Radio Waves: BBC radio reporters axed, Ham Radio on BBC Surrey, K6UDA on IC-705 features, and VLF balloon launched with request for detailed reception report

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Mark Hist, Kris Partridge, John Palmer, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:

Radio reporters to be axed by BBC and told to reapply for new roles (The Guardian)

Radio reporters to be axed by BBC and told to reapply for new roles
Critics fear end of an era because of plans to make audio journalists work across media platforms

BBC radio voices have described and defined modern British history. Live reports from inside a British bomber over Germany during the second world war, or with the British troops invading Iraq in 2003, or more recently from the frontline of the parent boycott of a Birmingham school over LGBT lessons have also shaped the news agenda.

But now the BBC plans to axe all its national radio reporters and ask them to reapply for a smaller number of jobs as television, radio and digital reporters, rather than as dedicated audio journalists. Many fear it is not just the end of their careers but the premature end of an era for the BBC.

“Radio reporting is a different job. Of course, you can do both, but a report designed for television starts from a completely different place. Radio is also more agile and also a lot less expensive,” said one experienced broadcast journalist. “I am pretty sure most of us will not be given new TV roles. It seems sad to lose all that specific radio expertise.”

Among the well-known voices likely to be affected are Hugh Sykes, Andrew Bomford – who has just completed a long feature on the child protection process for Radio 4’s PM show – and the award-winning and idiosyncratic Becky Milligan, as well as a wider team of expert correspondents.[]

Amateur radio on BBC Radio Surrey (Southgate ARC)

RSGB report Board Director Stewart Bryant G3YSX and SOTA organiser Tim Price G4YBU were interviewed on BBC Radio Surrey on Friday, September 11

The interview starts just before 1:43:00 into the recording at


What is Amateur Radio?

Free UK amateur radio Online Training course

10 Things That Make The Icom IC 705 A Revolution in Ham Radio (K6UDA YouTube)


VLF Balloon with 210m long antenna launches Sept 12 (Southgate ARC)

A high-altitude balloon experiment, launched by Warsaw University of Technology, is planned to lift off September 12, carrying a VLF 210-m-long fully-airborne antenna system, transmitting on 14.2 kHz

14.2 kHz is the former frequency of the Babice Radio Station in Poland.

The project is delivering very important data for a doctoral dissertation – any and all feedback on the reception of the signal (reception location, SNR, bandwidth etc.) is extremely important; your help with the listening to the transmission would be invaluable!

The balloon will also be transmitting APRS on 144.800 MHz FM, callsign SP5AXL.

Full details at

Kris also points out this article which provides more detail about the station and request for reception reports:

Invented for the first time in 2014, in 2020 it will finally be implemented – the idea of „restoring” the TRCN, but in the stratosphere, where there are no mechanical limitations at the height of the antennas, and the achieved range can be gigantic.

The launch of a stratospheric balloon from the Przasnysz-Sierakowo airport of the Warsaw University of Technology is planned for September 12, 2020, in order to perform atmospheric tests – measuring UV radiation, recording the cloudy surroundings with a high-speed camera and conducting an inductive experiment at 14.2 kHz using a special antenna system.

The inductive system uses a modified long-wave transmitter (A1 emission, unkeyed) from the GLACiER project of the Warsaw University of Technology, implemented as part of the IGLUNA – a Habitat in Ice programme (ESA_Lab / Swiss Space Center). The power of the transmitter, due to the emission limits for this type of inductive devices, shall not exceed a few watts. The antenna system is a centrally fed (35: 1) dipole with capacitive (Hertzian) elements and a vertical axial coil. The electrical length is between 400 and 500 m, with a total system length of 210 m. The antenna is equipped with metalized radar reflectors.

The entire balloon mission will use 144.8 MHz (as SP5AXL) and 868 MHz (as part of the LoVo system) for navigation. Flight information will be available in advance in NOTAM (EPWW).
Planned balloon launch (even if the sky is full of ‘lead’ clouds) at 12.00 UTC (14.00 CEST, local time). The 14.2kHz experiment will be switched on on the ground, with the antenna initially folded in harmony. The predicted total flight time is 3 hours – around 13.30-14.00 UTC / 15.30-16.00 CEST it is planned to reach the maximum altitude of 30 km above sea level.


How can you help with the experiment? By recording as much as possible! Every parameter is valuable – from the spectrum / screenshot with the spectrum, to the EM field strengths, SNR and bandwidth, to the change of the EM field strength over time. The collected data can be sent to our e-mail address: [email protected]. On the day of launch, we plan to post updates on the launch, flight and the experiment itself via our Facebook page:
Stay tuned!

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4 thoughts on “Radio Waves: BBC radio reporters axed, Ham Radio on BBC Surrey, K6UDA on IC-705 features, and VLF balloon launched with request for detailed reception report

  1. Andrew

    Regarding the balloon experiment, I wonder why they didn’t use a “zepp” antenna in place if that center fed one; all in all the “zepp” was invented for balloons use !

  2. John

    I have precisely zero sympathy for the predicament the BBC currently finds itself in, all self-inflicted.

    Any goodwill this bloated bureaucracy once had with the UK electorate has long evaporated due to recent scandals where it tried to cover its tracks but were eventually exposed to the light of day. The BBC’s charter expressly forbids it to engage in political bias, although it’s an open secret that it has practiced a soft bias for decades now. Recently this bias has become explicit with a newscaster on the BBC flagship news program reading an editorial against current goverment policy, an act the newscaster was sanctioned for by her own bosses. During the Brexit talks of the past few years it was very clear where the BBC collectively stood on this issue, there was no doubt it was pushing the “remain side” to the exclusion of “leave voices”, who were often treated with open contempt.

    The truth is the BBC represents the views of a narrow section of the UK electorate, namely, a metropolitan professional class whose position on any number of issues is way out of synch with the average Brit, one symptom of that being the recent and well-deserved trouncing of Labour in the past general election. The current Conservative government has made it clear to the BBC that there has to be changes and its current method of funding via the license fee is going to end, and good riddance. The BBC’s practice of dragging Brits, usually poor single moms, into court for not having a TV license is a moral outrage, such would not be tolerated here in the US.

    Because the BBC is currently haemorrhaging cash (Brits, particularly the younger UK demographic, now have so many choices for news/entertainment via the multiple streaming services many don’t purchase a license since you are only required to have one to view live TV) they’ve broached the possibilty of a government “TV Tax” to be levied on everyone. I sincerely hope that idea was greeted by gales of laughter followed by an emphatic “not a chance in hell”.

    The current BBC business model is an anachronism of the 20th century. They need to get with the program and join the 21st century and compete with Amazon, Netflix etc. by moving to a subscription-based service. If they provide something customers want to pay for (and no one is better at pushing their product as invaluable than the BBC itself, they’ve certainly never lacked for a sense of collective self-esteem that’s for sure) they will thrive, if not, they’ll cease to exist and deserve their fate.

    For too long the BBC has regarded itself as indispensable, an irreplaceable national asset vital to the health of the nation. The truth is they’re neither.

    Thomas, very much looking forward to your review of the Icom IC-705.

    1. Abigail

      You are misinformed on quite a number of points there. I don’t have the time or energy to correct you on them all, but you need to read up on the things you need to pay a licence fee for, and the Ofcom impartiality guidelines. I suggest you stop making political posts on a non-political SWL radio page and stick to talking about your own country’s media industry.

      1. John

        The world of broadcasting and politics are inextricably linked and all the points I raised are accurate.

        In the UK you are only required to purchase a TV license to view live TV, that’s something a simple google search will reveal in under 30 seconds. BBC2 Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis did breach the BBC’s rules on impartiality, her own bosses ruled as such and the BBC’s recent scandals are a matter of public record. The BBC also regularly drags poor single moms into court for failure to purchase a TV license which is morally indefensible.

        It’s true I’m now a very proud American, however, I was born and raised in the UK and am well acquainted with how the BBC operates, its “business” model is a relic of the 20th century and it needs to modernize or go away… but thanks for for the tip anyway.


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