Tag Archives: Australia

VKS-737 Australian HF Communications services for travellers

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who writes:

At the Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show this last weekend, I picked up a brochure outlining the services of the VKS-737 HF Radio Network operated by a Public Benevolent Institution Established in 1993.

Its mission statement is to provide emergency and general radio communications assistance services to travellers in rural and remote areas of Australia using Base stations located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Cairns, Carnarvon, Charleville, Charters Towers, Darwin, Derby, Meekatharra, Mount Isa, Newcastle, Perth, Port Hedland, St Marys, and Swan Hill. Some of these stations are Royal Flying Doctor base stations.

The brochure details the Channels / Frequencies used as follows: 1: 5,455kHz; 2: 8,022; 3:11,612; 4: 14,977; 5: 3,995; 6: 6,796, and 7: 10,180kHz

The VKS-737 web site also has an interesting and at times humorous example of a couple of videos showing travellers making use of the system.
https://vks737.radio/how-good-is-hf-radio/

Apparently, apart from licensing requirements, the equipment required is not cheap, being in the order of AU$3,800 to $4,300. I think the equipment is made by Codan. The brochure also makes the point that HF radio can be used for entertainment such as to receive BBC World Service and Radio New Zealand. Clearly, the group is up to date in being aware that Australia’s own short wave broadcasting services are now – regrettably – a non event.

Thank you for sharing this, Jerome! I’ve heard of the VKS-737 service, but did not realize their network was so robust and that it piggybacks on a portion of the Royal Flying Doctor network.

Post readers: Anyone here familiar with the VKS-737 network?  Have you ever used the system  Please comment!

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If elected, Labor commits to provide $2 million to restore ABC shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ian P, who shares the following story and interview via ABC News Northern Territory Country Hour. I strongly suggest listening to the full seven plus minute interview via the embedded audio player below:

Click here to download audio.

If elected next year, Federal Labor says it will provide the ABC with $2 million in funding to help re-establish shortwave radio services across the Northern Territory.

The ABC controversially switched off its shortwave service in January 2017, and defended the decision by saying it would “only affect a very, very small amount of people” and save taxpayers up to $1.9 million.

The decision was heavily criticised by industry groups such as the NT Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) and the NT Seafood Council.

NTCA president Chris Nott welcomed today’s announcement by Labor and said the ABC’s decision was short-sighted.

“What people take for granted in the cities is a luxury for those of us in the bush,” Mr Nott said.

“We rely on the HF shortwave radio transmitters because we don’t have mobile and data coverage for AM and FM radio stations.

“The ABC can expand its modern day platforms all it likes but the truth is we don’t all have access to it and the ABC did not care at all about the impact of its decision.”

Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling, said the axing of shortwave had angered a lot of people and community groups.

“Many thousands will benefit from this [bringing back shortwave],” he told the Country Hour.

“I was lobbied by a really large cross-section of the community that spends time in remote areas and when shortwave was cut there was a lot of angst, so it will be a good thing to bring it back to keep people on the land and waters connected.”

Click here to read via ABC News.

Many thanks, Ian!

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School of the Air celebrates 60 years and a vision of independence

(Source: ABC News vi Kim Elliott)

Parents of children in South Australia’s outback are calling for the state’s School of the Air to become independent so it has more control over how students learn.

The school at Port Augusta in the state’s north has marked its 60th anniversary of delivering lessons to students in remote areas.

When the school began in 1958, lessons were given via high frequency (HF) radio, but are now done over the internet.

In 1991, the School of the Air amalgamated with the SA Correspondence School to become Open Access College, which is based in Adelaide.

At a recent meeting in Port Augusta, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association called for the School of the Air to become an autonomous education provider.

The association’s north-west branch president Lynly Kerin said it was “no longer beneficial or manageable” for the school to be part of the college, and that its 49 students were being overlooked in the college’s cohort of 5,600 students.

Ms Kerin said the School of the Air community felt “overshadowed by decisions being made by people who may not understand the needs of our kids out here in remote areas”.

“At the very least, we request that the Minister look at an investigation into the change that we’re proposing,” she said.[…]

Continue reading at ABC News.

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4KZ update: Transmitting low power for now

The 4KZ transmitter is located in Innisfail, Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who writes:

Have been communicating with Al Kirton (4KZ, Innisfail, Queensland Manager), and by virtue of my membership of a couple of Facebook groups for caravan (trailer to you) owners in Australia, have publicized the fact that Al is keen for reception reports from people in the target area.

Al also advised that they’re not even on 500 watts at the moment:

“We are only on 300 watts due to the fact that we only have one of the two 600 watt RF modules working.(Half of the 600 watts in the good module is lost into the combiner). It should be much better on ~ 1 Kw when the part arrives from the USA and the module is repaired.”

Thank you for the update, Jerome!

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