Category Archives: Recordings

Listening across the globe: The 2020 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

On Sunday, 21 June 2020, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2020 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.

Did I miss your recording?

Putting this post together takes almost a full dedicated day sorting recordings, uploading, and formatting them for the Post. Many readers posted a link to their recording on Facebook, Twitter, or even in the comments section on previous posts. I tried to hunt down these links, but if I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please send me an email with details and a link to your recording; I’ll amend this post.

So, without further ado please enjoy the following recordings:


The 2020 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings

Europe

Denmark

SWL: Florián Navarro
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Notes:

Here are a couple of samples from the 2020 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, both on 5790 kHz, the first one at 21:53 UTC, the second one at 21:59 UTC.
My receiver is a JRC-NRD 535 with an AOR LA400 loop antenna and I used a Roland Edirol R-09 recorder.

My location is Aarhus, Denmark. Best reception from here was on 5790 kHz followed by 7360 kHz (weaker signal and a bit background noise) while 9580 kHz was barely audible.

I really enjoy reading your articles, reviews, etc. in both your website and blog. thank you very much!


England

SWL: Paul Lethbridge
Location: Worthing, England
Notes: 9580 as received in Worthing with some talkback from G0JXX on 2mtr to me G3SXE


SWL: David  (G4EDR)
Location: North Yorkshire
Notes:

I used my Tecsun PL-680 and its telescopic whip antenna to receive the annual mid winter broadcast. 5790 kHz was very strong here on the North Yorkshire coast in the UK. My audio recording was taken from the loud speaker using my mobile phone. Hope the quality is acceptable for posting on your website.

73, David – G4EDR


SWL: Mark Hillman
Location: Littlehampton, West Sussex
Notes: 132ft longwire at my QTH in IO90RT (M0TVV)


SWL: Mark Hist
Location: North Hampshire, UK
Notes:

I hedge my bets this year and monitored both 5790kHz and 7360kHz using my RSPDuo and FRG-7700 respectively.

Below is the beginning of the broadcast on 7360kHz, recorded in North Hampshire, UK:

7360 kHz deteriorated towards the end, so the RSPDuo recording will be the keeper.


SWL: Nick B.
Location: England
Notes:

Some recordings I made this evening on 5790kHz. I’m around 90 miles NE of Woofferton TX so it’s a big signal here!

Using Airspy HF+ Discovery, SDR Console in SAM mode.

Unfortunately, the BBC caused a lot of confusion due to their incorrect broadcast time (and incorrect pluralising Ascension Island!). I hope they managed good reception down in Antarctica.


SWL: Roseanna
Notes:

I’ve got the BBC Midwinder 2020 broadcast recorded in pretty amazing quality for your archive post!


France

SWL: Philippe
Location: Brest. France
Notes:

Good morning Thomas,

i’ve recorded the last BBC Antarctic Midwinter broadcast.

I’m located near BREST, in west France.


Germany

SWL: Martin
Location: Hannover, Germany
Notes:
Here is a recording of the 2020 BBC midwinter broadcast, received in Hannover Germany on my XHDATA D-808 and its telescopic whip antenna, with the strongest signal on 5790 kHz via Woofferton.

Thanks for bringing this broadcast to my attention!


SWL: Andreas Bremm
Location: Western Germany
Notes:

Hello Thomas i can send you my record from the BBC Midwinter Show sounds really good. It’s recorded with Tecsun ICR 100 Revived with Tecsun Pl880 and a MLA30+ Loop in Western Germany


Ireland

SWL: Alan
Location: Ireland
Notes:

5790 kHz Woofferton UK
BBC Antarctic Midwinter broadcast 21-06-2020 21:30UTC

Recorded from County Kildare, Ireland (GRID IO63ri)
Icom-718 and 20m Random wire
Olympus vn-741pc

Best regards,
Alan


Italy

SWL: Marco Origlia
Location: Cuneo, Italy
Notes:

My name is Marco and I am an Italian student in Telecommunications
Engineering. Thanks to one of our Professors, I’ve become enthusiast for
radio communications and day by day I’m becoming a shortwave listener. I
must thank you for your blog. I’ve added it to my RSS feed aggregator so
that I don’t miss any of your posts, which I always find very interesting.

Upon your invitation I would like to share a short recording of the BBC
Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast I made. The data of the recording are the
following:

Location: Cuneo, Italy (44.384413N, 7.542607E), from an indoor location
of a urban area
Frequency: 7360 kHz
Receiver: TECSUN PL-660 with wire antenna leaning out of the window
Time: UTC 2020-06-21 21.41

Although at times the signal faded, the broadcast was pretty clear.

I haven’t bought a jack to jack cable to pipe the output of the radio to
the computer, yet. So I plugged my headphones into the computer, I put
the headphone microphone on the radio speaker, I recorded the broadcast
with OBS and converted it using VLC.

Thank you again for your service to the shortwave listeners community,

Marco Origlia


SWL: Giovanni Lorenzi
Location: Messina, Sicily Island
Notes:

I’m Giovanni Lorenzi, and I’m a amateur radio too. I live in Messina, Sicily Island. My working condition are: receiver Yaesu FRG-7000 and dipole antenna.

I’ve tuned the program above and I’m sending 3 audio clip about.

Giovanni Lorenzi


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

I’m Giuseppe Morlè, iz0gzw, from Formia, Central Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea …
Also this year I send you the link where you can see My Antartic Midwinter 2020 video.
I hope you will publish it on SWLing Post for the swl community of the world …

I thank you and always wish you good listening.
Ciao from Italy.


Russia

SWL: Anton Kolesnichenko, R9LAU
Location: Tyumen, Russia
Notes:

QTH Loc: MO27SE
Frequency: 7360 kHz, 5790 kHz
Receiver: Icom 7300
Antenna: 40M dipole

73 de Anton, R9LAU


SWL: Dmitry Elagin
Location: Saratov, Russia
Notes:

Good afternoon!
Hello from Saratov, Russia!

UTC time: 21:30 – 22:00
Frequency khz: 9580
Weak signal. Local impulse interference. Sometimes fading a weak signal and noise at frequency.
Signals 7360 and 5790 are much stronger.

Receiver: SDRplay RSP1
Antenna: Long wire antenna 7 meters + counterpoise 20 m. (10 – 14 m. above ground level)
MFJ-959C Antenna Tuner SWL and Preamp / MFJ-931 Artificial RF Ground
Receiver location: Saratov, Russia


North America

Canada

SWL: Richard Lacroix
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Notes:

I managed to receive on all 3 frequencies from Toronto, Ontario Canada. Best
of them was 9580 kHz. I first started to listen on 7360 kHz as this was the
only working frequency. Reception was poor, hence the poor audio recording.
Conditions rapidly got much better which allowed me to switch to 9580 during
the broadcast period with much better reception.

LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario Canada
TIME: 2130 – 2200 UTC
FREQUENCY: 9580 kHz
RECEIVER: SDRplay RSP2duo
ANTENNA: Barker Williamson, Inverted V
CONDITIONS: Urban environment, thunderstorm activity


SWL: Richard Langley
Location: Hanwell, New Brunswick
Notes:
I obtained a good recording of the BAS broadcast here in New Brunswick, Canada, on 7360 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 photo of the “listening post” at the back of my mosquito-infested backyard. Note the bug spray!

You can hear my full half-hour recording, with more details on reception, on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive: https://shortwavearchive.com/archive/bbc-world-service-annual-antarctic-midwinter-broadcast-june-21-2020


SWL: David Elden
Location: Ottawa
Notes:

Received in Ottawa, Canada using an XHDATA D-808 with ~15 feet of wire clipped to the telescopic antenna. Location was on a balcony, east facing about 20 feet above the ground. Nothing heard on 5790, faint signal on 9580 and readable with variable fading on 7360 (maybe S3R3-4). Recording here:


Oceana

Australia

SWL: Cameron Campion
Location: Melbourne
Notes:

Hello Thomas, Here is my reception of the BBC Midwinter broadcast from here in Melbourne, Australia with my XHDATA Receiver. I received first on 7360khz and then switched to 5790khz where the reception improved substantially.


New Zealand

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

Here are a couple of clips from the BBC Midwinter broadcast
for Antarctica received here in Marahau, New Zealand.

This is 7360 kHz – the best of the signals. 5790 was weaker,
and 9580 was just a spike on the SDR display.

The clips are the first & last minute or so.

Receiver was an Elad DUOr with a Wellbrook loop antenna.

73 Chris


South America

Argentina

SWL: Ulises Chialva
Location: Rio Primero, Argentina
Notes:

My name is Ulises Chialva, Im 46 years old and I live in a small rural town called Rio Primero, in the Cordoba province, central region of Argentina. Im a DXer since the late 80´s and been a member of several clubs here in Argentina, also a monitor for Radio Netherlands in the 2000´s.
Today is a cold Fathers day here in Argentina, and at the moment of listening I was also enjoying a really beautiful sunset.

I’ve listen to this years BBC midwinter broadcast with my Sony ICF-2010 and a 45 meters long random wire antenna with a 9:1 balun.

Conditions were pretty good with the UK so I’ve listened to Woofferton station transmissions very clear on 5790 and specially 7360 KHz; 6170 and 9580 from Ascension Island were barely audible here.

I send to you a little more than 1 minute recording of 7360 KHz from Woofferton, UK; and a photo of my little shack here at home.


Brazil

SWL: Carlos Latuff
Location: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Notes:


Chile

SWL: Francisco Miranda Fuentes
Location: Santiago, Chile
Notes:

I send you my participation to reception of the activity “2020 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on June 21”. I also attach a recording in mp3 format corresponding to 44 seconds of the event.

Name: Francisco Miranda Fuentes
Receiving frequency: 7360 khz at Woofferton
Receiver: Kenwood R-1000.
Antenna: T2FD
Location of the box: Santiago, capital city of the Republic of Chile.
Recording: 128 bps mp3 format


Costa Rica

SWL: Julio Campos
Location: Costa Rica
Notes:

Hi. This is my brief reception. It was still daylight here, and there was a heavy storm. The reception was poor.


Wow!

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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Bill’s first DX contest using a Panasonic RF-2200 and a hombrew diode/loop radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who shares the following guest post:


My First DX Contest

by Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD

Being a recent new member of NJARC, this is my first time competing in this contest.  I have always been a big fan of BCB DXing and have recently got back into it – especially with the amateur radio bands being in such poor conditions.  The acquisition of a couple of Loop antennas plus two Panasonic RF-2200 radios have just enhanced my enjoyment.

For the contest, I used two completely different radios.  First was the RF-2200 and second was a spur of the moment creation.

The RF-2200 was its usual good performer. While the RF-2200 has a beautiful built-in rotating bar antenna, I enhanced it with the 27” Torus-Tuner Loop Antenna as made by K3FDY, Edmund Wawzinski.  I think I had picked this antenna up at one of NJARC’s swap meets.  So I wish to thank whoever it was that was nice enough to bring it and sell it at the meet.  I have really enjoyed using it.  With this setup, I was hoping that I might be able to pull in Denver, Salt Lake City and maybe even a Mexican station, but it was a complete bust on them.  But I did have a nice surprise in receiving the Cuban station Radio Enciclopedia on 530 in addition to the usual Radio Reloj time signal station.  Following is photo of it in operation:

Originally, I had thought that my second contest entry would be done with a 1962 Sony TR-910T three-band transistor radio.  This radio has a fairly wide dial along with a second fine-tuning knob which would be a big help.  I would have again used the 27” hula-hoop antenna.

But I made the nice mistake of running across Dave Schmarder’s Makearadio website:

http://makearadio.com/

Dave’s site is a wonderful resource for creating your own Crystal, Tube, and Solid State radios as well as Audio Amplifiers and Loop Antennas.  While going down the rabbit hole of his site, I ran across his Loop Crystal Set, #19 Crystal Radio:

http://makearadio.com/crystal/19.php

What grabbed my attention was the wood frame loop antenna which is similar to one I had acquired a couple of years ago at a ham fest:


It was a really nicely constructed, nice swivel base.

I replaced the tuning capacitor with one that has a 6:1 ratio.

At this point I started thinking that I could create something similar with my loop.

I randomly grabbed a diode from my parts box.  Not sure what the exact model is.  (I later found out that it was an IN-34 which is what I was hoping it was.)  Then quickly soldered the diode, a resistor and capacitor to a RCA plug:

I then proceeded to use some jumper cables and just clip it to the tuning capacitor on the antenna base:

The RCA plug was then the audio out (I hope) from the radio.

I quickly realized that I did not have a crystal headset or any headset that would reproduce any audio.  So I used an old Marantz cassette recorder to act as an amplifier.  Fed it into the mic jack and then tried to listen to the monitor out.  Bingo – I could pick up or local station on 1340 really weak.

So I then fed the audio from the Marantz into a Edirol digital recorder.  Now I was getting enough audio for the headphones plus could make  a recording of the audio.

At last I was receiving some signals.  To boost the audio some more I removed the resistor from the circuit.

I found out the I could only tune from about 530 to 1350.  I probably needed to clip the lead on one of the loop turns, but I really wanted to see how it would do at night.  I spent several hours and was just totally amazed at how well it performed and how good the audio was.  The hardest part was when there were very strong signals on the adjacent frequency.  What I found really interesting was that it was not linear in its tuning.  At the low end of the band the stations were more spread out than at the higher end.  This made tuning fairy easy at the low end and very touchy at the high end.  I was able to hear a couple of Chicago stations along with Atlanta and St. Louis.

Here’s photo of it in action:

I have created an audio file of the station ID’s heard with the diode/loop radio.  The audio file is on the Internet Archive at:

https://archive.org/details/bcbstationidsondioderadio

I had a lot of fun in the contest and especially enjoyed trying something really different with the diode/loop radio.  Now I have a whole year to try to think up something really creative for next year’s contest.


Absolutely brilliant, Bill! I’m so happy to see that your ham fest homebrew loop has served you so very well in a contest. I love how you pulled audio from your homebrew, make-shift diode radio as well–using your audio gear in a chain for amplification obviously worked very well.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Bill!

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April’s collection of Japanese language WebSDR recordings for May 2020

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, April TimeLady, who writes:

This is a collection of Japanese SDR recordings I made over the month of May. Labelling may be “off” and I can’t find sources for some of the call letters of the stations I’ve heard; WRTH is only so useful, but it is still very useful anyway. The recordings are also biased towards what I’m interested in, which means mostly music programs, NHK programs, shortwave programs. Available in .wav, .mp3 and .flac.

Click here to listen on the Internet Archive.

April also asks:

“Does anyone know the call letters of the NHK shortwave transmitters located in Japan itself. Or the call letters for the Issoudun and Nauen shortwave complexes?

I’ve tried googling the answers for the first question in Japanese and the answers have been less than useful, most likely due to the kanji barrier.”

If you can help April, please comment!

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Pentti Stenman’s impressive collection of SWL recordings, QSLs, and pennants

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

Just ran across this guy’s site Pentti Stenman, who is in Finland.
Check out his audio and QLS, pennants as well…

http://www.penan.net/dx-kuuntelu

Pentti’s collection is impressive indeed! Since he’s in Finland, some of his site is in Finnish, but it’s still quite easy to navigate and you can have Google translate it into any language.

I have pasted direct links below to Pentti’s various galleries.

QSL Gallery

Pennants

Recordings:

Thanks again, Dan, for the tip!

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April shares her collection of Japanese language WebSDR recordings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, April TimeLady, who writes:

To aid in my knowledge of the Japanese language I have been using SDRs and recording what I hear.

I have uploaded a collection of recordings of Japanese audio made from various SDRs, primarily those located in Japan itself. Those with 6105 kHz in the title were generally made off of American SDRs. Occasionally there will be some European and African off air recordings in there. These are in .ogg format.

https://archive.org/details/JapaneseSDRrecordingsApril2020


Thank you for sharing your recordings with the world, April!

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Check out this amazing QSL and off-air audio from shortwave pirate “The Purple Nucleus of Creation”


This morning, I uploaded a recording of 2001 shortwave pirate The Purple Nucleus of Creation to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA). The recording was submitted by Adam C. Smith, a regular over at the SRAA.

Adam’s six minute off-air recording was made on October 27, 2001 at  0009UTC on 6,928 kHz USB with Adam’s Grundig 800 and 100’ wire antenna. Check out the audio embedded below or via the SRAA.

But first? Check out this extraordinary QSL card:

This QSL is more intricate than a wedding invitation! I love it! Thanks for sharing, Adam!

Here’s Adam’s off-air recording:

Adam also included other correspondence from The Purple Nucleus of Creation:

Again, thanks so much, Adam, for submitting this recording and memorabilia with everyone via the SRAA. Now your recording will (literally) be shared with our thousands of podcast subscribers and also streamed to devices across the globe via TuneIn. It’ll also be permanently preserved on the SRAA website and the Internet Archive.

Note that you can subscribe to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive as a podcast via iTunes or by using the following RSS feed: http://shortwavearchive.com/archive?format=rss You can also listen via TuneIn.

Of course, one of the best ways to listen to recordings and read all of the recording notes is by visiting the SRAA website.

Post readers: Did you log The Purple Nucleus of Creation back in the day?  Who sent you your favorite pirate radio QSL card? Please comment!

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The Airspy Youloop is a freaking brilliant passive loop antenna

Before I start talking Youloop, I have a little confession to make up front:

At the Winter SWL Fest when I gave a presentation about Portable SDR DXing, not only did I give attendees the wrong name of the Airspy Youloop antenna, but I also configured it incorrectly, hence the poor performance via my Miscrosoft Surface Go tablet PC.

I had assumed the the crossover component of the antenna was the transformer component. I realized the mistake I made when I saw some of the first promotional photos of the Youloop antenna a few weeks ago.

The crossover connects both sides of the loop while the tee junction contains the transformer.

Doh! I’m trying to forgive myself for making such an obvious mistake, but in my defence–and in the spirit of full disclosure–my antenna was a very early sample prototype without instructions, diagrams, etc. so I set it up imagining it being similar to the homebrew loop Vlado and I built. (FYI: When I say “Vlado and I built” it, I really mean, “Vlado built it.”) 

So obviously I made a poor assumption.

Once I assembled the antenna correctly? Wow. Just. Wow!

Youloop: The ideal travel antenna for high dynamic range SDRs

The Youloop, Airspy HF+ Discovery, SDRplay RSPdx, and all cables easily fit in my Red Oxx Lil Roy pack.

The Youloop is truly the travel antenna I’ve always wanted for portable SDR DXing. Here’s why:

  • It’s incredibly portable and can be rolled up to fit in a small travel pouch
  • It has all of the low-noise characteristics of other magnetic loop antennas
  • It’s wideband unlike many passive loop designs
  • It requires no variable capacitor or tuner
  • It’s made of quality components
  • It requires no external amplifier nor power source
  • It takes one minute to assemble
  • It’s affordable (~$35 USD shipped)

The only caveat? To take advantage of the Youloop, you must use a high dynamic range receiver.

Airspy HF+ Discovery SDR

I can verify that this antenna works brilliantly with the Airspy HF+ Discovery.

The AirSpy HF+ SDR

It will also pair well with the Airspy HF+  if you shortcut R3 via the R3 modification.

SDRplay RSPdx SDR

I’ve also used it numerous times with the new SDRplay RSPdx while using SDRuno in High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode. With the RSPdx, I can make spectrum recordings of the entire AM broadcast band. Note that HDR mode is only available on the RSPdx at 2 MHz and below, using the SDRuno app.

I have not tested the Youloop with other SDRs yet. I will soon test it with my WinRadio Excalibur.

So how well does the Youloop perform?

Listen for yourself!

I’m doing a little cargiving family members today. Their home is swimming in RFI (radio interference/noise). In the past, I’ve struggled to make good mediumwave recordings at their home–certainly an ideal situation for a mag loop antenna.

This morning, I wanted to record one of my favorite local AM stations (WAIZ at 630 kHz), so I set up the Youloop in the middle of a bedroom, hanging off a large bookshelf set against an interior wall. In other words: not an ideal situation.

When I plugged in the Airspy HF+ Discovery and loaded the Airspy SDR application, I fully expected to see a spectrum display full of broadband noise.

Instead, I saw signals. Lots of signals:

Sure, there’s some noise in there, but it’s low enough I could even do proper mediumwave DXing on most of the band if I wished.

In fact, if you’d like to experience the HF+ Discovery/Youloop pairing in this compromised, less-than-ideal DXing setup, why not tune through one of the spectrum recordings I made?

Click here to download the spectrum file [885.7MB .wav].

The recording was made on March 30, 2020 starting around 10:50 UTC. You’ll need to open this file in AirSpy’s free application SDR# or a third party SDR app that can read AirSpy .wav files.

I can’t wait to try the Youloop in other locations. Since we’re in lock-down due to Covid-19, I won’t be able to try the Youloop in a hotel any time soon. Almost all of my 2020 travel plans have been canceled.

Highly recommend

If you have one of the SDRs mentioned above, go grab a Youloop. At $35 USD, it’s a fantastic deal.

Click here to check out the YouLoop at the RTL-SDR.com store ($34.95 USD shipped).

Click here to check out the YouLoop at Airspy.US ($29.95 + shipping).

Click here to search for AirSpy distributors in your region/country.

If you don’t have a high dynamic range receiver, note that Airspy is exploring the idea of making a pre-amp for the Youloop. If interested, you might drop them a note of encouragement!

Do you have a Youloop? Please share your comments!


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