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.
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:
7230 and possibly 5985 kHz
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).
Listening for the Midwinter test transmissions last week with the Elecraft KX2.
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!
Inspired by an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, we travel all the way to Antarctica to learn about mysterious community radio station, Ice Radio. Sadly, we learned of Anthony Bourdain’s death on the day that we recorded this episode.
Ice Radio is the latest iteration of a radio station that began more than 50 years ago at McMurdo Station. Our guest Elizabeth Delaquess is a Broadcast Engineer at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, working at both the radio and television stations there. She also shares some tales about her magical encounters with shortwave radio stations while “on the ice.”
This week, Bill shared two fascinating tape recordings he originally acquired from an estate sale box. These recordings were originally made in 1974 by the late Jim Hayward (W2PVF) in Absecon, New Jersey (USA) with two different ham radio stations in Antarctica.
This first recording is between W2PVF and KC4AAC of Palmer Station. The audio starts mid conversation:
Bill, thanks so much for sharing these recordings–I thoroughly enjoyed them!
I’m so impressed with the audio and signal quality of the Antarctic stations. In 1974, we were approaching a solar minimum in Solar Cycle 20. Still, I bet conditions were better than anything we’ve seen in over a decade!
I’m curious if any Post readers have ever made contact with either of these stations or even know the operators in the recordings? Bill notes that Jim (W2PVF) was president of the local Atlantic City Electric Company for many years. Would be fun to share these recordings with the some of the original operators, if they’re around!
Each year, the “residents” of McMurdo Station, Antarctica, celebrate Christmas by singing and sharing Christmas Carols via HF — using a non-Amateur Radio frequency just above 40 meters — for those at remote Antarctic field camps. They’ll be doing it again in 2017, on Saturday, December 23, at 2300 UTC.
“Multiple stations are involved, each with different equipment,” explained Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, an assistant research professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology who has been part of the chorus in the past. “McMurdo Station and South Pole Station probably have the most powerful equipment. Field camps and remote stations could be calling in with systems that put out as little as 20 W.”
Frissell said McMurdo Station would serve as a net control of sorts to coordinate the various broadcasts, which will include a small choir and vibraphonist John Piper at McMurdo. Other camps and South Pole Station each will have a chance to chime in.
“This year, we are asking ham radio operators around the world to listen in and e-mail short-wave listening reports telling us how far away the carols are heard,” Frissell said. “Last time I did this, almost all of the positive QSL reports were from South Pole Station.”
The broadcast will take place on December 23 on 7995 kHz USB at 2300 UTC, which will be Christmas Eve in some parts of the world. Frissell requests reports via e-mail. For a Christmas in Antarctica SWL QSL card, send an SASE to his home address. A YouTube recording offers a sample of last year’s transmission.
A graduate of Virginia Tech, Frissell started HamSCI, Ham Radio Science Investigation, which sponsored the Solar Eclipse QSO Party this past year. At NJIT, he works in the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research,
Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)
On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, the BBC World Service officially transmitted the 2017 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, including reader’s photos if provided. If I’ve somehow missed including your entry, please contact me; I’ll amend this post.
So, without further ado….
The 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Recordings
SWL: Willy, OZ4ZT Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Notes: Here is a short recording of BBC AMB on 5985kHz. It was recorded using the IC 7300’s internal record function. Antenna used was a dipole for 7MHz.
SWL: Klaus Boecker Location: JN49AC in Germany Notes: Attached please find the link to my reception Video of the 2017 Midwinter broadcast. and a photo. Just failed the first seconds, because I’ve muted my headphones and was wondering why I couldn’t hear anything. Hihi.
For the reception, I used my good, old Kenwood R1000 and my homebrewed mag-loop.
Recorded via soundcard and processed with Audacity. The Video later on is done with the NCH VideoPad Software.
SWL: Tony Roper Location: Ruhpolding, Germany Notes: 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast being received on my Tecsun PL-660 whilst in Ruhpolding, Germany. Antenna was just the supplied wire hanging vertically from the window. Wasn’t expecting much due to the surrounding hills but was pleased to pick up the Ascension transmitter.
SWL: Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw Location: Formia, Italy Notes: I used the Tecsun PL-660 with its telescopic antenna and only on Dhabbayya frequency 6035 I had a bit of difficulty. I’m on my home balcony in Formia, Center Italy, Tyrrenian sea.
SWL: Andrea Coloru (IW3IAB) Location: Italy (locator JN55XI) Notes: I used an AOR 1500 with a long wire antenna (about 40 meters). My QTH locator is JN55XI and best frequency was 5985 kHz. There was light overlap by an RTTY station but reception was loud and clear. Other frequencies were bad, too much fading or unreadable.
SWL: Davide Borroni Location: Saronno, Italy Notes: I listened BBC Midwinter with SINPO 34333 on 6035 kHz AM Thanks for show !
I use my Hallicrafters receiver R45 ARR7 and Siemens E401 , magnetic loop antenna:
Davide with his Siemens E401 magnetic loop antenna.
I was curious to listen this transmission and Wednesday I tried to receive it with a little Tecsun PL-300wt and its antenna. My QTH is impossible for electric noise (I live in a flat on a bank with alarm, neon, and so on) but I listened the transmission on 6035 khz SINPO 24131 (quite inaudible), on 7360 kHz SINPO 34232 so I’ve listen on 5985 kHz SINPO 44333 (in record attached with ID), I’ve listen transmission from 21:30 to 21:50.
SWL: Cap Tux Location: Scotland Notes: BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2017. Cerys Matthews (Catatonia) presents music requests and special messages to the staff at the British Antarctic Survey, broadcasting in English, June 21 2017, 2130-2200 GMT on 5985 kHz (transmitter power of 300kW, transmitter location: Woofferton, UK).
Recorded with an SDRPlay RSP2 using SDRuno and a homebrew passive Mag Loop.
SWL: Ayrshire, Scotland Location: Scotland Notes:
Tonight I rushed home from work in time to hear the broadcast. Signals were good at my QTH in Scotland, even though we had thunder storms to the East of Scotland.
I made several (shaky) videos on my smart phone. As you will see from the videos, my receivers are more of the classic/old type, but reception was good with my home made antennas.
Details of my receivers, antennas and location are on the youtube videos.
I have posted one of reception from Wooferton on 5985 kHz Am, and one of
reception from Ascension on 7360 kHz AM.
I also heard Dhabayya with a good readable signal, but the first two were the best signals best with me.
SWL: Mark Hirst Location: Basingstoke, England Notes: Please find enclosed a short extract from yesterday’s broadcast, plus a picture of the radio used just before the programme started. Again it was so interesting to hear a broadcast aimed to such a small audience with heartfelt messages from their friends and family.
SWL: Rawad Hamwi Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia Notes:
[Wednesday] I tried listening to the BBC Antarctica Midwinter Broadcast (for the first time) from northern Saudi Arabia and really I enjoy it so much! All the 3 frequencies were loud and clear but the most audible one was 5985 kHz
I filmed the entire 30 min broadcast and the video is uploaded on YouTube
Here are some details I included in the video description
Date/Time: 21/6/2017@21:30 UTC | 22/6/2017@00:30 Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3)
Frequencies: 7360 kHz – 6035 kHz – 5985 kHz
Receiver: Sony ICF 7600GR
Antenna: 30 LM Longwire Antenna
Location: Turaif – Northern Borders Province – Saudi Arabia
SWL: Richard Langley Location: New Brunswick Notes:
I had good luck with recording the BAS broadcast both here and using the U. Twente receiver. 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.
The Elecraft KX2 which I hooked up to a NASA PA 30 multi-band compact wire antenna that I suspended in a tree.
None of the frequencies used for the Midwinter broadcast were ideal for my location and time of day (after all, these broadcasts target Antarctica!) but last year I did successfully receive the 41 meter band broadcast.
The KX2/NASA PA 30 provided the best reception results, but sadly the recording turned out quite poor due to an incorrect setting on my Zoom H2N digital recorder.
Fortunately, I did make the following video of my Sony ICF-SW100 in action:
SWL: Nace Magner Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky Notes: I listened to the signal on 7360 kHz from the back porch of my home in Bowling Green, KY. I used a 35′ end-fed external antenna located about 20′ up in a tree. I received a similar quality signal using the external antenna with a Kaito 1103 radio. I also received the signal on the Kaito using only its whip, although the signal was substantially weaker.
Thank you for your excellent work on the SWLing Post.
SWL: Jon Pott Location: Michigan Notes: My first attempt at catching the Midwinter broadcast; I wasn’t expecting to pick up anything at all, but the Ascension Island location came through well enough that I could positively identify it when I compared to BBC’s recorded broadcast.
Recording of my reception (the beginning of the recording corresponds approximately to the 4:00 mark in the BBC recording below).
Location was western Michigan in the U.S.
Elevation: Approx. 212m ASL
SWL: David Iurescia (LW4DAF) Location: Argentina Notes: I’m sending you the first seconds of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, using a Yaesu FT 840 and a half wave dipole, 30 Km south from Buenos Aires. It is on 7360 Khz. It had good signal, but too much noise here.
Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctica (Image Source: British Antarctic Survey)
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 Midwinter! Happy Summer/Winter Solstice!
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