Goodbye VNG

This article was first broadcast on Adventist World radio and now forms part of the Radio Heritage Collection ©. All rights reserved to Ragusa Media Group, PO Box 14339, Wellington, New Zealand. This material is licenced on a non-exclusive basis to South Pacific DX Resource hosted on radiodx.com for a period of five years from January 1 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

According to letters sent out from the chronohertz station VNG in Llandilo (LAN-DIE-LOW) in New South Wales Australia, this station was closed down a few days ago at the end of the old year. It is planned that callibrations by GPS satellites will replace the signals broadcast by shortwave station VNG. It is possible however, that the low powered 1 kW service on 2500 kHz for the Sydney area may still remain on air.

The history of the chronohertz station VNG, with its familar ticking sounds, goes way back more than 50 years. Test broadcasts from a 2 kW transmitter at Lyndhurst in Victoria under the callsign VLX were noted back in March 1946. At the time, this transmitter was carrying a relay of the ABC programming in parallel with the other shortwave station VLR.

Soon afterwards, this transmitter began to broadcast only time signals with a standard tone on a constant frequency. The callsign was changed to VNG reminiscent of earlier time signals that were emitted by maritime radio stations as XNG. The NG stood for navigation and the X was an abbreviation for transmission.

An improved service was introduced on September 21, 1964, using a 10 kW STC transmitter. Subsequently, two more transmitters at 10 kW were installed at Lyndhurst for this chronohertz service.

The ABC closed their Lyndhurst radio station in 1987 though the VNG service remained on air for a few months longer. During the following year, 1988, four of the 10 kW STC transmitters were removed from Lyndhurst and transferred to Llandilo in New South Wales where they were re-installed at the Interational Transmitting Station operated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A few years later, VNG bought two more transmitters; one was the 10 kW ABC unit VLQ near Brisbane in Queensland and the other was a 2.5 kW Harris transmitter at commercial station 2KA in the Blue Mountains out from Sydney.

Over the years, various transmitter configurations have been used on various frequencies at VNG Llandilo. Their QSL card shows four main frequencies; 5000, 8638, 12984 & 16000 kHz. All four transmitters were STC units at 10 kW, with the old VLQ in operation as a standby unit. The transmitter for the Sydney coverage on 2500 kHz is listed as a 1 kW Harris transmitter.

The antennas for the four main transmitters are described as quadrant dipoles, and the antenna for the Sydney service was a vertical monopole.

Chronohertz station VNG was noted as a good verifier, from both offices in Canberra and Sydney. The Canberra QSLs in the form of folded sheets were signed by Dr Marion Leiba who is noted in Australia for her research into earthquake phenomena. Some QSLs were actual photos of transmitters and antennas.

Anyway, whatever QSLs you do hold from VNG are now unique, in view of the fact that they represent a part of Australia’s radio history. Incidentally, the VNG authorities are now looking for a suitable place to house all of these old transmitters in their retirement. A musem somewhere maybe?

Feedback File:

From Paul Tiffany

Just have a read of the Radio Heritage Collection and have looked at the page for VNG (Au chrono station). Attached is a file I found on a news group and is the recording of the final seconds of VNG. I don’t know what frequency or location etc… and the exact poster of the file is long gone too, but you might find it interesting.

Chronohertz Station VNG

References

——————————————————————————————————————
Location Information & Reference
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Lyndhurst
Test broadcasts as VLX, will be marine time signals; LI 79.24 23-3-46
2 @ 1kW installed for VNG; AMP RA 337
VNG began 21-9-64 with 10 kW; AMP RA 338
New VNG; RTVN 77.14 1-65 101
2nd @ 10 kW added; AMP RA 338
3rd @ 10 kW installed March 1972; AMP RA 339
VNG on air for 23 years at Lyndhurst; Leaflet 15, July 2001
VNG closed October 1987; Leaflet 15, July 2001
VNG service continued after ABC/RA service closed; Leaflet 15, July 2001

Llandilo
1 kW 2500 kHz for Sydney inaugurated January 15, 1992; Leaflet 15, July 2001
1st unit on 2500 Harris Gates; replaced by 2KA 2 kW; WS4 22-1-95
Possibility of moving up to Brisbane; WS4 22-1-95
VLQ 10 kW (4SU48B) bought by VNG; WS4 22-1-95
2KA 2 kW STC not yet installed will be used on 5 Mhz; WS57 28-1-96
VLQ 10 kW not yet installed as standby for all channels; WS57 28-1-96
Civil Aviation Authority International Transmitting Station Stoney Creek Rd; L 15
Equipment; Leaflet 15, July 2001
2500 kHz 1 kW STC 4SU55A/S Vertical monopole
5000 10 STC 4SU48B Wells quadrant
8638 10 STC 4SU48B Delta quadrant
12984 10 STC 4SU48B Delta quadrant
16000 10 (5 kW) STC 4SU48B Delta quadrant
Closure of VNG at June 30 2002 after 38 years of service; VNG letter
Closure of VNG postponed till December 31 2002; VNG letter
Permanent home sought for VNG in retirement; VNG letter
3 @ 10 kW STC, 1 @ 5 kW STC (16 Mhz), 1 kW Harris Gates 2500; QSL 2002
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