Woodside Omega Transmitter (station G, now Woodside VLF transmitter) near Woodside,
Victoria, carried by a 432 metre high grounded lattice steel guyed
mast. This mast is the highest construction in the southern hemisphere
Construction of this station was originally
planned to be built in New Zealand but after protests from anti-war protestors
it was built in Australia.
After the shutdown of the OMEGA navigation system it
was used until 2004 as transmitter for orders to submarines on 13 kHz
under the callsign VL3DEF. Until December 2008, it had been transmitting a 100 baud MSK
modulated signal on 18.6 kHz.Source
for following article : ABC Radio Gippsland December 2008
However, the station has been closed down and transmissions have now ceased. The
tower remains, transmitting equipment is on display at the Port Albert Maritime Museum.
It's been around since 1978 when it was built as part of the worldwide
Omega navigation system. In more recent years it's been used as a naval transmitting station. But now, the future of the landmark
tower is uncertain.
The organisation which operates the tower - Omega Tower Communications
- are moving out at the end of the month, as the defence department looks for a new purpose for the tower.
While it has come to be a part of the landscape, appreciated by local
fisherman as a guiding point when fishing offshore at night, and by others in the region as a familiar landmark, the Omega
tower wasn't always so warmly received.
Woodside was actually chosen because communities in other areas refused
to have a tower installed during the Cold War era.
"It was a politically sensitive time with the Cold War still happening.
Although there was some other sites chosen, this was one where people accepted it," explains Glen Hay, the manager of the
Omega Tower Communications.
"There certainly were some protests about its construction. They thought
it might be a nuclear target in the event of war."
The Omega system, which relied on eight towers such as the one at Woodside,
positioned at various points on the globe, had an operational life-span of about 15 years.
"It was the fore-runner to GPS. It provided navigation systems for aircrafts
and ships. It was reasonably inaccurate by today's modern standards and by the time it closed in 1997 it was obsolete," Glen
At the time the Omega system closed down the Defence Department bought
the Woodside site and converted it into a long-range high-powered radio transmitter for submarines. The Tower has been operating
in that capacity ever since, but its role has been superseded by more sophisticated technology.
"I'm unsure what the Defence Department will do with it. If they can't
find another user for it I suspect that it will be felled and the place will be rehabilitated to farmland," Glen Hay says.
Some of the equipment from the site will end up in the Gippsland Regional
Maritime Museum and museum President Bill Black says it will be major coup for the museum's display of navigational equipment.
"It's most exciting. We've got the helix coil and we've got some really
impressive other pieces which will go into storage for a period of time and then we hope to be able to recreate at Gippsland
Regional Maritime Museum a wonderful exhibit of what the old Omega display was like. It's something that is going to be particularly
unique to our museum, " Bill Black says.
He says the Omega system was an important chapter in the history of
"The Omega system sent out low radio wave frequencies into the atmosphere.
There were eight stations around the world, each had a slightly different pattern of frequency. Where three of those patterns
intersected the Captain of the ship or aircraft could get a read out of his latitude, or longitude, so it was the fore-runner
of the satellite system."
"It (the Woodside tower) was the only one in the southern hemisphere
so we feel very privileged to be getting this equipment."