australia day shortwave contest

Got plans for Australia Day? You may want to change them and test your shortwave operating skills!

aussie day shortwave contest

This Australia Day why not enter the Amateur Radio Australia Day contest?

This is the first time this contest has been held to promote community participation and to improve operating skills and will no doubt become an institution every Australia Day!

The aim of the contest: Amateurs in Australia, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea and their external territories, will endeavor to contact other stations in the region. Points are awarded for valid contacts between VK, ZL, and P2 stations based on the number of contacts made.

HF SSB Voice transmissions should be within:

1843-1875, 3535-3570 and 3600-3700, 7080-7300, 14112-14300, 21150-21450, 28300-29100KHz

Who can enter? Only licensed amateur radio operators can enter, however shortwave listeners can listen to contestants making contacts.

A contest like this, where there are likely to be many amateurs on air, is a good opportunity for shortwave listeners to improve their antenna systems.

What equipment would be suitable to enter? The Xiegu G-90 and the HF Dipole antenna would be a highly suitable combination to both receive and transmit.

shortwave radio competition australia

How can you listen?

Listeners could use PL-330, PL365 and PL368, PL-880, PL-990x or H501x receivers.

Want the best sound possible when listening to the contest or in fact shortwave radio in general?? We highly recommend listening on your TRA Self-powered  Communication Speaker which is ideal for use in amateur radio contests as it makes listening to weak stations much easier!

For more information including the contest rules and how to log your results read the detailed events page on the Wireless Institute of Australia HERE

 

shortwave radio in the NT

A controversial decision in 2017 lead to the ABC turning off its domestic shortwave radio service, much to the disappointment and anger of remote listeners. It’s reasoning for turning off the shortwave broadcasts was that it would only affect a small number of listeners and in fact save operating costs of $1.9M, which could be re-invested in providing infrastructure of digital services located in populated regional areas.

Many industry groups were outraged, particularly in remote areas of the Northern Territory where residents had come to rely on the service as their only regular source of news and entertainment.

In February 2011, cyclone Yasi crossed the Australian east coast between Cairns and Townsville, causing enormous damage and knocking out all local communications. 

Radio Australia carried ABC Queensland coverage of the storm, which was extraordinary. 

The ABC shortwave transmitter at Shepparton Victoria was activated on 9710 and 6080 kHz, and the giant curtain array antenna pointed to Far North Queensland. This broadcast provided emergency information, sheltering information, updates, and calls from listeners in the midst of the storm.

The enormous signal could easily be heard in Sydney and Brisbane on any shortwave radio.

“The ABC expansion of its digital platforms in capital cities provides no benefits to those Australians living in remote areas, and the withdrawal of domestic shortwave services has been seen as a real kick in the guts”. 

“What people take for granted in the cities is a luxury for those living in the bush, who rely on the HF shortwave radio services as a reliable source of news, weather information, and entertainment, There are numerous examples where ABC domestic shortwave has been the only source of information to remote area residents during a weather-related emergencies,” said Garry Cratt owner of Tecsun Radios Australia, who made a submission to government at the time.

Cyclone Yasi approaching the east coast of Australia, Feb 2 2011.

Photo source: Bureau of Meteorology

The federal Labor party has announced that if elected next year, they will provide the ABC with $2M in funding to re-establish the shortwave funding across the territory.

Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling mentioned that he was approached by community groups who were angry at the axing of ABC shortwave and said” when shortwave was cut there was a lot of angst, so it will be a good thing to bring it back to keep people on the land and waters connected. Many thousands will benefit from this [bringing back shortwave]”

Article source: NT Country hour, ABC News, Bureau of Meteorology.

 

DRM radio over the AMAZON

The People of the Amazon will soon be covered by DRM shortwave as National Radio of the Amazon orders a 100 kW BT transmitter

The vast area of the Amazon known as the Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical ecosystem in the world, with rainforest covering roughly 40% of South America, stretching over ten countries in South America, and is almost as large as the United States! The rainforest is home to both large and small communities in very remote areas, some harvesting crops along the rivers and others in more secluded villages deep within the forests.

As you can imagine communication to these areas can be difficult so it was no surprise when at the end of last year, testing of DRM technology began using a transmitter of 2.5 kW with the digital power of just 1 kW.

Despite this low power of the transmitter supplied by BT Transmitters, recordings were reported from different regions of the country and even from North America and Europe.

As a result of these tests, the National Radio of the Amazon decided to use DRM shortwave transmissions to serve indigenous populations in the northern Amazon region.

At the sizable cost of $650,000 USD. Public broadcaster Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC) ordered a 100 kW BT transmitter to broadcast in DRM at 11,780 kHz in the 25-meter band, an existing shortwave channel used by Rádio Nacional da Amazônia.

This is considered to be the first domestic DRM installation on a locally produced transmitter in Latin America.

AMAZON radio map

Information from The Digital Radio Mondiale Consortium.

Image via https://amazonaid.org/ 

 

Halloween Radio 2021Picture this, a family huddled around the radio on Halloween, the sun is going down and a spooky story unfolds, everybody listens intently, imagination is working overtime, a bell chimes, there is a scream…. 

Before television, radio was the entertainment of choice in homes across Australia. During the 20th century,  radio broadcasts varied greatly, with something for everyone including music shows, talks on politics, gardening and various topics, sporting event coverage, news, and of course serial dramas! 

One of the most popular genres broadcast was serial thrillers! Not too dissimilar to many of the thriller podcasts that are popular today. Instead of reading a book one could go about what they were doing while being entertained by this gripping episode broadcast across the airwaves.

Having gained huge popularity in the USA, many thriller scripts were sent over to Australia and adapted locally, featuring well known Australian actors of the time like Ruth Cracknell

On “All Hallows Eve” 1941 A witch’s Tale was broadcast to Australian audiences. 

A witches Tale was written especially as a Halloween broadcast and adapted for Australian radio.

The original American series of The Witch’s Tale was significant as the earliest horror program produced for radio. It was first heard in May 1931 out of radio station WOR in New York City.

The opening sets the tone of the episode, with the chiming of a bell, an eerie voice informing you that you will hear tales from Nancy the witch of Salem and her cat Satan accompanied by sinister music and sound effects.

The Brisbane Telegraph described the program in 1947 as ‘not the sort of radio program the timid would enjoy listening to when alone in the house after nightfall.

In fact, Newspapers began to receive letters from outraged listeners protesting the broadcasts of such horror and the damaging effect it had on young people.

‘Do parents realise the serious damage that may be done to the minds of their children by the horror story of the radio? One serial broadcast from a local station between 6 and 7pm for children could cause untold mischief to many an innocent child … This mental cruelty is worse than punching a child in the face’ – CT Turnbull, Assistant Secretary of the Newcastle Young Men’s Christian Association, Newcastle Morning Herald, 6 June 1941.

Since we are so close to Halloween, want to hear that very tale from 1941 yourself? You are in luck!!

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia have provided some Samples of these thriller podcasts/ Click here to listen to A Witches Tale broadcast in 1941 (program duration 26 minutes).

Information courtesy of the NFSA.

What is the contest?

Every year a contest is held that promotes HF contacts to and from amateur radio stations in the Oceana region as well as contacts between stations inside Oceania. Points are allocated for each contact depending upon the location. There is no penalty for working non-Oceania stations but contacts between non-Oceania stations will score no points or multiplier credits. Each contact or QSO is credited with twenty points on 160M; ten points on 80M; five points on 40M; one point on 20M; two points on 15M; and three points on 10M. Note that the same station may only be counted once on each band for contact points.

The aim is for Oceania entrants to contact as many stations as possible, anywhere in the world !! In 2020 over 1600 stations participated.

Oceania shortwave listeners should try to log as many stations as possible both inside and outside Oceania.

When is it on?

This year there are two separate contests held a week apart. The phone contest will be held on Saturday October 2nd from 06:00 UTC to Sunday, October 3rd 06:00 UTC . The CW contest will be held on Saturday 9 October from 06:00 UTC to Sunday 10 October 06:00 UTC.

Enter one contest or both! See summarised notes provided by the contest holders.

For a clearer map of Oceania click here

SPECIAL NOTES FOR THE 2021 CONTEST

  1. A reminder that the Phone and CW sections each start at 06:00 on Saturday and end at 06:00 on Sunday.
  2. The deadline for submitting logs is 31 October 2021.
  3. Entrants are reminded of the need to observe any COVID related restrictions (e.g. social distancing and travel constraints) that may be in place for the contest dates.
  4. Electronic logs are to be submitted using the form at https://ocdx.contesting.com/submitlog.php. Please contact the Contest Committee at info@oceaniadxcontest.com if you are encountering difficulty in submitting your log.
  5. Electronic logs are to be in Cabrillo format which is generated by all popular contest logging software programs. Alternatively, entrants can use the forms at http://www.b4h.net/cabforms.
  6. Only one entry may be submitted by each operator or team of operators (Rule 6a).
  7. If the station worked does not provide a serial number for the Oceania DX Contest, then log the received number as 001. See Rule 8.
  8. A reminder that logs from Single Band entrants must record all contacts made during the contest period, even if on other bands. Only contacts made on the band specified in the Cabrillo header or summary sheet will be used for scoring purposes.
  9. Indonesia entrants are reminded that the Indonesia amateur radio regulations do not permit the YH club prefix to be used in the OCDX and other national or international amateur radio contests. Only the 7A, &I, 8A or 8I club prefixes may be used for this purpose.
  10. All entrants are reminded that UTC must be used for recording the date and time of each QSO and that care must be taken to ensure the times are recorded correctly.

The Phone and CW contests are scored separately.

Prefixes are multipliers (e.g. N8, W8, WD8, HG1, HG19, KC2, OE2, OE25, LY1000, VK2 …) on each band on which you work them.

    • For multiplier purposes, prefixes and callsigns without numbers are notionally assigned a zero e.g. PA/N8BJQ counts as PA0, and XE/KT5W counts as XE0. All callsigns should however be logged as sent.
    • Maritime mobile, mobile, /A, /E, /J, /P, or interim license class identifiers do not count as prefixes.
    • Special event, commemorative and other unique prefix stations are welcome.
  • The total score is the (sum of the Contact Points) multiplied by the (sum of the Multipliers).

 CATEGORIES

  • Transmitting Single Operator:
    • QRP (SO QRP) 5 watts
    • low power (SO LP) 100 watts
    • high power (SO HP) the lesser of license limit or 1500 watts
  • Transmitting Multiple Operators
    • Single Transmitter (M1)
    • Two Transmitters (M2)
    • Multiple Transmitters (MM)
  • Short Wave Listener (SWL)
  • DXcluster assistance is permitted in all categories, with the usual restrictions (see the full rules for details)
  • Entries on individual bands are supported.
  • World Stations operate in a separate category to Oceania stations

 CQs and EXCHANGES

  • Participants typically call “CQ Oceania” on phone, and “CQ OC” on CW.
  • Contest exchanges are signal reports plus a serial number, starting at 001.
  • Be careful to log callsigns and reports accurately, especially multipliers, since typos can be costly.
  • If someone does not send you a serial number, log them as serial number 001.
  • To help the adjudicators cross-check other entrants’ logs, please log every completed QSO:
    • Log zero-point QSOs (e.g. if DX stations work other DX stations)’
    • Log any duplicate QSOs’
    • Single band entrants: log your QSOs made on all bands (the Cabrillo header tells us which band you are entering)’
    • If you participate but choose not to enter, a checklog would be welcome for the same reason.

 SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY

  • The OCDX contests are adjudicated electronically, hence we need your electronic logs.
  • If possible, use contest logging software to generate a Cabrillo file, then upload it using the on-line submission form.
  • Otherwise please use the online form or some other means to generate a valid plain text column-aligned Cabrillo file, then upload that.Provided you made less than 50 contacts, you can mail in a legible paper log with a summary sheet (see the official rules for details).
  • Get your log in before November!
  • Every submitted entry will be checked and given a final score as part of the adjudication process … but naturally you are welcome to calculate your claimed score and hope that’s close!
  • A veritable profusion of certificates, trophies and plaques will be awarded.
  • Please email the Committee at info@oceaniadxcontest.com if you have any problems entering.
  • Good luck!
  • Click here for the contest rules

 

 

A radio contest designed to encourage community, improve operating skills and encourage the participation of radio users.

 This event is held to commemorate the Amateurs who died during World War II.

This year, the event will be held on the weekend of August 14 and 15, 0300 UTC Saturday to 0300 UTC Sunday.

The Aim of the contest: Amateurs try to contact amateurs in VK call areas, ZL and P2 on all bands except WARC bands. Modes allowed are PHONE, CW and RTTY, modes that were used during WW2. 

The prize for this contest is a perpetual trophy awarded to the state or territory with the best performance.

This is also a great opportunity for shortwave listeners to test their antennas, receivers and reception techniques over the weekend.

Contest Rules

As a mark of respect, stations are asked to observe 15 minutes silence prior to the start of the contest, during which the opening ceremony will be broadcast.

Categories

Single Operator

Single Operator – QRP

Multi-Operator – Single Transmitter (Multi-Single)

Multi-Operator – Unlimited (Multi-Multi)

Sub-Category Modes for Single Operators

Phone (AM, FM & SSB)

CW (CW & RTTY)

Mixed

Permitted Bands

Contacts may be made on MF (160M), HF and VHF & above bands except for WARC bands (10, 18 & 24 MHz) which are excluded by IARU agreement from all contest operations.

HF SSB Voice transmissions should be within:

1843-1875, 3535-3570 and 3600-3700, 7080-7300, 14112-14300, 21150-21450, 28300-29100KHz,

otherwise, disqualification or points reduction may result.

For additional contest rules, how to enter please click here. 

Operators using Ex WW2 equipment will be awarded with a special certificate acknowledging their participation and use of such.

Suitable Tecsun receivers for this contest would be the PL-365, PL-330, PL-880, PL-600 and 660.

 

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.