The Future of Australian Shortwave Radio in the Asia Pacific

, , ,

In 2017, the shortwave radio airwaves fell silent with the cessation of Australian domestic and international shortwave radio broadcasts. This was the culmination of withdrawing funding from a variety of Australia Government Departments including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ultimately the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC labeled shortwave radio an antiquated technology and opted instead to reallocate resources and funding to local FM transmissions focused in Papua New Guinea. As a result of this, China promptly and actively moved to fill the Australian Government’s earlier role of broadcasting Shortwave Radio into the Asia Pacific region via the ABC. A large number of the people living in some of the most remote communities of the Pacific Islands actively rely on shortwave radio broadcasts to keep in touch with the world.

Without Shortwave Radio, many individuals are left isolated. The positive impact shortwave radio can have on many individuals in the Asian Pacific region is demonstrated through the example of  Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu, said that “shortwave broadcasts from RNZI during Cyclone Pam, allowed him to warn four villages of the danger and save hundreds of lives.”

Shortwave radio is so effective at providing long range communications because the radio waves bounce off the ionosphere and back down to the ground allowing a single shortwave radio broadcast to be heard thousands of kilometres away from the transmitter. It is because of this that shortwave radio works particularly well distributing signals to the many remote islands throughout the Pacific region, where there is no other means of low cost mass communication.

China, already aware of this and in light of Australia’s withdrawal from shortwave broadcasting, increased their existing broadcasts into the region fully understanding that if shortwave coverage is present, their sphere of influence and subsequent “soft power”would be immediately increased. The notion, that the Chinese immediately adopted the frequencies that the Australian Government, and indeed the ABC cut funding towards, “comes at a time of heightened speculation in Australian media and the commentariat about the motives behind China’s growing influence in the Pacific.”

The growing Chinese interest in the Asia Pacific region has led to the Australian Government,  to conduct a review of the broadcast services available in the region and whether Australia should reintroduce Australian international Shortwave Radio broadcasts.

The Review, will analyse:

  • The coverage and access of existing Australian media services in the Asia Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used

The review will cover:

  • All media distribution platforms (i.e. Television, radio and online)
  • Commercial, community and publicly funded services and
  • Different types of technologies such as analogue, digital and satellite radio and television services and online services.

Supporters of Shortwave Radio, are encouraged to engage in the review hosted by the Australian Government. Tecsun Radios, as firm believers in the vital service that shortwave provides, believes that this review will act as a catalyst in encouraging Australia, to re-enter the Asian Pacific market in providing the vital service that shortwave allows.

Tecsun, will actively engage in the review process, in the hope that this reinvigorates Australia’s interest in the Pacific region. We firmly believe that shortwave radio through its modern evolution digital radio mondiale (DRM) provide the optimum technology to delivery broadcast style communications to island in the Pacific region.

The review is open until the 3rd of August. You can use the link provided below to add your comments and ‘Have your Say Now’, in regards to re-establishing Australia’s presence in the Asia Pacific region, for shortwave radio broadcasting.

https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australian-broadcasting-services-asia-pacific

 

Everything you need to know about DAB+ Broadcasts in Australia

, , ,

What is Digital Audio Broadcasting + (DAB+) Radio?

Digital Audio Broadcasting or DAB+ as the name implies is a new digital audio broadcast technology used to provide terrestrial radio services. DAB+ offers a user experience resembling internet streaming or listening to a podcast but without a potentially costly internet connection.

“DAB + effectively bridges the gap between broadcast and digital technology to efficiently provide high quality audio to the audience without impacting their data downloads.”

DAB + radio, is the most widely adopted digital radio standard worldwide, on air in more than 40 countries, including Australia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Norway to name a few. Increasingly as DAB + garners greater popularity there is widespread interest in rolling it out in the Asia Pacific and Southern Africa, as well as aiming to develop DAB + in regional and rural areas.

Furthermore, DAB+ lowers the barriers of new radio stations by offering a collaborative platform where broadcasters can partner to get their content on the air. DAB+ offers a dramatically increased number of radio stations and genres for listeners to tune into.

What are the benefits of DAB+ Broadcasts?

The promise of DAB+ is greatly improved audio quality and vastly improved reception characteristics when compared to traditional FM and AM broadcasts.

The broadcasting of AM occurs through the use of “longer wavelengths in the medium bands which allows for the signal to travel further.” However, to the detriment of AM, the band suffers interference, particularly when the signals come into contact with dense urban areas.

FM reception suffers from reflections caused by buildings and metal objects, particularly in a mobile situation, this results in a characteristic called “picket fencing” where the reception chops in and out, a very undesirable characteristic.

To combat the problems associated with AM and FM  reception, DAB + uses a “far more advanced and technically robust transmission system and operates in Australia in VHF Band III (Ch9A/9B/9C). To overcome interference, DAB + uses a robust modulation which is “designed for radio reception in mobile environments, such a vehicles and public transport.”

Recognising this advantage many traditional AM broadcasters are now simulcasting in DAB+.

There is also an economical advantage for broadcasters, as each allocated spectrum “Channel” can support 18 DAB+ channels, reducing the transmission cost.

Unlike AM or FM broadcasts that decrease in audio clarity depending on your distance from the transmitter, time of day, and geographical terrain, DAB+ offers ‘digital’ reception, listeners will have either a perfect user experience or no experience at all, mimicking that of digital television.

How can you listen to DAB+?

The exponential growth of DAB + Radio through 2017 and into 2018, can be epitomised where the number of DAB + radios in used in Australia rose to 3.8 million at the end of 2017, up 24%, from the previous 12 months. The increase in use of DAB + can also be seen where 56% of new cars sold are now fitted with DAB + radio.

Tecsun Radios Australia has released its first DAB+ radio the Apogee DAB+ Digital FM Radio. The Apogee DAB+ Digital FM Radio is a desktop radio capable of listening to DAB+ and traditional FM broadcasts. Additionally, the Apogee DAB+ Digital FM Radio includes the ability to bluetooth pair with a device such as smartphone and the radio also supports auxiliary input of audio via a cable. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the ability to use an external antenna to improve DAB+ reception. DAB+ transmission can be picked up with a band III VHF antenna oriented for reception of the vertical polarity, this extends the potential audience of DAB+ to people living outside of the current reception areas listed below.

https://www.tecsunradios.com.au/store/product/tecsun-d-008-dab-digital-radio/

Where can you listen to DAB+?

DAB+ is being rolled out progressively, today you can listen to DAB+ in the following list of Australia cities with more locates being added to the list every year:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Adelaide
  • Perth
  • Hobart
  • Canberra
  • Darwin

Here is a link, which is useful in finding stations of DAB + in the cities listed above. You can also listen live through this link. Find stations through the search bar on the right hand side of the website.

http://www.digitalradioplus.com.au/listen.aspx?region=Hobart

The recent installation of DAB + radio in Hobart, now gives individuals access to more stations, particularly SBS and ABC stations. Use the link above to find these stations.

Where can you find DAB+ in the future?

Over the next five years, DAB + intends to extend their broadcasting capacity into 13 regional centres. Some of these regional centres include

  • Dubbo
  • Goulburn
  • Newcastle
  • Albury

The extension of DAB+ into these regional areas can be highlighted where “Radio is the leading audio platform consumed by Australians with 85% of people having listened to an AM/FM or DAB+ radio station on average in a week.” This is in comparison to Spotify 21%, Podcasting 10%, Pandora 8%, Apple Music 6%.

This is an image of the Apogee DAB+ Digital FM Radio used by Tecsun Radio’s. Get your DAB+ Radio today.

https://www.tecsunradios.com.au/store/product/tecsun-d-008-dab-digital-radio/

 

The Importance of Shortwave Radio in the Modern Technology Mix

, , ,

Shortwave Radio is ‘everywhere’

Natural Disaster is often unpredictable, yet life threatening and devastating. Papua New Guinea (PNG), Tonga and Vanautu, have all experienced trauma through natural disasters this year. Papua New Guinea experienced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and Tonga and Vanuatu enduring cyclones, Cyclone Gita and Hola respectively. It is crucial during times like these that there is effective, efficient communication that enables residents to gain both local and international news, informing all individuals of the most current and up to date situation. To prevent a delay in action following the natural disaster, ensure you are equipped with adequate forms of communication.

Tecsun Radios Australia, actively promotes the continued accessibility of Shortwave Radio, where it primarily forms and lays the foundation of communication in both rural and developing countries. In essence, it is through the availability of Shortwave Radio, that these isolated locations remain informed of the world they live in and that which surrounds them.

Shortwave Radio is an effective radio form that allows you to actively listen to world events from differing perspectives, where news items are normally broadcast in real time to provide all listeners with accurate information. Shortwave will allow you to stay informed during times like natural disaster, where power related infrastructure in inevitably destroyed and unable to be utilised. Whilst a large proportion of Short-wave Radio is broadcast using English as their primary language, few short-wave radios broadcast in a foreign language. By engaging with and diversifying the production of radio through a foreign language, a larger target market is developed, establishing a greater audience.

A mobile phone and communications tower located in Vanuatu, damaged by one of this years cyclones. Image by: dailypost.vu

Recently, funding by the ABC towards Shortwave Radio, was in contention as “The ABC ceased its domestic shortwave broadcasting services to the Northern Territory and international shortwave services to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.” Although and whilst it can be argued that an ever-growing proportion of individuals in the Pacific and Rural Australia increasingly have access to the use of mobile devices, it is vital that in times of devastation, they have an effective, reliable and efficient form of communication. The breadth of reach that Shortwave Radio penetrated in the Northern Territory is enhanced where the “three transmission sites across the Territory, at Roe Creek (Alice Springs), Tennant Creek and Katherine, covered approximately 74% of the Northern Territory Population.” Discussion and Opposition towards the cessation of Shortwave Radio was promulgated by varying individual organisations, companies and politicians, where Nick Xenophon argues that the ABC is “ignoring the bush and Australia’s neighbours,” and that Shortwave Radio is a “form of soft diplomacy that is very effective, where it wins the hearts and minds in the region,” and without shortwave radio, Australians in remote communities are left isolated.

However, the recent funding cuts of Shortwave Radio, by DFAT and subsequently the ABC, have been combated by the establishment of Ozy Radio, which currently broadcasts on 4835 kHz. Tecsun Radios, supports Ozy Radio, where both Tecsun Radios and Ozy Radio are aware of the life changing impact that Shortwave Radio can have in informing individuals who may be isolated from the adequate infrastructure that can transmit much of the information heard by society today, whether this be for individuals living in remote areas, or for individuals to utilise during and after a natural disaster.

Following the earthquake that struck PNG on February 25, the director of PNG’s National Disaster Centre Martin Mose stated “communication networks were down and that was making it hard to assess the impact of the earthquake.” The anger penetrating from the residents of PNG stems primarily from the lack of information and adequate communication resources, which alongside the damage is ultimately “paralysing whole communities”. Had the ABC’s international Shortwave Radio services been active it could have provided a rapid and an effective method to broadcast information to communities impacted by the earthquake. The long distances that can be covered by Shortwave Radio lends itself perfectly to natural disasters, which are typically geographically concentrated. The rapid dissemination of information can inform communities where to meet emergency personnel who are trying to reach them to receive food, health care, and essential aim.

Tecsun Radios Australia firmly believes in the benefits of Shortwave Radio and how it can help remote and rural communities, the recent natural disasters in the Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu draw attention to the strengths of Shortwave Radio and its place in the modern technology mix for broadcasters.

Ezvid Wiki Top 10 Shortwave Radios of 2017

, , ,

We are thrilled to announce that TWO Tecsun radios have been awarded places on the Ezvid Wiki Top 10 Shortwave Radios of 2017!

The PL360 holds the #4 spot, with reviewers praising its comprehensive frequency scanning and four available tuning methods – most of you will know, however, that the even more superior PL365 is now available!

The PL880 goes a step further to take #3 on the list, and is described as having “unparelled sensitivity”.

The shortlist is compiled with thirty-five hours of research, and is a broad-ranging, impartial assessment of shortwave radio options available to consumers in the United States.

View the entire shortlist here: https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-shortwave-radios.

To buy these models from Tecsun Radios Australia, follow the links below:

PL365: http://bit.ly/AUPL365

PL880: http://bit.ly/AUPL880