Australia Darwin - that modern state-of-the-art international shortwave broadcasting station as it once was, is gone, gone
forever! It is no longer on the air, it has been dismantled, and the property has reverted to its original inhabitants, the
In the early part of the year 1942, Darwin
was largely destroyed in double bombing raids on the same day, and ultimately, a total of 64 bombing raids were made on the
town. The coastal maritime station VID was destroyed in the first raid and the radio service was quickly transferred to the
airport radio station on the edge of town.
Darwin was rebuilt after the war, and
it was largely destroyed again by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day 1974, and it has again arisen for the third occasion, this
time as a beautified modern city.
Likewise, the Radio Australia shortwave
station underwent three different and separate eras.
this year, work commenced on the station at a location on Cox Peninsula, 12 km across the harbor, or 150km around
the unmade road. Three Collins transmitters rated at 250 kW were installed and these were activated progressively beginning
in December 1968, though full usage was not implemented until nearly three years later.
Initially, programming was taken off air
on shortwave from Lyndhurst and Shepparton and also from Brisbane, though three program lines became available three years
later when the microwave link to Darwin was completed from Mt. Isa in western Queensland. The three program lines from the
studios in Melbourne were designated as VLK, VLL and VLM.
However, the station was rendered inoperable
as a result of the Christmas cyclone in 1974, and that was the end of its first era of operation, after just three years of
full time on air duty.
During this interim period, a new, and
supposedly temporary, shortwave station was installed into a vacant American NASA building on the edge of Carnarvon in Western
Australia. In the meantime, consideration was given as to whether the Darwin station should be renovated, or re-erected further
Almost ten years after the station was
damaged in the cyclone event, the Radio Australia transmitter facility was re-activated at its original location with a regular
schedule, using two transmitters on air and a third in hot standby. That was in September 1984.
this year, two new Thomson transmitters were installed; and soon fterwards, the 300 kW Thomson at Carnarvon, VLK, was taken
to Darwin, where it was installed as VLU, but never taken into active service for Radio Australia.
The station was again closed, on this time due to budget restrictions. That was the end of its second era
of active service, lasting a dozen or so years.
this year, a lengthy series of short test broadcasts began from Darwin with the use of several different transmitters
and aerial systems. These tests were performed to keep the station alive in anticipation of possible coming events.
During this interim period, several other
international broadcasting services, such as the BBC London, Deutsche Welle Germany, and the Voice of America in Washington
DC, and others as well, made overtures to the Australian government requesting the usage of the Darwin station as a relay
However, none of these requests were granted, and instead, the station
was sold to Christian Voice in this year.
During the ten year period under Christian
Voice, two Continental transmitters formerly in use with Adventist World Radio as KSDA3 and KSDA4 on the island of Guam were
installed at Darwin and taken into regular service. The 300 kW Thomson from Carnarvon was also activated by Christian Voice.
During this third era of on-air performance, the Darwin station again carried some of the Radio Australia programming for
coverage into Asia.
Just before mid-year in this year, the station was again closed, quite unceremoniously, and this
time dismantled. Some equipment went to Shepparton for subsequent installation at Radio Australia, and some went to the new
HCJB station at Kununurra, just across the state line near the northern coast in Western Australia. The building and the property
at Cox Peninsula has already been given back to the Aboriginal Belyuen Community who inhabit the area.
There was also a receiver station located
ten miles distant from the transmitter station and that was closed back in 1974 when the microwave broadband link was extended
to Darwin, thus providing the program feed from the Melbourne studios.