Tag Archives: Alice Springs

The ABC of ignoring audience needs

As most people who use short wave radio are aware, ABC Australia pulled all of their short wave services on the 31st January 2017. For those of us around the world who have enjoyed ABC broadcasts over the years, this at least, disappointing and at most, well, disappointing. They had a good range of interesting programs, from in-depth reports to music programs and light comedy. Some of us, me included, also used their Alice Springs and Tennent Creek low-power transmissions as a pointer to how the lower Tropical bands were performing. If you could get Alice Springs on 4835, then you knew the 60m band was holding up well and worth an explore.

But let us now turn our attention to the ranchers and ranch workers who live around the remote areas of Alice Springs and Tennent Creek. These places are literally, out in the middle of nowhere, with ranch sizes being calculated in square miles and not acres. Also the truckers making the long-haul trips via outback roads through some of the most inhospitable country known to man. All these people rely on good communications supplied locally for such items as weather reports/forecasting and anything that could be pertinent from local news. This sort of information can only be delivered successfully over these terrains using short wave. A network of FM stations would not give the coverage over the difficult topology encountered in these areas. A satellite system would have similar problems, and relies on having a ground station at a ranch with all the power requirements to receive such transmissions. If a rancher is fixing a fence several tens of miles from home will not be able to receive these transmissions.

We also need to turn to the needs of those people living on the plethora of Pacific islands which ABC also used to serve using their short wave transmissions. Some of the governments of Micronesia are not, at all times, stable, so up to date news and weather forecast/reports of a timely nature cannot necessarily be relied upon. Indeed, a few years ago, the government of Fiji closed down the local internet so any information supplied by that route was unavailable. This is where the short wave transmissions from Australia were so important through this period.

For all the non-recreational uses mentioned above, these transmissions can literally be the difference between life and death. ABC has mentioned savings as the reason for this move, but I saw a report where this amounts to only 1.9 million for the Northern Territories. But surely this cost is going to be swallowed up by having to supply content delivery via either satellite or expanding FM services.

Fortunately, a lot of debate is currently going on in Australia from community groups, MP’s in government and Union heads. If ABC thought that no-one would notice then they must be severely disappointed already with all sections of Australian society seemingly being up in arms over the decision. I think this will roll on for quite a while and ABC will either be completely bloody-minded or come to some sort of agreement. Maybe the Australian government may step in to save the day. All I know, its not going away in a hurry!

Some logs from today, Monday 25th May

I finally managed to get some listening time in! Over the last few days I have been putting together a pre-selector from a circuit and plans on the Bavarian DX Club website. It is in German but the circuit and coil winding info are easy to follow. The Tesun PL-600 that I use suffers from overloading and image interference when coupled to an external antenna. This pre-selector has eliminated that, and the tuning is nice and sharp. This evening I finally managed to here ABC Alice Springs on 4835 Khz by being able to peak up the pre-selector for that frequency. The signal didn’t last long, only about 5 minutes, but enough time to confirm that it was this station. I shall devote another post to the pre-selector another day, but suffice to say it is now a permanent fixture at this listening post.

Logs from today:

9310 Khz Thailand VOA Deewa Radio 18:18 UTC Pashto. Male announcer with female singing guest. SINPO: 43333 2015-05-25

11660 Khz Armenia BBC 18:57 UTC Kinyarwanda. Male announcer. Sign off at 19:00 SINPO: 43333 2015-05-25

4835 Khz Australia ABC Alice Springs 19:58 UTC English. news at 20:00. Fading out at 20:05 down to 22222 SINPO: 32233 2015-05-25

6035 Khz Sao Tome VOA 20:51 UTC Hausa. Male announcer SINPO: 33333 2015-05-25

6080 Khz Botswana VOA 21:00 UTC English. ID followed by News. Some ACI from CRI SINPO: 43344 2015-05-25

6115 Khz Phillipines R.Veritas Asia 21:05 UTC Chinese. Male and female announcers. Some QSB SINPO: 43344 2015-05-25

6190 Khz China CNR2 21:14 UTC Chinese. female announcer. SINPO: 32233 2015-05-25

6200 Khz Tibet PBS Xizang 21:18 UTC Modern dance music. SINPO: 43344 2015-05-25