Tag Archives: BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast Test Broadcasts

Catch the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast?

Sony-ICF-SW55-Midwinter-Antarctica

Listening to the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast in the parking lot of the Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica in Québec, Canada.

Only a couple of hours ago, I packed up the Sony ICF-SW55 and CC Skywave portables in search of a quite spot to listen to the BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. I’m currently traveling in Canada and staying in a condo–the RFI in this building couldn’t be much worse. There was no way I’d hear the broadcast through the noise.

In search of an outdoor listening spot, I stopped at a couple open/green areas but in both cases, there was radio interference nearby. Finally, I found a quiet spot in the rather large parking area next to the gorgeous Saint-Anne-de-Beapré Basilica.

At this point, I only had three minutes to put a fresh set of batteries in the Zoom H2N recorder, connect it to the ICF-SW55 and hope that somehow I’d hear the 7,360 kHz broadcast from Ascension Island which, in fact, was directed toward Antarctica–not Canada!

I had my fingers crossed as the time hit 17:30 local (21:30 UTC).

Fortunately, I was rewarded with a signal!  Not exactly armchair listening, but let me tell you I’m as pleased as punch!

After tinkering with the position of the receiver, antenna and recorder, I discovered that I achieved the best reception by placing the Sony on top of my car.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van2-Midwinter-Antarctica-001

I ran the line-out audio (orange cord) to my Zoom H2N recorder inside the van and monitored the broadcast with my earphones hooked to the recorder.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van-Midwinter-Antarctica

About halfway through the broadcast, I remembered I had the CC Skywave in my bag as well, so I turned it on and walked around the van. It, too, could receive the BBC Ascension Island signal with some strength, but the SW55 had an edge on it in terms of AGC stability.

CC-Skywave-Midwinter-Antarctica

Still, very impressive reception for such a small portable with such a modest antenna.

It’s always a treat to enjoy the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast live, knowing that the BAS crew, wintering over in Antarctica, are enjoying it at the same time!

That, in a nutshell, is the magic of shortwave radio.

Please share your recordings!

I’ve already received almost a dozen recordings from SWLing Post readers!  Thank you so much!

If you have a recording of the 2016 Midwinter Broadcast that you’d like to submit, please do so by Friday. Sometime this weekend, I plan to publish a post with all of the recordings and your photos.

Please send your recordings with any notes and photos to my email address which can be found on the Contact page.

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Help record the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today!

800px-Antarctica.svg

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 the successful listener event last year, 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).

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.

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.

The broadcast will take place from 2130-2200 UTC today on the following frequencies (thanks to Alokesh Gupta for the tip):

  • 5,985 kHz WOF 300 kW / 184 deg to Antarctica English
  • 6,035 kHz DHA 250 kW / 203 deg to Antarctica English
  • 7,360 kHz ASC 250 kW / 207 deg to Antarctica English
  • UPDATE: 9,720 kHz WOF 300 kW (Thanks to Richard Langley who notes that, per Glenn Hauser’s DXLG group, this frequency is not confirmed.)
Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey's new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

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’m uncertain if I’ll be able to receive the broadcast this year–I’m traveling at the moment in Québec, but will have my trusty Sony ICF-SW55 and C.Crane CC Skywave in tow.

I’ll plan to seek out a quiet park away from man-made noise and give listening a go!

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!

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Today: Test transmission for the BBC Midwinter Antarctic Broadcast

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey's new base (Source: BBC)

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: BBC)

(Source: Dan Ferguson via Mauno Ritola on the WRTH Facebook group)

Babcock has tests today, June 14, at 2130-2145, to Antarctica on 5985 (Woofferton), 6035 (Dhabayya), 7360 (Ascension), and 9720 (Woofferton).

I think we can assume three of these frequencies will be used for the annual mid-winter transmission to Antarctica on June 21 at 2130-2200.

I will attempt to receive the tests broadcasts today here in Québec; it will give me an indication if I stand a chance of reception next week.

I would appreciate any recordings of the test broadcast to add to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

As Dan mentions above, next week, Tuesday, June 21, the BBC Antarctic Midwinter broadcast will take place once again.  This is one of my favorite shortwave events of the year.  Like last year, I hope we receive recordings of the on air event from across the globe!

Click here to listen to the recordings from 2015.

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Reminder: Help record the 2015 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today!

800px-Antarctica.svgAs a reminder: 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 and share it here at the Post (frequencies and time below).

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.

If you submit your recording to me, I will post it here on the SWLing Post–and insure that the BBC World Service receives the post, too.  The recordings will be arranged by geographic location.

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey's new base (Source: BBC)

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

The broadcast will take place today at 21:30 UTC on the following frequencies:

  • 5,905 kHz, Dhabayya, 203 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, Woofferton, 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, Woofferton, 182 degrees

I will (hopefully) be in the SWLing Post chat room during the broadcast.  Please sign in and share your report!

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Correction: Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast transmission tests take place on Friday

SX-99-DialIn the title of my last post, I noticed that I’ve incorrectly stated that the Friday, June 19 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast tests were to take place “today.” While the post content was correct, the date in this title was not.  My apologies for the mix-up–I’ve since corrected and noted this in the original post.

To be clear, the transmission tests for Sunday’s Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast will take place on Friday, June 19 2015 from 21:30-21:45 UTC on the following frequencies:

  • 7,425 kHz, Ascension, 207 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, Woofferton, 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, Woofferton, 182 degrees
  • 5,905 kHz, Dhabayya, 203 degrees

Apologies for any confusion.

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Friday: transmission tests for Sunday’s Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Wagner, who reports:

HFCC is now listing a test transmission (as the BBC usually does) before the official Antarctic broadcast. The test will be held on Friday June 19 at 2130-2145 UTC. All frequencies listed [below] will be tested INCLUDING the 7425 Ascension outlet! Tests usually consist of a simple feed to BBC WS English programming.

  • 7,425 kHz, Ascension, 207 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, Woofferton, 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, Woofferton, 182 degrees
  • 5,905 kHz, Dhabayya, 203 degrees

What’s interesting about this is that 7425 wasn’t listed in the finally three freqs chosen for the broadcast, but they are including it in the test! Sounds like they are having “an each-way bet” (as we say in Australia) – 7425 may still possibly be used as a backup for the actual broadcast on June 21.  Cheers, Rob VK3BVW

Many thanks, Rob!  These test broadcasts will give us a good idea which frequencies to focus on during the official broadcast on June 21, 2015.  I’ll be listening Friday at 2130 UTC!

[Update: Note that I originally noted the broadcast time as Thursday in the title of this post. Apologies! I’ve since made this correction. The test broadcast is Friday night (June 19, 2015).]

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