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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, the original and most crucial form of radio communication in our history, and dropped by many countries 20 years ago, is set for a resurgence!

Used heavily during the Cold War, shortwave was vital for communications in isolated areas.

After the war, listenership dwindled and as the equipment aged and the energy bills continued to accrue, one of the first in line for budget cuts was shortwave, with no importance placed on replacing it.

 

Not unlike the song, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, many say that satellites and the internet killed shortwave radio.

 

Really it is a combination of technology and content delivered directly to the savvy FM listener and streamed to the cell phone obsessed user generally at a reduced cost compared to shortwave. 

 

As Shortwave dwindled, radio began being broadcast in FM and DAB modes to radios, devices, and laptops, with thousands of listening options. 

Many new broadcasters began piggybacking on the local popular informative radio stations.

 

This new technology, however, in many countries is not without its issues. At first, it might appear that these are cheaper and more modern options, but slow buffering times, multiplexed DAB+, excessive and expensive cost of data in many countries, as well as a listener’s preference for anonymity has seen a return to shortwave.

 

As mentioned in previous articles the emerging ability to transmit shortwave radio digitally using DRM ( Digital Radio Mondiale) has seen a resurgence in the use of shortwave due to its wide coverage and heavily reduced cost.

 

Specifically China has opted to use DRM Shortwave to provide full coverage to the areas between the large cities.

 

China National Radio broadcasts from five upgraded sites 80 hours a day with seven to eight transmitters sending shortwave DRM to most areas of North China, East China, South China and Southwest China. Russia is also airing DRM in shortwave over huge areas of Siberia.

India is now looking to increase its three DRM shortwave transmitters for further national and international reach. 

 

Several CRN transmitters beam enormous DRM signals into our part of the world daily.

 

Indonesia and Brazil are also said to have expressed interest in adapting their shortwave analog over to DRM for greater coverage. 

 

As mentioned previously Vanuatu, has recently opted for DRM shortwave to save lives in disaster situations by using its integrated emergency warning capability, and a site in the United States has recently started broadcasting in DRM the popular Radio Marti programs toward central and Latin America.

 

As many areas of the world are re-discovering the value of shortwave we may see the resurgence of shortwave being replaced by its new digital form.

 

Are you interested in listening to Shortwave radio? Imagine picking up and decoding radio stations from remote areas of the world? Re connect with the world during this time of isolation.

 

Tecsun Radios Australia has a great range of Shortwave and Digital radios available.

Shop the range 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.

 

amateur radio clubs

CQ VK Amateur radio clubs!

With over 15,000 members of the Australian amateur radio clubs and societies, we believe that it’s important to support these amateur radio clubs and societies which bring welcome and together hobbyists, amateurs and licensed amateurs. Best of all, these amateur radio clubs introduce the interest to new members of the community creating great friendships and sharing knowledge.

amateur radio clubs

We regularly offer group-buy discounts and inform clubs and their members first of any upcoming sales before the general public.

If you or your club would like to find out more about how Tecsun Radios Australia can support your amateur radio club and its members, please contact us using the form below. Our friendly team will get in contact with you shortly after.