Author Archives: Thomas

Update: BBC Midwinter broadcast recordings

Once again, SWLing Post readers did an amazing job of capturing off-air clips of the BBC Midwinter broadcast to Antarctica! Thank you so much for submitting your recordings!

I managed to listen to a bit of the broadcast myself in the parking lot of the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I only brought my C. Crane CC Skywave SSB along. The signal was quite weak, but I did log the 9,890 kHz broadcast from Woofferton, UK. Pretty impressive considering the modest portable receiver and the fact the broadcast’s target was Antarctica! Pure shortwave magic.

Here’s a very short video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

I hope to have a formatted post with all reader recordings published next week. It’ll actually take me a few dedicated hours to put it all together, so I appreciate your patience.

These are very busy days for me, so if you’ve contacted me via email, I apologize for taking so long to reply. So far in the month of June, I’ve only been home perhaps a total of three nights. July will be equally as busy, plus I’ll also present at the Circle of HOPE 2018 conference in NYC. Really looking forward to that!

If you missed the Midwinter broadcast, Richard Langley has already posted recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive [thanks, Richard!].

Again, thank you all for such an amazing job! I’m looking forward to going through the recordings!

Shortwave station WTWW promotes Field Day on the air

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (WD9EQD), who writes:

Shortwave Station WTWW is promoting Field Day with a special shortwave broadcast. From their Web Page:

http://wtww.us/

Call in toll free at:

833-390-5085

Promote The Ham Radio Hobby To The Entire World On A Powerful International Shortwave Radio Station – WTWW BY Calling In From Your Field Location and Tell The World about it. Put the members of your Field Day group on the air by passing the phone around. Include special guests and your local city officials. Let’s catch the excitement from the young kids and teens that are visiting your Field Day site. Let’s talk to prospective Hams that have gotten excited by watching your field day activities.

If you can’t get through on the first try to this number – you can leave a message and we WILL call you during the live show. You are welcome to leave a message by calling ahead of time as well!

Let’s give the world a shout from Field Day 2018!

Thank you, Bill and a number of other SWLing Post readers who shared this tip!

 

It’s Field Day weekend 2018: find a local event, have fun!

If you live in North America and have an interest in becoming a ham radio operator, this is the weekend to check out what amateur radio is all about, and meet local radio enthusiasts.  

It’s Field Day!

What is Field Day?  I’ll quote from the ARRL, who sponsors the event:

“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.”

GOTAMany Field Day sites have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station where non-licensed individuals are welcome to play radio. It’s a fantastic way to try your hand at transmitting with a little guidance and encouragement from the more experienced. Indeed, even if there is no GOTA station, you will often be invited to try out the mic.

You’ll find that ham radio operators are very welcoming on Field Day–after all, spreading the word about the fun of amateur radio is what it’s all about. Indeed, I’ve shown up unannounced to a number of Field Days over the years; once I got some serious radio time with the Charlotteville Amateur Radio Club while on vacation in Prince Edward Island, Canada and I’ve spent the past two Field Days with the Québec Amateur Radio Club (Club Radio Amateur de Québec). It’s all been amazingly fun.

Gaétan Trépanier (VE2GHO) making final adjustments to the club’s HF Yagi during Field Day 2017

This year, I should be back home and plan to spend Field Day with my buddy Vlado (N3CZ) in the Field! We plan to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and operate for a few hours. Later, we’ll likely stop by some local clubs on the air.

Keep in mind that there are many shortwave listeners among the amateur radio community; indeed, many hams became interested in the hobby through SWLing.

The ARRL has made it quite easy to find registered Field Day locations in your region. Click here to find a local Field Day event near you–and have a great Field Day!

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!

Tidlow explores 1970s CB radio culture through photos

(Source: British Journal of Photography)

Dart Player, from the photobook Eyeball Cards: The Art of British CB Radio Culture. © David Titlow, Four Corners Books

David Titlow is Eyeballing 1970s Citizens Band Radio culture

Before mobile phones and social medias, there was Citizens Band Radio – a now largely defunct technology whose culture has been unearthed by David Titlow. With the project going on show at PhotoEast festival from 24 May – 24 June, we revisit an article first published in August 2017

“It was before mobile phones, before the internet. It was the initial form of mass communication, a way you could chat to your friends for free,” says David Titlow as we talk about CB Radio, the now-obscure 1970s and 80s technology.

“I remember lots of people in Suffolk got a CB radio and thought they were in the Dukes of Hazard,” he laughs. “It was the same all over the country. It was a fascinating phenomenon.”

It’s the subject of Titlow’s new photobook, which brings together portraits of Citizens Band (CB) Radio users with their ‘calling cards’, known amongst the community as ‘eyeball cards’. These cards were a form of personal promotion – pseudonyms and artistic illustrations were used as a means of identifying the CB user, expressing something of their personality as well as giving the recipient their details.[…]

Click here to read the full article and enjoy Tidlow’s excellent photos.