Update on Radio Australia outage


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who left the following comment in reply to our previous post about Radio Australia’s outage:

This message found on the ABC/Radio Australia website this morning…

The ABC is running a technical outage of the international shortwave service until Friday the 19th of August to test reception in the region.

Listening to shortwave requires a specialist shortwave radio. We direct our broadcasts at peak listening times in our target areas of the Pacific using multiple frequencies. We recommend that where possible, you use an outside antenna to improve reception. Shortwave signals may be subject to interference from other broadcasters’ signals, electronic devices such as computers, microwave ovens, TVs, car engines and fluorescent lights.


Thanks for passing this along, Dan. This is the longest technical outage I’ve ever noted from Radio Australia.

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15 thoughts on “Update on Radio Australia outage

  1. DanH

    North America is not part of the RA International SW target area as I understand it. The target area is Oceania (Australasia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia). North America happen to lie in the geographic background of much of this target area which is why we enjoy relatively good RA reception. I could argue that RA would be wise to expand its SW target area to include the whole Pacific Rim, but that’s not for me to say.

    I wonder what kind of response to this two week outage RA is seeing from the target area? Many of these listeners do not have electricity in their homes so internet and email service is spotty. Is two week long enough for an adequate mail response? After all, some of the islands receive mail service by ship once a month or every other month.

    1. Kire

      I like your thinking Dan. Turn the issue around. Expand their target audience.
      Another thought is this. Maybe the western powers are weakening. They can no longer afford to hold on so they have to downsize. This means I’ll listen more to China Radio Int., Radio Habana Cuba, etc. I’ll still listen to shortwave, but not from the capitalist western countries because they had to drop out due to their budget crisis, and thus, their influence wanes. Maybe I will even be influenced by the communist propaganda because there was nothing else on the shortairwaves to listen to!

  2. Thomas Post author

    I had no less than three other readers write to me to say the same thing.

    Maybe they were just being honest.

    Perhaps they took the transmitters down for maintenance and waited to see if anyone noticed. After almost two weeks of blackout, if no one noticed or wrote in, why would they switch them back on? The shortwave service would be (as Jonathan Marks suggested earlier) quietly mothballed.


    1. Paul

      The idea is to flood them with ‘feel good’ messages saying they are missed to encourage them to turn the transmitters back on.

  3. Paul

    Not that I am nit picking lol but I couldn’t help but notice a small problem in the last part of their statement “The ABC is running a technical outage of the international shortwave service until Friday the 19th of August to test reception in the region”.

    If the ABC are running an outage how can they test reception in the region when the transmitters are off air?

    OK I admit I’m nit picking and I do sincerely wish them well, we can’t lose another broadcaster especially one with the quality of the ABC.

    1. KV Zichi

      I caught that too Paul, and my mind immediately went to ‘well if we shut it off and nobody complains ….’ I also find it somewhat disingenuous that they claim on their website that ‘Listening to shortwave requires a specialist shortwave radio.’ Really? “Specialist”? Give me a break. SW radios can be had new for under US$25 …. and GOOD SW radios can be had for under $100.

      If you haven’t already, EVERYONE should complain about this ‘technical outage’. They need to know we ARE listening on SW, and the satellites don’t cover us, and ‘the internet’ despite what the ‘experts’ claim, is not a substitute!

    2. Bill Mead

      This is the first time I can recall a reception test being done by switching the transmitter to the OFF position. It’s usually done the other way around.

  4. Chris

    Received this morning via email from Radio Australia;

    Thank you for your recent correspondence with regards to the Radio Australia Broadcasts on Shortwave Radio in the SW Pacific. We are currently working with our transmission provider on a number of shut downs over the past week and again over the next week to investigate a range of technical and commercial issues for the service. The service should be back to normal as of Monday the 22nd of August.
    In the meantime the services are still on air via our satellite services on Intelsat IS18 and IS20 as well as our FM network across the targeted markets in the SW Pacific (for detailed information please see http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/waystolisten and of course Radio Australia is online at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/listen

    Kind Regards,
    ABC Reception Advice
    Communications Networks

  5. DanH

    Australian East Coast time is UTC +10. If RA returns to the air on August 19 Australian time I should be able to hear RA on 9580 kHz at 1400 UTC (7:00 a.m., Thursday August 18, PDT). Perhaps the RA message meant Friday, August 19 UTC? If so, then the first RA transmission I would hear would be 17840 kHz at midnight UTC, August 19 (5:00 p.m. Thursday August 18, PDT). Maybe I have confused myself.

  6. Rafman

    Since I first noted the change, Radio New Zealand switches from 11725 to new frequency of 7245 at 0700z [ex-9700]… Very good signal to coastal NC most morning, but with some ham QRM. I use ECSS on my Elad SDR to remove it. That has become my “coffee listening” in RA’s absence…
    Listen easy friends!
    Rafman K4RAF

  7. Kire

    Just the fact that ABC/Radio Australia is now putting info on their website, says people are concerned. It took a week.
    What are the dollar numbers for transmitters, upkeep, personnel on the shortwave side? It seems the new tech needs every dollar it can get to keep running so it must siphon off every available source of funds.
    Internet connection costs money, a computer costs more money. My Heathkit Mohican cost 25 dollars at the local flea.


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