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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Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

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Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more

Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more

The ocean racing yachts that will set off on Wednesday’s Sydney Hobart Yacht Race are required to carry radio equipment that includes both VHF and HF radios.

Perpetual LOYAL competes in the 2014 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Image courtesy of Michael Cratt
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Tecsun Radios Australia has set up a Software defined radio (receiver) in Goulburn, a rural town in NSW, Australia. It’s a quiet location for radio “noise”, far away from high density population and the accompanying RF noise generated.

You can listen to the Tecsun Radios Australia SDR here.

The SDR itself is called a “KiwiSDR” and is a commercially available unit, costing around $500. The Kiwi SDR compared to others has 2 advantages: (1) it allows the user to observe the entire shortwave spectrum in one screen, and (2) it can easily be connected to the internet to allow remote operation.

Other SDRs only receive a narrow portion of the radio spectrum, and require extra equipment to connect to the internet.

With the Kiwi SDR, it is easy to remotely identify that a signal exists from the “waterfall” display and then accurately tune and receive it.

The SDR is connected to an onmidirectional wideband antenna, so that all signals across the shortwave band can be equally well received (however this is dependant on signal propagation at different times of the day). The antenna itself is a modified Tecsun Radios Australia discone, with some of the radials removed to give the antenna a higher angle of radiation. The central active element has been replaced with a 3 meter spiral wound helical element. This simulates a much longer piece of antenna wire needed for lower frequency reception.

The antenna has been located as far away from man made noise sources as possible, is fed with special double shielded coaxial cable and a variety of matching transformers and attenuators, to ensure local stations do not overload the sensitive “front end” of the SDR. Careful attention has also been paid to the grounding of the antenna.

The Kiwi SDR can be used to receive AM, AM Narrow, USB, LSB, weatherfax, CW (Morse Code) and DRM signals (when a suitable decoder is used).

The Tecsun Radios SDR ‘waterfall’

You can listen to the Tecsun Radios Australia SDR here.

Or, simply logon to the SDR (go to https://sdr.hu/ for a worldwide list), select an SDR located close to the transmission source you’d like to listen to, select AM mode and the desired frequency.

Have you tuned into the Tecsun Radios SDR?
Tell us in the comments below where you’re tuning in from and what you listened to!

At Tecsun Radios Australia, we’re a bunch of amateur radio enthusiasts ourselves, and AMSAT’s satellite launch on December 4 (Australian time) “Fox1 Cliff” has inspired us to join forces with the volunteers at AMSAT who build and launch Amateur Radio Satellites.

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In 2017, the shortwave radio airwaves fell silent with the cessation of Australian domestic and international shortwave radio broadcasts. This was the culmination of withdrawing funding from a variety of Australia Government Departments including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ultimately the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC labeled shortwave radio an antiquated technology and opted instead to reallocate resources and funding to local FM transmissions focused in Papua New Guinea. As a result of this, China promptly and actively moved to fill the Australian Government’s earlier role of broadcasting Shortwave Radio into the Asia Pacific region via the ABC. A large number of the people living in some of the most remote communities of the Pacific Islands actively rely on shortwave radio broadcasts to keep in touch with the world.

Without Shortwave Radio, many individuals are left isolated. The positive impact shortwave radio can have on many individuals in the Asian Pacific region is demonstrated through the example of  Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu, said that “shortwave broadcasts from RNZI during Cyclone Pam, allowed him to warn four villages of the danger and save hundreds of lives.”

Shortwave radio is so effective at providing long range communications because the radio waves bounce off the ionosphere and back down to the ground allowing a single shortwave radio broadcast to be heard thousands of kilometres away from the transmitter. It is because of this that shortwave radio works particularly well distributing signals to the many remote islands throughout the Pacific region, where there is no other means of low cost mass communication.

China, already aware of this and in light of Australia’s withdrawal from shortwave broadcasting, increased their existing broadcasts into the region fully understanding that if shortwave coverage is present, their sphere of influence and subsequent “soft power”would be immediately increased. The notion, that the Chinese immediately adopted the frequencies that the Australian Government, and indeed the ABC cut funding towards, “comes at a time of heightened speculation in Australian media and the commentariat about the motives behind China’s growing influence in the Pacific.”

The growing Chinese interest in the Asia Pacific region has led to the Australian Government,  to conduct a review of the broadcast services available in the region and whether Australia should reintroduce Australian international Shortwave Radio broadcasts.

The Review, will analyse:

  • The coverage and access of existing Australian media services in the Asia Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used

The review will cover:

  • All media distribution platforms (i.e. Television, radio and online)
  • Commercial, community and publicly funded services and
  • Different types of technologies such as analogue, digital and satellite radio and television services and online services.

Supporters of Shortwave Radio, are encouraged to engage in the review hosted by the Australian Government. Tecsun Radios, as firm believers in the vital service that shortwave provides, believes that this review will act as a catalyst in encouraging Australia, to re-enter the Asian Pacific market in providing the vital service that shortwave allows.

Tecsun, will actively engage in the review process, in the hope that this reinvigorates Australia’s interest in the Pacific region. We firmly believe that shortwave radio through its modern evolution digital radio mondiale (DRM) provide the optimum technology to delivery broadcast style communications to island in the Pacific region.

The review is open until the 3rd of August. You can use the link provided below to add your comments and ‘Have your Say Now’, in regards to re-establishing Australia’s presence in the Asia Pacific region, for shortwave radio broadcasting.

https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australian-broadcasting-services-asia-pacific

 

What is Digital Audio Broadcasting + (DAB+) Radio?

Digital Audio Broadcasting or DAB+ as the name implies is a new digital audio broadcast technology used to provide terrestrial radio services. DAB+ offers a user experience resembling internet streaming or listening to a podcast but without a potentially costly internet connection. Read more

Shortwave Radio is ‘everywhere’

Natural Disaster is often unpredictable, yet life threatening and devastating. Papua New Guinea (PNG), Tonga and Vanautu, have all experienced trauma through natural disasters this year. Papua New Guinea experienced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and Tonga and Vanuatu enduring cyclones, Cyclone Gita and Hola respectively. It is crucial during times like these that there is effective, efficient communication that enables residents to gain both local and international news, informing all individuals of the most current and up to date situation. To prevent a delay in action following the natural disaster, ensure you are equipped with adequate forms of communication. Read more