Category Archives: Current Events

Today: W9IMS last special event station of 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares the following information about SWL-friendly awards offered by his amateur radio club to commemorate the three major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brian writes:

W9IMS: Last special event station of 2018

Amateur radio station W9IMS will conclude its special event season during the coming week by commemorating the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The W9IMS crew will be working other amateurs around the world, but SWLs are welcome to tune in and qualify for the same QSL cards and certificate that are available to hams.

For those who logged the station during the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, this is your chance to complete the clean sweep and earn the colorful 2018 certificate. Even if you missed one or both of the previous races, you’re still eligible for a Brickyard 400 QSL card, which is redesigned every year.

A previous SWLing post highlighted the 2018 W9IMS events.

Operating SSB on 20 and 40 meters (as close as possible to 7.245 and 14.245 MHz), W9IMS will take to the airwaves at various times between 0400 UTC Monday, Sept. 3, and 0400 Monday, Sept. 9. One of the best times to look for the station is during the evening from 2200 to 0200 (6 to 10 p.m. Indianapolis time). W9IMS also has a digital presence, periodically transmitting in FT8 mode.

To find out if we’re on the air at any given time, go to DX Summit – http://dxsummit.fi/#/ – and type “W9IMS” in the search box. For more information about W9IMS and the Brickyard special event, including scheduled operators, go to www.w9ims.org. Just remember that ops can get on the air at any time between now and Sunday night!

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Building the Cricket QRP Transceiver at HOPE 2018

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m currently at the Circle of HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) convention in New York City.

Yesterday morning, I grabbed some breakfast and a cup of coffee then headed to the Hardware Hacking Village–a space in the Hotel Pennsylvania with over 50 soldering stations–sat down and started to build the Cricket QRP transceiver.

I’ve always found that kit building and soldering calms my nerves and since my presentation was later that day, it was just what the doctor ordered.

I opened up the kit at 9:00 am and started working.

All of the components were accounted for and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Although I didn’t need extra help I did have the extraordinary luxury of having the kit’s designer, my buddy David Cripe (NM0S), sitting across the table from me at one point.

Dave (NM0S) giving my Cricket the nod of approval.

The Cricket was incredibly easy to build, taking only about one hour or less start to finish.

The cool thing about this transceiver is that there are no coils to wind (they’re traced into the board) and by breaking off a pre-scored length of the circuit board, you can build an on-board hand key.

I had it on the air by 10:30 at the special event station W2H.

The Empire State Building as seen from the roof of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, the blowtorch AM broadcaster on the Empire State Building (ahem…next door!) overloaded the Cricket in no small way. I was, however, able to confirm output power, audio and that the receiver was functioning.

Most impressed!

Incidentally, Dave tells me he has a limit number of the Cricket kits available on his eBay store for about $37 US shipped, if you’re interested.

Click here to view the Cricket on eBay.

As for HOPE? It has far exceeded my expectations.

I’m looking forward to Chris Fallen’s presentation about HAARP later today, followed by David Cripe’s EMP presentation (who I will introduce).

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“Night of Nights” Returns Tonight!

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who writes:

The cast may be smaller than in previous years, but the “Night of Nights” nostalgia show will go on. At 8:01 p.m. Eastern Time today (0001 UTC July 13), two maritime CW stations operated by the Maritime Radio Historical Society will begin transmitting Morse code on shortwave and medium wave bands, while the Society’s amateur radio station will be active on four ham bands.

Venerable KPH will reappear tonight in the company of KFS and ham station K6KPH, all transmitting from a century-old Marconi site at Bolinas, California. They’ll be directed from a 1930 RCA station at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore. Several previous participants will be absent this year, including ship-to-shore powerhouse WLO of Mobile, Alabama, and a quartet of Coast Guard stations.

The annual July 12 event commemorates the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. One year later, “Night of Nights” debuted in a defiant declaration that maritime CW stations would not go gentle into that good night.

Typically, the two 5 kw coast stations transmit “code wheels” (repeating messages), personal messages, and tributes to long-gone maritime stations and operators, remaining on the air till at least 0700 UTC. And K6KPH will not only be heard, but contacted by fellow amateur radio stations. A list of KPH, KFS and K6KPH frequencies can be found at www.radiomarine.org, including those used by ships. Reception reports go to P.O. Box 392, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.

The public is welcome to observe today’s event and tour the facility at Point Reyes. Doors open at 3 p.m. local (Pacific) time, and Morse aficionados are invited to operate K6KPH. Whisper the words “true believer” for a peek at the Treasure Room!

https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

For a comprehensive list of frequencies please click here.

Many thanks for the notice, Brian! We’ll tune in!

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Presentation at The Circle of HOPE conference next week!

Dear Post Readers,

If you live near or are planning travel to New York City next week, I would encourage you to check out the HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference at the Hotel Pennsylvania (July 20-22, 2018). The location couldn’t be more accessible: across the street from Penn Station and down the block from the Empire State Building.

The HOPE conference is diverse with an incredibly wide range of topics spanning technology, culture and so more. We’re talking about “hacking” in the best sense: those with the technical knowledge and ingenuity to overcome problems and better understand/explore the world around us. HOPE always has a strong contingent of radio enthusiasts as well–many of whom also attend the Winter SWL Fest in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

This will be my first HOPE conference so I’m especially honored to have been selected as a presenter.

HOPE Presentation

My presentation is titled: Creating a Radio Time Machine: Software-Defined Radios and Time-Shifted Recordings–here’s the description:

Since the earliest days of radio transmitting, individuals and organizations have made an effort to record and preserve radio signals in the form of broadcasts and other over-the-air communications, especially those of historical significance. Now low-cost software-defined radios (SDRs) coupled with today’s faster memory-enhanced computers allow us to record not just individual signals from one radio station at a time, but an entire broadcast band – a wide swath of frequencies – all at once. Each recording from a particular day and time can easily contain dozens, if not hundreds, of stations broadcasting and communicating simultaneously. Later, via a software-defined radio application, recordings can be tuned and listened to (decoded) as if they were live. This talk will discuss how you can build your own “radio time machine” which supports such virtual time shifts by utilizing an inexpensive ($25-$100) SDR, and also show how you can – for free – virtually “travel” through recent history on radio archivists’ preexisting radio time machines.

Time & location: Saturday 1900 Booth

My two main goals with this presentation are to bring more radio converts into our hobby by showing how accessible and dynamic radios are today and also to give The Radio Spectrum Archive some exposure.

HOPE Workshop

I’m also excited to co-host workshop with my good friend, David Cripe (NM0S). Our workshop is titled: Build the HumanaLight: A “Green” Lamp from Trashed Batteries–here’s the description:

This mini-lamp developed for use in impoverished regions where there’s no electrical grid is powered by a surprising, but ubiquitous, waste product – the residual energy in depleted (used) AA batteries. Workshop attendees will build a HumanaLight on a high-quality printed circuit board. The kit includes all necessary parts, even a “dead” AA battery! No experience required. There is a $15 fee for the kit, with the proceeds going to the nonprofit organization Ears To Our World, which developed this valuable and important technology.

Time & location: Friday 1900-2030 Hardware Hacking Village (Mezzanine)

No kit building experience is necessary! We’ll help and guide you as you build an incredibly useful tool!

HOPE Radio

 

In my spare time, I also plan to help with HOPE’s special event amateur radio station W2H. If you can’t attend the event, consider trying to work us on the air! Here are the details:

Amateur Radio Special Event Station W2H and 70cm Repeater

If you’re an amateur “ham” radio operator, you’re part of a hacker community that goes back over a century. Bring your handie-talkie to QSO with the many hams at HOPE to keep up with what’s happening. Visit Special Event Station W2H and operate on several HF/VHF/UHF bands in various voice and data modes to freely communicate with hams around the globe – sans telecom infrastructure! Our 70cm repeater input is 442.875 MHz (PL 167.9) and the output is 447.875 MHz which W2H operators will be monitoring. We also encourage simplex ops on 147.545 MHz and 433.545 MHz (PL 77.0).
More details at http://ham.hope.net.

Time and Location: Friday through Sunday – 18th Floor (next to the 2600 store)

If you can’t tell, it looks like an action-packed weekend! I’m super excited and (admittedly) a little intimidated! Should be lots of fun.

Come join the fun!

Full details can be found at The Circle of HOPE conference website.

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Listening across the globe: The 2018 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

On Thursday, 21 June 2018, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2018 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 28 recordings submitted this year–simply amazing! If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.

So, without further ado….

The 2018 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings


Europe

Austria

SWL: Gerald LANDL (OE5TET)
Location: Eidenberg, Austria
Notes:

Preperations with my 6y old son – highly professional with clip board, frequency setting on equipment, adjusting the antenna tuner. setting the alarm clock and preparing cups for warm drinks.

Wonderful broadcast with heaps of feelings and good music – I reckon the crew in Antarctica enjoyed it.

I used to listen with my dad to Norddeich Radio – also broadcast for crews and sailors out on sea.

2018-06-21 2130 UTC antarctic midwinter broadcast 2018 of BBC
from QTH
Longitude : 14.23225 E (14° 13? 56” E)
Latitude : 48.44367 N (48° 26? 37” N)
QTH locator : JN78CK

5.985 – Woofferton – via FT 991 + HiGain 640 vertical
7.360 – Ascension – via FT 817 + MLA-M magnetic loop
9.890 – Woofferton – via FT 2000 + Diamond W8010 – multi band trap

enjoyed the slight time delay between Woofferton and Ascension – broadcast (echo you hear)
looking forward to record the whole broadcast from Ascension via FT2000

OE5TET – Gerald & SWLing ZALhoch2

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

France

SWL: Philippe Autret
Location: Brest, France
Notes:

This is my recording, from Brest, France:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Germany

SWL: Ralf Bender
Location: Germany
Notes:

Full reception of the 2018 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on my little YT-Channel.

Received with a AFEDRI SDR with HDSDR and a Wellbrook ALA1530LN. Nice signal on all frequencies at my QTH (JO40BT) in Germany.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Italy

SWL: Gabriele Barbi
Location: Ferrara di Monte Baldo
Notes: Received in Ferrara of Monte Baldo (Verona) 850 msl, with Sangean 909 receiver and 30 meter row antenna, good signal on all 3 frequencies 5985 7360 9890 hours of reception (Italian) 23.55 today 21062018. Good Radio 🙂

Note that the audio file of the 3 frequencies is divided by the beep signal respectively from the beginning to the end of the file 5985 7360 9890:

Click here to download.

SWL: Grabriele Sommas
Location: Roccapiemonte, Italy
Notes: Hi Thomas, like every year attached I send you the youtube link of the broadcast BBC MIDWINTER 2018 with the hope of seeing it published also this year on swling. Receiver is an SDRplay RSP2 and Antenna a Wellbrook ALA 1530.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Davide Borroni
Location: Origgio (VA) Italy
Notes:

I am Davide Borroni from Origgio (VA) Italy. On 21 June 2018 at 2130.-2200 UTC on 5985 kHz AM, i listened BBC Winter Radio with SINPO 54444
I use my  Hallicrafters SX 42, Siemens E 401, Collins HF 2050 and Teletron TE 712S receivers with a magnetic loop antenna.
73s
Davide Borroni

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW)
Location: Formia, Italy
Notes:

I’m Giuseppe Morlè, iz0gzw, from Formia, central Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
I send you 2 videos about the Antartic Midwinter 2018 to be included on the Swling Post.
You can see how you listened to from my house on my 3 receivers the transmission and as the only Tecsun pl660 with its antenna on my balcony.
Thanks for everything and I always wish you excellent listening.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Renato Feuli (IK0OZK)
Location: Marta, Italy
Notes:

Hi Thomas.

I send You my reception report to BBC Midwinter 21.06.2018, UTC Time 21.30-20.00

Frequency 5.895-9.890 to Wofferton, 7.360 to Ascension, not signal on 6.035 to Dhabayya.

Nice Signal to Wofferton +20/30 db and S 9 to Ascension.

My Reception Setup:

RX: JRC NRD 545 DSP, JRC NRD 91, Watkins & Johnson 8718-9, SDR Elad FDM S2. Antenna loop Wellbrook ALA 1530 Lf, QTH Marta Italy JN52XM

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

My Blog Articles: https://ik0ozk-radio.blogspot.com/2018/06/bbc-midwinter-2018.html

Malta

SWL: Adrian Micallef
Location: Malta
Notes:

Listenined yesterday (21 June 2018) at 21.30 UTC from Malta 5985 kHz SINPO 53553 using a Tecsun PL-660 and a longwire antenna 27 metres.
Wonderful programme and good job.

Click here to download audio.

Romania

SWL: Tudor Vedeanu
Location: Romania
Notes:
Receiver location: Romania. I used an Airspy HF+ SDR and a Wellbrook ALA100LN antenna (20m delta loop).

Click here to view on YouTube.

England

SWL: Mark Hirst
Location:  Basingstoke, England
Notes: 

QRM levels at my QTH were noticeably higher this year than last, continuing a years long trend in my area.

Woofferton is only 100 miles from Basingstoke in Hampshire, and while it doesn’t lie in the direction of the transmission, the signal was strong and steady, overwhelming almost all of the interference.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Gareth Buxton (M6VOV)
Location: Belper, England
Notes:

This is my recording. Fair reception on 7360khz. I was out in the garden using a Tecsun PL 880 connected to a homemade active loop antenna. My location is Belper, Derbyshire, UK

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Paul Capewell
Location: London, England
Notes:

Three 1-minute clips of the BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on 5985kHz, 7360kHz, and 9890kHz, recorded on a Tecsun PL-380 in north west London at 2230 (2130 UTC) on 21 June 2018.

5985kHz (start)
7360kHz (about 01m20s)
9890kHz (about 02m30s)

Click here to listen via SoundCloud.

SWL: Steven
Location:  Ayrshire, Scotland
Notes: 

All three signals were good at my location in Ayrshire, Scotland.
The best of the two Wooferton signals was 5985 AM.
Here is a youtube video of my reception of the signal from Ascension Island on 7360 AM.
Rx = Trio R-1000
Ant = End fed Wire, 20 meters long and ATU.
Thank you.
HAPPY MIDWINTER !
73
Steven

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Cap Tux
Location:  Scotland
Notes: 

BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 5985kHz Woofferton 2130-2200UTC 21/06/2018. Captured in Scotland using SDRuno/RSP2 and homebrew passive Mag Loop.


Israel

SWL: Adi
Location: Israel
Notes:

In Israel only 9890 was loud and clear on my SRW-710 (V-115)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Saudi Arabia

SWL: Rawad Hamwi
Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia
Notes:
Date/Time: 21/6/2018 @ 21:30 UTC | 22/6/2018 @ 00:30 Arabian Standard Time (UTC+3)
Frequency: 9890 kHz
Receiver: Sony ICF-SW7600GR / Sony ICF-SW11
Antenna: 30 LM Longwire Antenna
Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia

Click here to view on YouTube.


North America

Canada

SWL: Richard Langley
Location: Hanwell, New Brunswick
Notes:

I obtained decent recordings of the BAS broadcast both here in NB on 7360 kHz using a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna strung to a nearby tree and using the U. Twente SDR receiver on 5985 kHz. Attached are two two-minute clips, one from the start of each recording. Also attached [above] is a photo of the “listening post” at the back of my yard. Note the mosquito spray!

You can hear my full half-hour recordings, with more details on reception, on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive: https://shortwavearchive.com/archive/bbc-world-service-annual-antarctic-midwinter-broadcast-june-21-2018

Click here to download audio.

Click here to download audio.

United States

SWL: Ivan Cholakov
Location: New York and Florida
Notes:

This year’s Midwinter Antarctic broadcast from the BBC was a special opportunity for me. I thought I would share the story because it has something to say about the state of technology in today’s world of radio. On the day of the broadcast, June 21, 2018 I was on a business trip to New York City. I had brought with me three very useful and very portable items: an SDRPlay receiver, a W6LVP portable amplified loop and an Eton Satellit shortwave radio.

I was able to receive the broadcast in the following order:

  • By remotely accessing my home station;s kiwiSDR receiver via the internet
  • By remotely accessing my amateur radio station that I maintain in Michigan using a remotehams.com server
  • By using the SDRPlay receiver and the amplified loop from the 35th floor hotel room in Manhattan
  • By using the Eton Satellit pocket sized shortwave radio from the hotel room in Manhattan

I created a youtube video with the four modes of reception above. it is amazing how connected the world has become!

Click here to view via YouTube.

SWL: Becky Shepherd
Location: NE Ohio
Notes:

I was able to get 2 different videos of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. One video is of the broadcast coming through an KiwiSDR channel and another is a recording of BBC through my Tecsun PL-380.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Stan Horzepa (WA1LOU)
Location: Wolcott, Connecticut
Notes:

Here in Wolcott, Connecticut, USA, I heard the full 30 minute broadcast
on all three channels using my ICOM IC-R8600 and an 80-meter inverted
Vee antenna. 9890 was very good, 7360 was good, while 5985 was poor.
(The broadcast reminded me of The Beatles Fan Club Christmas recordings.)

Click here to download audio.

SWL: Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD)
Location: Smithville, NJ
Notes:

I got good copy on 9890 here in Smithville, NJ (5 miles north of Atlantic City).
Readable copy on 7360 and almost readable copy on 5850.
Used a combination of Tecsun Radios: PL-310et, PL-880, and S-8800.
Used the telescoping antenna and a long wire antenna strung up in the house.

Was surprised at how good the copy was on 9890.

Following are video’s of my receptions:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Thomas Witherspoon (K4SWL)
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Notes:

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.

Click here to view on YouTube.

SWL: Brett Saylor (W3SWL)
Location: Pennsylvania
Notes:

[H]ere’s my recording, made from the University of Twente webSDR from the 7360 kHz Ascension transmitter…

https://soundcloud.com/bds2psu/bbc-antarctic-midwinter-broadcast

My recording of 9890 kHz in Pennsylvania was much weaker.

SWL: DanH
Location: Northern California
Notes:

Just awful reception here in Northern California suburbia near three in the afternoon. I can just make out “Jingle Bells.” BBC Woofferton has been coming in well here from 04:00 – 06:00 UTC on 9915 kHz on some nights.

Click here to view via YouTube.


South America

Chile

SWL: Luis Valderas
Location: San Antonio, Chile
Notes:

Date of recording: 6/21/2018

Starting time: 2130

Frequency: 7360

Receiver and antenna: JRC NRD 515 T 10 m

Click here to listen via SoundCloud.

SWL:Claudio Galaz
Location: Ovalle, Chile
Notes:

From Ovalle, Dipole Antenna and Tecsun PL 660.

Click here to download audio.


Oceana

New Zealand

SWL: Chris Mackerell
Location: Marahau, Tasman Bay, New Zealand
Notes:

The start of the broadcast on 7360 kHz heard here in Marahau, Tasman Bay, New Zealand. Elad FDM-DUOr receiver & Wellbrook loop antenna.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Once again, many thanks to all of you who submitted your recordings of the BBC Midwinter Broadcast!

We’ll be sharing this post with both the British Antarctic Survey and the BBC World Service. And to all of you, from the SWLing Post: Happy (Belated) Midwinter! Happy Summer/Winter Solstice!

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