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.

 

bom radio receivers

When you are out to sea, it is crucial to keep on top of the weather forecasts, a change in swell and wind can change the sailing landscape from smooth to challenging.

The Australian Bureau of Meterorology (BOM) Marine Forecast Service provides regular weather forecasts and warnings Australia wide.

This information is broadcast on HF radio for mariners in two formats:

a. Broadcast (voice) of marine weather warnings, forecasts and observations.

b. Broadcast (radiofax images) of marine weather forecast and analysis maps.

The Bureau broadcasts its marine weather HF radio services for high seas and Australian coastal areas from transmitters at Charleville in Queensland and Wiluna in Western Australia. Identifiers are VMC (for services from Charleville) and VMW (for services from Wiluna). Services use USB (F3C) modulation.

VMC (Australia Weather East) broadcasts for the following areas:

· Coastal Waters areas off Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

· High Seas for the Northern, Southern, North Eastern and South Eastern high seas areas.

Marine weather warnings are broadcast on the hour (on the half-hour in CST) for NT, Qld, NSW, Vic, SA and Tasmanian coastal waters zones and for all high seas areas. The broadcast is available on the following frequencies (kHz):

· Day-time (0700 – 1800 EST): 4426, 8176, 12365, 16546

· Night-time (1800 – 0700 EST): 2201, 6507, 8176, 12365

Navigation Maritime Safety Information notices are broadcast at 25 past each hour on 8176 kHz. Marine forecasts and observations are broadcast from Charleville (VMC) on a four hour repeat cycle, according to the schedule below:

All times are in Eastern Standard time (0700-1800EST) DAY-Time schedule

0730hrs Queensland

0830hrs High Seas (Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern, and Southern areas)

0930hrs New South Wales, Victoria

1030hrs Tasmania

This schedule repeats every four hours until 1800EST after which time, the nigh-time frequencies are used.

When daylight savings is in force, add one hour to EST and CST to obtain Eastern and central daylight time equivalents.

 

VMW (Australia Weather West) broadcasts for the following areas:

· Coastal Waters areas off South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory.

· High Seas for the Northern, Western and Southern high seas areas.

Marine weather warnings are broadcast on the hour (on the half-hour in CST) for Qld Gulf, NT, WA and SA coastal waters zones and for all high seas areas. The broadcast is available on the following frequencies (kHz):

· Day-time (0700 – 1800 WST): 4149, 8113, 12362, 16528

· Night-time (1800 – 0700 WST): 2056, 6230, 8113, 12362

Navigation Maritime Safety Information notices are broadcast at 25 past each hour on 8176 kHz. Marine forecasts and observations are broadcast from Wiluna (VMW) on a four hour repeat cycle according to the schedule below:

All times are in Western Standard time (0700-1800WST)

0730hrs Western Australia (Northern Zones: NT-WA Border to North West Cape) NT

0830hrs Western Australia (Western Zones: North West Cape to Cape Naturaliste) Western Australia (Southern Zones: Cape Naturaliste to WA-SA Border)

0930hrs South Australia

1030hrs Queensland (Gulf waters) High Seas (Northern, Western, and Southern areas)

This schedule repeats every four hours until 1800WST after which night-time frequencies are used.

When daylight savings is in force, add one hour to EST and CST to obtain Eastern and Central daylight time equivalents.

 

BOM Marine Weatherfax service:

The BOM Marine Weatherfax service is also broadcast from Charelville (VMC) in the east and Wiluna (VMW) in the west. Both transmitters have a power rating of 1Kw, utilising F3C transmission.

Charleville: Call Sign VMC

 

Frequency: 2628, 5100, 11030, 13920, 20469 kHz

Broadcast (UTC) 0900-1900, 0000-2400, 0000-2400, 0000-2400, 1900-0900.

 

WilunaL: Call Sign VMW

 

Frequency: 5755, 7535, 10555, 15615, 18060 kHz

Broadcast (UTC) 1100-2100, 0000-2400, 0000-2400, 0000-2400, 2100-110

VMC & VMW Radio Fax Schedule

Time (UTC) Description of Item and Current Chart
0000* Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0015 VMC/VMW Schedule – 2 pages
0045 VMC/VMW Broadcast Information
0100 Recommended Frequencies for VMC (Charleville) – 3 pages
0131 Recommended Frequencies for VMW (Wiluna) – 3 pages
0203 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 0000
0245 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0300 Australian Primary Swell Waves Forecast (H+24) Valid 0000
0315 Voice Broadcast Information for VMC and VMW
0345* Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0400 South Pacific Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0430 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast – 2 pages
0500* Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast – 2 pages
0600 Asian (Area A) Gradient Level Wind Analysis Valid 0000
0623 Asian (Area B) Gradient Level Wind Analysis Valid 0000
0645 Asian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0730 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0745 Australian Total Wave Height and Direction Forecast (H+24) Valid 0000
0800 Australian Primary Swell Waves Forecast (H+24) Valid 0000
0830 South Pacific Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0845 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0600
0900 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 0000
0915 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast – 2 pages
1015 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+24) valid 0000
1030 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
1045 Southern Hemisphere Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+48) Valid 0000
1100 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+36) valid 0000
1115 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0600
1130 Asian Sea Surface Temperature Analysis
1145 VMC/VMW Information Notice
1200 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 1200
1215 VMC/VMW Schedule – 2 pages
1245 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 1200
1315 South Pacific Ocean Total Waves (H+48) Valid 0000
1330 Indian Ocean Total Waves (H+48) Valid 0000
1345 Pacific Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures
1400 Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures
1415 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+48) valid 0000
1430 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 1200
1500 Australian Primary Swell Waves Forecast (H+24) Valid 0000
1515 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 1200
1530 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast – 2 pages
1600 Asian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
1630 Recommended Frequencies for VMC (Charleville) – 3 pages
1701 Recommended Frequencies for VMW (Wiluna) – 3 pages
1800 Asian (Area A) Gradient Level Wind Analysis Valid 1200
1823 Asian (Area B) Gradient Level Wind Analysis Valid 1200
1915 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
1930 Australian Total Wave Height and Direction Forecast (H+24) Valid 1200
1945 Australian Primary Swell Waves Height Forecast (H+24) Valid 1200
2000 South Pacific Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
2015 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+24) valid 0000
2030 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis (Manual) Valid 1800
2215 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+36) valid 0000
2230 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast, Days 1 and 2
2245 Southern Hemisphere Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+48) Valid 1200
2300 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast, Days 3 and 4
2315 Southern Ocean Total Wave Height and Direction (H+48) valid 0000
2330 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+36) Valid 0000
2345 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Forecast (H+48) Valid 1200
*The following charts are repeat broadcasts on 11030 kHz only via a directional aerial pointing from Charleville (VMC) towards Tasmania.
0000 Indian Ocean Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0345 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure Analysis Valid 0000
0500 Australian Mean Sea Level Pressure 4-day forecast – 2 pages
Suitable Receivers:

emergency weather warnings radio

Any HF receiver capable of tuning the correct frequencies and receiving SSB transmissions will be suitable for VMC and VMW voice transmissions. To decode facsimilie transmissions an external decoder will be required. The user must be able to access a headphones or line output socket on the receiver to facilitate connection.**

The provision of an external antenna socket is an advantage, this will allow a single wire connection to a backstay or other length of wire to improve reception over the standard telescopic whip.

All broadcast use USB and that mode must be selected on the receiver.

Suitable receivers in the Tecsun range are:
S-2000 desktop, PL-600, PL-660, PL-330, PL-880, PL-990, PL-365, S-8800,

Shop these radios here on our online webshop.

Information source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

**There exists a radio fax decoder which operates on both Adroid and IOS phones and tablets, which does not require a wired connection.

Simply place your phone or tablet near the speaker of the receiver and the decoder will start.

The App is available from the App Store (HF Weather Fax Marine Radio Fascimile Decoder App) from Black Cat Systems- https://www.blackcatsystems.com/index.html

mothers day gifts radio

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Mothers day gift guide

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Mothers day gift guide

 

anzac day military radio history

As ANZAC day approaches this year, it’s a good time to reflect on how radio communications has evolved over time, accelerated by wartime conflicts, and how difficult it must have been during times of conflict.

Prior to the introduction of radio communications, messages during wars were sent using dogs and homing pigeons. Short range communications utilised signalling lamps and mirrors with limited success

Towards the end of World War 1, the introduction of “spark” or “loop” radio sets, operating on the longwave band, and utilising CW (morse code) was recognised as a great step forward in technology. These sets were used between different groups on the battlefield, as great improvement over messengers who were continually under fire from snipers.

In September 1914, one month after the declaration of war, at the battle of Bita Paka, Australian forces attacked the German South Seas Wireless Station on the island of New Britain, conquering German New Guinea.

By the end of World War 1, despite the equipment being heavy and bulky, CW communications had been used by Australian military forces on land, sea and air.

Considered to be more advantageous to naval and airborne forces, where existing telegraph lines could not be employed, this technology paved the way for more advanced voice communications employed after 1920.

Between wars development of radio communications equipment continued, as the benefits of instant communications to direct armed forces was realised.

By 1939 local industry was gearing up to manufacture radio receivers for expected consumer demand of the new technology which provided news and entertainment from around the world.

Governments around the world soon realised that radio was a very effective propaganda tool. Nazi Germany and the British government used it to muster support from their respective populations. In fact the German military arranged the manufacture of millions of radio receivers which were subsidised, allowing access to the general population.

In America, the Office of Co-ordination began providing programming to commercial shortwave stations, in order to spread the news of the war in Europe and the Allied response.

At the end of August 1939 in Australia, all shortwave transmissions professional and amateur, were ordered shut down.

A few weeks after the declaration of war in September 1939, Mr (later Sir) Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister, inaugurated a government controlled overseas shortwave service to counter German propaganda in the Pacific. Initially called “Australia Calling” and using the callsign VLQ2, the service commenced on his birthday, December 20 1939. This service later became Radio Australia.

Whilst telephone and telegraph cables carried some traffic in war zones (a cable was laid under the English Channel between France and England), radio communications became a necessity during World War 2 and the simultaneous development of radar technology accelerated the development of “portable” radio transceivers, so large and heavy that they had to be transported by cart or jeep. In Australia, manufacturers like AWA, STC, Astor (Radio Corporation of Australia) and Kingsley began manufacturing radio equipment for land sea and air forces. Coastwatchers in northern Australia, Solomon Islands and New Guinea used AWA’s 3BZ receiver and 3BZ Teleradio transmitter to intercept Japanese communications and relay important information to the Australian and US navies patrolling the pacific.

3BZ Teleradio system

Typical of the bulky equipment of the time was the Number 11 set was manufactured by AWA. It was a combination transmitter receiver, operating on the HF bands, and drawing 2.9 amps on receive and 3.3 amps on low power transmit (1 watt), a far cry from today’s modern transceivers. It weighed 20Kg.

No. 11 Transceiver Anzac             Subsequent to the World Wars and both before and during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, communications equipment was developed and refined to suit modern warfare techniques.

By the early 1950’s military communications equipment had progressed significantly. AWA were making the A-510 transceiver which was a portable, battery operated, 4 channel crystal controlled transceiver covering 2-10Mhz. Despite the low RF power output of 150mW when using voice communications, the established range was over two miles in the portable configuration and over 100 miles when used with a half wave dipole in “ground station” mode. It weighed 9Kg

anzac radioBy the beginning of the Vietnam War, most military radio communications equipment was manufactured in the USA. Troops in Vietnam used the AN/PRC 25, a valve, multichannel VHF FM transceiver with a power output of 2 watts and a range of approximately 5 miles. It weighed 12Kg. This model was superseded by the PRC-77 which was also VHF FM, had the ability to use voice encryption, and had a solidstate power amplifier, reducing the weight to 6kg.

PRC-77 Transceiver

By the 1970’s AWA was producing a fully solid state HF transceiver covering 2-12Mhz in 1Khz steps, utilising CW and USB modes, operating from an internal Nicad battery, and was capable of 10 watts PEP output power. The receiver drew 35mA, and the entire transceiver including backpack weighed just 9 Kg

This snippet of radio equipment development history allows us to contemplate the huge improvement in performance, and at the same time give thought to those who persevered with heavy cumbersome and poorly performing equipment, during times of conflict.

Lest We Forget.

 

 

Images courtesy of Kurrajong Radio Museum

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.

A schedule change for RNZ, Radio New Zealand is set to take effect from March 28 as it launches its Summer Schedule.

Please find new frequencies below.

Radio NZ offers a variety of news, music, and lifestyle radio shows. Broadcasts are beamed to the South Pacific Islands.

Reception of RNZ Pacific is possible at times outside our region.

RNZ also welcomes reception reports, which can be verified by email.

RNZ Pacific no longer processes postal reception reports, however, they do have a web form you can send your QSL reports to.

Happy Listening!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               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.

 

Saturday is World Radio Day Feb 13 2021!

Since November 2011 the world has been celebrating World radio day. The day was proposed by Spain and unanimously accepted by UNESCO

Radio was invented over 120 years ago and is one of the most important inventions of the modern world that Helps us stay in touch.

Radio had been recognized as having such a profound impact on the modern world, that the United Nations established as ‘World Radio Day’ to be celebrated on February 13 every year. On September 29 2011 the UNESCO officially proclaimed that it be established the following February and so the first World Radio Day was celebrated on February 13, 2012. UNESCO describes the radio as “a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constituting a platform for democratic discourse.”

Radio has been with us longer than any other kind of broadcast media with the result that more people have access to radio than anything else. There are several benefits of radio over other media. Radio is free, there is no cost to the listener. Radio covers huge areas and is not restricted by borders or government regulations.

“The cool thing about radio is it’s still relevant and important in our daily lives. During those long drives for vacation or maybe to work, radio is still with us, keeping us singing and keeping us informed. It’s like a great friend and neighbor, one who’s always there and never lets you down—except radio will never borrow your weed whacker and forget to return it.” – Nationalday.com

World Radio Day is a good opportunity to use your Tecsun shortwave receiver to listen around the world and appreciate the market served by this powerful medium.

Many technically inclined people have discovered shortwave listening in their youth. Years later they continue to the fascinated by what can be heard on the shortwave bands.

This is my story….

As a teenager, I became interested in radio by reading the hobbyist magazines of the day. There were tantalising ads for army disposals stores in Sydney full of communications equipment but beyond my modest means.  In my case, I acquired several old valve radios thrown out at the local tip. Much to the disgust of my parents, I regularly carried such prizes home and commenced my new hobby of listening to the radio bands.

In those days most home entertainment units were made of wood and contained a radio receiver that covered the broadcast and shortwave bands.  I was lucky to find one that worked. Quickly discarding the bulky wooden cabinet, the receiver became a benchtop unit, exposed in all its glory. The speaker used an electromagnet (no permanent magnets in those days) and the signal strength meter was a green valve indicator poking through the front panel called a “magic eye”.

The next step was to install an antenna which comprised the longest piece of wire I could find. I recall that unraveling the enamel copper wire from a transformer became the most cost-effective solution.

Soon I was listening to overseas stations, many broadcasting in English, and occasionally I heard important events. I recall clearly listening to the Victoria Police on one of their HF frequencies when they announced the search for a prominent politician who had gone missing in December 1967.

I informed my parents of this important event and they were amazed to discover a few days later that I had been listening to the search for the then Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt who disappeared in the surf at Portsea in Victoria.

I enjoyed listening to distant MW stations all over Australia, and collected quite a few QSL cards from broadcasters around the world.

Believe it or not, a Broadcast Listeners Licence was required in Australia until in 1974, at a cost of $26.50, so there was a degree of secrecy involved in all this listening activity.

Eventually, my shortwave listening led me to an interest in Amateur Radio. I knew a local lad who was fortunate enough to purchase the entire correspondence course for the amateur exam and who loaned it to me after he obtained his license.

So in August 1973, I obtained my amateur radio license. Somehow I managed to make the required 90% pass mark, much to my amazement.

My first amateur radio transceiver was a converted Pye reporter VHF AM taxi radio. I recall it had a huge valve in the output stage, requiring several hundred volts from the power supply to operate. The only semiconductors were in the 12 volt inverter powering the entire contraption. When the push to talk button on the microphone was pushed, it took a few seconds for the voltage to build up sufficiently to allow the transmitter to operate!

From that point, there seemed to be an endless succession of different two way radios being fiddled with to obtain the best on air performance. During subsequent years I became interested in amateur television and satellite communications.

I recall in about 1975 being able to eavesdrop on the US operators of the Applications Technology Satellite 1 (ATS-1), the world’s first weather satellite. At the time my interest was driven by the fact that antennas for the VHF and UHF bands where physically manageable and easy to make.

However, my interest in VHF and UHF waned as mobile phones replaced the two way radio as the preferred method of communication and I became re-energised with shortwave.

In much the same way as my earlier experience with VHF and UHF was driven by the availability of ex-commercial equipment, so was my entry into HF communications.

Second hand commercial transceivers designed for use by the Royal Flying Doctor Service became available and soon I was running 100 watts on the HF amateur bands, communicating with people around the world.

Someone once told me that shortwave listening is like fishing… you never know what you are going to get. That certainly described my experiences.

One incident worthy of mention was receiving the USAF Strategic Bomber Command broadcasts. These coded transmissions were part of the US military control of nuclear weapons and could control the launch of ground-based missiles should war be declared! These broadcasts weren’t public knowledge at the time.

I also heard the US military MIA recovery missions into Laos and Cambodia at the end of the Vietnam war, fascinating listening. Over the years I have heard several successful search and rescue missions involving aircraft being ferried from the USA to Australia. On one occasion I heard a commercial cargo jet traveling from Australia to the US, circling a downed pilot until the US Coastguard could reach him.

To be able to listen to these situations unfolding in real time is one of the aspects of shortwave listening that makes it an exciting hobby, contrary to common belief.

These days I mostly listen on HF. There is an amazing range of broadcasts available to shortwave listeners, ranging from utility stations like the Bureau of Meteorology, 4WD networks, HF aircraft networks and VOLMET, and secret numbers stations, as well as regular, scheduled shortwave broadcasts from all over the world.

Now, listening is even easier, as broadcasting schedules are freely available, and the worldwide network of internet accessible KiwiSDRs provide a fantastic resource for shortwave listeners.

Receivers are now more affordable than ever and the hobby is enjoying a huge resurgence, in part due to the worldwide pandemic of 2020.

There is no time like the present to immerse yourself in the world of shortwave listening!

 

Garry VK2YBX

Looking for a fantastic shortwave radio? Tecsun Radios Australia stocks a range of Tecsun radios like the newly arrived Tecsun PL330 $145 right through to the latest Tecsun radio to be released and considered to be a masterpiece, the Tecsun PL990

The Xiegu G90  is a powerful portable HF multimode transceiver that covers 0.5-30MHz (10-160 metres on TX) with 20 watts of RF output. The XIEGU G90 HF Transceiver utilises a software-defined (SDR) 24-bit architecture to provide superb transmit and receive performance.

Click here to shop our full range.

Click here to view a list of major ABC AM radio stations by area. All frequencies are in kilohertz (kHz) and all are on the medium wave band (MW).

Shortwave radio listening is a hobby that allows you to fully immerse yourself in a separate world of international events. From listening to a shortwave broadcast station, long-distance aircraft travelling around the world or even international amateur radio operators, this hobby allows you instant access, to the exclusion of those physically around you.

To further enhance the listening experience, a good set of comfortable headphones is essential. Communications headphones, as distinct from those used for Hi Fi listening, need to be comfortable to wear for hours on end. At the same time, they need to be able to reproduce the full audio spectrum produced by the receiver, ensuring that even weak signals can be resolved adequately. Wired, over the ear headphones also have the advantage that there are no batteries to replace, contrary to Bluetooth and noise-cancelling headphones.

Another important requirement for a good pair of communications headphones is a long connection cable. Most Shortwave Listeners and amateur radio operators have their equipment set up on a bench or desk, which is often multifunctional. With adequate cable length (at least 2 metres), there is room to move around the “shack”, doing other things whilst maintaining a connection with the receiving source.

If you are going to invest in a good quality pair of headphones, it is important to be able to keep them in a safe place where they won’t get damaged and will be kept clean. A carry case is ideal for this, and this can also be used to keep any necessary audio adaptors (3.5-6.3mm adaptor to cater for all receiver types, for instance), and spare ear muffs with your headphones.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia, we have held off selling headphones until we tested several on the market first to find the most suitable high quality headphones for shortwave listening.

Launching on Friday January 29 2021 we are proud to showcase the exceptional Tecsun Radios Australia communications headphones that have been specially selected with user comfort in mind. This is essential for long periods of shortwave listening.

headphones

To read more about these communication headphones click here.