Tag Archives: Radio Australia

Radio Australia to end shortwave broadcast service on January 31, 2017

radio-dial

Like many SWLing Post readers, I’m a huge fan of Radio Australia’s service on 9,580 kHz. For ages, listening to their news headlines over shortwave has been a part of my morning routine. I’ve been listening to Radio Australia since I was 8 years old.

I’m going to miss this friend on the shortwaves.

(Source: Australian Broadcast Corporation Press Release)

ABC Exits Shortwave Radio Transmission

The ABC will end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences.

The majority of ABC audiences in the Northern Territory currently access ABC services via AM and FM and all ABC radio and digital radio services are available on the VAST satellite service.

ABC International’s shortwave services currently broadcast to PNG and the Pacific. Savings realised through decommissioning this service will be reinvested in a more robust FM transmitter network and an expanded content offering for the region that will include English and in-language audio content.

Michael Mason, ABC’s Director of Radio said, “While shortwave technology has served audiences well for many decades, it is now nearly a century old and serves a very limited audience. The ABC is seeking efficiencies and will instead service this audience through modern technology”.

The ABC, working alongside SBS, is planning to extend its digital radio services in Darwin and Hobart, and to make permanent its current digital radio trial in Canberra. Extending DAB+ into the nation’s eight capital cities will ensure ABC digital radio services can reach an additional 700,000 people, increasing the overall reach of ABC digital radio to 60% of the Australian population.

ABC Radio is also investigating transmission improvements to address reception gaps in the existing five DAB+ markets. It aims to ensure a resilient DAB+ service in every capital city, with enhanced bitrates and infill where necessary.

“Extending our DAB+ offer will allow audiences in every capital city in Australia equal access to our digital radio offering, as well as representing an ongoing broadcast cost saving owing to lower transmission costs,” added Michael Mason.

ABC International’s Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the reinvestment from closing international shortwave services would maximise the ABC’s broadcast capabilities in the region.

“In considering how best to serve our Pacific regional audiences into the future we will move away from the legacy of shortwave radio distribution,” Ms Marshall said. “An ever-growing number of people in the region now have access to mobile phones with FM receivers and the ABC will redirect funds towards an extended content offering and a robust FM distribution network to better serve audiences into the future.”

Once international shortwave ceases transmission, international listeners can continue to access ABC International services via:

Audiences can access further information via the reception advice line 1300 139 994 or via ABC Local Radio (Darwin & Alice Springs).

For more information
Louise Alley
P: +61 2 8333 2621
alley.louise@abc.net.au
(ABC Radio queries)

Nick Leys
p: +61 3 9626 1417
leys.nick@abc.net.au
(ABC International queries)

FAQs
Domestic and International

The brilliant little Tecsun PL-310ET: serious DXing on a budget – part 1

tecsun-pl-310etHi there, a good friend of mine Mr Thomas Brogan mentioned to me recently that his little Tecsun PL-310ET was proving to be an excellent receiver and that it would suit my DXpedition activities. Now, as someone who likes to push the envelope of performance with sophisticated portables, usually coupled to very large antennas, a cheap little Tecsun might not have been an abvious choice for my next purchase. However, Mr Brogan (who has an excellent Youtube channel by the same name – check out his wonderful collection of vintage and modern receivers) previously suggested I buy, for similar reasons, the Sony ICF-SW100. That little masterpiece of electronics turned out to be one of the best receivers I’ve ever owned. I felt compelled to take notice because Tom never gets this stuff wrong! A few days later I found myself in Maplins – again – and there it was on the shelf at just under £40, so I bought one.

I got back into shortwave listening about 18 months ago, after many years of inactivity whilst my poor Sangean ATS-803A rotted away in the garden shed and Sony ICF-7600G long-gone via eBay. To start all over again, I bought a Tecsun PL-360.  What a great little portable that turned out to be – there are over 100 reception videos on my YouTube channel demonstrating how it continually performed above and beyond the very modest price tag. I even managed to hear ABC Northern Territories 4835 kHz on it once –  simply amazing for a receiver under £30. Given my extensive experience with the PL-360 and having learned the PL-310ET shared the same DSP chip, I was expecting the same, or at least very similar performance and the only real benefit to upgrading to the PL-310ET was the direct frequency access.  However, I was wrong about that!

pl-360

The brilliant Tecsun PL-360 got me back into shortwave radio for less than £30

About a week after buying the PL-310ET,  I managed to get out on a DXpedition and with 30 metres of wire attached to it via the external antenna socket, I started tuning around the SW bands. Quite simply, I was amazed at the sensitivity and selectivity of this diminutive little portable. With the proven DSP receiver chip and a number of audio bandwidth filter options  from 1 to 6 kHz, coupled with direct frequency access via the keypad, it was a joy to use and listen to. In just over an hour I had  copied signals from North Korea, including their internal service KCBS Pyongyang, Zanzibar BC, ABC Northern Territories (at the first attempt!), Zambia NBC Radio 1, Radio Oromiya and Radio Amhara from Ethiopia, amongst others. Brilliant stuff and clearly demonstrating that the overall hardware/software package with the PL-310ET is a step up in performance over the PL-360 and capable of proper DX for a very modest outlay. Interestingly, in a conversation with Thomas Witherspoon regarding the PL-310ET, he reminded me that it was one of his go-to radios for travelling and confirmed it’s excellent performance.  I would definitely recommend this radio to novices and experts alike.

Reception videos follow below, with more to come in part 2; I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for watching/listening and I wish you all excellent DX!

 

 

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

ABC International to increase investment in services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences

ABC Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who shares this press release from ABC International:

ABC International focuses investment in region

ABC International will increase its investment in media services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences to offer more comprehensive coverage for regional audiences. These new initiatives, the result of a strategic review, mean ABC International will be better positioned to deliver a greater range of content in these areas.

The changes mean ABC International will create eight new positions to lead content areas and improve editorial and workflow priorities. However, ABC International has also made the decision to end foreign language services in French, Khmer, Vietnamese and Burmese, which are currently single-person operations.

The recommendations from the strategic review and the decision to close some services will fund this reinvestment across the network. ABC International will build on key relationships with China, Indonesia and the Pacific with increased investment in services including:

  • For Chinese audiences: an additional Mandarin language site allowing ABC International to deliver a full Chinese news service, for Chinese audiences across the region and Australia, complementing the AustraliaPlus .cn cultural exchange portal.
  • For Bahasa Indonesian audiences: two new roles will be created, a new Content Maker and a Senior Producer, to improve ABC International’s capacity to extend Indonesian language content.
  • For Pacific audiences: the creation of a new Senior Producer Pacific position focussed on enhancing content for Pacific audiences. This new role will also manage and schedule the Radio Australia Services and the Pacific and Tok-Pisin service that has a distinct value in reaching PNG audiences.

Two other new Content Maker roles will be created, one with a focus on telling Pacific stories to audiences in that region and a second position to tailor English content on Australian life for all platforms.

ABC International Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the changes to these services would benefit the wider audience base in the region.

“These changes are the result of careful consideration and commitment to our services in the region as we approach 2020,” she said.

“The ABC has a long history with the Pacific nations while Indonesian and Chinese audiences comprise a growing audience base, both across our region and here in Australia.

“ABC International is determined to uphold the highest standards in international media services including our expanding digital and social media services. These changes represent ABC International’s commitment to delivering compelling content to key audiences.”

The closure of the Vietnamese, Khmer and Burmese language services will become effective on 2 December 2016, while the French service will continue until arrangements with France Television end in February 2017. The closures will affect six positions and a staff consultation process will begin shortly.

For more information

Nick Leys
Media Manager, Corporate Affairs
03 9626 1417
leys.nick@abc.net.au

Rob Wagner visits a Former Radio Australia Transmitter Site

Two shortwave antennas a  backup antenna at the Brandon RA transmitter site. (Image: Mount Evelyn DX Report)

Two shortwave antennas a backup antenna at the Brandon RA transmitter site. (Image: Mount Evelyn DX Report)

My buddy, Rob Wagner (VK3BVW), has just posted an article with detailed photos of the Brandon Antenna farm on his excellent blog, the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Rob introduces his article:

During our recent two month trip north from Mount Evelyn through Queensland and New South Wales, we had an opportunity to visit the former Radio Australia transmitter site near the little town of Brandon, about 85 km southeast of Townsville in Far North Queensland. Well, actually I visited the site while my wife Jan sat in the car, exhibiting a state of relative boredom!

Officially, I had not made arrangements to inspect the transmitters. We were just passing through the town one warm Sunday afternoon. The site is only 5km out of Brandon on Jack Road. The topography is quite flat, making it ideal land for the sugar cane plantations that grow vigorously throughout this region. Here you’ll find the powerhouse 50 kW mediumwave outlet of 4QN Townsville on 630 kHz with local programming from the ABC North Queensland studios. This frequency is well heard across a 250 km radius during the daytime, and easily heard throughout most of Queensland (and well beyond) in the evenings. Indeed, 4QN has been broadcasting reliably from the Brandon site to its local communities throughout all sorts of weather including many tropical cyclones since 1958.[…]

Click here to read the full article on the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Latest Update regarding Radio Australia outage

Radio-Australia-Banner

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Goren, who shares this latest update from ABC Reception advice:

Thank you for your email.

We are working towards restoring the services this coming Friday at 9am Sydney time.

Kind Regards,

ABC Reception Advice

A number of Post readers received this same message (thanks to you all for sharing).  I, for one, hope to hear my staple broadcaster back on the air Friday morning.  I’ll certainly be listening!