Tag Archives: Shipping Forecast

The Shipping Forecast celebrates 150 years

(Source: The Guardian)

Consternation, mourning and national soul-searching greeted the temporary silencing of Big Ben last week, but at least another favourite fixture of the nightly and early morning radio is to continue. The hymnal cadences of Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, through Shannon, Rockall, Malin all the way to south-east Iceland, will be heard as usual on Thursday, as the shipping forecast celebrates 150 years of uninterrupted service.

The shipping forecast, the longest continuous weather forecast ever made, has been a public service since 1867 when it was used to warn of storms. The warnings were first issued using the electric telegraph until radio became available. Storm warnings were sent over the telegraph wires to harbours, where signals were hoisted to warn ships at sea.

When the BBC was formed in the 1920s, the maritime forecast became a fixture of the daily wireless programme where it would remain with occasional modifications and a break during the war when the broadcast was discontinued for fear it would help the enemy. The forecast was still made, however, and disseminated to the Royal Navy.

Though today’s seafarers have access to many more sources of meteorological data, and many radio listeners famously use the late-night incantatory broadcast – never more than 380 words, and always following the same strict format – for soporific rather than navigational purposes, the broadcasts still fulfil a vital safety role.[…]

Continue reading the full article at The Guardian.

If you love The Shipping Forecast like I do, check out our archived posts.

I especially love these posts by SWLing Post contributors Dave Porter (G4OYX) and Kris Partridge (G8AUU) who have both inadvertently caused the shipping forecast to repeat!

Long live The Shipping Forecast!

Video: History of the Shipping Forecast

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, George, who writes:

With all of the recent postings about the Shipping Forecast, I thought I’d share this excellent little video produced by the Met Office:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you, George!

Kris also forced the Shipping Forecast to repeat a broadcast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Kris Partridge (G8AUU) who shares the following comment in reply to our post about Dave’s experience forcing the Shipping Forecast to repeat a broadcast:

Hi Dave, G4OYX, et al

Not the only time the Shipping Forecast has had to be repeated for ‘Operational Error’

I hold my hand up for having had a broadcast repeated.

One morning, whilst still under the duvet, I found myself still listening to the overnight simulcast of BBC World Service on the BBC Radio 4 outlets. The simulcast of World Service is scheduled from 0100 local, just after the 0048 Shipping Forecast, till 0520 when it is followed by the Shipping Forecast. That wasn’t right, it now being around 0540. A quick check on the LF output, I was listening on my VHF-FM alarm radio, again it’s World Service. Something not quite right..!

Having the internal extension number of LCR (London Control Room) at BH (Broadcasting House) I made a quick call. A voice I recognised answered and after a short conversation was assured it would be remedied.

It was a few minutes later the Shipping Forecast was going out on 198 kHz and other R4 frequencies, followed by a short apology ” for technical reasons”.

A later phone call and heard, the overnight software update had managed to have done an update where it shouldn’t have.! I think a few red faces all round in the IT department.

So Dave the transmitters were OK it was the feed this time.

73 de Kris (G8AUU)

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Kris!

I mean, what are the odds that two people in our Post community have forced a re-broadcast of the Shipping Forecast??? Anyone else want to make a confession? 🙂

Dave once forced the Shipping Forecast to repeat a broadcast

Droitwich transmitting station (Source: Wikipedia)

Our post yesterday regarding the Shipping Forecast reminded me of a story SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter (G4OYX) once shared. Dave writes:

I worked at the Droitwich Transmitting Station through 1972-1974, the home of the BBC UK Long Wave 1500 m/200 kHz service as it was then.

In the summer of 1973 I was junior member of the engineering team, a 21 year-old Technical Assistant, and manned the control room for the four services from the site, Radio One, 1214 kHz, Radio Two, 200 kHz and Radio Four, 1052 kHz.

It was customary to check the two 200 kW transmitters, T7A and T7B for power balance prior to the Shipping Forecast and I duly went out in the transmitter hall just before the start at 1355.

I noted one was a little down and the other a little high so I pressed what I thought was the raise / lower buttons on the control desk. Unfortunately I had pressed the main on/off buttons instead.

The pair of transmitters came instantly off the air. I could hear on the audio monitoring the announcer starting the broadcast… it takes a while to reinstate the mercury arc rectifiers as the regulators had to run all the way down to zero and then back up to 14 kV.

By the time I had got it back on the air he was just finishing so we had to contact London and arrange a repeat after the 1400 news bulletin… Ooops!

I was much more careful after that when adjusting the transmitters.

The Senior Maintenance Engineer was not best pleased, as he had to write up the shutdown report for London citing “Operational Error” as the cause.

Happy Days…

Dave G4OYX.

That’s a brilliant story, Dave! Thank you so much for sharing. Oh…I’m sure it’s a lot easier to laugh about it now than it was when it happened! 🙂

“The Shipping Forecast” read by Perkins and Fry

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David (G4EDR), who writes:

Hi Thomas

I know a number of readers to the SWLing Post like to hear the UK Shipping Forecast read on the BBC. It is always transmitted by an announcer with impeccable clarity and authority. I came across the following on YouTube which, if you have not heard it before is quite amusing.
73,
David – G4EDR

‘The Shipping Forecast’ Read by Brian Perkins on YouTube.

That is hilarious, Dave!  Thank you for sharing! After listening to Perkins read the forecast, YouTube suggested I also listen a version by Stephen Fry. Here’s it is:

Click here to view/listen on YouTube.

How fun! As I’ve mentioned before, I used to listen to the shipping forecast regularly when I lived in the UK. I really do miss hearing it over the air. State side, my only two options are to stream it via Radio 4 or (better) tune in via the U Twente (or similar European) WebSDR.