BBC World Service Annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast: June 21, 2019

ANTARCTIC SEA ICE (BAS PHOTO)

ANTARCTIC SEA ICE (BAS PHOTO)

A live, off-air, half-hour recording of the BBC World Service special Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on 21 June 2019 beginning at 21:30 UTC. The broadcast, hosted by Cerys Matthews, featured special messages and music for the staff of the British Antarctic Survey overwintering in Antarctica. In addition to personal messages, there were messages from Princess Anne and Sir David Attenborough.

The recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 9455 kHz from the BBC's Woofferton, England, transmitting station (300 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 182 degrees). The transmission was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada, in AM mode with 2.3 kHz RF filtering. Reception was good with little noise and fading. Due to a slightly late sign-on, the first word of the program was clipped.

BBC World Service Annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast: June 21, 2018

New Bransfield House, Rothera Research Station, British Antarctic Territory (BAS Photo)

New Bransfield House, Rothera Research Station, British Antarctic Territory (BAS Photo)

Two live, off-air, half-hour recordings of the BBC World Service special Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on 21 June 2018 beginning at 21:30 UTC. The broadcast features special messages and music for the staff of the British Antarctic Survey overwintering in Antarctica.

The first recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 7360 kHz from the BBC's Ascension Island relay station (250 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 207 degrees). The transmission was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada, in AM mode with 5 kHz RF filtering. Reception was fairly good, albeit a bit noisy and with noticeable transmitter hum.

The second recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 5985 kHz from the BBC's Woofferton, England, transmitting station (250 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 184 degrees). The broadcast was received by the Web-interface wideband software-defined radio at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands, with a "Mini-Whip" antenna in synchronous AM mode with 5.08 kHz RF filtering. Reception of the broadcast was very good.

The program started slightly late for both transmissions with parts of the first one or two sentences missing. The program actually starts with "This is the BBC World Service in London calling Antarctica. Welcome to the Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, a special ..."

BBC World Service Annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast: June 21, 2017

Rothera Research Station (BAS photo)

Rothera Research Station (BAS photo)

Two live, off-air, half-hour recordings of the BBC World Service special Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on 21 June 2017 beginning at 21:30 UTC. The broadcast features special messages and music for the staff of the British Antarctic Survey overwintering in Antarctica.

The first recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 7360 kHz from the BBC's Ascension Island relay station (250 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 207 degrees). The transmission was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada, in AM mode with 5 kHz RF filtering. Reception was fairly good with some atmospheric noise.

The second recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 5985 kHz from the BBC's Woofferton, England, transmitting station (300 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 184 degrees). The broadcast was received by the Web-interface wideband software-defined radio at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands, with a "Mini-Whip" antenna in USB mode (to avoid potential adjacent-channel interference) with 2.40 kHz RF filtering. Reception of the broadcast was very good with occasional atmospheric noise.

The program started very slightly late for both transmissions with the first or first two words ("This is") missing.
 

2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast: June 21, 2016

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Mark Hist, who notes the following:

Thanks for alerting shortwave listeners to the British Antarctic Survey broadcast. It felt very poignant listening to a broadcast aimed at such a small number of people, with the voices of their loved ones being launched around the world.
I was able to record the broadcast from only 100 miles away from the Woofferton transmitter, so needless to say the quality and strength was very good. I imagine hearing that broadcast buried in the noise from far away with those happy birthday songs and best wishes must have been very emotional for its intended audience.
I enclose a short segment from my 30 minute recording, plus a photo (above) taken the next day of my set up (it was dark at the time of the recording).

I also recorded the broadcast from Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, Canada. I wrote a post about this on the SWLing Post (click here to read). The following is my recording from 7360 kHz. Reception was not nearly as strong as that of Mark, above:

Note that we collected over 30 recordings--from accross the globe. You can listen to and browse them on the SWLing Post by clicking here.

BBC World Service Annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast: June 21, 2016

Two live, off-air, half-hour recordings of the BBC World Service special Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast on 21 June 2016 beginning at 21:30 UTC. The broadcast features music requests and special messages for the staff at the British Antarctic Survey.

The first recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 7360 kHz from the BBC's Ascension Island relay station (250 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 207 degrees). The transmission was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with a Tecsun AN-03L 7-metre wire antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada, in AM mode with 5 kHz RF filtering. Reception was good with some atmospheric noise. The interruption in the audio around the 11-minute mark was due to a check of other parallel frequencies.

The second recording is of the transmission on a frequency of 5985 kHz from the BBC's Woofferton, England, transmitting station (300 kW transmitter power, antenna beam 184 degrees). The broadcast was received by the Web-interface wideband software-defined radio at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands, with a "Mini-Whip" antenna in AM mode with 5.17 kHz RF filtering. Reception of the broadcast was good with some noise cracks.  

BBC midwinter broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey Team: June 21, 2014

Every year, the BBC broadcasts a special program to the 41 scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. 

As promised on the SWLing Post, here are the recordings of the BBC World Service’s thirty minute broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey. The broadcast started at 21:30 UTC on June 21, 2014 and was broadcast on 5,875, 5,985, 7,350 and 9,890 kHz.

As in previous years, this broadcast was lighthearted, filled with humorous shout-outs from the team’s family and friends. Even a couple of special guests were included. Listen for yourself:

This excellent recording was made by SWLing Post reader, Dominik, in Europe:

Click here to download Dominik's recording as an MP3.

Post reader Rob Wagner (VK3BVW), in Australia, could receive the broadcast on three frequencies (5,875, 5,985, and 7,350). He's included clips of each broadcast on his excellent blog, The Mount Evelyn DX Report.

As for me, I was traveling to visit family yesterday afternoon when the broadcast started.  I knew from listening endeavors on previous visits that receiving a broadcast indoors at their home is not feasible; there is some sort of power line noise in that area that overwhelms anything on the short or medium wave bands, unless the station is very strong.

To cope with this noise, I knew I would need to move my operation outdoors, away from the house, and employ an outdoor antenna. So I packed the following, all into my small flight case: the CommRadio CR-1, a NASA PA-30 15 foot passive wide-band wire antenna, and the Zoom H2n Handy Recorder.

I hung the PA-30 antenna in a nearby tree, spread a wool army blanket on the ground for lounging, and put the mini flight case to use as a stand to hold the radio and recorder. The CR-1 required no external power supply, as its internal battery had been charged in advance (one of the reasons I love this little receiver for travel).

To try out the set-up, I tuned around the bands. Conditions were rough, thunderstorms were in the region, but I was most impressed that I could hear several broadcasters on 31 meters. I knew that the BBC broadcast would be a tough catch; after all, none of their transmissions were targeting my part of the globe–rather, the opposite!

When I tuned to the BBC broadcast on 7,350 kHz, here's what I heard:

This is (very) rough copy; for five or so minutes, you'll hear me switching between AM/USB and LSB to find the best mode for the signal. I also check the other BBC frequencies to see if any were more audible.

In the end, using ECSS (zero-beating the signal in USB) seemed to work best.

For fun, I had also brought along the Tecsun PL-660--a choice portable radio for weak signal DX. I tuned to 7,350 and could just hear the BBC signal in the noise, but voice and music were unintelligible.

BBC World Service's broadcast to the 2013 British Antarctic Survey

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

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

Every year, the BBC broadcasts a special program to the forty one scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team; the show containsmusic requests and, most notably, personal messages from back home to the team of forty one. 

The British Antarctic Survey celebrates today (their longest, darkest winter day) with the same enthusiasm as Christmas. The BBC noted:

The base commanders rise early to cook breakfast for their staff, presents are exchanged, there are sports and even, weather permitting, a mad streak in the snow! Feasting continues before they gather round a shortwave set to listen to the traditional broadcast packed with greetings from their family and friends back home together with music requests and messages from the British Antarctic Survey and a few celebrities. Finally the Antarctic horror movie The Thing is screened. For those who know the plot, perhaps it is just as well there are no longer sledge dogs in Antarctica...

Here is the recording of the BBC World Service's thirty minute broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey. I was able to receive a relatively strong signal at 21:30 UTC on 9,890 kHz from the World Service's Wooferton transmission site.

Click here to download the full recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below: