1975 - ABC Carnarvon (Western Australia)

Project Overview
1800s - Land Telegraphy
1874 - Guglielmo Marconi - a Tribute
1895 - Wireless Telegraphy
1901 - Wireless Telegraphy
1902 - Wireless Telegraphy in Australia
1904 - Australian Coastal Radio
1906 - Wireless Telephony
1912 - Melbourne Radio - VIM
1914 - Shortwave Wireless Telephony
1920s - Commercial Shortwave Telephony Development
1920s - Receivers
1920 - The huge RCA Longwave Station in New York
1920 - Wireless broadcasting in Australia
1920s - First shortwave stations in Victoria
1921 - Discovery of Shortwave Propagation
1921 - Koo Wee Rup (Victoria) Experimental Wireless Receiving Station
1923- Longwave Broadcasting in Australia
1923 - Evolution of Australian Domestic Radio
1924 - 3LO - Melbourne's Second Broadcaster
1924 - 3AR - Melbourne's first broadcaster
1924 - The Braybrook (Melbourne) Transmitting Site
1925 - First Shortwave Stations in Western Australia
1926 - First Shortwave Stations in New South Wales
1926 - RAAF Communications - Laverton (Vic)
1927 - Beam Wireless Worldwide
1927 - Beam Wireless from Australia
1928 - ABC Lyndhurst (Victoria)
1930 - AWA Receiving Station at La Perouse (Sydney)
1930 - AWA Radio Centre at Pennant Hills
1933 (to 1969) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1936 - Ship Broadcaster - the MS Kanimbla
1939 - Belconnen Communications Station (Canberra)
1940 - RAAF Receiving Station at Werribee (Victoria)
1941 - RAAF Frognall (Melbourne)
1941 - ABC Brisbane
1942 - Army Wireless Chain - west of Melbourne
1942 - Dutch Stations in Australia
1943 - ABC Radio Australia - Shepparton (Victoria)
1943 - Army Shortwave HF Stations in Melbourne
1944 - ABC - Radio Australia - Looking Back
1945 - PMG Receiving Station - Highpark (Victoria)
1945 - Radio Australia - DXers Calling
1946 - Radio Australia - Communications Programs
1946 - VNG Time Signal Station
1948 - Radio Australia QSL Cards
1948 - ABC Sydney
1966 - ABC Cox Peninsula (Darwin)
1970 (to 2012) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1975 - ABC Gnangara (Western Australia)
1975 - ABC Carnarvon (Western Australia)
1978 - Omega Navigation Station - Woodside (Victoria)
1985 - ABC Northern Territory
1989 - ABC Brandon (Queensland)
2003 - Private Shortwave Broadcasters
Timeline - Part One - 1839 to 1927
Timeline - Part Two - 1928 to 2012
SPECIAL - Licencing of Shortwave Broadcasters
SPECIAL - Radio Receivers for Shortwave
SPECIAL - Radio Monitoring as a Hobby
Bibliography, References and Resources
Links to the author's personal websites

1984 - new 300 kW transmitter at Carnarvon


It was on Christmas Eve December 24 1974, that Cyclone Tracy destroyed 80% of the city of Darwin in northern Australia. 

The modern transmitter base for Radio Australia at Cox Peninsula was disabled and it was very apparent that a new station would be needed, at last on a temporary fill-in basis.

Site studies were conducted in Western Australia and test transmissions were conducted from Gnangara near Perth, using two transmitters of 7.5 kW each. 

At this stage, three possible locations, all vacant at the time, were given serious consideration. 

Finally the facility near Carnarvon was chosen, due mainly to the fact that it was located closest to the desired target areas.  Work commenced in mid-1975 on reinforcing the main building against possible cyclone damage and modifying it for use as a shortwave relay station.

New transmitters were also needed quickly. 

A 250 kW transmitter manufactured in Switzerland by Brown Boveri was installed in the new radio station as the first unit.  The second transmitter was a 100 kW Harris from the United States.  This unit was already in storage in Adelaide at the time and it had been procured originally to begin a shortwave service for the Northern Territory.

The third unit was a 300 kW Thomson transmitter made in France, by essentially the same company that made the first transmitter.

The low, undulating hill on the side of the transmitter building was bulldozed and five towers were installed in the leveled area of red sand to support the four curtain antennas.  The entire antenna system was designed so that it could be lowered and tied down in order to minimize damage from an approaching cyclone.

Preliminary test transmissions began from the 250 kW transmitter early in December 1975 and official test broadcasts began a couple of weeks later on December 20.  This date was the anniversary of the original launching of Radio Australia 36 years earlier, back in the year 1939. 

Five years later this unit was taken off the air for a few weeks for design modifications and one of the transmitters at the partially restored facility near Darwin was re-activated temporarily on a fill-in basis.

Programming at this stage came by broadband carrier from Melbourne to Perth, and by ordinary landline up to Carnarvon.  A low powered shortwave transmitter at Lyndhurst was also available as an emergency backup for the program feed.  When the broadband carrier was finally extended to Carnarvon the programming line feed for this transmitter was designated as VLK.

The second transmitter was the 100 kW Harris and this unit began test broadcasts on February 15 in 1976. Strangely, just two weeks later, the station was closed temporarily and the antenna system was lowered as a precaution against an approaching cyclone.

Three weeks later again, this same transmitter was taken out of service for modification and it did not return to regular service again until November, a period of nearly nine months. 

This unit was on the air with the program feed designated as VLL.

The third transmitter, rated at 300 kW and designated as VLM, was taken into regular service on May 6, 1984 and it was officially opened a few weeks later. 


With the changing winds of fortune, the decision was made to close this so called temporary station at Carnarvon after it had performed 21 years of on air service.  The station was finally closed at 1430 UTC on July 31, 1996.

And what happened to the transmitters?  The first two transmitters, the 250 kW BBC unit VLK and the 100 kW Harris unit VLL, were removed and sold for scrap.

The third unit, the Thomcast VLM at 300 kW, was removed and re-installed at the Darwin radio base where it returned to the air as VLT.

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