June 21, 2023: The Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast from the BBC

It’s that time of year again! Time to tune into one of the most unique broadcasts transmitted by the BBC World Service: the Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica.

If you have confirmed the 2023 frequency details, please share them in the comments.

(Source: BBC Media Centre)

Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

The Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast is unlike anything else on the BBC World Service. We make this special programme for just 37 listeners: The team of scientists and support staff isolated at British research stations in the Antarctic midwinter.

Presented by Cerys Matthews, the programme features messages from family and friends at home as well as music requests from Antarctica. For decades it has been part of the traditional midwinter celebrations.

For the staff living at three British Antarctic Survey research stations (Rothera, Bird Island and South Georgia), and at other national bases across the frozen continent, midwinter is a special time. With no sunlight, Antarctica is at its coldest and those stationed on the frozen continent face months of total isolation.

Midwinter celebrations at the British research stations include a feast, exchange of presents, watching the 1982 horror film The Thing (where an alien monster terrorises an Antarctic base) and listening – on short wave – to the BBC’s Midwinter Broadcast.

    • Presenter: Cerys Matthews
    • Produced by Martin Redfern for the BBC World Service
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27 thoughts on “June 21, 2023: The Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast from the BBC

  1. Alan Pennington

    Frequencies confirmed for the special 30-minute BBC Antarctic Midwinter broadcast are:
    7255 kHz Dhabbaya 250 kW
    12005 kHz Woofferton 300 kW
    13810 kHz Woofferton 250 kW
    (Ascension relay – not being used)

    Presume these are on air 2130-2200 UTC tonight 21st June (as tested 14th June) though not included in BBC schedule?

    A slightly shorter version of the programme is also aired 22nd June 0132, 0432 and 1232 UTC on BBC WS streams mentioned at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct5hqt
    (via British DX Club)

  2. William, KR8L

    Can anyone comment on the time of the broadcast? When I view the Midwinter Antarctic Broadcast page here in the Central Time Zone it says “2032 LOCAL TIME”. Someone from the Eastern Time Zone said that in his browser it says “2132 LOCAL TIME”. Those are consistent, as both correspond to 0132Z on the 22nd. Some “authorities” say 0132Z on the 22nd, “others” insist it is 2132Z on the 21st.

    Web pages that attempt to determine my location and report events in “local time” are not appreciated! Can’t we all just use UTC like civilized people? 🙂 Hope everyone has successful reception, anyway!

    1. Thomas Post author

      To confirm, it is 21:30 UTC.
      For some reason, the BBC never gives the broadcast time of the Midwinter broadcast labeled as UTC. 🙂
      I’ve added the time to the announcement from today that includes the frequencies Richard listed.

    2. mangosman

      Universal Time Coordinated is part of the Systems Internationale Metric system head quartered in Paris France. The time is kept as an average of over 30 Caesium beam clocks and averaged in the USA Navy. Greenwich Mean Time came from an observatory in Greenwich in England near London. It is now a museum.
      In winter UTC and the time used in the UK are identical to that of the 0 degrees longitude. However in summer time the UK advances its clocks by an hour…..

  3. Richard Langley

    According to a posting on Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio IO group, the following frequencies are confirmed for the broadcast on 21 June:
    7255 kHz Dhabbaya 250 kW
    12005 kHz Woofferton 300 kW
    13810 kHz Woofferton 250 kW
    (Ascension relay – not being used)

    1. mangosman

      Are you sure this is correct? Their website says the following in capital letters;
      EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA, They have a transmitter site in Antananarivo Madagascar Indian Ocean -18.80 47.60
      EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST, Woofferton UK Europe 52.32 -2.72
      ONLINE &
      WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA ONLY Sao Tome São Tomé and Príncipe
      South Atlantic 0.30 6.70
      Ascension UK Territory South Atlantic -7.90 -14.38

      Which are both the closest to Antarctica

      1. Thomas Post author

        These broadcasts do not follow the BBC WS normal schedule and physical proximity to Antartica isn’t always the determining factor for which relays they use. They try to sort out the best path based on current propagation trends, then offer about three options for the bases tune in. This year, following the cycle, two of the frequencies are a bit higher.

      1. Rick Moskovits

        Thank you Richard for confirming that info, I’ve been able to receive the transmission from Ascension Island in the past but as I understand it no transmission from there this year. Wonder if that is a permanent discontinuence from that location .
        Vy73 and tnx agn for the time confirmation….. Rick

        1. Richard Langley

          The frequency of 12065 kHz used during the test broadcast was confirmed to have come from Ascension.

  4. Richard Langley

    There was a test transmission on Wednesday, 14 June (there is typically a test one week ahead of the broadcast each year). I heard 12005, 12065, and 13810 kHz all with good to very good signals here in New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada. One or more of those frequencies will definitely be used for the actual broadcast. The list of actual frequencies to be used should be available in the next day or two.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Yes, the Midwinter Broadcast, however, tends to use up to 3 or 4 unique frequencies for Antarctica. It doesn’t necessarily follow their normal broadcast schedule.

  5. Thomas

    According to the HFCC A23 database, the BBC has 4 broadcasting frequencies for Antarctica, but no one knows whether these 4 broadcasting frequencies will really be used.
    7255kHz, 12005kHz, 12065KHz and 13810kHz

    1. TomL

      Thanks, seems like the blog post you quote has frequencies and transmitter sites. Wooferton has always been good for me. I see Ascension is not listed this year.

  6. Paul

    Please can you advise me when the frequencies are known for this year’s transmission. Each year several of us here in Worthing monitor the transmissions and try to receive each of the frequencies from various parts of the world!
    Paul G3SXE

  7. Rick Moskovits

    Hi Thomas and all the other radio fans. Can anyone confirm the frequencies that BBC will be using for this annual event or same as last year? Thanks and vy73 Rick


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