1978 - Omega Navigation Station - Woodside (Victoria)

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

2008 - the Omega Tower

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.

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.

Source for following article : ABC Radio Gippsland December 2008

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 Hay explains.

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 marine navigation.

"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."


2008 - Omega Tower

2008 - Equipment at Omega Station

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