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Listen our for VI3RA this weekend from Radio Australia Shepparton

Date : 12 / 03 / 2020
Author : Rodney Champness- VK3UG

With the kind permission of BAI Communications (formerly Broadcast Australia) and many thanks to Rex VK3OF, there will be a Special Event Amateur Radio HF station set up at Radio Australia Shepparton. This special event will be held on Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th, of March 2020. The event will be commemorated with a special QSL card.

Broadcast Australia, now known as BAI Communications, were for many years contracted to transmit the Radio Australia programs from several HF broadcasting locations within Australia, but predominantly from Shepparton. There were sites at Lyndhurst, Carnarvon, Darwin and Brandon which have all closed down – some quite a few years ago. Shepparton has been the longest continuously running station soldiering on after the closure of the other stations. Regrettably back in 2017 on the 31st of January the Shepparton station was also closed. This was a great disappointment to many people. Despite many representations to have the service restored this was not to be.

This provides an opportunity for amateur radio operators, who are only allowed a peak output power of 400 watts when compared to 100 Kw of Radio Australia transmitters, to hopefully achieve some remarkable communication outcomes. Amateurs have been experimenting with all sorts of communications systems but have never had the opportunity to use such high gain antennas.

This will allow amateur radio communications to gain an insight into how amateur communications would function in this unique situation. From the past Radio Australia was involved in moon bounce in collaboration with CSIR (predecessor to CSIRO) with a 50 kW transmissions on a frequency of 21.5 MHz and 17.84 MHz in November 1947. These were we believe the first successful moon bounce experiments in the Southern Hemisphere. With improved technology would this be possible to be tried sometime over the 14/15th March. What about trying some of the digital modes particularly if the Ionosphere says there is no propagation success likely on some bands. These modes and our ubiquitous use of Single Side Band and Morse Code promise to make this weekend a significant high light of amateur radio communications in 2020. Amateur Radio operators are experimenters into new communications techniques, what would we find out with the use of such high gain antennas that could be added to our communications knowledge of high frequency communications?

Thank you BAI, we are most grateful for this opportunity to work with you to achieve this remarkable weekend of opportunity, which I’m sure will be recognised worldwide.

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