Tag Archives: McMurdo Station

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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Tune in: Holiday serenades from McMurdo Station, Antarctica

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

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.

Email reports to Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF. Request QSLs via W2NAF on QRZ.com.

This is some very weak signal DX, but I try tuning in each year. Please comment if you’re able to snag their elusive Christmas Eve signal!

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Caroling from Antarctica: December 23 on 7,995 kHz USB at 2300 UTC

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

(Source: ARRL News)

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,

Click here to read this story on the ARRL News page.

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A report from Antarctica

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

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

Regarding our post about Christmas carols in Antarctica, Nathaniel Frissel (KC4/W2NAF) at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica writes:

Hi, everyone! Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful time singing over the radio from Antarctica this year on 7995 kHz. We heard carols not only from McMurdo Station, but many of the other bases and remote field camps as well. This includes South Pole Station (American), Mario Zuchelli Station (Italian), Siple Dome Station (Italian), Grounding Station (American), Diamond Hills Field Camp (We think!) (American), and Science Event I-196 (American).

I have already received SWL reports from a number of listeners, and am very happy to report that a number of operators reported that they heard Hark the Herald Angels

Sing come through the static for about 30 seconds. This transmission originated from South Pole Station. So far, these reports have come from the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. A few US stations believe they heard the transmission as well. Many reported using the University of Twente Web SDR.

Here are some recordings you can listen to:
Hark the Herald Angels Sing transmitted from South Pole Station recorded on 7995 kHz USB with U of Twente Web SDR (Netherlands):

Hark the Herald Angels Sing transmitted from South Pole Station recorded on 7995 kHz USB from MacOps (McMurdo):

We Wish You a Merry Christmas transmitted from McMurdo Station (Recorded live in McMurdo): http://youtu.be/TAaWGlwq4B0

Your e-mail reports made everyone very happy down here. We are all very excited to receive Christmas greetings from around the world!

Merry Christmas, and VY 73 from the Ice,
Nathaniel, KC4/W2NAF

McMurdo Station – Deck the Halls
Mario Zuchelli (Italian Base) – Italian Christmas Carol
McMurdo Station – Let It Snow
Siple Dome – Anges We Have Heard On High (in Italian)
McMurdo Station – Little Drummer Boy
South Pole Station – Jingle Bells
Grounding Station – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Diamond Hills Field Camp – Silent Night (with Ukelele Accompaniment)
Mario Zuchelli Station – Adeste Fideles
South Pole Station – Joy to the World
Siple Dome – Silent Night (in Italian)
McMurdo Station – 12 McMurdo Days of Christmas
Science Event I-196 -Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
Siple Dome – Adeste Fideles
McMurdo Station – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
South Pole Station – Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Reported heard by SWL Stations)

Nathaniel, I’m so happy to hear your signal was heard around the world. I listened, but never heard your carols break through the static; in truth, conditions were less than favorable here. I did make a spectrum recording, and will go back through it again.

Here’s wishing you and all of your colleagues and family a very Merry Christmas!

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Weak signal DX challenge: Christmas carols in Antarctica

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

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

UPDATE: Check out Nathaniel’s message with recordings.

Many thanks to Mark Phillips (via the SWL Fest group) and Sheldon Harvey  (via the International Radio Report) for sharing the following message from Nathaniel Frissell (KC4/W2NAF) who is stationed at the McMurdo Station, Antarctica:

Hi, everyone. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and any other holidaysyou may celebrate!

Things are going well down here (Antarctica), and I’m glad to have worked some of you on the air. I apologize for any weak signals, but there has been a lot of space weather activity recently and the station here is rather modest.

Each year, the residents of McMurdo Station, Antarctica celebrate Christmas by singing Christmas Carols to the remote, Antarctic field camps on the HF radio. This year, we are asking ham radio operators (and shortwave listeners) around the world to listen in and e-mail short wave listening reports telling us how far away the carols are heard. Listen on 7995 kHz USB on 24 December 2014 2300z and e-mail reports to [email protected].

For a Christmas in Antarctica SWL QSL card, please send an SASE to my Blacksburg address. NATHANIEL A FRISSELL, 1412 North Main Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060 United States Special cards will be made for this event.

Please share this information with as many hams and SWLs as possible. It would be really interesting to know how far we are heard. I believe we will be running about 1000 W for this.

Merry Christmas!
Nathaniel, KC4/W2NAF

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