Christmas Carols from Antarctica on Shortwave

McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Source: USAP.gov)

(Source: ARRL News)

A program of Christmas carols will be broadcast from Antarctica on Christmas Eve. The transmissions on 7995 kHz USB will begin on December 23 at 2300 UTC, coordinated by McMurdo Communications Operations (MacOps) — known as “The Voice of Antarctica.”

Each year, the station’s residents celebrate the holiday by singing Christmas Carols to those at remote Antarctic field camps. Participation will be from stations scattered throughout the Antarctic continent.

“The radios and antenna systems are optimized for on-continent communication, so we will be lucky to hear them in other parts of the world, but it has happened in the past,” said Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, who is handling QSL requests and who has participated as part of the chorus in past years while studying in Antarctica. Frissell shared some links of previous concerts, one recorded at McMurdo Station and one from the University of Twente WebSDR in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full article at the ARRL.

UPDATE: Check out this episode of Short Wave–an NPR podcast–wher they interview the scientists involved in this tradition:

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Carols from Antarctica on Shortwave

  1. Paul

    Silly question, but it mentions the frequency will be 7995 kHz USB – I have never quite understood what upper sideband etc means – will this only be receivable on radios with this mode? I don’t think my Tecsun PL-380 has such a feature. I’ll have to try out a webSDR for the first time…! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Paul

      Oh – I just realised that this broadcast won’t even reach this far anyway! So it’s a moot point.

      But I do still wonder about USB as it’s something I’ve never dabbled in…

      Reply
    2. Mike W.

      It’s a bit technical, but when you amplitude modulate a radio carrier, you get sum and difference frequencies in addition to the two original frequencies. On an oscilloscope in the time domain, It looks like you are varying the amplitude of the RF carrier frequency , but if you look at the signal in the frequency domain, you see what is actually happening. You see the carrier frequency as well as the sidebands which are the carrier frequency plus the audio frequency, and the carrier frequency minus the audio frequency. You can filter out the carrier and one sideband before you transmit the remaining signal which is just a single sideband. This has the benefit of not wasting power transmitting the unneeded and reduntant portions of the signal.

      On the receiving end, your radio receiver needs to inject a replacement carrier signal and mix it with the received sideband. Again, you get sum and difference frequencies, one of which is the artificial carrier frequency minus the received sideband frequency, which equals the original audio frequency. You need a receiver that has this capability, otherwise what you hear will be unintelligible.

      Reply
    3. Rob

      Paul, you can read about sideband transmission here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideband And no, your PL-380 won’t tune this in. You’d need something like a PL-660 or -880.

      For what it’s worth, I listened on my ham rig and didn’t hear anything way up here on the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline. Ionosphere’s been pretty patchy all day.

      Reply

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