Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:
As the DX/SWL community knows, LRA-36 Radio Arcangel San Gabriel in Antarctica Argentina put on a special broadcast on September 21st for listeners around the world. This had some pre-publicity via an announcement from the station, so chances are many people heard it.
My listening began at around 1253 UTC when I was surprised to find the broadcast already in progress, though the time was originally set for 1300-1415 UTC. Because the Paradinho, Brazil Kiwi site was full I tuned to one of two Iceland-based SDRs at 1253 to find an Argentine song often used by the station in progress, then sign on announcements, including what sounded like English greetings to listeners, followed by a program that consisted mostly of two female announcers in conversation, punctuated by occasional drop-ins by a male announcer with ID’s and sending “abrazos” (embraces/hugs) to listeners.
At 1400 UTC, there was a period of CW ID followed by some more discussion until about 1415 when they went into straight music. Programming actually lasted through 1430 when I tuned away — the transmitter was not on when I checked at noon EDT, but the station said they intended to repeat the special program later in the day. Here is video of the beginning of the program as heard at 1253 UTC, as well as the CW ID at 1400.
The highly anticipated AirSpy HF+ Discovery SDR has been in the hands of early adopters for about two weeks–and I’ve seen nothing but positive comments!
After a long run (2007-2013) with a Microtelecom Perseus, my SDR of choice became the Elad FDM-S2, and more recently an Elad FDM-DUOr “hybrid” SDR receiver. The two Elads have the same core processing components and identical performance when the DUOr is connected via SDR software.
This week I’ve compared the HF+ Discovery ($169) against the FDM-DUOr ($899) using Studio 1 software and identical modes & settings. The following video features the radios’ performance on a crowded daytime medium wave band from suburban Seattle-Tacoma USA.
Mode, filter bandwidth, AGC, etc. are the same for each radio
768 kHz sampling bandwidth used for both receivers
Stations tuned are:
1320 KXRO Aberdeen WA, 74 miles @ 5 kW (in-line with antenna)
1110 Oak Harbor WA, 78 miles @ 500 watts (in antenna’s null)
1040 CKST Vancouver BC, 147 miles @ 50 kW (in antenna’s null)
1430 KBRC Mt. Vernon WA, 85 miles @ 5 kW (in antenna’s null)
750 KXTG Portland OR, 118 miles @ 50 kW (in antenna’s null)
I purposely sought out signals difficult to hear in the presence of powerhouse stations. Only 1320 kXRO (in-line with my antenna) and 750 KXTG are what you might consider average or fair quality signals. Headphones are recommended for most of these, particularly 1040 kHz.
You’ll note that the pass band has been “pulled” over the edge of the carrier frequency by a few hundred Hertz. This is an excellent trick that can often reduce noise and/or improve intelligibility. It’s a feature unique to Perseus, Studio 1, and SDRuno software; it works in sideband modes and in selectable sideband Sync AM (SAM) mode.
After listening to the signal comparisons, what are your thoughts on the HF+ Discovery? Please leave your comments below.
Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington. He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.
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.
One of our frequent contributors, Tom Laskowski, has digitally converted numerous magnetic tape recordings from his personal collection to share with the archive. Tom made the following recording of the Voice of America on July 20, 1979 at 0500 UTC on the 31 meter band.
The first 4:30 is from a VOA newscast that aired before the main part of the program.
The main recording was presented on the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I enjoy listening to this every year on the landing anniversary.
I’ve enjoyed listening to this 10th anniversary presentation as we, today, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing::
[Update:] Tom also shares another recording that marks this anniversary:
I thought this might be [another] appropriate file to upload considering we are marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. I recorded this program thirty years ago on July 20, 1989 [5.975 MHz at 0400 UTC] the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Omnibus takes a look back at the historic Apollo mission and how and why it happened:
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Roseanna, who shares the following guest post originally published on her blog, The Girl with the Radio:
Unexpected FM madness!
I would like tho share with you a once in a lifetime Sporadic-E event that happened to me today along with videos of the catches I received during it.
It was about 12:00 UTC (1PM local time) and I was listening to NRJ on my personal FM transmitter (106.3MHz) when all of a sudden my pop music fuzzed and turned into classical music. It was then that I knew something was happening and I didn’t want to miss it!
I jumped up, got out my phone camera and started scanning around trying to find distant FM stations and my goodness did I get some amazing catches!
There was no tropo forecast for my area nor some of the places I heard and I wasn’t prepared in the slightest so I ask for your forgiveness on the shaky unprofessional footage and I hope you enjoy watching the following catches that I received!
For those interested my setup is a Sony ST-SE570 with a “bunny ear” telescopic aerial with the ground positioned vertically and the feed positioned horizontally. I put the feed to be facing at 90 degrees East to West.
Disclaimer: the order in which these stations were received has been altered to make this blog post more fun, the times in UTC are in the video titles for those of you interested in the chronological order in which I received these stations!
And this catch …. I have no words to describe my sheer amazement, surprise, shock and excitement hearing a station from Romania (Over 1800km / 1100 miles away) that is broadcasting at only 2kW. It is on the same frequency as France Musique broadcasting at 160kW which is much much closer; I still can’t believe I heard this at all!
After all that excitement we now stop over in Slovakia!
This is Retro Rádió a 50kW station in Hungary. It was broadcasting over BBC Radio Wiltshire and I even got RDS!
I hope you all enjoyed going on this radio tour of Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia with me, I certainly did!
Thank you ever so much for reading and watching and I hope to see you around for my next adventure!
And thank you, Roseanna, for taking us on your FM travels! Isn’t RDS an amazing tool for grabbing station IDs during these FM DX openings–? Well played! Again, many thanks as I enjoyed your FM tour of eastern Europe.
The following Memorial Day post was originally published on May 25th, 2015:
Dame Vera Lynn
Today is Memorial Day, and I’m feeling humbly grateful to all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Since I’ve been reading a lot of WWII history lately, I’ve also been playing a lot of WWII-era music here in my sanctuary to all things radio.
Few songs sum up the yearning sentiment of World War II better than Vera Lynn’s 1942 rendition of “The White Cliffs of Dover.” It’s an iconic song, one that helped British soldiers see beyond the war while mourning its painful toll. It was written in 1941 when England was taking heavy casualties, just before American allies joined the effort.
This morning, seeking something with a little authenticity, I played “The White Cliffs of Dover” though my SStran AM transmitter, and listened to it through “Scottie,” my WWII-era Scott Marine radio (above). I made this recording by placing my Zoom H2N recorder directly in front of the Scott’s built-in monitor speaker.
So here you go: a little radio tribute to all of those who fell–on both sides–of that infamous second world war.
And thanks to all who serve and have served in the name of “peace ever after.”
The following article originally appeared on The Radio Kitchen blog by Michael Pool, a.k.a. “The Professor.” In an effort to preserve his writings and recordings, we are republishing The Professor’s archived posts in a special collection here on the SWLing Post.
Note that not all of the original links and recordings could be recovered, but the majority have been.
Of course, all of the views and opinions in this article were those of The Professor.
“Down Under, Up And Over” was originally published on November 30, 2007.
Down Under, Up And Over
by The Professor
When get to fooling around with a shortwave radio I usually don’t have much of an idea of what I might come across, or where the broadcasts I may find will come from. If you happen to be hunting up something originating (or relayed) from a hot nearby transmitter, shortwave listening is almost as predictable and practical as AM or FM However, the real fun in scanning these forgotten bands is hunting for broadcasts from far-flung regions of the globe. It’s all about surfing those skywaves.
Instead of patiently scanning a SW broadcast band, this particular evening last July, I was quickly scanning several bands with my Degen 1103 looking for something, ah… exciting.
Okay, maybe “exciting” is the wrong word. I was fishing to find some exotic broadcast from far away, and preferably one in my native tongue. I’m sure there are other shortwave listeners who know what I mean. What gets my attention right away when trolling the HF bands is coming across an unfamiliar English language broadcast on a carrier marked by the scars of bouncing off the upper atmosphere a few times. Sure, It’s important that the reception has enough clarity to be understood, but shortwave radio waves from far over the horizon are infused with the sounds of the electrical and magnetic activity surrounding our planet. The audio itself often has an edge, even when listening with agile and fancy receivers. An aquired taste, the sonic anamolies of distant shortwave broadcasts have an inate musicallity, which you may appreciate once your ears adjust to them. And the last time I heard the clear mutated throb of a strong distant transmitter traversing the globe was last July. I was sitting under the stars in the Michigan countryside when from over eight-four hundred miles away, New Zealand came calling.
RNZI (Radio New Zealand International) doesn’t seem to have any worldwide coverage mandate like CRI (China), the BBC or VOA or something. Their main purpose is as a regional service for the South Pacific. Dotted with a scads of far-flung islands, their broadcast zone actually covers a huge swath of the Earth’s surface. So just by making a point of covering this region well, RNZI is a major player in international broadcasting. (And sadly, I can’t remember when I picked up the BBC World Service as well as I heard New Zealand RNZI that evening.)
From my casual and primitive DXing experience, many powerful shortwave stations from around the world can be picked up from Eastern North America, as long as the signal doesn’t originate from anywhere directly blocked by the massive mountains of the top three quarters of the North American Continental Divide. In other words, with a booming transmitter from the closer sections of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America are the most likely catches from overseas. Deeper into these zones and continents (and Asia in general) are difficult terrain for DXing rewards from here. That said, with my limited portable equipment I’ve been able to pick up signals from at least three of the major broadcasters from the Southern Orient– India, Australia and New Zealand. I’ve always assumed that these signals ride skywaves over the lower mountains of the Southwest and Central America. But I’m no expert.
I do know that all the overseas states located directly west of the tall Rockies who are serious about reaching US citizens via shortwave rent relay transmitter time from Canada, as well as sites in the Carribean and Europe). In fact, if you happen to come across international broadcasts from Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or Thailand on shortwave in Eastern North America, you’re probably hearing a relayed transmission from several hundred miles away. But the recording I’m offering here is of reception from from far across the world. Considering the distance travelled, the reception here is fairly healthy. A little hairy, but practical. And there’s no local RF noise getting in the way. You really can hear the details it if you pay attention.
Radio New Zealand International pt 1 – 9615kHz – 07-07-07 0644 UTC 15:05
This first bit is an interview with Canadian chemist and author Penny LeCouteur discussing her book about molecules that have changed the world. Of note here– the legacy of how James Cook and ascorbic acid made the south seas safe for European explorers and colonists.
Then the cassette came to an abrupt stop, and the part two of this recording begins with the flip of the the tape. At the onset of this archive the interview is aborted in mid-sentence and a female announcer formally announces that Radio New Zealand International is closing on this frequency. After twice insisting that I “re-tune to six-zero-nine-five kilohertz in the forty-nine meter band” (followed by a clipped “This is New Zealand”), it all sounds so damn official that I felt compelled to follow the instructions. Although I knew that just because RNZI was booming in on 31 meters didn’t necessarily mean it would come in so strong (or might even be heard) on the 49 meter band.
You hear RNZI’s interval signal (the call of the New Zealand Bellbird) after the station ID, and then the signal at 9165kHz goes dead. I then put the tape deck on pause and punch up 6095 kHz on the Degen and release the pause button. And there it was! The call of the Bellbird is quite clear there as well, although a nearby signal is chewing on the edges of the reception a bit.
Radio New Zealand International p2 2 – 9615 & 6095kHz – 07-07-07 0658 UTC 28:55
Whoever is running the board down there in the South Pacific was a little sloppy that night. After the interval signal the board-op starts to pot up the interview again (which is still running on one of the channels). But the mistake is corrected in a fraction of second, and it’s the news with Phil O’Brien. The lead story, a nationwide “Drunk Drive Blitz” the night before had netted over two-hundred inebriated kiwis on the highways down there. And an update on the aftermath of an unprecedented swarm of tornados that ravaged the North Island a couple of nights earlier.
After the news, it’s the beginning of a program I can barely believe I’m hearing in 2007. A faux flapper-era theme song launches a “nostalgia packed selection of favorites” that will saturate the skies of Oceania for the next four hours. While I love a lotta old music, the whole idea of “nostalgia” can get a little silly. Although I must say that old Joe Franklin used to pull it off with some charm on WOR here in New York City before he gave up the show a few years back. It’s really an approach to radio that’s all but dead here in the states. But apparently not in New Zealand.
As you’ll hear if you brave through this chunk of pulsing and buzzy DX radio, there are a couple of corny numbers to wade through. But I gotta tell you, that sitting outside in the middle of the night with an artifact-drenched AM signal from the other side of the world filling my headphones, it felt reassuringly twentieth-century. Maybe you’ll hear what I mean. And the Paul Robeson and Mills Brothers seemed quite appropriate.
I guess a little nostalgia isn’t so bad.
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