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.

 

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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

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.

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 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.

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** 20 watts output power

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See a preview of the article by clicking here.

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.

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One of the oldest and trusted services.

In the modern age where internet technology, social media and informational apps reign supreme the Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation (VBTC) is investing AUD$12 million in upgrading its national radio service through its shortwave and medium wave (AM) service.

VBTC chief executive officer, Francis Herman says In Vanuatu many of the villagers do not receive television transmissions and currently only 30% receive radio transmissions. 

Radio Vanuatu is the only viable means of reaching Vanuatu’s rural population.

With the new upgrade that coverage will increase to 100% right across the 80-plus Islands of Vanuatu, connecting the country.

As listed by the United Nations, Vanuatu is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and regularly experiences earthquakes, cyclones and floods.

Information is crucial during these events.

Shortwave radio is an essential complement to Vanuatu’s national radio service due to its far reaching capabilities even when the power, internet or local networks are down.

Technology commentator Peter Marks said “Shortwave comes from over the horizon it will continue to work even when local conditions are difficult like extreme weather that might knock out local FM and AM stations and internet,” 

 

A cost effective way to reach the population of Vanuatu to deliver important messages.

VBTC chief executive officer, Francis Herman says “Radio as you know is cost effective, people can pick it up on their phone, in the villages where television can not reach, radio is the companion for people,” .

“We have general elections in March next year, we are about to head into the cyclone season beginning in November and so its important, it’s crucial that the people of Vanuatu can get access to a reliable and credible broadcaster,” Mr Herman said.

This is why investing in a national shortwave service is even more important than ever even in the modern age.

 

Radio Vanuatu can be found at. 

RADIO FREQUENCY 
MEDIUM WAVE1125KHZ
SHORTWAVE3945KHZ (NIGHT TIME)
7260 KHZ (DAY TIME)
FM100 MHZ (VILA & SANTO)
98 MHZ (TANNA & SANTO)

Radio Vanuatu features a morning show with Dorinda Mabon from 5:30am till 9am

Marie-Noelle Kaltak hosts the mid morning show and evenings are hosted by Florence Vanua.

Do you currently listen to Vanuatu radio? We would love to see your listeners report.

Comment on the post below or email to hello@tecsunradios.com.au

Images via Radio Vanuatu website.

Radio New Zealand have a new shortwave frequency for the Region.

RNZ Pacific (RNZI) provides comprehensive Pacific  news coverage with the very latest Pacific stories as well as a live audio feed, podcasts, and on-demand programmes.

RNZI broadcasts in digital and analogue short wave to radio stations and individual listeners across the Pacific region. The RNZ Pacific signal can sometimes be heard as far away as Japan, North America, the Middle East and Europe.

RNZI was named the International Radio Station of the Year 2007  by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB). RNZ Pacific also won the Most Innovative Partnership category recognising the way it works with local Pacific media.

RNZ Pacific (RNZI) broadcasts at the following frequencies and times to different parts of the Pacific Region.

UTCKHZTARGETDAYS
00:00 - 05:5815720PacificDaily
05:59 - 07:5811725PacificDaily
07:59 - 09:589765PacificDaily
09:59 - 12:586115 from 15 JanSolomon Isl , PNGDaily
12:59 - 19:586115PacificSat
12:59 - 16:506115PacificSun - Fri
16:51 - 17:505975 DRMTonga Niue Samoa Cook IslandsSun - Fri
17:51 - 18:5011690 DRMTonga Niue Samoa Cook IslandsSun - Fri
18:51 - 19:5813840 DRMPacificDaily
19:59 - 20:5811725PacificSun-Fri
20:59 - 22:5813840PacificDaily
22:59 - 23:5815720Pacific Daily

MAINTENANCE DAY: Every month on the first Wednesday RNZ conducts Maintenance at their transmitter site from 2230 – 0600 UTC. ( Thursdays 1030 – 1800 NZST) During this period there may be interruptions to programming.

 

Over the past eight weeks we have been running a competition to win a Tecsun PL880 radio. The purpose of the competition was to generate excitement around the capabilities of shortwave and promote Radiogram to budding amateur radio enthusiasts.

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