Tag Archives: Antarctica

Arcángel San Gabriel (LRA36) special broadcasts and LU1ZV activation

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood, who writes:

I listened to LRA36 streaming this past Friday with their special show, including callouts to other Argentine scientific stations via satphone and lots of greetings by ham radio enthusiasts, both recorded and via live call-in.

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

…At the conclusion the announcer said they would be back this Monday at 1800 Buenos Aires time or 2100 UTC.

Details about last Friday’s broadcast:

http://www.radionacional.com.ar/continuan-las-emisiones-especiales-en-lra-36-arcangel-san-gabriel/

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

The audio stream is only up when LRA36 is on the air apparently but is at the Radio Nacional website under the audio streams listing:”

http://vmf.edge-apps.net/embed/live.php?streamname=sc_rad32-100131&autoplay=true

Thank you so much for sharing this, Tracy! It’s incredibly difficult for me to snag LRA36 broadcasts off the air, so it’ll be nice to have this stream link as well.

I also recently received a note about LU1ZV: the amateur radio station at the Esperanza Antarctic Base.  What follows is a rough English translation of the press release. Click here to download the original press release in Spanish (MS Word Doc).

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

THE HAM RADIO ACTIVATION OF ESPERANZA ANTARCTIC BASE

Started on December 8, the activation of the LU1ZV amateur radio station of the Antarctic Base Esperanza, after years of being inactive.

The radio activity of LU1ZV has as primary objective to remember the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the transmission of the radio station LRA 36 “Arcángel San Gabriel” of the Esperanza Base, the first shortwave station in AM across Antarctica, which began broadcasting on October 20,1979. In addition, this activity seeks to maintain the continuity of emission of stations of radio amateurs from Antarctica.

The LU1ZV activation has registered more than 900 contacts with amateur radio stations
nationally and abroad, and in addition to covering all regions of the country, they have already

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

contacted twenty-two Argentine provinces.

Among the most relevant data that LU1ZV activity exhibits so far are the distant radio contacts  (despite the low emission power) as in the case of Japan, Canada, Latvia, Ukraine and Finland among others. They have contacted most South American countries, several of Central American countries and all from North America.

Another outstanding contact was made with VP8HAL, the Halley VI scientific station of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), located in the Brunt Ice Barrier, about 1,700 km SE of Hope.

The operation of LU1ZV is carried out from the study of LRA 36 and the rhombic antenna of the station, while the station isn’t operating. The amateur radio station activity adapts to the general schedule of the base and of LRA36, so activation times are reduced to a few hours during the evening – night.

The Head of Hope Base, Lieutenant Colonel Norman Walter Nahueltripay was present during some contacts and received greetings from radio correspondents.

This special activation also includes the project “Uniendo Voces” of the National University of Quilmes (UNQ) of the province of Buenos Aires, an initiative that included areas of interest to amateur radio and Antarctic activations, and which was presented to the
Antarctic Joint Command (COCOANTAR).

“Uniendo Voces” has participated in these radio activations since 2013 (in Marambio Base and Matienzo) to which the historical emission from Base Esperanza is now added, within the framework of a special initiative called “DX Radial Expedition Uniting Voices”.

The amateur Radio Claudio García (LU1VC) member of the LRA 57 Radio Nacional de El
Bolsón (province of Chubut) and Juan C. Benavente (LU8DBS) of COCOANTAR and UNQ, perform the activation for which they had to move equipment to that Antarctic base.
The radio activation of Esperanza has the support and collaboration of Adrián Korol,
director of the Argentine Broadcasting Abroad (RAE) who expressed his emotion and
satisfaction for “this joint achievement with the Antarctic Command and the National University of Quilmes. “

Antarctic bases are licensed by amateur radio stations, and like all the activity, is regulated by the National Communications Agency (ENACOM). These radio activations have a “high symbolic and real value”, as Korol says, and they contribute, in addition to remembering ephemeris, to the promotion of sovereignty in the Antarctic region from the radio spectrum.

Likewise, the amateur radio activity contributes to the study of communications – such as
radio wave propagation conditions- and keeps an alternative communication service active and effective.

Many Argentine radio amateurs from different parts of the country are attentive to the
calls from LU1ZV and collaborate with the initiative.”

Along with the photos and LU1ZV press release above, I also received press releases from two special broadcasts that happened earlier. Click here and here to download the MS Word documents in Spanish.

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Christmas Carols from Antarctica on Shortwave

McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Source: USAP.gov)

(Source: ARRL News)

A program of Christmas carols will be broadcast from Antarctica on Christmas Eve. The transmissions on 7995 kHz USB will begin on December 23 at 2300 UTC, coordinated by McMurdo Communications Operations (MacOps) — known as “The Voice of Antarctica.”

Each year, the station’s residents celebrate the holiday by singing Christmas Carols to those at remote Antarctic field camps. Participation will be from stations scattered throughout the Antarctic continent.

“The radios and antenna systems are optimized for on-continent communication, so we will be lucky to hear them in other parts of the world, but it has happened in the past,” said Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, who is handling QSL requests and who has participated as part of the chorus in past years while studying in Antarctica. Frissell shared some links of previous concerts, one recorded at McMurdo Station and one from the University of Twente WebSDR in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full article at the ARRL.

UPDATE: Check out this episode of Short Wave–an NPR podcast–wher they interview the scientists involved in this tradition:

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Any real world experience shortwave listening in Antarctica?

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Delmar Williams, who writes:

I am going to Antarctica for 9 days on an “expedition.”

I always travel with my radio as I like to to go to remote locations sometimes where there is little or no internet or constant power blackouts. I remember from years ago that someone said reception in Antarctica wasn’t very good, but I could be mistaken. I have looked on the web for this subject, but I don’t see much info. I sent a tweet to someone in Ant., but I don’t think he responded.

Do you know anything about this topic. I tried to go in your chatroom but it didn’t work for me.

Thank you for your question, Delmar.  I know that DXing from the polar regions presents a unique set of challenges in terms of propagation, but it certainly wouldn’t stop me from taking a radio!

My hope is that an SWLing Post reader can shed a little light on Antarctic listening and possibly  even offer advice based on real world experience SWLing in Antarctica.  If so, please comment!

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Giuseppe captures LRA36 special on the coast of Italy with a portable receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:

Giuseppe Morlè

I’m Giuseppe Morlè from Formia, Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea … I had the pleasure of listening to the transmission of LRA36 Base Esperanza Antartida Argentina on 15,476 MHz on 21 September 2019 at 14.01 UTC.

I used a 25 meter wire, on the ground, with salt water resistance in a SSW direction that I have been using for years … similar to a “beverage on salt ground”.

I made the following video of the broadcast on my YouTube channel:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow! Giuseppe I am most impressed with your reception of the elusive LRA36. No doubt, this is testament to the power of combining a low noise environment, a capable shortwave receiver, and a longwire on a salt ground.


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Dan records the LRA36 special broadcast

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.

Click here to watch/listen via Vimeo.

Excellent! Thank you, Dan for sharing your recording.

I also made a recording remotely via my home SDR while travelling this weekend. I’ll review the recording the coming days.

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Reminder: Help record the 2019 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today

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

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 once again 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.

The broadcast will take place at 21:30 UTC today.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Richard Langley and Alan Pennington who confirm the following broadcast frequencies:

  • 5875 kHz
  • 7360 kHz
  • 9455 kHz

If you would like to participate in our BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast recording event, please read our original post which includes all relevant details.

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Fascinating episode of The Antarctic Sun podcast

McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Source: USAP.gov)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Justin Moore (KE8COY), who shares the following:

[T]here is an interesting podcast] that I’m sure you would like as well as anyone with an interest in radio might enjoy, especially in this weather.

It’s the Antarctic Sun podcast and this episode is about the communications staff at McMurdo Station, the MacOps department, and the things they do to stay in touch with scientists, researchers, and workers in the field, using their radio communications skills to keep everyone safe.

Listening to this is great while there is still snow on the ground, as there is up here in Cincinnati, and may be a bit of inspiration for ham radio folks who participate in Winter Field Day.

My favorite part is when they talk about using HF to sing Christmas carols to each other at the different Antarctic camps and stations.

[Here’s the description of the episode:]

Communications operator Rebecca Ricards (foreground) calls up field camp information at the MacOps control console. Josh Young looks on. (Source: NSF)

“Antarctica is a vast and potentially treacherous continent and the safety of researchers and support staff is of the utmost concern for everyone. Just knowing what’s happening is a critical first step towards keeping everyone safe, but keeping the lines of communication open between the station and people working in the field requires a lot of effort. It takes a multitude of high frequency and very high frequency radios, a veritable forest of signal repeaters, a constellation of satellite phones and more to keep tabs on everyone.

All of those communication systems are routed through the nerve center of the station, MacOps. Short for “McMurdo Operations,” it’s the central communications hub where operators keep tabs on everyone off the station. Communications operators are in almost constant contact with the numerous field camps and sea ice groups, ready to send in search and rescue teams in an emergency or just say a friendly “hello” after a long hard day of work in a remote field camp.”

Click here to download the podcast.

Thanks for taking the time to share this, Justin! This episode combines two things that fascinate me: radio and Antarctica! Certainly a win-win. I’ve also now subscribed to this podcast–thanks again!

Click here for more details at The Antarctic Sun Podcast.


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