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

 

The thing about emergency kits is you don’t need them till you do.  As the name states, “Emergency”

Meaning: A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action

                    

Having a prepared Emergency Kit on hand, filled with items that will help you survive a bushfire or natural disaster, easily accessible and ready to go will not only give you peace of mind but may also save your or someone else’s life.

A good kit will equip you whether you are staying in your home or have to evacuate

With just two weeks left till summer if you haven’t already prepared your emergency kit now is the time.

Pack your items in a watertight dry bag or sealable container and keep it in an easily accessible location in your house, accessible to everyone. Do not store it in a cupboard or wardrobe behind household items, you need to be able to grab this kit and go.

Have a family meeting and show them where it is located and what is inside it. It’s important that absolutely everybody, even kids need to know about this kit. Particularly if parents are injured or not close by.

Storing items within the kit in airtight plastic containers and sealer bags will help keep your belongings dry and in good condition both while in storage and during an emergency situation.

Here is a list of your essential items to pack.

  • Flashlight
  • Personal medication
  • Bandaids, antiseptic and a bandage.
  • Bottled water. Allow 2L per person per day minimum.
  • Food, non perishable, as required..
  • Manual can opener
  • Matches in a waterproof container or bag
  • Candles
  • Cash- if the power is out then the ATMS wont work.
  • Phone “power bank”. Make sure it is changed at all times.
  • Extra batteries for your flashlight
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air- P2 masks are best for dust and smoke.
  • Toilet paper, moist towelettes etc for personal sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Sharp knife (penknife)

Repack expired items as needed and repack/ check your emergency kit every year. Set a note in your calendar every year to do this.

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 an 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 allow 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.

 

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.

Amateur Radio networks are providing worldwide communications and vital social communications during the current pandemic.

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, most of the population have resorted to Chat and video conferencing Apps to stay in touch.

Around Australia, there are hundreds of people staying in touch using an older, more traditional means, amateur radio.

Every day, regular Amateur radio “nets” (which are simply on on-air gathering of amateur operators) are in use, providing operators with a means of communicating with their fellow hobbyists on a daily basis. These “nets” appear at the same time, every day, and on the same frequency.

A net comprises several amateur radio stations, all operating in turn on the same frequency at a pre-determined time of day.

 

Nets for purely social use cover many subjects such as current weather conditions, ionospheric conditions, and propagation, equipment type in use, and modifications. These nets primarily use the 80 and 40 metre, amateur bands. They provide a great way to keep in touch, in isolation. Newcomers are always made welcome and shortwave listeners are also acknowledged by many operators.

 

Other examples of daily nets are the Kandos Net on 7093Khz, the Southern Cross Dx Net on 14238Khz, the ANZA DX Net on 14183KHz, and the Dx Net on 7130Khz (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

There are also nets used for a specific purpose, such as the “Pacific Seafarers Net” on 14300Khz in the 20 metre amateur band, catering for amateur radio operators at sea. The Australian Travellers Network operates on 14.116 and 21,185Mhz. These 2 frequencies are manned from 1200AEST daily.

The amateur organisation WICEN (Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network) also activates nets during emergency conditions. The east coast bushfires in 2019 are an example of this. When the NSW Govt declared a state of emergency, WICEN activated an emergency net and sent operators to provide logistical support for the RFS.

 

Specific emergency frequencies have been allocated for disaster support. They are: 3600, 7110, 14300, 18160 and 21360Khz. Amateur operators monitor these frequencies during natural disasters.

These nets make fascinating listening for shortwave enthusiasts, whilst providing an open communications link for those in isolation.

If you are looking to add a shortwave radio to your collection we have a fantastic selection available on our webshop like The Tecsun PL880 Radio 

The PL880 receiver covers the entire shortwave range (100-29999KHz), Longwave, FM and AM broadcast bands.

If you are looking for a classic style desktop radio we recommend The Tecsun S2000 Desktop Radio.

The Tecsun S2000 Desktop Radio is the ultimate desktop listeners radio that allows you to listen to AM, FM, shortwave, longwave and VHF Air Band broadcasts all on the one radio.

 

If you are looking for digital radio, a shortwave radio, or a pocket radio, click here to shop our entire range.

On the 99 year anniversary of what could be considered the most catastrophic geomagnetic event in human history, we should consider our vulnerability.

Geomagnetic storms are caused by immense activity on the surface of the Sun. Events such as Sunspots, solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections of billions of tons of plasma into space at thousands of kilometers per hour can cause havoc with communications networks affecting our modern lives. In this age of satellite communications, where humans are more and more reliant on all forms of wireless communications, we are even more susceptible to damage from such events.

The worst example of this called the “Carrington Event” took place in September 1859 and is the most powerful geomagnetic storm on record. However an event called the “New York Railroad Storm” on May 16 1821 may well hold the record for the most damage caused. This storm began with a sunspot that was 105,000Km long and 34000 kilometers wide.

This event caused three major fires in the US, Canada, and Sweden. The fire in Brewster NY, was caused by strong induced currents in telegraph wires at a railway station which burned to the ground. The second fire destroyed a telephone exchange in Sweden and the third occurred in Ontario. Scientific observations at the time, including one taken at Watheroo WA, show reports of large earth currents flowing in telegraph and telephone systems, 15mA in South Australia, 50mA in Western Australia, and 200mA in Sweden. In New York and Chicago, these currents induced voltages of over 1000 volts.

More recently, on March 13 1989, a solar storm disrupted power in Canada. Ground induced currents caused by solar activity entered the power grid of the Hydro-Quebec Power Authority and caused the entire grid to collapse for 9 hours.  Six million people were affected.  The event also caused a loss of communications with several geostationary satellites and interfered with Radio Free Europe shortwave radio broadcasts.

Now almost 100 years since the 1921 event, we have developed a larger electrical and communications network which is even more susceptible to geomagnetic interference. If an event such as the “New York Railroad Storm” were to occur today, the damage would undoubtedly disable parts of the global power grid and consumer electronics at an unprecedented level.

Would you be prepared if power was lost during a storm? As we have seen during recent weather events communication is vital and having a backup plan is imperative.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia, we stock some of the best emergency radios. Featuring solar powered and hand crank options ensuring that even if the power has been out for days or you are out of batteries you are still able to receive emergency announcements and coverage.

We recommend the Tecsun DE13 Emergency AM/FM/SW Solar Radio  Solar Powered Radio with inbuilt Hand Crank Dynamo Charging. Get it here.

re introduction of Shortwave radio to RussiaRussia is considering the re-introduction of shortwave radio using DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), a technology which is designed to cover large areas at modest operating cost.

Prior to the 2000’s, shortwave was broadcast in Chukotka for communications across the far northeastern region of Russia and the Northern Sea but was gradually discontinued as funding became more difficult to obtain.

Due to the unique capabilities of shortwave transmissions coupled with the new capabilities of DRM, an audience size of a few thousand spread over a vast area could be best serviced by shortwave again.

Transmitting shortwave digitally offers the advantage of long-distance coverage and a higher fidelity signal. Text information such as news and weather can also be embedded in the signal and decoded at the receiver. Recent studies show that DRM is just as reliable as analog shortwave over this distance via single-hop transmission. An added benefit of DRM transmissions is they use a quarter of the power that analog transmissions. 

This new shortwave service is named Radio Purga (“Radio Blizzard”), a  joint project between the government in Chukotka and the Far Eastern Regional Center and the government in Chukotka

The target audience includes people in the Northern Sea including mariners, miners, geologists, hunters, and nomadic reindeer herders. All of these groups would benefit from both news and weather as well as traditional entertainment programming.

A range of test transmissions commenced in August 2019 via different DRM modes and bandwidths to trial “hardware setup and determine signal acceptability,” with the goal of covering over 95% of the area. Programming consists of a music loop and interestingly has been heard as far away as the United States.

Currently the broadcaster is still carrying out transmission tests on 5935, 6025, 11860 and 15325Khz.

Radio Purga’s regular programming is expected to begin sometime in the next few months. One of shortwave’s finest capabilities is to communicate to hard-to-reach locations. Radio Purga’s audience is spread over a remote and vastly spread region. 

Resuming shortwave via DRM will provide the population with a critical communication source in both audio and text. 

 

Be sure to tune in to the Radio Australia enthusiasts special event Station on March 14-15

Australian Shortwave radio has played an important part in Australia’s telecommunication history.

From 1939 to 2017, hundreds of communities around Australia have relied on this service for entertainment, news and local announcements.

Join Radio Australia enthusiasts for this last hurrah special event broadcast from the mothballed Shepparton site, and be sure to tune in and join the party on March 14-15.

To commemorate the occasion there will be a Special Event Amateur Radio HF station set up at the Radio Australia transmitter site at Shepparton Victoria. 

A unique call sign has been issued for the event which is Victor India 3 Radio Australia – VI3RA.

All contacts made during the 2-day event will be issued with a specifically designed QSL card.

The event commences on Saturday 14 March 2020, 12:00:00AM AEDT(UTC+1100) and will end at Monday  16 March 2020, 12.00AM AEDT(UTC+1100).

VI3RA will operate on 40, 30, 20, 17, and 15 meters.

“Local amateurs will be given the unique opportunity to explore the use of high-gain antennas whilst giving amateurs throughout the world a unique opportunity to contact a station using such high-gain antennas,” said SADARC President Peter Rentsch, VK3FPSR (Australia’s call sign structure accommodates four-letter suffixes). “This is a rare opportunity for amateur radio operators, who are only allowed a peak output power of 400 W in Australia when compared to 100 kW of Radio Australia transmitters to hopefully achieve some remarkable communication outcomes. We expect to get a gain of 15 dB on the lower frequencies and at least 20 dB on 21 MHz.”

If you are in the area of Shepparton you may also attend the event however there are very limited numbers allowed on site at any time.

If you intend to use your special QSL card for the event here are some top tips to ensure a good reception report. Send you reception report to the station with information about what you heard.

Follow these steps to ensure a good reception report.

1.The date and time (in UTC) you heard the station

2.The frequency on which you heard the station

3.Details about what you heard. mentioning things like the names of announcers, program titles titles of musical selections and station slogans is sufficient to establish you did indeed hear the station.

4. An evaluation of the signal quality, including strength, degree of fading and any interference you may have experienced,. (Include the names or frequencies of interfering stations)

5. The make and model of the radio and the antenna you are using.

We would also like to receive your listening reports from the day. Please send your listening reports to hello@tecsunradios.com.au

Did you know? With every radio purchased from the Tecsun Radios Australia  website you receive a shortwave listeners guide that contains information on how to listen, a list of useful stations from around the world, Marine weather stations, Aviation stations as well as the 4WD club and many more. The Shortwave Listeners Guide also contains some very helpful troubleshooting to help identify AM and HF interference sources.

In addition to the Listeners Guide you will also receive a shortwave listeners log book.

Love listening to radio? The Tecsun S2000 Desktop Radio is the ultimate desktop listeners radio.

The Tecsun S2000 will allow you to listen to AM, FM Shortwave, Longwave and VHF air band broadcasts all on the one radio.

Tecsun radios S2000

Click HERE to shop the S2000.

The next wave of radio listening has arrived using a new broadcasting technology called Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). This technology is now being adapted by shortwave broadcasters around the world.

DRM is fusing digital radio with analogue by creating a high quality digital replacement for current analogue radio broadcasting in the MW and SW bands. DRM delivers CD quality audio using the medium wave and short wave bands, with reduced energy consumption resulting in lower operating costs to broadcasters. DRM also delivers information in text format, alerting listeners to the latest news, weather and disaster information.

 DRM’s design means you can switch between DRM and conventional analogue broadcasts. Suitable analogue transmitters can be modified to allow the new digital transmissions to co-exist with the current analogue broadcasts. 

Benefits.

  1. Fantastic sound quality/ Short Wave and Medium Wave broadcasts can now be heard with FM-like sound quality.
  2. DRM can cover larger broadcast areas compared to analogue signals.
  3. LCD screen allows viewing the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), News and  weather updates, and emergency warnings.
  4. Automatic emergency activation. Radio receivers will automatically switch on to receive emergency warnings in case of impending natural disaster
  5. A Greener Solution: DRM offers reduced power consumption to broadcasters of 40-50%.  Signal coverage on Short and Medium Wave broadcasting bands using DRM, is greatly increased over conventional analogue broadcasting.

As DRM is an emerging technology an increasing number of broadcasters are adopting this format. To discover which broadcasters are “on air” at a particular time for your location, visit the official DRM schedule here.

Get your DRM here.

This antenna is perfect for those trying to receive DRM.

 

The Tecsun Shortwave and AM Outdoor Antenna significantly enhances reception of signals in the medium wave (AM) and shortwave antenna bands covering 0.5-30 MHz.

Tecsun is giving away 10 tickets to the Wyong Field Day event. To enter the draw simply upload an image of yourself listening to your favorite station.

See full description of how to enter below.

The time has come again for radio enthusiasts and hobbyists to come together at an event that celebrates the art of radio communication. The Tecsun team will be at the event demonstrating our brand new G90 Transceiver to the general public for the first time!

The Wyong Field Day is the largest amateur radio gathering in the New South Wales,  hosted by the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club

Located at the Wyong Race Course, the event has successfully run for a number of years now and has something for all enthusiasts. This year the Field day will take place on Sunday Feb 23.

There will be carboot sales, product demonstrations and lectures on the day as well as a fully stocked bistro and refreshment lounge to sit back and catch up with like minded friends.

The doors open at 8:30am sharp and there will be a coffee van there to keep you caffeinated!

As you wander through the event, announcements will be broadcast over your hand held radios.

For those of you after a little fun, be sure to join in the Fox Hunt meet and greet being held on the Saturday the 22nd. If you are joining the event you will need to register here.

If you are interested in obtaining your US or Australian, Foundation, Standard or Advanced Licence, licencing exams will be available at the event.

Be sure to look out for the lucky door prize and raffle tickets available on the day.

Xiegu Radio

Demonstrations of the G90 will be held at the event.

 

How you can win your free ticket to Wyong Field Day.

To go in the draw to win an entry pass to the Wyong Field day. 

1.Post a picture or video of yourself on Facebook using your Tecsun radio and describe what you enjoy listening to.

2.Tag us @TecsunAU so we can see your photo.

3. Like the Tecsun Radios Australia facebook Page ( If you don’t already)

The best 3 photos will be selected on Tuesday the 18/02/20 and the winner announced that day at 4pm Eastern Standard Time.

 The promoter is Tecsun Radios Australia  24/9 Powells Rd, Brookvale NSW 2100, Australia,  ABN 61 002 174 478

Competitions are games of skill and as such, winning entries are selected based on the creativity or accuracy of entries submitted.

For full terms and conditions click here

  

What you need to do to prepare for a natural disaster or emergency including what essentials you will need to pack in your emergency kit.

Its important to have a discussion with your family on what you would do in the event of a fire/ flood or other natural disaster event before the actual event takes place.

Its important to discuss the following.

How will you access emergency alerts and messages and monitor events? 

The best way of receiving event alerts and updates is via radio. ABC broadcasts hourly updates, more if needed in the local area to keep you informed. In many cases Emergency Services will call the radio station directly. Radio is also the failsafe method of receiving these reports when power is cut and networks are down which often happens during natural disasters

Make a list of radio frequencies of the local ABC and Community radio stations, so you know where to listen. You can find our guide here

In an emergency dial 000. Access to 000 is available on all mobile networks regardless of which network you use. Roaming arrangements are in place so you can use any available network.You can even dial 000 on a phone with no SIM.

Download the “Emergency +” app onto your phone. Do this before any emergency and take note of your GPS location. You might need this for emergency services if they have to find you. The Emergency + App wont work without mobile phone coverage.

Tune in to your local radio, local ABC/emergency broadcaster frequency. You may want to consider a solar powered or battery operated radio because power is often the first thing to go in emergency situations.

If you still have internet keep an eye on the BOM app and investigate your local Flood/ natural disaster and fire apps like the Rural Fire Service “Fires Near Me” App.

         

 If you are driving, keep updated on road conditions and closures by checking the NSW Transport “Live Traffic” App. There are similar Apps in most states.

At what point would you leave your home?What will be your sign to leave? It could be smoke or fire in your area, lightning and heavy rain or floodwater approaching your property.

Where will you go? Where is there a meeting place that’s safe and away from the disaster area? It might be a friend or relative’s place, or even a shopping centre. Most regional towns have a designated “safe place”. Most local council or community associations have a designated “Safe Place” for residents to go in an emergency.

Find out where your “Safe Place” is located.

What will you take? What would be your essentials you would like to take with you if you were forced to leave your home

Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared and ready to grab when needed. Unfortunately you don’t need an emergency kit until you really do.

 

PREPARE YOUR EMERGENCY KIT.

Pack a backpack with the following supplies and keep it somewhere safe that is easily accessed when needed.

Storing items in airtight plastic containers and sealer bags will help keep your belongings dry and in good condition both while in storage and during the emergency situation.

Here is a list of your essential items to pack.

  • Flashlight
  • Personal medication
  • Bottled water. Allow 2L per person per day minimum.
  • Food, non perishable, as required..
  • Manual can opener
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Candles
  • Cash- if the power is out then the ATMS wont work.
  • Phone “power bank”. Make sure it is changed at all times.
  • Extra batteries for your flashlight
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air- P2 masks are best for dust and smoke.
  • Toilet paper, moist towelettes etc for personal sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Sharp knife (penknife)

Repack expired items as needed and re pack/ check your emergency kit every year.

Don’t have an emergency radio yet?

We reccomend the DE13 which features light, alarm, inbuilt Solar Panel and Dynamo hand crank charger that allow 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

                                                                                 

To get yours, Click here to be directed to this product in our online store.