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!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:
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:
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.
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.
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:
If you would like to participate in our BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast recording event, please read our original post which includes all relevant details.
[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.”
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ron, who shares the following tip from the ARRL News:
Each year, volunteers at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, celebrate the holidays by serenading those at the remote, Antarctic field camps via HF radio. This year, ham radio operators and SWLs around the world are invited to listen in and email listener reports. The broadcast will be on Sunday, December 23, 2300 UTC (December 24, 1200 New Zealand Time), on 7,995 kHz USB.
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HAPPY MIDWINTER !
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
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!
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.