Tag Archives: ABC Northern Territory Shortwave Services

The Last Evening of the Northern Territory Shortwave Service

I have been holding off posting three recordings I made on January 30, documenting a few minutes of the final evening of the ABC Darwin broadcasts from the transmitters at Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine.

I’m glad I took the time to prepare this video that is now available on my YouTube channel. There are lots of station identification announcements, and even information on how to listen to ABC after shortwave was switched off. Unfortunately, much of the advice is of no use to farmers and cattlemen camping out in remote parts of the NT bush, long-haul truck drivers, indigenous communities, tourists visiting the region, and fishermen off the territory’s northern coast.

Still, I hope you enjoy this brief video of the ABC’s last night of domestic broadcasting on shortwave. Click the video below.

73 and good DX to you all.

Rob Wagner VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Radio Outbackistan: “the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia”–?

Cartoonist George Aldridge’s take on Radio Outbackistan. (Photo Source: ABC Rural)

(Source: ABC Rural via London Shortwave)

Could Radio Outbackistan be the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia?

In response to the ABC abolishing its HF shortwave radio service, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) president has turned to humour to propose his own broadcast alternative.

On Friday, in front of hundreds of cattle producers, Tom Stockwell addressed the association’s annual conference on the status of the beef industry, listing challenges, opportunities and grievances.

While the Bureau of Meteorology’s decision to remove the Tennant Creek weather radar and the National Broadband Network’s restrictions on download quotas for remote users were both highlighted, it was the loss of shortwave radio that Mr Stockwell took most issue with.

The NTCA has been heavily critical of the ABC for making the decision, which was made to allow for the reinvestment of funds into digital services.

Inspired by the band Roadtrippers, Mr Stockwell joked about his desire for a new broadcaster called Radio Outbackistan to fill a regional communications void.][…]

Continue reading at ABC Rural online.

Thanks for sharing London Shortwave.  That gave me a much needed chuckle!

Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Phil Brennan, who shares the following letter sent to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, by Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write in relation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) decision to cease its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory from 31 January 2017.

My letter follows repeated representations from members of my Shadow Ministry, Northern Territory Caucus and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to secure the continuation of this vital service.

As you know, shortwave radio provides vital news and information services, including local radio and emergency messages that are crucial to those living in remote areas, particularly in time of natural disaster.

The ABC’s claim that the majority of listeners will be able to access ABC services via AM/FM radio, digital radio and online streaming, or via VAST platform does not account for the reality of service availability in remote areas.

This helps to explain why listeners and users of the ABC shortwave in the Northern Territory have been unequivocal in voicing their concern at the Coalition’s failure to intervene in this matter. This includes emergency services workers and cattle growers.

I am also deeply concerned that the ABC took this decision without satisfactory consultation with affected listeners, community representatives and emergency service workers and agencies. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has since acknowledged shortfalls in this regard.

For these reasons I ask that you work with Labor, ABC management and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency to ensure the continued provision of shortwave radio service in the NT beyond 31 January 2017.

Yours sincerely

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

26 January 2017

cc: The Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, QC Mr Stephen Jones MP
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Mr Luke Gosling OAM, MP Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Click here to download the original PDF version of this letter.

ABC Rural interviews Garry Cratt about decision to end shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who shares the following announcement from a Tecsun Radios Australia email newsletter:

Tecsun Radios Australia owner Garry Cratt was interviewed by ABC Rural this week about the ABC’s decision to end their shortwave radio transmission after almost 80 years.

Click here to listen via YouTube.

The ABC have decided that as shortwave technology is now nearly a century old, it is outdated and serves a very limited audience. They are planning on moving towards a digital focused service instead.

Garry discussed this in his interview with ABC Rural:
“A lot of the places that do receive Radio Australia, there is no power for a start, so they’re relying on batteries and solar panels. The people that are listening, that will be affected, are those people who are maybe still back in the last century, but that’s not their fault.”

Tecsun Radios Australia recently sent a shipment of 500 radios to the Solomon Islands to be given out to remote villages. Shortwave radio is often the only way to communicate in rural villages like these, this is especially important during times of natural disaster such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and as recently as cyclones Yasi (2011), and Pam (2015).

The ABC are planning on building a stronger FM transmitter network to use instead of the shortwave transmission – but what will happen to the people who are out of range of FM radio?

There are many people without this equipment living in places like the Pacific Islands, where Radio Australia is one the few news and entertainment resources. Due to the sparse population and wide geographic dispersion it is extremely difficult to correctly measure the effect that turning off the shortwave transmission will have.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia, we are asking you to help us let the ABC know that shortwave radio is a much valued service. You can do this by tweeting a photo of your shortwave radio tuned into Radio Australia, making sure you tag @ABCAustralia and @TecsunRadios and using the hashtag #saveshortwave

Additionally, we are calling on the Australian Government to restore funding to the ABC, (previously provided via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) to support the ABC’s international television and radio broadcasts. We acknowledge that the ABC has continued to provide international radio and television broadcasts by internally funding these programs, and now we ask the Australian Government to support our rural and Pacific Islands communities by giving the ABC the appropriate funding they require.

We are talking about $1.9 million in funding after all, which we think the Prime Minister could find if he checked under the Chesterfield seat cushions in his office…

To read the full article and listen to Garry’s radio interview, click here:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-18/abc-shortwave-cuts-tourists-operator-pacific-island/8191374

Letter from former District Manager at Radio Australia Shepparton

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, who shares the following letter by Gary Baker, former district manager at Radio Australia, Shepparton–published in the Shepparton News. Here’s an excerpt:

Recently I heard that the HF radio transmission site at Shepparton, known as Radio Australia, is to be shut down.

[…]I understand the ABC needs to cut back on some services it provides and make use of the latest technology. This makes sense except in the case of the Shepparton facility.The Shepparton transmission site has the capability to direct radio signals into specific countries as we see fit.

This is unique to this site, as no other site can reach the countries this one can.

In my time as district manager at the Shepparton site, I recall some instances where the Shepparton site was called upon to direct radio signals to specific targets.

At one point the Fiji Government shut down the local Australian ABC transmitter.

Shepparton sent radio into that country to keep Australians informed during that time.

When there was a coup in the Solomon Islands, once again we sent signals into that country.

We also sent radio signals into Myanmar at the request of the Australian Government.

Another task that the Shepparton site fulfils is to send signals into northern Australia in times of need, for example during Cyclone Larry when the Northern Territory radio service was beamed back to the tropical north from Shepparton.

The Shepparton site is in a location that has good weather and is politically stable.

This makes it an ideal tool for widespread information broadcasting.

The ABC would argue that this HF radio service is old technology and can be replaced by the internet or satellite services.

This is true.

However, the ABC and the Federal Government do not control the internet or satellite services in other countries and therefore they are not reliable.

HF radio broadcasting from a secure location is very reliable.[…]

Read the full letter at the Shepparton News website.