DX-TV & FM NEWS
DECEMBER 2021 RECEPTION REPORTS & BBC SCULPTURE ATTACK
The Geminids meteor-shower event (early to mid-December) produced a wealth of ‘pings’ on the FM band for Tim Bucknall (Congleton). Between the 6th and 13th, many German stations were heard. Also on the 13th, Poland on 91.70MHz (PR 3) from Czestochowa at 1,462km was identified. Another Polish station on 92.30MHz (POL PR 1) from Poznan flashed up at 0959 on the 15th.
On the 14th, Niels van der Linden (Épinal, France) observed a number of weak unidentified flutters on channels R1 (49.75MHz) and R2 (59.25MHz), some images lasting for approximately twenty seconds.
On the 12th, at 1133, Stephen Michie (Bristol) noted a Sporadic-E opening with a solitary Spanish signal on 87.50MHz.
An opening, spanning over a week, commenced on the 15th, the 22nd being the best day. During the period, Chris Howles (Lichfield) and Tim Bucknall (Congleton) identified many French, Dutch, Belgian and German stations, plus several Irish outlets. On the 16th, a Swiss station was identified by Chris as Radio SRF-2 Kultur on 95.4MHz from Säntis. Transmissions from Grünten in southern Germany, close to the Swiss border, were also heard. Stations included Bayern-2 (88.70MHz), Bayern-3 (95.80MHz) and BR24 (106.90MHz).
A late-evening encounter for Chris on the 18th on 88.8MHz was BBC Radio Jersey from Les Platons. Luxembourg made an appearance on 88.90MHz (Radio Lëtzebuerg) from Dudelange on the 22nd. On the same day, Tim Bucknall identified an Italian station on 90.75MHz (Radio Mater-inBlu) from Barzanò Cascina, just north of Milan, over a reception distance of 1,174km.
On the 17th from 1414, George Garden (Gourdon, Scotland) received various FM signals from Burnhope, Chatton, Eston Nab, Sandale, Pontop Pike, Holme Moss and Divis (101.90MHz Classic FM on 125kW ERP).
DAB successes for John Ballantyne (East Anglia) on the 20th included Grünten at a distance of 855km. The transmitter is located in the German Allgäu Alps. Some interesting visual identifications can accompany DAB signals. Could these provide a replacement for TV DX-ing?
Simon Hockenhull (Bristol) heard strong French stations at around 2230. These included 98.00MHz (France Culture), 103.70MHz (France Inter) and 105.20MHz (France Info), all from Lille. Also present was 94.70MHz (Nostalgie) from Le Havre.
Sandy Heath DVB-T pictures on channels D24 (ITV) and D27 (BBC) were received in Bristol by Stephen Michie on the 18th and 22nd.
DX Down Under
Todd Emslie in Sydney, Australia, tells us that the Sporadic-E season in the Southern Hemisphere has proved to be only average so far. However, on December 6th, TV carriers from the Philippines on channels A2 (55.25MHz) and A3 (61.25MHz) reached southern Australia over a reception path of 5,300km. On the 26th, two unidentified Indonesian FM stations were heard in Perth by Alek Zapara and Tony Mann, on 90.8and 91.0MHz.
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Kevin Hewitt (Gibraltar) and Gösta van der Linden (Netherlands) have sent us some off-screen images of Christmas and New Year celebrations which were aired by various broadcasters.
BBC Sculpture Vandalised
Moving away from our usual topic of DXing, the iconic sculpture of Prospero and Ariel above the original entrance to BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, was vandalised by a man wielding a hammer on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022. The Metropolitan Police said that officers were called to the BBC’s headquarters at around 4.15 pm following reports that someone was attacking the 10ft (3m) sculpture.
A fire crew using a ‘cherry picker’ brought the man down about four hours later. After being examined by an ambulance crew, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody. Earlier, the police said that another man had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
The statue was carved by Eric Gill, who, in diaries found after his death, had revealed his sexual abuse of members of his family. It had been at Broadcasting House since 1933. Gill died in 1940. After his death, his diaries revealed the horrific scale of his abuse.
The attack came a week after four people accused of illegally removing a statue of the 17th Century slave trader, Edward Colston, in Bristol were cleared of criminal damage.
Broadcasting House was officially opened on May 2nd, 1932, although the first broadcast was actually on March 12th when Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra took to the airwaves.
The carving, placed in a prominent niche at the front of Broadcasting House, was commissioned by the BBC as the ‘personification of broadcasting’. It depicts Ariel, the invisible spirit of the air, together with Prospero, Ariel's master, sending him out into the world.
The accompanying photograph was taken by the authors in September 2009 when they took part in a BBC-1 documentary about the history of television.
Television & Radio Column
Please remember that you now have a choice of reading! Here on Radio Enthusiast, we have DX news, whilst over on RadioUser there is our regular Television + Radio: Past & Present column, which is currently celebrating the BBC’s Centenary with in-depth details and photographs from our archives.
Our thanks to all our readers and DX colleagues who have submitted information and reception reports for this month.
Please send DX-TV and FM reception reports, photographs and equipment details to us via the E-mail addresses shown at the top of this column by the end of the month at the latest.
CAPTIONS TO PHOTOGRAPHS
Fig. 1: DAB reception display from Grünten, Germany (Photo: John Ballantyne).
Fig. 2: Caption shown in error on the 17th at 1800, local time, before the main NOS evening news programme in the Netherlands (Photo: Gösta van der Linden, Netherlands).
Fig. 3: The Colour Bar test pattern shown briefly on Forces TV during an advertisement (Photo: Kevin Hewitt, Gibraltar).
Fig. 4: New Year celebrations on GBC Gibraltar (Photo: Kevin Hewitt, Gibraltar).
Fig. 5: WDR-3 Teletext greetings in Germany. Most European television services still use the original 1974 BBC Ceefax system and can design individual, ‘stylised’, messages, unlike the current BBC ‘Red-Button’ Teletext, which can only use one set of standard characters (Photo: Gösta van der Linden, Netherlands).
Fig. 6: One of the BBC-1 Christmas 2021 Identification Symbols (Photo: Keith Hamer and Garry Smith).
Fig. 7: The sculpture of Prospero and Ariel adorning BBC Broadcasting House in London, photographed by the authors in September 2009.