast:

    Fair reception….better than 2017, not as good as 2016

    2130z YL talking to OM can’t make out most words on 7360 (weaker on 5985 and 9890)
    2133z “Total Eclipse of the Heart” Bonnie Tyler
    2135z YL and OM (live) singing unid song
    2136z Refrain of Tyler song….9890 might be strongest/clearest now
    2138z Unid song – OM singer
    2139z YL “I Love You”….other individuals passing on greetings/regards
    2346z “Ain’t No Sunshine” Bill Withers
    2347z More greetings
    2348z Unid acoustic guitar song YL singer
    2350z Elderly OM passing on fond wishes
    2151z Refrain of Withers’ song to more personal messages
    2153z Two young YL’s singing Happy Birthday
    2156z YL “Hello Danny….”
    2158z Group singing “Jingle Bells” – first day of Winter in Antarctica
    2200z Off

    Reply
  6. Thomas Post author

    Wow! Thank you all for the amazing recordings!

    I’m travelling, but should be back home tomorrow and will put together a post with all of the recordings by Sunday or Monday!

    -Thomas

    Reply
  7. OE5TET - Gerald & SWLing ZALhoch2

    Preperations with my 6y old son – highly professional with clip board, frequency setting on equipment, adjusting the antenna tuner. setting the alarm clock and preparing cups for warm drinks

    Wonderful broadcast with heaps of feelings and good music – I reckon the crew in antarctica enjoyed it
    I used to listen with my dad to Norddeich Radio – also broadcast for crews and sailors out on sea.

    2018-06-21 2130 UTC antarctic midwinter broadcast 2018 of BBC
    from QTH
    Longitude : 14.23225 E (14° 13′ 56” E)
    Latitude : 48.44367 N (48° 26′ 37” N)
    QTH locator : JN78CK

    5.985 – Woofferton – via FT 991 + HiGain 640 vertical
    7.360 – Ascension – via FT 817 + MLA-M magnetic loop
    9.890 – Woofferton – via FT 2000 + Diamond W8010 – multi band trap

    enjoyed the slight time delay between Woofferton and Ascension – broadcast (echo you hear)
    looking forward to record the whole broadcast from Ascension via FT2000

    OE5TET – Gerald & SWLing ZALhoch2

    Listening to the BBC-archive this morning enjoying it with the rest of the family – unfortunately very low volume

    https://youtu.be/_qDXrM5pqSc
    https://youtu.be/eEsrX9JuzRw
    https://youtu.be/YPtGtkg7fCk

    Reply
  8. Becci

    I was able to get good reception from Northeast Ohio, USA. I went through SDR on 9890 kHz on my computer. 

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9WK4AR3JIA&w=560&h=315%5D

    I also was able to get somewhat of a reception from Northeast Ohio, USA through my Tecsun PL-380 on 9890 kHz. 

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daS_Ga4MdOk&w=560&h=315%5D

    This is my second attempt at posting, as my first one never showed up. I apologize if it posts twice.

    Reply
  9. Richard Langley

    Fair to good reception on 7360 kHz here in NB. Crash start. They may have missed the first couple of words like last year. What gives with that? And a bit of a hum. Recorded the whole broadcast and will archive later. 9890 kHz might have been a possibility, too, but I didn’t tune around.
    All three frequencies heard well with the U. Twente SDR receiver.

    Reply
    1. Richard Langley

      Not just the first couple of words, but a sentence and a half!!! And the broadcast from Woofferton started half a sentence late, despite the transmitters being on for a couple of minutes with test tones. A bit disappointing and not up to BBC standards.

      Reply
  10. Stan Horzepa

    Here in Wolcott, Connecticut, USA, I heard the full 30 minute broadcass on all three channels using my ICOM IC-R8600 and an 80-meter inverted Vee antenna. 9890 was very good, 7360 was good, while 5985 was poor. (Reminded me of The Beatles Fan Club Christmas recordings.)

    I will email Thomas an MP3 of the last minute of the broadcast on 9890. (I tried to post it on Soundcloud, but they rejected it because it contains a snippet of a copyrighted song, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”)

    Stan, WA1LOU

    Reply
  11. John c.

    9890 came through redable in South Central, Pa today using a Winradio G33DDC , and a Wellbrook ALA1530LNPro. I recorded the BC but need to convert the WAV file to MP3 before I can e mail. Reception improved around 21:45 UTC. Overall SINPO was 54343.

    Reply
  12. DanH

    Just awful reception here in Northern California suburbia near three in the afternoon. I can just make out “Jingle Bells.” BBC Woofferton has been coming in well here from 04:00 – 06:00 UTC on 9915 kHz on some nights.
    https://youtu.be/Rz4GdpUUT_E

    Reply
  13. Steven.

    Hi,
    All three signals were good at my location in Ayrshire, Scotland.
    The best of the two Wooferton signals was 5985 AM.
    Here is a youtube video of my reception of the signal from Ascension Island on 7360 AM.
    Rx = Trio R-1000
    Ant = End fed Wire, 20 meters long and ATU.
    Thank you.
    HAPPY MIDWINTER !
    73
    Steven.

    Reply
    1. DanH

      Given the quality of your received signal and the distance of 14,500 km your reception wins my gold star. Congratulations!

      Reply
  14. Bill (WD9EQD)

    I got good copy on 9890 here in Smithville, NJ (5 miles north of Atlantic City).
    Readable copy on 7360 and almost readable copy on 5850.
    Used a combination of Tecsun Radios: PL-310et, PL-880, and S-8800.
    Used the telescoping antenna and a long wire antenna strung up in the house.

    Was surprised at how good the copy was on 9890.

    Following are video’s of my receptions:

    https://youtu.be/GJnUQLBZ5E0
    https://youtu.be/BMUoUeSztME
    https://youtu.be/-beWSYD_Rsk
    https://youtu.be/3OhMJftoBQ8
    https://youtu.be/oz3QyosQV7g
    https://youtu.be/RCeBnRjducA
    https://youtu.be/e048zlFCUnk

    73
    Bill
    WD9EQD

    Reply
  15. Frank in Apex

    Similar results here in Raleigh, NC. Heard the Jingle Bells on 9890 but that’s about it. Kinda cool just the same – thanks for the heads up.

    Reply
  16. DanH

    Well, I got a piece of it in California. Very poor quality. I could make out “Jingle Bells” at 21:58. 9890 kHz. If the recording is worth uploading to YouTube I will link here. Woofferton is about a 5,200 catch that is easier to do here from 04:00 – 06:00 UTC.

    Reply
  17. TomL

    I have to work for a living, so won’t be able to set up a recording session properly. Will the broadcast be archived somewhere? Would love to listen to the whole hour!

    Reply
  18. Richard Langley

    I don’t think WS HQ QSLs anymore. I recall that sometimes the engineers at the relay stations will QSL at least via an e-mail message. You could also try the BAS for this broadcast.

    Reply
  19. DanH

    Thanks for the updated frequency list. Frequencies have been entered into a temporary BBC memory page on my Sangean ATS-909X. My antenna is much better this time. This will be my second BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. The expected result is no reception on any frequency. I am in Northern California where at 2:30 P.M. on this first day of summer I expect to encounter an outdoor temperature of about 90° F (32° C) under a fully energized D layer. BBC Woofferton on 31m works for me at 05:00 UTC but 21:30 is another matter.

    Reply
  20. Richard Langley

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

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

    Reply

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