Managing short wave broadcasts from Ascension Island
Radio World reports on the remote Atlantic Relay Station that transmits critical radio broadcasts to millions in Africa and beyond
A six-mile stretch of volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean is home to the BBC’s Atlantic Relay Station.
Now managed and operated by Encompass Digital Media on behalf of the BBC World Service, the stations’ six powerful shortwave transmitters on Ascension Island beam program in a dozen or more languages to some 30 million listeners in north, west and central Africa.
The shortwave transmitters include two 250 kW Marconi BD272 transmitters originally installed in 1966 (and still in daily use) and four 250 kW RIZ K01 transmitters, which are also capable of transmitting in Digital Radio mode.
Read the Radio World story at
(Source: The Times via Richard Cuff)
There should surely be a queue down the street for a steady job in a subtropical climate with beautiful beaches and ocean views, especially after you have climbed a 413ft radio mast.
But contractors running the BBC Atlantic relay station on Ascension Island in the south Atlantic have had to readvertise a post for a full-time antenna maintenance supervisor. It may not be the job of everyone’s dreams, but it would suit anyone with a head for heights and a longing to get away from it all.
[…]Attempts to recruit a new rigger have proved unsuccessful, even though the job comes with a bungalow and an unspecified salary with a singular advantage: there are few places on Ascension (population roughly 800) to spend any money.
[…]The successful candidate will not lack for fun. There are beachside barbecues and even an 18-hole golf course, although the greens are known locally as “browns” and visitors have unkindly dubbed it “the worst golf course in the world”.
Post Readers: Please comment if you’ve ever visited Ascension Island! It is on my long-term bucket list.
(Source: DRM Consortium)
DRM will be part of a big anniversary on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. On 28th of August at 1155 GMT Babcock International will ensure a special BBC digital transmission on 21715 kHz from the BBC Atlantic Relay station, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC’s first short-wave radio broadcast from Ascension Island.
Since 1966, the Atlantic Relay station has broadcast BBC World Service programmes to Africa and South America, and to this day, continues to broadcast over 250 programme hours every week to East and West Africa in English, French, Hausa and Somali.
The two hour-transmission on 21715 kHz will start with the old, special sound of Bow Church Bell in east London, the sound of which, even if in DRM this time, will remind older listeners of the BBC broadcasts of many decades ago. The 21-hour transmission will be the regular BBC programmes for West and South Africa and will end at 1400.
DRM – Digital Radio Mondiale, is an international digital radio standard designed by broadcasters, for broadcasters, in co-operation with transmitter and receiver manufacturers. DRM is a high quality digital replacement for analogue radio broadcasting in the AM and FM bands.
This special transmission will be sent with greetings from Ascension Island’s BBC and Babcock International staff and visitors, who will be celebrating half a century of sterling broadcasting on August 28th.
Click here to read more about the fascinating history of the BBC’s broadcasts from Ascension Island.
FREQ TIME (UTC) SERVICE TX kW Bearing Day LANG TARGET
21715 1155-1201 BBC DRM ASC 250 114 1 English S. Africa (Special Announcement)
21715 1201-1400 BBC DRM ASC 250 114 1 English S. Africa (English – ENAFW)
21715 1400-1430 BBC DRM ASC 250 250 1 English Brazil (English – ENAFW)
Additional analogue transmission will broadcast from 13.30 GMT for ceremonial purposes.
15105 1330-1430 BAB ASC 250 27 1 English W. Africa (Special Announcement)
For your listening pleasure: the BBC World Service Hausa language service recorded on 17,885 kHz on September 16, 2013, starting at 19:30 UTC. This BBC WS broadcast originated from a 250 kW transmitter located on Ascension Island in the south Atlantic ocean.
Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below: