How to be prepared for a power cut

                                                                                                                          image via Image via https://www.abc.net.au/news/

At 2 pm on Tues 25th May 2021, a fire broke out in a turbine at the Callide power station in Central QLD causing three generators to be shut down. The scenario of a hydrogen-filled generator exploding or failing mechanically causing hydrogen leaks and then also oil leaks, is probably the worst-case scenario in a coal-fired power station, according to Union representatives.

A further domino effect followed, tripping plants further down the network and causing an electricity outage of almost 500,000 homes from northern New South Wales up to far north Queensland. 

 Chaos ensued with a black-out affecting hundreds of thousands of homes, the Brisbane city traffic lights, shopping centers, sewage treatment plants, and even Gold Coast trams.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) requested consumers in Queensland temporarily reduce their energy usage where safe to do so

Thankfully nobody was injured by this incident however, this is a stark reminder that significant power events, similarly, significant weather events ( the two are often related) can occur anywhere at any time.

Is your home prepared for such events?

How to prepare yourself for a power outage.

A severe power outage can last for days, so its a good idea to set aside a day once a year to spend 10 minutes making sure you are prepared if the sudden event of a power outage occurs.

Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.

Make sure you have an emergency radio that can be hand-cranked or solar powered so that you can receive essential emergency broadcasts and instructions when other forms of communications are down. Many top emergency radios feature additional safety features including a flashlight, emergency alarm to attract attention and USB charging. 

How to protect yourself during a power outage.

  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges. Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that can cause damage.
  • Use a generator if you have one, but ONLY outdoors and away from windows to minimise exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed and have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
  • Tune into your local radio emergency broadcast for updates and directions if you are in an effected area
  • Grab your emergency kit and keep it close.

Thank you to ready.gov for these tips.

Emergency kits are essential in every household, because you don’t need them till you do.

Do you have an emergency kit prepared at home? Click here to see the full list of what essential items you will need to have packed and ready to go. What is in an emergency kit.

Don’t have an emergency radio yet?

We recommend the Best Emergency Radio which is our highest performance AM/FM/SW Solar Powered Radio with inbuilt Solar Panel and Hand Crank Dynamo Charging. Additional features much needed during an emergency are a LED torch and personal alarm, a siren to gain the attention of emergency services and an inbuilt USB charger.

We recommend the DE13 Emergency AM/FM/SW Solar Radio which is an economy model, featuring a torch, personal alarm, inbuilt Solar Panel, and Dynamo hand crank charger that allows you to recharge the internal battery or charge any device by USB or mini USB including your mobile phone. This is the perfect radio to keep for any emergencies.

Click here to shop these products in our online store.

 

world amateur radio day

World Amateur Radio Day

 A celebration of how radio has been serving people for over 100 years.

Date: April 18, 2021

Time : All Day

This year’s theme is “Amateur Radio: Home but Never Alone.”

Every year on April 18, Radio Amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of Amateur Radio.

The theme of World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) is celebrating Amateur Radio’s Contribution to Society which is incredibly relevant given the isolation and need for communication as we enter a 2nd year living with the global pandemic.

As we have mentioned previously the increase in interest in amateur radio during the pandemic was significant with many amateurs supporting each other by creating nets or on line meet ups.

A humbling reminder that we are a global community that has united during a time of isolation to ensure we remain connected and available to assist those in need.

Radio is a fantastic way to discover radio programs from different regions both music and news from unfiltered sources, in addition, a fantastic way to receive crucial weather, aviation and safety broadcasts whilst out of many standard network zones.

Take some time on Amateur Radio Day to explore the world of Amateur Radio and discover what new friends and communities exist all over the world.

A fantastic radio to use on World amateur radio day is the Xiegu G90 transceiver.

To celebrate World Amateur Radio Day, with every G90 purchase we will include a free CE-19 expansion interface worth $80. Use the Expansion interface to connect your G-90 transceiver to a PC, data terminal or modem for operation in digital modes.

Limited time offer only available this weekend till midnight Sunday the 19th April.

Tecsun pl 330 shortwave radio

The Tecsun PL-330 is the latest pocket-sized portable receiver offering SSB capability. This feature, coupled with direct frequency entry makes the PL-330 the ideal receiver for those wishing to listen to shortwave radio utility stations, amateur radio transmissions as well as regular shortwave broadcasts.

Our Tecsun PL 330 has been featured in the latest edition of Australian DX NEWS For those of you considering adding a PL 330 to your collection, this review is thorough and comprehensive.

Read full article below or click link Australian DX News Tecsun review

Tecsun PL330n review.

As mentioned this lightweight SSB radio is feature-packed click here to view all the features of the PL-330 and buy your own. Priced at just $145 this radio is also the perfect gift for fellow radio enthusiasts or soon-to-be hobbyists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Image source here

The John Moyle Field Day will be held over the weekend of the 20th-21st March 2021 and will be run from UTC 0100 on Saturday to 0059 on Sunday.

The aim is to encourage and provide familiarisation with portable and field operation, and provide training for emergency situations. The rules are therefore specifically designed and focussed to encourage field operations.

The John Moyle Field  Day Radio contest is held in honour of the late John Moyle, a long term editor at the Wireless Weekly, Australia’s first news-stand wireless magazine (not counting the AWA monthly), published in 1922 which later became, Radio & Hobbies – later Radio Television & Hobbies) magazine from 1947- 1960.

During his service in the RAAF during WWII, he was responsible for keeping radio and radar equipment working using innovative solutions during very difficult war time conditions.

The WIA decided to dedicate a long term memorial to John Moyle in the form of an annual Field Day with a focus on portable or field operation. 

Over the years the contest has evolved to not only include portable or field operators but also include home stations who may also take part using a different scoring system.

A fantastic radio to use for the HF part of the contest is the Xiegu G90. This unit is portable and can be run off your car battery.

The HF amateur radio dipole Antenna covers the popular 5/7/10/14/18/21/24/28 and 50Mhz bands. The antenna is rated at 100Watts PEP power handling capability and is supplied in a convenient canvas carry bag.

The antenna comprises a 1:1 balun and 2 bobbins containing the appropriate amount of wire to cover the specified bands.

ham radio transceiver

Shop the range here

Contestants can enter for either 6 hours or 24 hours.

The Xiegu G90 is the ideal transceiver for the Hf part of this contest. For those who are not amateurs this is the ideal weekend to listen to amateur radio in action and to evaluate antennas etc.

The aim of the contest is to score the most points, by making as many contacts as possible.

On the HF bands, 2 points are earned per contact. Other points scales apply to VHF/UHF, dependant on the distance over which the contact is achieved.

The contest is open to all VK, ZL and P2 stations. All other stations are welcome to participate, but can only claim points for contacts with VK, ZL, and P2 stations. All VK, ZL, and P2 stations can claim points for all contacts, with any station in the world, as long as valid serial numbers are exchanged.

The contest rules ensure more logs are submitted, by requiring that if any station works the same station a total of more than 10 times on any band or on any mode then the logs from both stations should be submitted to verify those contacts.

Single operator portable entries shall consist of ONE choice from each of the following (e.g. 6 hour, phone, VHF/UHF):

a 24 or 6 hour;

b Phone, CW, Digital or All modes;

c HF, VHF/UHF or All Bands.

Multi-operator portable entries shall consist of ONE choice from each of the following (e.g. 24 hour, phone, VHF/UHF):

a 24 or 6 hour;

b Phone, CW, Digital, or All modes;

c HF, VHF/UHF or All Bands.

Home entries shall consist of ONE choice from each of the following (e.g. 24 hour, phone, VHF/UHF):

a 24 or 6 hour;

b Phone, All modes;

c HF, VHF/UHF or All Bands.

Multi operator stations are not permitted in the Home Category.

 

If any Station works the same station more than 10 times in total using any band and, or using any mode, they should submit their own log to verify those contacts for the other station.

 For full information about the contest, contest history, rules and definitions please head to the Wireless Institute of Australia website.

 

PL600 review by troy from free range sailing australia

We were delighted to watch this review by Troy & Pascale from Free Range Sailing who are currently exploring our beautiful country in a 30-foot yacht called Mirrool.

Whilst sailing through northern Australia as well as the west coast of Tasmania there are limited coastal stations broadcasting on VHF.

Using a shortwave radio like the Tecsun PL600 was really beneficial for Troy & Pascale to receive up to date weather forecasts, crucial when sailing.

 

Most meteorological bureaus will publish the times and frequencies ( these change, day/night) that you will be able to pick up the weather schedule via your shortwave radio.

The radio Pascale used was the Tecsun PL600 Worldband radio. At just $129 The Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio is the perfect entry product to the world of shortwave listening and an essential when traveling to isolated areas.

To view the full video click here.

To learn more about the Tecsun PL600 a fantastic entry-level shortwave radio priced at just $129 click here

If you would like to follow Troy and Pascale’s intrepid adventures ( highly recommended) click here

 

Q codes were developed by Morse Code operators as a method of communicating quickly and accurately. Rather than send a complete phrase, Q codes were developed to cover most operational situations. Q codes can be used to ask or answer a question, and can be used by operators who speak different languages.

Q codes are approved by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for use on worldwide radio networks.

For instance if an operator wants to change to another frequency, he can simply advise the party he is speaking with “QSY 7050” meaning “I will change my operating frequency to 7050Khz”. Similarly he could ask “should I change to 7050Khz” by simply saying “QSY 7050”.

 

So the next time you hear an operator using a Q code, spare a thought for those old-time morse code operators and the time saved by using Q codes.

 

How is your reception? Here at Tecsun Radios Australia, we have a range of shortwave and digital radios and antennas to suit your needs.

The Tecsun Radios Australia HF amateur radio dipole covers the popular 5/7/10/14/18/21/24/28 and 50Mhz bands. The antenna is rated at 100Watts PEP power handling capability and is supplied in a convenient canvas carry bag.

The antenna comprises a 1:1 balun and 2 bobbins containing the appropriate amount of wire to cover the specified bands. Get yours HERE

tecsun dipole antenna australia

 

 

In 1843 the phenonema known as the Solar cycle was discovered by Samuel Schwabe a German astronomer who observed transitions of the Sun from periods of high activity to low activity every 11 years, over a period of nearly 20 years.

Put in simple terms, the Sun is composed of a huge ball of electrically charged hot gas. As this gas moves, it generates a powerful magnetic field. This magnetic field transitions through an 11 year cycle (known as the Solar Cycle) during which the magnetic poles of the Sun are transposed, ie the north and south poles change places.

This cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots and solar flares. The energy released by these events charges particles in the ionosphere, affecting radio propagation. More solar flares and sunspots occur at the peak of the cycle than at the bottom of the cycle. Typical values are 80-100 sunspots at the cycle peak and 15 or so at the cycle minimum.

When a strong flare occurs, the increased x-ray and extreme ultraviolet radiation produces ionisation in the lower, D (absorption) layer of the ionosphere, disrupting HF radio broadcasts by absorbing rather than reflecting signals. 

We are currently at the end of Solar Cycle 24 (calculated as mid 2020), and from this point we can expect an increase in solar activity and changed radio propagation as the maximum useable frequency (MUF) for shortwave communications increases with an increase in solar activity.

At the peak of the Solar Cycle, the higher frequencies of the shortwave spectrum are very good. Low power stations can be heard over remarkably long distances. 

At the bottom of the cycle, the current position, those higher frequency signals will not usually support normal propagation via the ionosphere. So propagation at lower frequencies will be better whilst higher frequencies will suffer. 

 

Article written by Tecsun Radios Australia

Image of sun via Nasa.

shortwave radio saves airplane.

 

Imagine flying off the coast over a vast ocean when your communications are lost.

Regular weather condition reports, particularly regarding strong headwinds are vital to the successful flight and landing of  an airplane.

 

On July 9, an air ambulance departing Santiago De Chile to collect a patient on Easter Island lost satellite communications more than 1600Km from land.

Out of VHF range and with an inoperative satellite link, the fast thinking pilot tuned the aircraft HF radio to 7100Khz, the net frequency of the Peruvian Refief Chain who had just finished conducting a training exercise.

Fortunately for the pilot, 2 amateur radio operators Guillermo Guerra OA4DTU and Giancario Passalacqua OA4DSN, were still on frequency and able to respond to the aircraft. Together they communicated via HF with the aircraft and by telephone with the Ocean Air Control who have control of aircraft movements in the 32 million square kilometre Pacific Ocean Area off the coast of Chile.

shortwave radio helps distressed airplane

Meanwhile other amateur radio operators rejoined the frequency ready to provide assistance if necessary.

OAC were already in a state of alert since losing communications with the aircraft and as the backup HF communications system at Easter Island was out of service.

After 10 or so phone calls between the amateurs and OAC, providing aircraft position reports and advising weather conditions over a period of 3 hours, VHF communications was established with the control tower on Easter Island, and the aircraft made a successful approach and landing.

Have you considered or XIEGU G90 Transceiver?


Xiegu G90 Australia

The XIEGU is available on our website, click here to read all about it!

Article written by Tecsun radios Australia from Source: qrznow.com

Shortwave radio, the original and most crucial form of radio communication in our history, and dropped by many countries 20 years ago, is set for a resurgence!

Used heavily during the Cold War, shortwave was vital for communications in isolated areas.

After the war, listenership dwindled and as the equipment aged and the energy bills continued to accrue, one of the first in line for budget cuts was shortwave, with no importance placed on replacing it.

 

Not unlike the song, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, many say that satellites and the internet killed shortwave radio.

 

Really it is a combination of technology and content delivered directly to the savvy FM listener and streamed to the cell phone obsessed user generally at a reduced cost compared to shortwave. 

 

As Shortwave dwindled, radio began being broadcast in FM and DAB modes to radios, devices, and laptops, with thousands of listening options. 

Many new broadcasters began piggybacking on the local popular informative radio stations.

 

This new technology, however, in many countries is not without its issues. At first, it might appear that these are cheaper and more modern options, but slow buffering times, multiplexed DAB+, excessive and expensive cost of data in many countries, as well as a listener’s preference for anonymity has seen a return to shortwave.

 

As mentioned in previous articles the emerging ability to transmit shortwave radio digitally using DRM ( Digital Radio Mondiale) has seen a resurgence in the use of shortwave due to its wide coverage and heavily reduced cost.

 

Specifically China has opted to use DRM Shortwave to provide full coverage to the areas between the large cities.

 

China National Radio broadcasts from five upgraded sites 80 hours a day with seven to eight transmitters sending shortwave DRM to most areas of North China, East China, South China and Southwest China. Russia is also airing DRM in shortwave over huge areas of Siberia.

India is now looking to increase its three DRM shortwave transmitters for further national and international reach. 

 

Several CRN transmitters beam enormous DRM signals into our part of the world daily.

 

Indonesia and Brazil are also said to have expressed interest in adapting their shortwave analog over to DRM for greater coverage. 

 

As mentioned previously Vanuatu, has recently opted for DRM shortwave to save lives in disaster situations by using its integrated emergency warning capability, and a site in the United States has recently started broadcasting in DRM the popular Radio Marti programs toward central and Latin America.

 

As many areas of the world are re-discovering the value of shortwave we may see the resurgence of shortwave being replaced by its new digital form.

 

Are you interested in listening to Shortwave radio? Imagine picking up and decoding radio stations from remote areas of the world? Re connect with the world during this time of isolation.

 

Tecsun Radios Australia has a great range of Shortwave and Digital radios available.

Shop the range here

Radio frequencies for shortwave

Do you enjoy listening to shortwave and have noticed the frequencies used by your favourite broadcaster change twice a year? Interestingly there is a scientific reason behind this.

Shortwave travels long distances because of its unique way of propagating. The transmission is beamed upwards towards the sky where it is reflected back down to earth spanning a huge distance between the two points. In good conditions a single transmitter is able to reach millions of listeners around the world.

This is what makes shortwave unique and incredibly effective, especially to remote audiences as well as to areas where news and information is highly controlled. 

As a general rule, higher frequencies (SW) work best during daylight hours and summer time while lower frequencies (MW) work better in darkness – before dawn and during the long winter evenings. 

 This same frequency can not be used all year round because as the seasons change the number of daylight hours at any location can directly affect the optimum frequency band. This is because the energy from the Sun required to ionise reflective layers in the upper atmosphere is directly impacted by the sunlight hours available. So seasonal changes causing shorter sunlight hours will affect daily propagation of a higher frequency, and so a lower frequency will need to be chosen to provide similar coverage during the period of shorter days.

The High Frequency Coordination Committee (HFCC, under the ITU International Telecommunications Union) is the body that has the responsibility to decide when to change shortwave  frequencies.They must coordinate these changes with all the major shortwave broadcasters around the World.

To ensure the optimal transmission conditions the HFCC recommend  two seasonal frequency schedules – summer and winter – known as the ‘A’ and ‘B’ seasons.

The changeover between seasons is internationally agreed to occur on the last Sunday in March (start of ‘A’ season) and the last Sunday in October (start of ‘B’ season), which coincides with start and end of ‘Daylight Saving’ in many countries, where local time can change.

The changeover ‘A20’ season has just occurred on Sunday 29th March, and the frequencies agreed for all shortwave transmissions will continue until the beginning of the next season ‘B20’, on Sunday 25th October.