Tag Archives: Phil Brennan

Breaking News: Australian broadcaster 4KZ now on shortwave!

The 4KZ transmitter is located in Innisfail, Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan (VK8VWA), who notes that 4KZ started broadcasting today in Australia. Phil notes:

At last! ID for 4KZ confirmed at 0750 [UTC] Wednesday 20 December on 5,055 kHz.

Thank you, Phil–and thanks for following this development so closely over the past few weeks.

I tried tuning to 5055 kHz at my home in eastern North America, but of course conditions weren’t ideal to receive a 1,000 watt AM signal from Australia. I wasn’t ready to give up, of course, so I turned to the KiwiSDR network.

The following recording was made on December 20, 2017 starting around 11:33 UTC on 5,055 kHz . The receiver is a KiwiSDR located in Goulburn, NSW, Australia.

Click here to view on YouTube.

No details yet on where to send reception reports, but I will ask the station manager and post his reply in an update.

Post Readers: Please comment if you’ve also logged 4KZ!

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Cyclones fail to stop Yolgnu Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan, who writes:

I spotted this article in the Australian edition of the Guardian about a local community radio network for Yolgnu people here in the NT:

‘We’re not going anywhere’: how cyclones failed to batter Yolgnu Radio

In 2015, when two cyclones battered the northern coast of Arnhem Land in less than a month, many remote homelands had just two ways to get news: Yol?u Radio or a payphone.

After the radio station’s transmission went down in the storm, some stranded residents used the payphone to contact the station.

“When the cyclone was closing in they would keep coming to the phone and we were like: you mob should be in a shelter now because anything can happen, things flying about and everything,” announcer Sylvia Nulpinditj describes.

“They were calling in every hour, running to the phone box,” production manager Gaia Osborne adds. “They came off all right in the end but they were incredibly worried.”

During Lam, the category-four storm that made landfall first near Elcho Island, Nulpinditj, Osborne and another colleague delivered more than 170 cyclone updates in Yol?u languages, working around-the-clock from the Darwin studio (special characters are used in written Yol?u to render pronunciation more accurately).

“The nature of satellite technology is affected by rain and cloud cover so we were pushing those messages out in every possible way we could,” Osborne says. “There was that much rain hitting Galiwin’ku and in some of those homelands we knew the radio signal would have been knocked out. But there were still people on Facebook.”

Nulpinditj, an award-winning host at Yolgnu Radio for more than six years, says it is a “huge responsibility” as a Yol?u broadcaster, and it can be challenging to work with mainstream organisations, “for example, the Bureau of Meteorology mob”.

Click here to continue reading at The Guardian.

 Interesting that it refers to disaster advice on cyclones. It’s a pity it doesn’t draw the link between that and the closure of the NT shortwave service.

Many thanks for sharing this article, Phil!

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ACMA report on radio listening in remote Western Australia

Image: ACMA

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan (VK8VWA), who shares the following:

I spotted this bit of research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority regarding radio listening habits of people living in remote Western Australia.

Click here to download report (PDF).

It shows that radio very much remains a big part of people’s lives in the bush, particularly AM radio. I’m sure these findings would be replicated in the Northern Territory where I live, but as you are only too aware, we’ve had our remote SW radio service axed by the ABC. Anyway, it may be of interest to you and your readers.

Thank you for the tip, Phil.  This is a pretty fascinating report. As you mention, the use of AM radio is quite heavy–no doubt due to the vast broadcast footprint. It’s this sort of report that should have been done prior to any decision about axing ABC’s NT shortwave service.

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Radio Australia’s final day broadcasting on shortwave

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

As I write this post, I’m listening to Radio Australia on 9,580 and 12,065 kHz. Other than the sports reports and weather, world news is chock-full of stories–many of which are quite sad.

This will likely be the last morning I listen to Radio Australia on shortwave.

SWLing Post contributor, Phill Brennan–who has done a fine job keeping us up-to-date with RA developments–shares the following message:

On the local ABC news tonight it was mentioned that the NT transmitters were going to be shut down at midday local time or 0230 UTC on 31 January. I cannot confirm this, but it may be useful to alert listeners who wish to hear the end of the broadcast. I have no information on RA’s shutdown but it may be the same.

Apparently there will be a gathering at the Katherine transmitter by local listeners tomorrow to mark the end of the broadcasts.

Political pressure continues. A South Australian Senator (Xenophon) is going to introduce a private members bill into the Australian Parliament which will mandate that the ABC must provide a SW service to the NT. I don’t think I would back this in succeeding, but it’s worth a try.

The whole exercise has been a public relations disaster for the ABC as it has been a major news story nationally for weeks now. Not enough damage to change the ABC management’s mind on the matter though.

Thank you for the update, Phil, and for following this story as it developed.

Again, if I understand correctly, for those of us in North America, today is the final day we’ll hear Radio Australia on shortwave (9,580, 12,065 and 12,085 kHz).

I feel I should mention that I did receive a tip that the shut for some of the Radio Australia shortwave services might be as early as 11:00AM Tuesday local time Shepparton (00:00 UTC).

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Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Phil Brennan, who shares the following letter sent to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, by Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write in relation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) decision to cease its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory from 31 January 2017.

My letter follows repeated representations from members of my Shadow Ministry, Northern Territory Caucus and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to secure the continuation of this vital service.

As you know, shortwave radio provides vital news and information services, including local radio and emergency messages that are crucial to those living in remote areas, particularly in time of natural disaster.

The ABC’s claim that the majority of listeners will be able to access ABC services via AM/FM radio, digital radio and online streaming, or via VAST platform does not account for the reality of service availability in remote areas.

This helps to explain why listeners and users of the ABC shortwave in the Northern Territory have been unequivocal in voicing their concern at the Coalition’s failure to intervene in this matter. This includes emergency services workers and cattle growers.

I am also deeply concerned that the ABC took this decision without satisfactory consultation with affected listeners, community representatives and emergency service workers and agencies. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has since acknowledged shortfalls in this regard.

For these reasons I ask that you work with Labor, ABC management and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency to ensure the continued provision of shortwave radio service in the NT beyond 31 January 2017.

Yours sincerely

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

26 January 2017

cc: The Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, QC Mr Stephen Jones MP
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Mr Luke Gosling OAM, MP Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Click here to download the original PDF version of this letter.

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