Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

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!

Tom’s field portable HF antenna snags VOK’s summit broadcast

Tom’s field portable car roof HF antenna.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who shares a recording he made of the Voice of Korea on June 14, 2018. This English broadcast focuses on the Singapore summit and is, no doubt, historic in its content. [Note that we’ve posted other recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.]

TomL notes:

Recorded on my noisy Lenovo laptop, SDRPlay RSP2, and an unamplified 18.5 foot antenna on the roof of my SUV.

I’m most impressed with the quality of his recording–VOK is not the easiest station to snag in the US midwest:

Click here to download the audio recording.

Thank you for sharing, Tom! I love your field portable vertical–obviously, it’s doing a fine job and your car must make for a decent ground plane!

NSS Annapolis QSLs for SWLs

Front of the NSS QSL card–the back has contact info an excellent explanation of NSS with photos.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis Fleming (K3LU), who writes:

I wanted to pass along some information regarding the NSS Annapolis radio station.

Last year’s cards were sent out for Armed Forces day with one generic card with all the callsigns. This year the ops at NSS will be sending cards direct on their own to ALL amateur stations who worked NSS without solicitation via their address posted in QRZ.com.

SWLs can send a full SWL report with station worked, time to K3LU via the QRZ.com address or email me for my address at K3LU@hotmail.com. A SASE is helpful but not necessary.

Thanks so much, Ulis! What a great service to the SWL community!

Allen looks back at 50 years of DXing

Broom Point Fishing Premises, Gros Morne National Park (Source: Newfoundland Tourism, Flickr)

Many of you might remember Allen Willie’s story from our SWLing Post “Listener Posts” collection.

On Sunday, Allen shared the following note with his radio friends. He has kindly given me permission to post it here because, frankly, it’s a most impressive accomplishment from an amazing life-long radio listener:

Fifty years ago today ( June 17, 1968 )

My radio DXing journey began in my hometown of Lacombe, Alberta here in Canada .

Throughout the following years since that day I have been involved in a number of different modes of DXing. From Medium Wave (AM), Ultralight Radio DXing, Shortwave , FM radio , Ham Radio Listening and even TV DXing for a number of years,

They have all played a wonderful part in my DXing enjoyment over the past half century.

My first evening of DXing began on the AM (Medium Wave) radio dial as I logged 560 KMON Great Falls, Montana for my first DX catch. The rest as they say is history and was to remain a lifelong enjoyment in such a great hobby.

Here is a list of some of my DX totals I have been fortunate to achieve in certain categories of DXing from both Alberta and Newfoundland:

  • Heard all 7 Continents via radio overall
  • Heard all 195 countries on earth via radio overall
  • Heard all 50 USA States via radio overall
  • Heard all 10 Canadian provinces and 3 territories via radio overall
  • Heard 1820 stations on AM (Medium Wave) radio from within Newfoundland
  • Heard 787 stations on AM (Medium Wave) radio from within Alberta
  • Heard 5 Continents on AM (Medium Wave) radio from within Newfoundland
  • Heard 123 Countries on AM (Medium Wave ) and Ultralight radio from within Newfoundland
  • Heard 48 / 50 USA States on AM (Medium Wave ) radio from within Newfoundland
  • Heard all 10 Canadian provinces and 2 Territories on AM (Medium Wave ) radio from within Newfoundland
  • Heard 1712 Medium Wave (AM) stations on Ultralight Radios
  • Heard 607 FM DX stations from within Alberta
  • Logged 109 DX Television Stations (non-local) from within Alberta

Countries heard on Shortwave: 179 from within Alberta

Logged 334 stations from within Newfoundland

  • DXCC Ham Radio Countries heard 338/340 from within Alberta and Newfoundland overall.
  • Heard All 50 US States on Ham radio from within Alberta and Newfoundland both.
  • Heard All 10 Canadian Provinces / 3 Territories on Ham radio from within Alberta and Newfoundland both

Looking forward to Year 51 ahead and many more in the hobby!!

Allen Willie VO1-001-SWL / VOPC1AA
Carbonear, Newfoundland

Bravo, Allen! Those are most impressive accomplishments! That took a lot of time, patience and radio fun. Here’s to 51 and onward!