1912 - Melbourne Radio - VIM

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

1912 - the Domain mast (recolored)

Closure of VIM from the Domain site - article in the Melbourne "Argus" of August 16 1926

Melbourne Radio (VIM)
 was the first coast station commencing service from Melbourne's Domain site, and started on February 8, 1912.

It was equipped with a 2.5 kW quenched spark gap transmitter operating on the frequency of 500 kHz, and fed into a vertical antenna about 50 metres high

The station was located on the hill on Domain Rd, just south of Melbourne’s CBD.

In the mid-1920s, local longwave and mediumwave broadcasting started in Melbourne, and listeners, particularly those in the southern suburbs had complained bitterly of severe wideband interference caused by VIM, which blanketed the entire bands.

As a result of these problems, in August 1926, the VIM transmitter was transferred from the Domain to the AWA site at Braybrook, west of Melbourne, at that time a rural area, where the 3LO mediumwave, and AWA’s shortwave 2ME transmitters were located. The receiving equipment remained at the Domain, and the transmitter at Braybrook was remotely keyed.

In 1931, the receiving equipment was moved to Ballan, 50 km west of Melbourne, at the new site managed by AWA for the shortwave Beam Wireless service.

In 1932, the Domain facility was demolished.

In 1938, the 3LO transmitter was relocated to St. Albans (Sydenham), along with 3AR mediumwave (which had been operating from Broadmeadows.

In 1966, the Ballan Beam Wireless station closed down, and VIM operations were transferred to a new station at Cape Schanck from where it provided safety services for Bass Strait and Tasmanian coastal waters until its closure on 30th June 2002 along with all the other Australian coast radio stations.

The Cape was chosen because it was 'electrically quiet', that is it was well away from the overwhelming electrical 'noise' that has developed in the city. The Cape Schanck Facility occupied over 100 hectares. Most of it was open paddock where the large antennas were located. The buildings occupied a very small part of the site, which incidentally was kept in 'you could eat off the floor' condition.

From the testimonials at the station it was highly regarded by seafarers for its helpful service in providing weather reports, ship to phone communication links and communications services on a range of bands in voice and, until recently, in Morse code.

The services provided by Melbourne Radio, such as Morse code, were gradually closed down due to changes in policy and developments in communication technology, for example, satellite communications systems.

In 1947 The Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) - OTC(A) was formed and took over responsibility for the network. This was the period of unprecedented growth in Maritime Communications. During the 1960s six new stations were built at Carnarvon, Broome, Townsville, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

A new station was built at La Perouse, Sydney in 1979. The Seventies and eighties were the halcyon years for the CRS with traffic figures soaring to new heights every month. Radio Telex and the VHF Seaphone service was introduced.

In 1992 OTC(A) was merged with Telecom and became Telstra. The nineties saw the introduction of satellite technologies and traffic started to decline on the radio circuits. Ships Radio Officers were abolished and communications were handled by inexperienced navigation officers. Broome, Thursday Island, Rockhampton, Hobart, Carnarvon and Esperance radios closed.

In 1996 Sydney radio was downgraded to an unmanned remote station and the Radphone service and half of its GMDSS service transferred to Brisbane. Darwin was remote controlled from Perth and Townsville and Sydney remote controlled from Brisbane.

The last official Morse code communication in Australia was conducted between Melbourne Radio and the Station in Canberra on February 1 1999, and the Morse Telegraphy service closed after 87 years.

In 2000 the AMSA contract was awarded to a New Zealand company, TVNZ to build two new stations at Wiluna, WA and Charleville, QLD remotely controlled from Canberra.

These new stations provide HF Digital Selective Calling
(DSC) facilities as well as weather and navigation warnings to shipping over 300 gross tonnes via radio and satellite.

On February 28 2002 the HF Radphone Direct Dial service closed.

The Melbourne Maritime Communications Facility at Cape Schanck was closed down on July 1 2002 after 90 years of operation.

All the Telstra coast stations closed on June 30 2002. Coastal GMDSS services for ships under 300 gross tonnes are now provided by new radio networks under the control of State Government Authorities.

On December 1 2006 after more than 30 years in operation, the VHF Seaphone network closed.

VIM Cape Schanck receiver room in 2002

VIM Cape Schanck main control room in 2002

Video of a visit by a radio group to VIM at Cape Schanck shortly before it closed down in 2002

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