Tag Archives: Ultralight DXing

ABC video highlights the Dooen transmitter on World Radio Day

The Dooen tower "hat" (photo: ABC)

(Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Standing 201-metres tall with a 19-metre wide capacitive ‘top hat’, the 3WV mast in western Victoria stands out in the vast flat landscape that stretches below it.
Celebrating 75th years of service, the occasion of World Radio Day seemed a worthy time to pay tribute to this impressive technological structure.

“It really meant a lot to us. It must’ve been a big undertaking in 1936 to build it because cranes and things that are about today weren’t even heard of,” says long time Horsham resident James Heard.

And while the locals are proud of the trusty Dooen mast, its power reaches far wider than just this wide brown land.

In fact 594 AM has even been heard as far as Canada, Japan and South Africa.

The staggering reach is aided by the distinctive ‘top hat’ and the low frequency of the AM band. While obviously a success, the antenna was the first of its kind in Australia and acted as a prototype for other services.

“It’s the first solid-state 50-kilowatt broadcast transmitter installed for the ABC and it was the test bed for the installations across the rest of the country,” says Tim Hughes, Transmission Coordinator for ABC Victoria.

So whether you’re tuning in from snowy Canada or just down the road, thanks be to the 3WV transmitter.

I’m sure many an ultralight DXer would like to snag this transmitter! Watch the 3+ minute video on the ABC website.

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Ultralight shortwave radios now tagged in the Shortwave Radio Index (SWRI)

The Tecsun PL-380 is an “ultralight” that has exceptional shortwave sensitivity and selectivity.

I have gone through the SWRI and tagged all portable shortwave radios that are considered “ultralights” by the ultralight “Definitions Committee.” Note that “ultralight dxing” is primarily a Mediumwave hobby, but you will find that many of the best performing ultralights are also capable, if not best-in-class shortwave receivers.

What are the attributes/guidelines for a radio to be considered an “ultralight”? Per the definitions committee:

  1. It is a simple shirt pocket-sized radio of not more than approximately 20 cubic inches.
  2. It is an entertainment-grade radio, as opposed to enthusiast’s radio. As such, it will usually not have AM synchronous detection, SSB clarification or other specialized features.
  3. It is readily available to the hobby in new or used markets at the time of its approval.
  4. It costs no more than $100 retail at the time of approval.
  5. It is primarily a radio. While it may have other features as well (MP3 recorder, etc.), the design and function should have radio reception as its focus.
  6. It is not a “novelty radio” such as Coca Cola Can radio, Mr. Potato Head, etc.
Each radio is individually approved before it is considered an ultralight.

The Tecsun PL-310, PL-380 and C.Crane CCRadio-SWP are three shortwave ultralights that I regularly use and are considered fine examples of ultralights.

Want to know more about ultralight dxing? Check out these resources:

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