Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who shares the following response from from the Australian Foreign Affairs department regarding any future shortwave services to the Pacific. As Jerome notes, the letter “suggests that all is not yet lost, though it’s lacking in commitment.”
Click here to download a PDF of the response.
Quite correct, Jerome. The letter is noncommittal, but at least acknowledges the government will take this under formal review. I doubt anyone should hold their breath, of course.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Both RA and RNZ – P both provide programs to the broadcasters of Pacific Is nations which they can relay. They are commonly low powered FM.
It’s a bit like the rebuilding of the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway (North-South link) where I live in Wales (That’s Wales in the uk,not New South Wales!) I’ll believe it when & if it happens! I notice that Labor are now reviewing the potential restoration of shortwave. Before they spectacularly lost the election last time around they were saying they “would” restore it!
The main Radio Australia transmitting site in Shepperton Victoria has been sold to a real estate developer, who is waiting for Shepperton to expand. The 2022 Google satellite image shows that the building an antenna system is still there.
The transmitter site started operation in 1943 and it is close enough to the Melbourne headquarters of the Post Master Generals department which provided technical services to the ABC/RA.
Shepperton is in SE Australia is not the best location for Australia wide HF coverage, the centre of Australia is better. Now there is a fibre optic cable going through the centre of Australia, along with a SHF link from Adelaide to Darwin. The VAST satellite system contains all national ABC programs.
If broadcasting returns to remote Australia, RA could be added to the Central Australian site
Thanks Ron, I was certainly aware of the use of satellite and local FM stations by RA, but not about RNZ carrying some of the programming. The program you describe certainly matches what little I could hear.
Not necessarily true. Radio Australia and NT HF radio was closed in 2017, by an ABC management viewed as old technology. At least the CEO was then fired. They used the saved money to extend DAB+ to Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, which already has good AM & FM radio. This has left around 400,000 remote Australians without live radio once they leave home or their village.
in 2017 there was a Senate inquiry into the closure of RA. The Foreign Affairs and ABC had no idea of coverage or audience. So RA is reduced to 13 tiny coverage area
FM transmitters, a satellite transponder and a website! All of which is useless in the frequent cyclones.
The labour party was in opposition then and protested, now they are in power.
The agreement between the Solomon Islands and the Chinese Government has reignited interest in RA in Government.
If a a high powered HF DRM transmitter in the centre of Australia, it could radiate emergency warnings, live nationally ABC News and ABC Sport to the whole country in ‘FM’ sound quality
The Chinese have HF DRM broadcasts for domestic use, Radio NZ Pacific has been transmitting DRM for a long time (the new transmitter is DRM capable), India transmits it as well.
Make a big enough noise and they will listen. History has shown that if enough noise is created something can happen.
A case in point was the Shortwave service of Radio New Zealand. In 1976 the government of the day closed the shortwave service down. This resulted in enormous amount of protest from both within and outside of New Zealand. The government relented and the service was restored. The only change was that rather than the shortwave service running their own programming it was a relay of the domestic National Programme.
There must be a future in shortwave for New Zealand, in the government’s budget for this year is the provision of a new 50KW shortwave transmitter.
So many “Weasel Words” in one letter….
The ABC has no budget to run Shortwave – the previous Government slashed $526 Million from their funding, so any review “in consultation” with their “key partners” will come up with … “we can’t afford to restore it!”
What we need to do is make a big noise about how wonderful the Chinese shortwave information in the Pacific region is, and then they will suddenly find a money tree 🙂
The other day on 7.245MHz at 0800 UTC I heard a station identifying itself as “ABC Radio Australia” after an interval signal. Reception from my area was not good and I could understand little of the program but it did appear to be directed to the Pacific. I believe 7.245MHz is better known as a Radio New Zealand frequency so I wonder if Radio Australia is using RNZ transmitters or perhaps just providing some program material? After a long absence from the SWL hobby, and the closure of RA’s SW transmitters in the meantime, it’s been a very long while since I’ve heard RA on the shortwave bands.
ABC RA still produce programming & broadcast on sat & FM, and on SW RNZI carry some of it – including the “Wantok Program” in Tok Pisin (PNG English creole language) at 0800UTC weekdays.