Tag Archives: Australia

RadioInfo: “Fires hit ABC Radio’s Batemans Bay transmitter”

Photo by Benjamin Lizardo

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Bird, who shares the following story from RadioInfo.com.au:

In an example of radio industry cooperation during adversity, commercial network Grant Broadcasters is working with the ABC on the South Coast of NSW to keep transmissions on air during the fires in that area.

As fires raged through the area last week, the ABC’s Mt Wandera transmission site at Bateman’s Bay was disabled by flames (see pictures below) and is expected to take some time to repair.

The ABC, through its transmission provider Broadcast Australia (recently renamed BAI Communications) asked if it could share Grant Broadcasters’ nearby transmission mast and infrastructure, and has now combined its transmissions onto the Grant Broadcasters antenna.

Local radio services, including ABC South Coast, are now back on air, but operating at reduced power. The ABC’s television transmitter on the site is also off air.

BAI has also established additional temporary low power facilities at Batemans Hill for ABC Local Radio (operating on 101.9 MHz) and ABC television (operating on Channel 41).  As this facility operates from a lower altitude and at lower power than those at Mt Wandera, its coverage will be largely limited within the town of Batemans Bay.

On the South Coast, the Grant Broadcasters stations 2EC and Power FM  had “no issues with transmission coverage” and have so far remained on full power. Diesel generators have 4-5 days capacity and are being refuelled continuously.

[…]Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has commended media and transmission providers for their efforts to keep services operating:

“I commend the network operators’ efforts in responding, which has included deploying temporary facilities to restore communications services for impacted communities, particularly those that are isolated. Many of the outages are due to power supplies being cut off, and in some cases are the direct impact of fire on network infrastructure. The current fire situations across Australia have made access difficult and unsafe at some sites to assess and restore services…

“In many cases, a portable transistor radio with a spare set of batteries is a vital way to receive emergency information, in the event there is a loss of mains power or mobile coverage.

“The ABC and other local radio stations are doing an excellent job transmitting vital emergency information to Australian communities. Telstra and Optus are offering targeted relief packages in affected regions in NSW and Victoria, including free use of payphones, call diversions from affected lines and other financial assistance.”[…]

Read the full article and view photos at RadioInfo.com.au.

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ABC celebrates 80 years of international broadcasting

Geraldine Doogue (Photo by Peter Marks)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Marks, who was recently invited to attend an ABC celebration. Peter wrote up a summary of the event on his blog:

80 years of international broadcasting by the ABC was celebrated this week at the headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney.

David Hua, ABC Head, International Strategy introduced the event.

Geraldine Doogue was the MC for the evening. She described the International division as “Taking Australian culture beyond its shores”. Doogue described ABC International as the very best of the ABC and said that the people who work in it have a sense of pride in Australia and work out how to present it to the world.

Ita Buttrose, ABC chair, said “The birth of Australia’s international broadcasting service came at a time of global upheaval, uncertainty and disruption. Australia seemed far removed from the epicentre of conflict in Europe, but the technology of cable and wireless brought the war in to living rooms across the country.”

As Ms Buttrose noted in her recent speech at the Lowy Institute, radio technology also gave Australia the opportunity to speak directly, for the first time, to its near neighbours, countering the propaganda and fake news of the day.

Click here to continue reading the full article on Peter’s blog.

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New report: Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Marks, who writes:

A report two years in the making has been released (actually it was a few days ago but there was no fanfare.

I’ve posted about it here: https://blog.marxy.org/2019/10/review-of-australian-broadcasting.html

An interesting conclusion in the report on page 128 is that the authors estimate that shortwave broadcasts to the Asia and Pacific by Australia have a net economic benefit since 2007-08 of $40.3 million.

Presumably this means it would make economic sense for Australia to get back in to Shortwave broadcasting like our clever Chinese neighbours.

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Radio World: “Australia Still Has Shortwave Voices”

(Source: Radio World via Michael Bird)

HANS JOHNSON ? APR 23, 2019

SYDNEY — Radio Australia shortwave services may be dead, but the medium is alive and well on the continent.

Reach Beyond Australia is on shortwave, but with its Christian programming largely in foreign languages, it really isn’t seen as representing Australia on the shortwaves. But there are other private Australian stations that are broadcasting and more are planned.

And while these stations are not a replacement for Radio Australia’s international transmissions or the defunct (for the moment) Australian Broadcasting Corp. domestic service, they do have various goals and share certain characteristics.[…]

4KZ is a shortwave relay of an Innisfail, Queensland, medium-wave station with the same call sign. It is part of the NQ Radio network. 4KZ plays a variety of music and is heavily involved in the community. The shortwave serves remote areas of north Queensland. “We are planning a 90-or 120-meter service for evenings local time, from station 4AM in Mareeba,” explained Al Kirton, NQ Radio’s general manager.

Unique Radio has been on three years and currently broadcasts from Gunnedah in New South Wales. Its owner, Tim Gaylor, has a background in community radio. “We like a station to inform people about alternative subject matters not currently on mainstream media,” he said. Unique Radio also plans to add a night frequency in the 90-meter band.

There are also future stations in the works from New South Wales.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

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Radio France’s digital ambitions and AM radio in Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jason Whiteley, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

[T]here is a really interesting interview with Radio France here around their DAB+ expansion and the possible shut down of FM in France later [click here to read].

I used Google Translate to bring it to English.

[Y]ou might also choose to link to this article about AM radio being dead in Europe (written in 2015):

https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/am-radio-dead-europe

The article is bang on though – AM radio is still very strong and thriving in Australia & the USA. Here in Australia at least, it’s DAB that has a minimal audience compared to traditional AM broadcast.

I just found both of these articles very interesting reading and thought you might like to put them up.

Have a great day,
Jason

Thank you very much for sharing these articles, Jason! Earlier today, we posted a note about digital AM here in the States (AM HD). There is a movement to increase this offering, but for true market penetration it would require car radios that can receive AM HD. Many a DXer dislikes AM HD because the digital signals are (unlike DAB+) inserted between analog signals. These band crowding sometimes causes interference to adjacent analog stations and certainly affects mediumwave DXing.

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“A Shorten Government will bring short-wave radio back to the Northern Territory”

(Source: RadioInfo via Michael Bird)

The Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Clare O’Neil, has told ABC Radio Darwin that a Shorten Government will bring short-wave radio back to the Northern Territory, after it was disbanded by the ABC in 2017, saying restoring the service “is actually crucially important for safety in the Territory.

“Malarndirri (McCarthy) spoke earlier today about a gentleman who was out fishing, and he didn’t know about the cyclone because he didn’t have access to short wave radio. We know there are long haul trucks travelling around the Territory, and short-wave radio is crucial for them to understand what’s going on around them. So that’s why a Shorten Labor Government will bring this back.”

Asked if that meant that Labor would fund the million dollars or so to meet the expense, the Shadow Minister said “That’s correct” though she was unable to commit to any further expansion of the short-wave service outside of the NT.

Read more at: https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/labor-will-bring-back-short-wave-nt © Radioinfo.com.au

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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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