1939 - Belconnen Communications Station (Canberra)

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1800s - Land Telegraphy
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1901 - Wireless Telegraphy
1902 - Wireless Telegraphy in Australia
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1914 - Shortwave Wireless Telephony
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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
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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

1951 - Belconnen transmitters


During the era when Canberra city was still under its early development, the navy recommended that a large communication station should be established in the capital territory near Canberra.

Construction work for this new station at Belconnen, near Canberra, began without publicity. As the station was nearing completion during the following year, and on subsequent occasions also, rumors suggested incorrectly that this station might also be used as the transmitter base for the planned shortwave service of Radio Australia.

April 22 1939
The Belconnen station was officially opened and the first operational transmission as a navy communication station was made six months later.

The original transmitter was a high powered longwave unit, radiating from a very tall antenna system suspended from three towers 200 metres high and a 1.5 km apart, using 44 kHz. As time went by, a cluster of shortwave transmitters was installed, and a bevy of curtain and rhombic antennas was erected.

The station was equipped with 40 kW and 10 kW HF transmitters that used a variety of antennas including rhombic, vertical monopole, and log-periodic antennas. The station was initially built with small cottages flanking the eastern side of the site, housing the electrical engineer-in-charge and the sailors who maintained the transmitters and antennas.

These were removed in the late 1980s, although the mess building remained, with personnel moving into housing in the growing suburbs that gradually encroached on the site. The station ended transmissions on 1 June 2005, and the remaining structures on the site were demolished in December 2006 to allow for residential development on the site, forming the new suburb of Lawson.

At the height of its operation, the transmitter station at Belconnen contained 38 shortwave transmitters ranging in power from 10 kW to 40 kW, with 50 antenna systems, though most dominant in the skyline were the three tall longwave towers. Three receiver stations associated with the transmitter station were located progressively at three different sites nearby to Canberra; Red Hill, Fyshwick and Bonshaw.

During its more than 66 years of service as a major communication radio station, Belconnen was on the air under at least seven different callsigns, and these were:


Navy communication


Communication with commercial shipping


Weather and shipping information


Time signals after the closing of the chronohertz station VNG at Lyndhurst in Victoria


Navy broadcasting service


Navy broadcasting service


Navy broadcasting service

The first known usage of the Belconnen radio station for the broadcast of radio programming occurred in the year 1956, and this was on the occasion of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Victoria. All available shortwave transmitter space in Australia was pressed into service to ensure that adequate radio coverage could be provided for all foreign radio media covering the sporting events in Melbourne. It is reported that the navy communication station at Belconnen in the Australian Capital Territory also was in use for the relay of radio news and commentaries to other overseas countries during the Olympic Games.

Soon after the VNG chronohertz transmitters at Lyndhurst in Victoria were closed in 1987, the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne provided a radio time service via the Belconnen transmitter station. This familiar ticking sound was on the air for a period of twelve years and it was heard on three shortwave channels; 5100 kHz at 5 kW, and 6488 kHz and 12982 kHz, both at 10 kW.

A small temporary studio was installed in Canberra by the navy for the production of radio programming for broadcast to Australian service personnel on duty in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and at sea. Initially, this programming was on the air as the Gulf Link Service and it was relayed by Radio Australia, Darwin to the Arabian Gulf area in May 1991. Five months later, the Belconnen transmitters began to carry this service, and the Darwin relay was subsequently discontinued, in May 1993.

In the meantime, a new and more substantial production studio was installed in Canberra, and programming was produced for broadcast under the callsign, 2AAFR, Australian Armed Forces Radio, which was in reality a New South Wales callsign, not an Australian Capital Territory callsign.

Way back, the first radio broadcasting station launched in Canberra was a commercial station and it was inaugurated in 1931 under the callsign 2CA. Even though the initial digit 2 was allocated to the state of New South Wales, yet all of the early radio stations in Canberra were also allocated callsigns with the initial digit 2. However, in more recent time, amateur callsigns in the federal territory have been allocated a VK1 callsign, and several of the subsequent AM and FM broadcasting stations were also allocated callsigns beginning with the initial number 1.

As far as the radio broadcasting service from Belconnen was concerned, the callsign 2AAFR soon gave way to the initials, AAFR, and also ADFR, Australian Defence Forces Radio. This radio broadcasting service was on the air from Belconnen for a period of eight years and it was beamed to Rwanda, Malaysia, Cambodia and Timor.

For a short period of time during the year 1999, the Belconnen station was heard on air with a relay of the ABC programming service known as 2 Triple J, that is 2JJJ.

It should also be noted that programming from the Canberra studio was relayed by the navy transmitting station located at North West Cape in Western Australia. On some occasions, the programming was separate, and sometimes it was in parallel with the Belconnen broadcasts.

The broadcast of radio programming from Belconnen ended in 1999, but shortly afterwards their Canberra studio produced another series of programs beamed to Timor, and this was relayed by Radio Australia in Shepparton, Victoria.

The large and powerful navy communication station at Belconnen in Australia's Capital Territory is now gone, and it has been replaced by suburban housing. However, many international radio monitors in many countries throughout the world hold historic memories of this station in their collection of QSL cards and letters.

have been issued over the years for the several callsigns in use at Belconnen, including VHP, VIX, VIS, AXM, and the navy broadcasting service itself. In addition, Radio Australia also honoured the broadcast of the navy programming over their Darwin and Shepparton
transmitters with their large and colourful QSL cards.

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