If you’ve been looking for a super-basic, AM/FM portable radio, the RF-2400D is worth considering. The RF-2400D reminds me of the Sony ICF-38: slide rule dial, few controls and a power cord that plugs directly into the back (no “wall wart” style power supply needed). Like most modern portables, the 2400D is a DSP receiver, thus subject to “steps” as you band scan across the analog dial. It’s all pretty smooth, though and feels like an analog radio. I have spent a little time with the RF-2400D and thought it to be a pleasant, little simple radio. It’s not a DX machine, but can easily receive all of your local stations and night time flame throwers.
I often receive inquiries from readers who are seeking a simple radio for an elderly friend or relative–one that’s tactile, easy to operate, and affordable. The Panasonic RF-2400D fits the bill!
Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica (Source: British Antarctic Survey)
On Friday, 21 June 2019, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast–an international radio broadcast intended for a small group of scientists, technicians, and support staff who work for the British Antarctic Survey.
This is one of my favorite annual broadcasts, and I endeavor to listen every year. Once again, the SWLing Post called upon readers to make a short recording of the broadcast from their locale.
Below are the entries, roughly organized by continent and country/region. We had a total of twenty seven recordings submitted from all seven continents this year–simply amazing!
Putting this post together takes almost a full dedicated day sorting recordings and formatting them for the Post. If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.
So, without further ado we begin with a recording made in Antarctica at Germany’s Neumayer-Station III:
The 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings
Neumayer Station III, Antarctica
SWL: Andreas Mueller, DL3LRM Location: Neumayer-Station-III, Antarctica Notes:
Cheers from Antarctica, I am the radio operator and electronic
engineer of the 39th overwintering team at Germany’s Neumayer-Station
III. Thanks to your blog and post on Facebook I got aware of the
annual BBC broadcasts to Antarctica, and was able to sneak away from
the festivities to enjoy these 30 minutes. And would like to provide
a recording as requested by you.
SWL report by Andreas Mueller, DL3LRM
Location: 70°40’S, 008° 16’W, Neumayer-Station-III, Antarctica
Equipment: Yaesu-450D, Commercial Broadband Dipole 2x35m
The recording is about two minutes long, first 30 Seconds on 5875kHz,
then I switched to 7360kHz and remained there for the rest of the
show. I also have my little FT-817 running as a backup and control
unit, and it also confirmed that 7360kHz was the best frequency, with
S7 to S8 Signal strength, and some fading now and then. 5875kHz was
about S5, and I cannot remember hearing anything on 9455kHz, but I
have to admit that I checked that frequency only briefly.
Thanks again for bringing that broadcast to my attention, it really
was a special treat for me on that day.
SWL: Vermont M. Coronel Jr. Location: Manila, Philippines Notes:
Recording of the 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. Signal was, I believe coming in from Ascension Island. Signal was very weak since the Sun was already above the horizon at the time of broadcast. I continued to listen for a few minutes and towards the end of the broadcast. I heard greetings from the relatives of those who are currently stationed in the Antarctic. This is a once a year special program to the scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. Received in Quezon City with a 45 foot antenna. -Vermont
Ciao Thomas, I am Davide Borroni from Italy my city is Saronno . I send you my videos, made with my receivers: R&S EK 56, Siemens E401 and R1251. The signal on all three frequencies was excellent here in Italy. As an antenna I used a magnetic loop of 2 meters in diameter.
I hope you like my videos
Very good signal to all frequency + 20 Db !
Utc Time 21.30-20.00
Setup: Rx jrc nrd 91, jrc nrd 545 dsp, WJ 8718-9, antenna loop Wellbrook ALA 1530.
Rx Marconi Marine Apollo and Zeppelin antenna 16.2 Mt.
[L]istened to the programme bbc antarctica on 5875 khz and 7360 khz sinfo 54554 both using a sangean ats 818 with a 27 metre antenna long wire. good job and wonderful broadcast. Sending mp3 recording.
Greeting from Malta
Adrian swl 9H4001SWL
SWL: Nuno Oliveira Location: Santarem, Portugal Notes:
This is the video from Santarem, Portugal with the 3 frequencies.
The first video is a Tecsun PL-880 with a 1 meter aluminium rod outside and 12 meters of RG58 coax.
Here is a link to my youtube recording of this years BBC Antartic Midwinter broadcast.
All three signals were good readable at my location in Scotland.
The best reception I got was from Ascension Island on 7360 AM, as there was Ute QRM on 5875.
Details of my RX etc are on the youtube video.
Regards and 73,
SWL: Richard Langley Location: Hanwell, New Brunswick Notes:
I obtained a good recording of the BAS broadcast here in New Brunswick, Canada, on 9455 kHz using a Tecsun PL-880 receiver outdoors at my house with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna strung to a nearby tree. Attached is a two-minute clip from the start of my recording. Also attached is a photo of the “listening post” at the back of my mosquito-infested backyard. Note the mosquito on the protective box housing the receiver and recorder!
https://youtu.be/3rGxxBMWiVw is “49 seconds of the 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast as received at WA1LOU in Wolcott, CT, USA using an ICOM IC-R8600 receiver and Hy-Gain 18 AVT/WB-A vertical antenna. I programmed the four frequencies that were originally announced for the broadcast into the IC-R8600, but learned afterwords that only three were used (5875, 7360, 9455). I had solid copy on 9455 throughout the broadcast. 7360 had a lot of fading, but was still fair copy throughout the broadcast. 5875 was very poor copy during the last 10 minutes; there was no copy for the first 20 minutes.”
SWL: Bob (W2RWM) Location: North Babylon, NY Notes:
Receiving frequency was 7360 kHz. 5875 had a continuous buzz, 9455 was fading in and out too much to understand.
Location is on North Babylon, NY, USA
Equipment is a Yaesu FT-950 and an HyEndFed 80-10 meter antenna oriented North and South.
SWL: Chris Mackerell Location: Marahau, New Zealand Notes:
Here’s the first minute of the 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast as heard here at my home in Marahau, New Zealand.
5875 is in USB to avoid the Stanag signal nearby, the others in Synchronous AM mode.
All three were easily readable here for the entire broadcast.
All received using the same Elad FDM-DUOr receiver & Wellbrook loop antenna.
SWL: Rodrigo de Araujo Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil Notes:
How are you? I’m PY4004SWL (Southeast Brazil).
For the first time I tried to listen to the BBC Solstice broadcast to Antarctica and it worked. The only problem is that I wrongly noted the 7350 frequency and with that I lost the Ascencion transmission in 7360, certainly the one that was best heard by the SWLs in my region. Still, I got “taped” 5875 and 9455, the latter with better results. I hope my recordings are useful to those who study propagation.
I have used two radios and 2 kinds of antennas that can be seen and a telescopic as well.
It’s been a busy winter season here at SWLing Post HQ. Many of you might have noticed a slow response time if you’ve tried to contact me. I’m in the midst of a rather involved investment property renovation that’s consumed nearly all of my spare time.
Still, I’m keeping up with the Post and even managing a little one-on-one radio time in the early mornings/late evenings. Indeed, I’ve actually tried to turn my renovation project into an opportunity to play a little radio. The property is unoccupied and very rural, so there’s quite literally no RFI there. Woot!
Since I’ve been spending time evaluating the new CCRadio3 (click here to read my preview), I’ve also had the CCRadio EP Pro, Sony ICF-5500W and the legendary Panasonic RF-2200 nearby for comparison purposes.
All of these radios have their strong points, but the Panny RF-2200 is still the rig I reach for the most. That’s why I listed it as one of my daily drivers.
Band-scanning with the RF-2200 is such a tactile experience. The ‘2200 tuning knob is quality and almost feels like a weighted encoder you’d find on a proper tabletop receiver. The RF-2200 even has fast/slow tuning gears and you can calibrate the dial so easily. Though tuning on the shortwaves feels a little vague, I find mediumwave is incredibly accurate.
Speaking of the dial and logging scale, I think it’s one of the most attractive from the 1970s:
Since I’ve been doing most of my listening around sunrise and sunset, it’s been a lot of fun to fit in a little mediumwave DXing as well. I see why the RF-2200 was one of The Professor‘s favorites.
If you ever find a ‘2200 for less that $100-125 that’s in decent cosmetic shape, with the original antenna, clean battery contacts, and is in good mechanical shape (meaning the tuning mechanism and dial work as they should), buy it! If there’s an electrical problem, Vlado can fix that. In fact, if your RF-2200 still has the original capacitors, you’d probably want to re-cap it anyway to keep leaky caps from eventually harming the board or internals. Plus, a properly re-capped ‘2200 will play like a new one!
My takeaway? The RF-2200 is a keeper! I suppose that’s why I even have a spare!
Do you have or would you like an RF-2200? Please comment!
Many thanks to Dennis at Bonito, who notes that he has just tested the SDRplay RSPduo on two of Bonito’s high-performance antennas: the MegaLoop FX and the new MegaDipol MD300DX. Bonito posted a detailed article about this on their website.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who writes:
At the Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show this last weekend, I picked up a brochure outlining the services of the VKS-737 HF Radio Network operated by a Public Benevolent Institution Established in 1993.
Its mission statement is to provide emergency and general radio communications assistance services to travellers in rural and remote areas of Australia using Base stations located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Cairns, Carnarvon, Charleville, Charters Towers, Darwin, Derby, Meekatharra, Mount Isa, Newcastle, Perth, Port Hedland, St Marys, and Swan Hill. Some of these stations are Royal Flying Doctor base stations.
The brochure details the Channels / Frequencies used as follows: 1: 5,455kHz; 2: 8,022; 3:11,612; 4: 14,977; 5: 3,995; 6: 6,796, and 7: 10,180kHz
Apparently, apart from licensing requirements, the equipment required is not cheap, being in the order of AU$3,800 to $4,300. I think the equipment is made by Codan. The brochure also makes the point that HF radio can be used for entertainment such as to receive BBC World Service and Radio New Zealand. Clearly, the group is up to date in being aware that Australia’s own short wave broadcasting services are now – regrettably – a non event.
Thank you for sharing this, Jerome! I’ve heard of the VKS-737 service, but did not realize their network was so robust and that it piggybacks on a portion of the Royal Flying Doctor network.
Post readers: Anyone here familiar with the VKS-737 network? Have you ever used the system Please comment!
Post-earthquake, Ears To Our World radios continue to be a vital link for those in need in Haiti. Here, Erlande, who suffered a stroke in her early 30s and can barely walk, listens to one of our self-powered Etón radios. (Photo: ETOW)
“Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform” explained the UN chief, adding that it “conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues”.
“And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances” he added, noting that radio “can create a community”.
UN Radio was established on 13 February 1946, and since 2013, the day has been commemorated to recognize radio as a powerful communication tool and a low-cost medium.
“For the United Nations, especially our peacekeeping operations, radio is a vital way of informing, reuniting and empowering people affected by war”, said Mr. Guterres.
Despite the rise of the internet, many parts of the world, especially remote and vulnerable communities, have no access, making radio broadcasting via transmitters, a vital lifeline. Joining a community of local listeners, also provides a platform for public discussion, irrespective of education levels.
Moreover, it has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.
“On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace”, concluded the Secretary-General.
Radio still sparking ‘new conversations’
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) underscored “the unique, far-reaching power of radio to broaden our horizons and build more harmonious societies”.
“Radio stations from major international networks to community broadcasters today remember the importance of radio in stimulating public debate, increasing civic engagement and inspiring mutual understanding”, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in her message.
Since its invention as the first wireless communication medium well over a hundred years ago, “radio has sparked new conversations and broadcast new ideas into people’s homes, villages, universities, hospitals and workplaces,” she continued. “To this day, dialogue across the airwaves can offer an antidote to the negativity that sometimes seem to predominate online, which is why UNESCO works across the world to improve the plurality and diversity of radio stations”.
The UNESCO chief pointed out that radio has adapted to 21st century changes and offers new ways to participate in conversations that matter, retaining its role as “one of the most reactive, engaging media there is”, especially for the most disadvantaged.
For example, she flagged that rural women constitute one of the most under-represented groups in the media and are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, “so radio can be a critical lifeline to express themselves and access information”.
Ms. Azoulay made clear that “UNESCO provides support to radio stations in sub-Saharan Africa that enable women to participate in public debate, including on often-neglected issues such as forced marriage, girls’ education or childcare”.
Linguistic diversity, and people’s right to express themselves on-air in their own languages, is also crucial – especially true in 2019 which has been designated by the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the UN.“In former conflict zones, radio can dispel fear and present the human face of former foes”, she elaborated, citing North-West Colombia where community radios are healing old wounds “by highlighting the good deeds of demobilized combatants, such as clearing polluted waterways”.
Around the world, the “inclusion of diverse populations makes societies more resilient, more open and more peaceful”, Ms. Azoulay spelled out.
“The challenges we face – whether they be climate change, conflict or the rise in divisive views – increasingly depend on our ability to speak to each other and find common solutions”, she concluded.