When it comes to evaluating signal reception in the world of shortwave radio, the SINPO code reigns supreme. This universally adopted format provides a comprehensive assessment of signal quality, aiding broadcasters in fine-tuning their transmissions for optimal reach. From signal strength to overall clarity, each component plays a crucial role in deciphering the effectiveness of radio transmissions. Let’s dive into the intricacies of the SINPO code and how it facilitates seamless communication between shortwave listeners and broadcasters.

There is a universally used format for evaluating signal reception, when submitting a signal report and QSL card request, called the SINPO code. It calls for 4 reception parameters to be logged and a final evaluation of overall reception made. SINPO, is an acronym for signal, interference, noise, propagation, and overall, is a code used to describe the quality of radio transmissions, especially in reception reports written by shortwave listeners (SWLs). Each letter of the code stands for a specific factor of the signal, and each item is graded on a 1 to 5 scale.

Understanding the SINPO Code in Shortwave Listening

So when a shortwave listener is submitting a reception report to a broadcaster, using the SINPO code will help the broadcaster assess the effectiveness of their transmission in reaching the target zone.

In addition to using the SINPO code it is also useful to provide the following information when submitting a signal report:

Date and time in UTC, frequency, receiving equipment (receiver, antenna, and antenna orientation if directional), program details including content (ie news, music, etc), a contact address or email, for the station response.

Most broadcasters will respond with a QSL card or letter confirming reception.

In a world dominated by modern technology and instant communication, there exists a unique and passionate community of shortwave radio enthusiasts who find their thrill in tuning into aviation broadcasts. While it might seem like an esoteric hobby, listening to aviation broadcasts over shortwave radio has cultivated a cult following

Here are some of the reasons so many listeners follow the HF aircraft band.

Kind of like a global adventure!

Shortwave radio allows enthusiasts to embark on a global adventure from the comfort of their homes. Aviation broadcasts provide a portal into the skies, enabling listeners to eavesdrop on conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers from all corners of the world.

 The sense of adventure and the opportunity to virtually traverse continents is a compelling reason why shortwave radio enthusiasts are drawn to aviation broadcasts

 Shortwave radio provides real-time access to aviation communications. Enthusiasts can listen in on air traffic control exchanges, weather information, flight paths, and even emergency communications as they happen.

It is quite technical!!

Fine-tuning shortwave radios and antennas to receive clear aviation signals is a technical challenge that appeals to hobbyists. It requires skill and patience to optimise reception and achieve the best audio quality.

 The technical aspect of the hobby fosters a sense of accomplishment and expertise, further deepening the enthusiast’s connection to shortwave radio.

Amateurs listening in during an emergency have saved the day in the past, both in the air and by sea!!

 Shortwave radio is a reliable means of communication during emergencies. Aviation enthusiasts play a vital role in monitoring aviation frequencies during critical situations, potentially assisting authorities or providing essential information.

This sense of responsibility adds a noble dimension to the hobby, reinforcing the dedication of shortwave radio enthusiasts.

There is quite a community too!!

While shortwave radio listening can be a solitary activity, it also nurtures a strong sense of community. Enthusiasts connect through online forums, clubs, and social media groups, where they share their experiences, knowledge, and tips.

The sense of camaraderie among like-minded individuals contributes significantly to the cult following of this hobby.

For some, listening to aviation broadcasts on shortwave radio is a tradition passed down through generations. The nostalgic element, combined with the heritage of the hobby, creates a sense of continuity and connection to the past.

Listening to aviation broadcasts over shortwave radio may seem like a niche hobby, but it offers a world of adventure, technical challenges, and a close-knit community that has earned it a dedicated cult following. 

Vast areas of the world lack the necessary local VHF radio communication systems needed to provide reliable radio coverage between aircrews and air traffic controllers. The lack of VHF coverage within most of these areas is due to the very remote location of these regions, for example, much of the airspace over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans lacks VHF communications as it is impossible to install transmitters on a reliable platform within these regions. As a result,  a network of shortwave (HF) frequencies have been allocated to provide long range voice communications between aircrews and ATC facilities.

The allure lies in the ability to bridge the gap between the terrestrial and the celestial, allowing enthusiasts to soar through the skies without ever leaving their homes. So, whether you’re a seasoned shortwave radio enthusiast or a curious newcomer, consider giving aviation broadcasts a try – you might just find yourself captivated by the mesmerising world of shortwave radio and its passionate following.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia we have the best range of radios to support your shortwave listening adventures, we even supply a comprehensive shortwave listening guide, written by owner and fellow enthusiast, Garry himself!!!

Curious about listening to Aviation broadcasts, here are some of our top radios for the job.

PL-880, PL-990x, H-501x, PL-330, PL-365, PL-368, PL-660, S-2000. Most receivers in the Tecsun Radios Australia range have the ability to receive single sideband (SSB) transmissions, and that is the mode used by aircraft on the HF bands. As you can see, even the most economical receiver (PL-365) is capable of listening to aircraft on the HF bands.



In a world marked by technology and connectivity, it’s vital to remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us. The upcoming Remembrance Day Radio Contest, scheduled for the weekend of August 12 and 13, 2023, is a poignant opportunity to pay homage to the amateur radio operators who valiantly gave their lives during both World Wars.

Held annually, this contest stands as a testament to their memory and the enduring spirit of camaraderie that amateur radio embodies.

Date and Time: Starting from 0300 UTC on Saturday and ending at 0300 UTC on Sunday, this two-day event promises to be an engaging and meaningful experience for amateur radio enthusiasts across the globe. As the world turns, the contest provides participants with the chance to connect with fellow amateurs, share stories, and remember the past.

Aim of the Contest: The heart of the Remembrance Day Radio Contest lies in its purpose – to establish connections and build bridges through the airwaves. During the event, amateurs strive to contact fellow amateurs in VK call areas, ZL, and P2. All bands except the WARC bands are open for communication, and participants can use the modes of PHONE, CW, and RTTY – modes that echo the communication methods of both World Wars.

Honouring History: The perpetual trophy is bestowed upon the state or territory that exhibits the best performance. More than just a symbol, this trophy serves as a reminder that the essence of the contest is not only in the competition but in the act of remembering and honoring those who came before us.

A Weekend of Exploration: For those who may not be amateur radio operators themselves, the contest presents an excellent opportunity for shortwave listeners to engage. It’s a time to put antennas, receivers, and reception techniques to the test. As the contest unfolds, the airwaves will buzz with activity, creating an environment of curiosity and excitement for those who wish to participate from a different angle.

Contest Rules

3. Contest Date & Time
Weekend in August closest to the 15th, 0300 UTC Saturday to 0300 UTC Sunday.
As a mark of respect, stations are asked to observe 15 minutes silence prior to the start of the contest, during which the opening ceremony will be broadcast.

4. Categories
1. Single Operator
2. Single Operator – QRP
3. Multi-Operator – Single Transmitter (Multi-Single)
4. Multi-Operator – Unlimited (Multi-Multi)

5. Sub-Category Modes for Single Operators
1. Phone (AM, FM & SSB)
2. CW (CW & RTTY)
3. Mixed

6. Permitted Bands
1. Contacts may be made on MF (160M), HF and VHF & above bands except for WARC bands (10, 18 & 24MHZ) which are excluded by IARU agreement from all contest operations.
a. HF SSB Voice transmissions should be within:
1843-1875, 3535-3570 and 3600-3700, 7080-7300, 14112-14300, 21150-21450, 28300-29100KHz,
otherwise disqualification or points reduction may result.

7. Multi-operator Stations
1. Multi-operator single transmitter stations
a. Are only allowed one transmitted signal on air at any time.
2. Multi-operator Unlimited stations
a. Are only allowed two transmitted signals on any band, one per Phone and one per CW as per rule 5.1 and 5.2.
b. Simultaneous transmissions on different bands are permitted.
3. Multi-operator stations are mixed mode only.

Multi Stations, please observe any COVID Restrictions for your area.

8. Teams

Team scenario 1.
A station and two of their friends operate in the contest from their respective home QTH and participate in the contest and submit their logs in the normal manner. They are eligible for any awards in the category they entered as single operators. The contest manager was notified that these 3 stations want to form a team. Their scores are tallied together and that is the team score.
Team scenario 2.
A multi-single club has 2 operators who wish to work from their home QTH. The 2 single operators and the multi-single club contest and submit logs in the normal manner. They are eligible for any awards in the category they entered. The contest manager was notified that these 3 stations want to form a team. The 2 single operators and the club multi-single stations scores are tallied together and that is the team score.

1. A team can consist of only one of the following two options.
a) Three single operator stations
b) Two single operator stations and one multi-single station
2. A team can consist of stations located anywhere in VK, ZL, or P2.
3. An operator can only be included in one team.
4. Clubs may enter multiple teams of 3 call-signs.
5. The ‘Team Leader’ MUST nominate his team to the Contest Manager before the start of the contest. Email to vk4sn@wia.org.au with the subject “RD Team Submission”.
a) Nominations must include the Callsigns and Operators Name. Where multiple teams from one club are submitted, it is suggested to use Team Names, example: Tazzie Devils
b) The Team leader must supply postal details for receipt of any awards.
c) Once the contest has started, team members cannot be changed.
6. The winner of the team initiative will be the highest combined score from any one team.
7. Team scores are not included in the determination of the winning state.

9. Contacts
1. Suggested Call: “CQ RD”, “CQ Contest”, or “CQ Test”
2. Exchange: A valid exchange consists of RS(T) followed by a number as follows:
a. For a single operator, the number of years you have been a licenced Ham. For example, if this is your 1st year as a ham then you will sign RS(T) 001. Round off to the nearest whole number. All zeros are not accepted.
b. For a multi-op or club station, the number of licenced years of the longest licenced Amateur present at the start of the contest.
3. On all bands, stations may be contacted at intervals of not less than THREE hours since the previous contact on that band and mode.
a. FM & SSB count as one mode, as does CW & RTTY count for the CW mode. Therefore one cannot QSO with a station in FM and work them on SSB on the same band before the three hours is up.
4. No cross band contacts are allowed.
5. Exchange of contact information via satellites, telephones, repeaters, Echolink, IRLP, or the internet is not in the spirit of the contest and is banned.
6. Contacts via satellites are not allowed for scoring purposes.
7. Contacts within the same call area are permitted.

11. General Rules
1. W.I.A. General Rules for All Contests apply unless otherwise specified.
2. All operators of single operator stations must perform all operating and logging without assistance.
a. Use of spotting, skimmer, SDR and similar operator assistance software is allowed on all bands, however all replies, exchanges and log entries must be performed by the operator.
3. Holders of more than one licence or callsign MUST use only ONE callsign for the contest duration.
4. Fully automated operation is not permitted; however, computers can be used for logging or CW or RTTY reception and/or keying.
5. All operations must be in accordance with the band plan for the band in use, as published in the latest LCD.
6. Any station observed as departing from the generally accepted codes of operating ethics or licence conditions may be disqualified.
* QRP stations are limited to 5 Watts average (CW/RTTY) or PEP (SSB) at the transmitter output.

7. REMOTE STATION OPERATION is allowed with the following conditions: (NEW in 2021)
a. Both receiving and transmitting antennas must be co-located and be in Australia.
b. If your remote station is interstate, you must sign VKn??/VKn or VKn/VKn??
c. Points will be allocated to the state you are transmitting and receiving from.
d. The remote site location must be shown by a maiden head six figure grid square in your soapbox comments.
e. All calls and exchanges must be obtained through the TX/RX remote site.
f. Only the remote site can be used during the contest. I.E. Using your personal physical local location for use of local TX/RX operations is not allowed.

12. WW2 ex Military equipment
1. Operators using Ex WW2 equipment will be awarded with a special certificate acknowledging their participation and use of such.
2. A declaration with the heading of WW2 Equipment will operate said units within the “ORIGINAL manufactures specified operating conditions”, e.g. no mods to boost the output power etc. A copy of the preferred Certificate is available on the on the WIA website at http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rdcontest/documents/WWII%20Declaration%202012.pdf
3. Please include the declaration with your log submission.

Contest Scoring

10. Scoring
1. On 160 metres two points per completed valid contact.
2. On 23cm or higher bands two points per completed valid contact.
3. On all other bands one point. (no WARC bands allowed)
4. On CW and RTTY, irrespective of band, double points.
5. All QSO’s logged between 0100 and 0600 LOCAL TIME score triple points.

Submitting Your Log

13. Log Submission
1. Electronic Logging
a. Use of logging software is preferred as the output file will be in Cabrillo 3 format which suits our log checking software. See below for logger links.

b. Submit Log WITHIN 14 DAYS by 0300z via https://www.vklogchecker.com/
Please add EMAIL: youremail@myisp to the log header.

c. Or failing b. above, attach your ‘callsign.log’ file to your email and send to rdlogs@wia.org.au

d. Put ONLY your callsign in the subject .
e. On receipt of your log, the manager will send an acknowledgement email to you. Just to be sure, it is advised that you flag your email for “confirmation of receipt”, in which case you will receive two emails acknowledging receipt of the log.

2. Paper Logs
a. Hand written logs are not preferred, however if sent must be legible and contain no more than 100 contacts.
b. Entrants are encouraged to enter the paper logs into a logger after the contest and email the Cabrillo log (callsign.log) as indicated above.

c. Paper logs should be accompanied by a Summary Sheet showing all the details as per the log example below and nominated team name if used.
d. Declaration: I hereby certify that I have operated in accordance with the rules and spirit of the contest; signed & dated. Please supply a contact telephone number.
e. Send paper logs and summary sheets to: RD Contest Manager. 43 Jahn Drive, Glenore Grove, QLD 4342. Do not send logs requiring a signature! Collection is an hours return drive away and may not be collected before results are finished.
3. If you genuinely have problems with the above, then acceptance of .xls, .csv, and .txt files will be considered for processing. PDF, DOC(x), MDB or picture files are not accepted.
4. Emailed Logs are to be received by the contest manager no later than 14 days after the contest ends.
5. Paper logs are to be postmarked no later than 8 days after the contest.
6. All logs will be receipted by email or on the website if no email exists for the operator.
7. Logs received after the closing date will not be eligible for processing.
8. Paper logs will not be returned unless a SASE is forwarded requesting return of the log.
9. VK entrants temporarily operating outside their allocated call area, including those outside continental Australia as defined for DXCC, can elect to have their points credited to their home State by making a statement to that effect on their summary sheet or in the ‘soapbox’ field in the Cabrillo file.

Contest Results

14. Contest Results
1. Determination of Winning State or Territory.
State score = (Total points from logs submitted) divided by (number of licencees in the state or Territory excluding beacons and repeaters). The Number of Licences are supplied to the manager from the WIA National Office for that year.
2. Unless otherwise elected by the entrant concerned, the scores of VK0 stations will be credited to VK7, and the scores of VK9 to the mainland call area which is geographically closest. Scores of P2, or ZL will not be included in these calculations, although entrants in those areas are eligible for all certificate awards.
3. Results will be published within 90 days after the close of the contest on the W.I.A. website and winners announced in AR magazine as soon as practical.

Contest Award

15. Contest Awards
1. Entrants must make at least 25 contacts to be eligible for awards.
2. Overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place certificates will be posted to recipients.
a. Single Operator Phone
b. Single Operator CW
c. Single Operator Mixed
d. Single Operator QRP Phone
e. Single Operator QRP CW
f. Single Operator QRP Mixed
g. Multi-operator – Single Transmitter
h. Multi-operator – Multi Transmitter
i. Team
j. //DISCONTINUED due to callsigns now not reflecting the licence grade.// The top three foundation scorers regardless of category.
3. Certificates will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place-getters for each VK call area, and ZL & P2 from the WIA office. All other certificates will be via PDF download.
a. Categories “a” through “f” as above.
4. Participants using WW2 ex military equipment will receive a special acknowledgement certificate as well as any certificates gained in winning any section.

Logging Software

17. Logging Software
a. VK Contest Log (VKCL) by Mike Subocz VK3AVV, https://www.mnds.com.au/vkcl/
b. John Drew VK5DJ RD logging program Link
c. SD Logger by EI5DI. See ei5di.com (HF logging only)
d. N1MM (HF only) Support files (City and UDC) from vk4sn.com/Contests/N1MMVK
2. Remember to check for updates immediately prior to contests to make sure you have the latest software that will contain up to date scoring and rule changes.

Logs are now processed through log checking software that uses Cabrillo V3.0 format.
An example log is as follows:


For further information please click this link through to the Wireless Institute of Australia, from which we sourced our information.


Emergency radio for flood victims

Even months after the flooding event in the NSW North coast we are still learning of tales of survival and loss.

While we read in amazement at 63-year-old grandmother  Ann south of Eugowra in the Central west’s heroic fast thinking, helping her daughter and 6 day old grandchild into the roof cavity of her home while she stood on a stool with water up to her chin for four hours whilst also suffering pneumonia. Then sadly hearing her 75-year-old neighbour was not seen again after a rush of water hit the town. ( Source  Smh.com.au  https://bit.ly/3Bb2Evn )
It is also unfortunate that even at the time of writing flooding is affecting various areas of Victoria.

You may recall our blog about Lismore resident and artist Christine Porter who made it her mission to ensure elderly and less able people in that region receive an emergency radio. Not just a shortwave to listen to broadcasts, One with a flashlight, a beacon, and a solar and hand crank power source.
We were very proud to be able to supply our Best Emergency Radio units to her at a discount to contribute to this worthy cause. Click here to read the original blog on our website

lismore floods emergency radio

(Image of Lismore’s Ballina Street bridge became a rescue spot during its record-breaking flood in February.ABC News: Matt Coble)

Christine Porter was recently interviewed by ABC regional radio. We would like to share this recording with you as it is in fact incredibly insightful.
Here are our main takeaways from it.

Christine mentions that she discovered the emergency radio whilst helping out a friend who had lost everything in the floods.
As stories came out of people being rescued from their roofs, Christine thought about those who would not be able to easily climb onto their roofs.
In fact, right now think about how easy it may be for yourself to climb up on a roof. for many people, it is not that easy, particularly if there is a rush of water heading your way and everything is saturated, let alone if you had any form of ailment or mobility issue.

As we heard earlier retired nurse Ann Souths’ story, she managed to get her daughter and 6 day old granddaughter up through a manhole into a roof cavity. From inside this cavity, their calls could not be heard by any rescuers outside.
Christine confirms in her interview that the sound of the flood was so loud, you couldn’t hear people calling for help. This is one of the reasons she felt the flashing beacon and VERY loud siren were absolutely essential. Christine actually demonstrates the siren in the interview, it is effective, to say the least. Christine mentioned that she tested the flashing light and you could see it from half a KM away which would really help emergency personnel and the community locate you. 
While for Ann south, they were fortunate to still have mobile phone reception, and her daughter was able to call emergency services who had a helicopter rescue them. Lismore was in fact without power for 7-8 days.
The Best Emergency radio has solar and hand crank power for charging. The hand crank is particular;y helpful if there is non stop rain and no sun to charge up the solar panels. A crank can get achieve minute or so charge on your phone to call or text someone in an emergency

When all the power was out it is important to receive radio, particularly emergency radio which has constant updates, As most Television will continue their regular broadcasts and apps need refreshing, not something you want to do too often when your battery is low.

Christine Porter remarks that during the February floods, water reached areas it has never reached before, it was fast and it was devastating. Although the community of Lismore are a resilient bunch, there is still an uneasy feeling every time it rains and the whole town is on edge.
Without power having a radio to listen to for updates is very reassuring for residents.
Christine Porter talks about the fact that even though she was on higher ground when it rained again she would feel uneasy herself and stay up all night listening to the radio for updates.

Listen to the radio interview here.

Want a Best Emergency radio for yourself or as a gift for someone who should have one? Click here to view the radio and all its features on our webstore.

Please note to receive orders prior to Christmas we recommend placing orders on or before the 10th of December.

This June Long Weekend, get ready for the annual event held by the ORARC over TWO exciting days!!

The Oxley Region Amateur Radio Club annual Field Day will be held at the Wauchope Showground hall with all the usual field day activities on Saturday and Sunday the 11th and 12th of June 2022 during the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend.

This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded folk, talk radios, enjoy a sausage sizzle or group dinner, try your luck in the raffles and best of all get involved in the fox hunts!

The Field Day dinner will be held at the Port Macquarie Golf Club on the Saturday night.  Mark your calendar now.  The Wauchope Showground permits camping so it is possible to stay on site in your own motor home, caravan, or tent with power and amenities.

Click here to download a copy of the Field Day Program (PDF).

Here’s page 3 from the program, the Field Day schedule: provided by the ORARC.

Our continued thanks go to VK2CLL’s daughter Jacqui for her continued fantastic Graphics Design work for our brochure!   See everyone soon.

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.