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.

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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.

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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.

Have you seen the latest edition of Silicon Chip magazine? Our latest product the Xiegu G90 has its own 2 page spread with a favourable review by ROSS TESTER.

 The most notable features are: transmit power of up to 20 watts adjustable in 1 watt increments so output power can be adjusted to suit band conditions, built in ATU, detachable control head for vehicle operations, and a superb general coverage receiver.

Operating frequencies can be directly-entered via the microphone keypad or “dialled up” using the 1.8 inch front panel with 25 push buttons for control.

ROSS TESTER noted that online reviews of the G90 world wide, rate the transceiver at least 4 stars, with many rating the radio 5 out of 5. The unit has been reviewed recently in QST magazine in the USA and Radcom, the monthly magazine of the Radio Society of Great Britain.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia we heavily research and test new products and much consideration is put into what products we release to the market.

The Outstanding Features of the Xiegu G90 for us are the following.

** 20 watts output power

** Inbuilt ATU

** Detachable front panel

** Superb general coverage receiver

** Waterfall and spectrum display

In addition to these fantastic features the Xiegu G90 represents fantastic value retailing for around half the price of most transceivers on the market.

The Xiegu G90 transceiver is available for order in our webstore with same day shipping available for orders placed before 12pm Business days.

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See a preview of the article by clicking here.

The future of shortwave

 

The future of Shortwave is looking bright as the BBC Shortwave transmissions service of two decades ago is being revisited.

 

In a time where people are distancing themselves and experiencing isolation. Shortwave may just be what the world needs to unite all cultures!

 

People who enjoy shortwave and for those who are interested in shortwave radio something interesting has emerged from the  High Frequency Co-Ordination Conference (HFCC), a non-governmental association.  

 

Due to the fact that many of the old transmitters needed to be replaced or upgraded a decision to revisit the need for shortwave and consideration to re-launch the BBC shortwave broadcast  service (cut 20 years ago) has been undertaken. Modern technology allows greater coverage and lower operating costs, re-energising the enthusiasm for shortwave broadcasting.

 

Even in this high tech world, there are still so many developing and free world countries relying heavily on Shortwave radio. Not everybody in the world has smart phones, broadband, connected cars or enough disposable income.

 

Shortwave defies cultural, religious and geographical barriers, Shortwave is free and unlike most platforms available it can be consumed anonymously.

For some countries, much of their information and media is censored, so receiving updates through shortwave from neighboring countries can be the only source they can access.

 

Many, especially in North Korea which are rated as the second most censored country in the world, tune in to cross border broadcasts despite serious consequences if caught by the Kim Jong-Un regime.

The BBC Shortwave transmission services used to broadcast to most of the world, over time however, many were cut, limiting broadcasts  to larger audiences in Africa and part of Asia. 

Currently, the major shortwave broadcasters are BBC, Voice of America, All India Radio, China Radio International, Radio Japan, Radio Romania, Radio New Zealand, Radio France International, Radio Taiwan International, KBS Korea and Voice of Turkey and many more.

 

Reinstating the previous BBC Broadcasts would mean the world of shortwave could be enjoyed cross culturally again especially in a time where boarders are closed to each other and people are feeling isolated.

 

 “Shortwave is just short of a miracle, actually. When it is beamed at an angle, it hits the ionosphere. A mirror around the Earth and then it falls like a ball at great distances, beyond the horizon. Thus these transmissions reach listeners over large areas, continents and beyond. Two or three high-power transmitters can potentially cover the entire world.”

                                Ruxandra Obreja ( chairman of Digital Radio Mondiale.)

 

Are you looking for a radio whilst self isolating that is capable or shortwave listening?

Here are our picks.

Tecsun S-8800 High Performance AM/FM Radio.  A true Broadcast Listeners Receiver  designed to provide maximum performance on the AM (MW) bands, allowing listeners to receive fringe AM radio stations with unmatched audio clarity

Tecsun SL-880

Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio provides reception of the shortwave, medium wave, long wave, and FM broadcast bands. The Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio’s PLL synthesised design ensures excellent frequency stability.

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To shop the full range of our radios and antennas, click HERE

Easily identify shortwave stations

For those of you who have ever been scanning shortwave radio and happened across an interesting station but have no idea what it is or where it is coming from there are a couple of phone apps that can identify what you are listening to.

 

These 2 apps (depending on what type of phone you have) will help listeners identify who they are listening to.. All they need to do is lookup the frequency they are receiving  and these Apps will show what stations are on air at the time. This is an easy way to identify who you are listening to.

 

                                                                                                                                          For Android: Click here

shortwave station identifier.

                                                                                                                           For iphone, iPad;Click here   Shortwave station identifier

Try these two apps and let us know what you think. We would also love to hear what you have found recently on Shortwave. 

Send your feedback and listening reports to hello@tecsun.com.au

 

Radio licence applications soars.

shrotwave radioin Africa

In a world where internet connectivity and social media reign supreme it is interesting to reflect on the power radio still has in developing countries.

A great example of this is the country of Mali in West Africa that often experiences political unrest and unreliable power sources, the need for information is critical.

In Mali, internet coverage is scarce providing only 30% coverage to the region. In rural areas, where even less people have internet access, and the power supply can be unreliable, most people rely on battery-operated radio sets for information.

Furthermore,  for those with internet coverage, mobile data is quite expensive meaning streaming digital radio or listening through a social platform or app can be very costly.

Shortwave radio can be accessed by workers in the fields in isolated areas, even whilst driving which has made radio a critical source of information and dialogue.

Mali’s largest private radio station, Radio Kledu, not only provides regular news and informative programming, they have also included an editorial policy to give everyone a platform to express their opinion. In Africa this is not always an easy task, where terrorist groups often target journalists.

A recent broadcast featured a special program about teachers’ long-running strike for higher pay. 

The lunchtime show presenter Oumou Dembele encouraged debate by first interviewing the teacher union representatives to hear their side of things. Later in the show the government were invited to present their version on air. 

For many in Mali, the work of radio journalists like Dembele is vital to keeping them informed. 

“Radio reaches far more people than any other media on the continent,” says Franz Krüger, Director of the Wits Radio Academy in South Africa.

Even in developed and media-savvy countries like South Africa, more than 90 percent of people listen to the radio.

Franz Krüger mentioned “Radio can be produced cheaply and reaches the disadvantaged faster,”.

The same can be seen across the islands of the south pacific reporting similar figures with only a small amount of the population having access to Tv signals and internet.

Many of the rural and disadvantaged villagers rely solely on radio to stay up to date on current political movement, news and regular weather warnings.

Broadcasters like Radio Vanuatu and RNZ Pacific keep an otherwise isolated region connected.

Listen to shortwave radio?

Here are a few of our most popular shortwave radios.

tecsun s200TECSUN S2000

4th generation desktop receiver with provision for external antennas,

allows you to listen to AM, FM, shortwave, longwave and VHF Air Band broadcasts

Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio

The Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio provides reception of the shortwave, medium wave, long wave, and FM broadcast bands.

Shop the full Tecsun radios Australia ranger HERE