Tag Archives: Radio Australia

ABC Shortwave Service: Timeframe for Xenophon’s bill to travel through readings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following comment regarding the timeline for Nick Xenophon’s bill to reinstate ABC shortwave services:

Don’t hold your breath on it coming back soon, if indeed it does. Here is the link to the bill:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=s1055

The proposed amendment to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 states:

(1) The Corporation must maintain 3 domestic shortwave radio transmission services for the Northern Territory which:

(a) cover the same areas of the Northern Territory as the Corporation’s shortwave radio transmission services covered on 30 January 2017; and
(b) broadcast the proximate local radio service.

(2) The Corporation must maintain an international shortwave radio transmission service for Papua New Guinea and parts of the Pacific which:

(a) uses at least 3 transmitters; and
(b) broadcasts the Corporation’s international service; and
(c) broadcasts programs in languages appropriate for the countries to which they are broadcast.

The bill has had second reading in the Senate and has now been referred to committee (Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee). Their report is due on 10 May 2017!

If it successfully passes the committee stage, it then has third reading in the Senate after which it goes to the House of Representatives and so on.

A long process.

Many thanks, Richard. I suppose the upshot of this is it will give Australians plenty of time to persistently urge their representatives to support the bill.

For it to gain traction, Australian listeners must speak out now!

Xenophon introduces bill which would force ABC to bring back shortwave broadcasts

(Source: Shepparton News)

The shortwave broadcast station which beamed Radio Australia to the Pacific from Shepparton could be coming back online.

Senator Nick Xenophon (Source: Twitter)

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon earlier this week introduced a bill to parliament, which if passed would force the ABC to bring back shortwave broadcasts.

[…]Senator Xenophon criticised the decision, which was made by ABC management and not the Federal Government, labelling it shortsighted.

‘‘The response to the shortwave cut-off demonstrates the woeful inadequacy of the ABC’s consultation process,’’ Senator Xenophon said.

‘‘Not only have we heard from many rural Australians concerned about the decision, our near neighbours such as Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have also voiced serious concerns.’’

[…]‘‘The cost-cutting decision will save $1.9million a year — a tiny fraction of the ABC’s $1billion-plus annual budget,’’ he said.[…]

Read the full story at the Shepparton News.

Guest Post: Radio Australia, and a sea story

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Harper (AE5X), who is kindly allowing me to re-post the following article originally published on his excellent blog:


Radio Australia, and a sea story

by John (AE5X)

From London Shortwave: “It’s official: Radio Australia are no longer on shortwave…”

Four submariners on a surface ship (1989-1990)

Nine of my 10 years in the Navy were spent in the Submarine Service – the other year was spent aboard a research ship operating between Perth, Australia and Singapore. Our mission was to make detailed contour charts of the sea floor in that area using precision fathometers and new-at-the-time GPS.

The detailed charts allow US submarines to get navigational fixes by correlating their soundings with the data we had collected without having to come to periscope depth for a satellite fix, thus the need for a small contingent of submariners on a surface ship. Gathering this data required the ship to stay at sea 28 days at a time, going back and forth in straight lines across the eastern Indian Ocean. At the end of those 28 days we would pull in to either Fremantle or Singapore for a week, then out again.

We enjoyed the sunlight, fresh air and the presence of civilian women onboard (oh, the stories I could tell if this weren’t a family-friendly blog!) but what we missed – and missed greatly – was news from the world. Big things were happening at a fast pace in those days as the Iron Curtain began to crumble and we knew nothing of it for long, event-filled month-long chunks.

There is a huge psychological disconnect that comes with being isolated from the world for a month at a time. We starved for news and any kind of connection to the outside world so, during a port call to Singapore, I bought a Philips D2999 shortwave receiver. It was small enough for shipboard life, ran on AC or batteries and even had a BFO for occasionally listening to hams.

After having it for a few days and mentioning to the other crewmembers various things that were happening around the world, their interest grew and I eventually moved the radio from my stateroom to a common breakroom so that anyone could listen whenever they wanted. For a while we even had a printout of news events – a one-page daily newspaper – that we posted in various locations throughout the ship. Many of us were glued to the radio during the week of events in December 1989 that culminated in the Christmas Day execution of Romanian President Nicolae Ceau?escu.

Some of that news came from the VOA, some from the BBC and even from Radio Moscow. All had good signals into the Indian Ocean area at times. But regardless of time of day or ionospheric conditions, Radio Australia was always there, like a beacon – reliable, dependable and with great fidelity due to no selective fading. It was our primarily source of news.

Frequencies of many stations and the best times to hear them were posted near the radio but everyone knew our two main frequencies for Radio Australia without having to look it up. We listened to Radio Australia so much that the announcers eventually lost their accents.

The beauty and utility of shortwave was introduced to people who otherwise would have had no interest in it. Thanks mainly to Radio Australia, we not only knew what was going on in the world, more importantly, we felt more a part of it and less isolated than we had been before.

The end of Radio Australia and so many other shortwave stations marks the end of an exciting era. What an amazing thing it was, in a pre-internet world, to be able to get information on the high seas, thousands of miles from land.

Farewell, Radio Australia and thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.


And thank you, John, for sharing your memories with us!

Post Readers: I encourage you to bookmark John’s brilliant ham radio blog!

Do you have any memorable Radio Australia moments?  Please comment!

Aussies still pushing for ABC shortwave reinstatement

(Source: Shepparton News via Richard Cuff)

The mothballed Shepparton shortwave broadcast station could be coming back online.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon will introduce legislation to parliament this week to force the ABC to bring back domestic and international shortwave broadcasts.

The broadcasts were shut down last week, after decades of the shortwave signals being listened to by people from across the pacific region and around the world.

A spokesperson for Mr Xenophon said a bill would be introduced sometime this week to bring back the domestic shortwave broadcasts in the Northern Territory, as well as the international Radio Australia broadcasts, which were beamed to the world from Shepparton.[…]

Continue reading on the Shepparton News.

End of Radio Australia shortwave service, Mark compares final moments

This morning, I woke up, tuned to 9,580 kHz and all I heard was static.

Other than when the Shepparton transmitting station has been silenced for maintenance in the past, 9,580 kHz is one of the most reliable frequencies I’ve ever know on shortwave. Radio Australia has met me there every morning I’ve listened since I was eight years old.

I feel like I’ve lost a dear friend and certainly a staple source of news on shortwave radio. I know I’m not alone–a number of readers have shared similar sentiments this morning.

Archiving Radio Australia’s final days on the air

Listening to Radio Australia on 12,065 kHz with the Titan SDR Pro.

Since the beginning of the year, a few of us have been making a concerted effort to thoroughly archive Radio Australia’s final days on the air. Mark Fahey, London Shortwave, Richard Langley, Rob Wagner and I (to name a few) have been making both audio and/or spectrum recordings.

At 0100 UTC on January 31, 2017, we heard the “Waltzing Matilda” interval signal for one last time. As I understand it, the crew at the Shepparton site left the transmitter on a few extra seconds extra so their famous interval signal would be, in essence, the final sign-off.

Our friend and contributor, Rob Wagner, from Mount Evelyn, Australia, posted an excellent recording/video of the final minutes earlier today.

Due to propagation and the time of day when the shut down happened, I was unable to make a recording, so I’m pleased others could.

Mark compares shortwave and satellite feeds

Mark Fahey’s Wellbrook Mag Loop antenna.

I’m grateful to friend and contributor, Mark Fahey, who lives near Sydney, Australia, and was also able to record the final moments of Radio Australia as well. Mark recorded the shortwave service and RA satellite feed simultaneously.

Mark shares the following recordings and notes:

Recording 1

This is RA’s final few minutes on shortwave – it was recorded on 17840kHz.
The file picks up the regular program ending, then into a Promo for RA “Pacific Beat” (a Pacific current affairs program), then the classic RA Interval Signal then the transmitter clicks off and the void is heard.

Click here to download the MP3.

Recording 2

The file starts at exactly the same time as the first file, but in this example we are monitoring the Network Feed from Intelsat 18 at 180.0 degrees east (above the equator right on the international date line). This satellite feed is the way Radio Australia gets to the network of FM Transmitters they have scatted around the Pacific Region (which is why they feel they don’t need shortwave anymore for – most populated areas of Radio Australia’s target area now is covered by a network of Radio Australia FM transmitters).

Click here to download the MP3.

Some differences to the first file – Radio Australia is produced in FM quality stereo, though of course DXers only ever heard it in shortwave quality mono. So this network feed is in stereo and has a wider dynamic range that what DXer’s are familiar with from Radio Australia. At the end of the Pacific Beat Promo, Radio Australia goes straight into News, the closing of the shortwave service was not an event that would have been noticed for the typical listeners of RA who now listen via FM in Pacific capitals and major towns.

Thank you Mark for your comparison–I’ve never heard RA so clearly. Only you would’ve thought to simultaneously record the satellite feed! It gives the moment that much more context.

A number of SWLing Post contributors have been sharing recordings this morning. I will plan to collect these and put them on the Shortwave Archive in the near future.

Moving forward

Though senator Nick Xenophon says he will introduce legislation to Parliament to force the ABC to reinstate its shortwave radio service, we have to assume we’ve heard the last of Radio Australia and ABC on shortwave. (With that said, I understand Xenophon is a determined fellow.)

Rest assured: if Xenophon’s legislation gains traction, we will post updates!

No doubt, Radio New Zealand International’s shortwave service has just become that much more important in remote Pacific Islands. Click here to view RNZI’s schedule.