The Mont Albert District - a Pictorial History 1830 to 2013

1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district

Indigenous Heritage
Geology and Topography
Vegetation and Fauna
Climate and Hydrology
1840s to 1870s
1850s - Parish of Nunawading
1852 - Whitehorse Inn
1861 - Postal Services
1880s - Electricity Supply
1880s to 1920s
1882 - Phantom Railways to Doncaster
1883 - Residential Heritage Precinct
1884 - Broughton Park subdivsion
1884 - Brickworks
1885 - Surrey Hills district - map
1888 - Football Clubs
1889 - Gas Supply and Gasworks
1889 - Doncaster Electric Tramway and Tower
1890 - Mont Albert Railway Station
1892 - Surrey Hills Golf Club
1892 - Water Supply, Reservoirs and Sewerage
1899 - Telephone Services
1905 - The Surrey Dive
1907 - Scouts and Guides
1912 - Mont Albert Village Shopping Precinct
1914 - Mont Albert Progress Association
1916 - Californian Bungalows
1917 - Schools
1917 - Wattle Park
1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district
1924 - Black's Estate
1925 - Bus Services
1929 - Tramways
1930 - Cricket Clubs in Mont Albert
1930s - Balwyn - Beckett Park Bonfires and Wildlife Sanctuary
1948 - Grange Tennis Courts
1957 - Pioneer Park
1961 - Surrey Hills Communications Tower
1981 - Box Hill Miniature Railway
Koonung Creek Parklands
Heritage Notes
Mont Albert Road - Early History
Mont Albert Rd - the East End
Elgar Rd - north and south of Mont Albert Rd
Mont Albert Rd - View St to Elgar Rd
Bushland Reserves
Service Associations
Sporting Clubs
Box Hill Institute of TAFE
Walking Trails
The Author's Websites
References and Acknowledgements

2013 - 18 Blackburn St, Surrey Hills - red icon

Author's Note
The present-day districts of Surrey Hills, Mont Albert, Box Hill and Canterbury were the locations for several experimental shortwave radio transmissions in the 1920s. These stories may interest readers!


First Two-way shortwave contact with England
It is not commonly known, but it is claimed that the first two-way amateur shortwave radio contact between Australia and England was on
November 14, 1924.

This was from the experimental station "3BQ", operated by Mr Max Howden, at his residence in Surrey Hills, at 18 Blackburn St, just a few streets away from the author's home!

The story appeared in the Box Hill "Reporter" newspaper of November 21 1924.

The achievement was also reported in the Melbourne "Argus", November 26, 1924, and the original article can be viewed or downloaded from the National Library of Australia archives,

The house is long gone, and apartments now occupy the site.

The year of 1924 was also marked by innumerable experimental SW two-way long-distance transmissions from amateurs in Australia.

This is the actual article, with the original text "cleaned up" by this author,  but grammar has not been changed!


Amateur's Apparatus Described

Melbourne Argus - November 26 1924

A description of the transmitting and receiving apparatus used at his experimental wireless station at Box Hill during  recent wireless tests to England was given by Mr T W M Howden at a meeting of the Wireless Institute at Anzac House in Melbourne last night.  At the dinner, which will now in future precede all general meetings of the Institute, Mr Howden was presented with a pair of wireless headphones in recognition of his performance.

Mr Howden said that a feature of the apparatus used in the communication with England was that, compared to the appliances generally used for long-distance wireless transmission, it was extremely simple, and the receiving apparatus was of an inexpensive nature The power used at the transmitter varied between 100 and 150 watts and the current in the aerial from 0.9 of an amp to 1.4 amperes A single valve, having a rated input of 250 watts, was used in the transmitter and this was operated with a pressure of about 2000 volts.

Power to work the station was obtained from the electric light mains, and the pressure was raised to about 2000 volts by a suitable  transformer The alternating current delivered by the transformer was converted into a direct current by being passed through a chemical rectifying device consisting of 101 jars A standard type of amateur transmitter, which had previously been used for low power transmission, was employed.

The aerial used was about 75ft high, and consisted of a small flat top ' T * aerial operated in conjunction with the ' T" type counterpoise which was used instead of an earth connection.

To obtain satisfactory operation on the short wave lengths used it was necessary to make the aerial as small as was consistent with the maximum possible height and the counterpoise was also made as small as would give satisfactory tuning in conjunction with the aerial.

In this manner no trouble had been experienced in maintaining a steady wave of 88 metres.

The receiver used was in principle one of the first and most generally used types of valve circuits. Only two valves were used, and the receiver contained no radio frequency amplifier.

In designing the tuners for the receiver, special precautions were taken to prevent any loss of the received energy, and in this manner it had been possible to receive American amateurs with the aerial disconnected from the receiving apparatus

The Work of Sydney Newman

Sydney Newman was an engineer with AWA and in 1921 he established an amateur wireless station at his home in Mont Albert Rd, Canterbury, not far from the author's home.  

From this suburban location,  Newman ran many broadcasts over his wireless station VK3ME, sometimes under his own initiative and sometimes as part of his work with AWA.

In 1927, Sydney Newman built a shortwave transmitter which was installed with the mediumwave station 3LO in Braybrook and the callsign was transferred from Newman's home to the new location.  Extensive Morse Code tests were conducted over this new transmitter in preparation for launching a new shortwave broadcasting service.

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