Radio Anniversary In Western Australia

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program 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 the South Pacific DX Resource hosted on www.radiodx.com for a period of 5 years from December 1 2003. Author: Adrian Peterson

It was on October 19, 1939 that the first test transmissions went on the air from the new ABC shortwave station at Wanneroo (won-e-ROO, the first syllable rhymes with Don) in Western Australia, just 64 years ago today. The station is long since gone, but the story is still very interesting

The Waneroo station was established out in a country area some fifteen miles north west of the state capital, Perth, and it was originally designed for use as a large mediumwave facility. The first transmitter at this new site was a 5 kW unit for mediumwave 6WF in Perth and this was installed in 1932.

Then in 1939, another ABC station, 6WN, was transferred from its city location atop the GPO building and installed as a 2 kW unit at Wanneroo. Simultaneously, another 2 kW transmitter was also installed at Waneroo for coverage of outback areas in Western Australia and this was the shortwave unit VLW.

The first test broadcasts from the new shortwave transmitter went on the air with a relay from the two mediumwave stations on October 19, 1939, and the first test broadcasts to Africa with programming from the new “Australia Calling” went on the air a few weeks later, on January 24. However, the new service to Africa was terminated just one year later, due to the fact that it was difficult to obtain an experienced announcer in the Afrikaans language, and also because of unreliable coverage in Africa from the low powered 2 kW transmitter.

In October, test transmissions were run for coverage into Indonesia, but these also suffered from interference and unreliable coverage.

In 1959, the entire station was rebuilt and three shortwave transmitters were installed, two at 10 kW and one at 50 kW. These three units were on the air under the two callsigns, VLW & VLX, and at times, the programming from Radio Australia in Melbourne was relayed by all three of these transmitters for coverage into Africa and Asia. Ten years later, the VLX callsign was amalgamated into VLW, due to the fact that all three shortwave transmitters were at times on the air simultaneously with the same ABC programming.

Towards the end of 1993, the ABC announced that they planned on closing the VLW shortwave service. The equipment was now very old, housing estates were encroaching on the Wanneroo site, and the number of listeners in the outback areas had dwindled due to alternative methods of radio and TV delivery.

The first closure date was announced for December 14, 1993. However, several hundred listeners in the north west objected to the closure of their only ABC radio coverage, and the date was extended for a few more weeks, so that alternative radio coverage could be explored. The final closure date was January 21, 1994 at 2200 UTC. And that was the end of VLW, the ABC shortwave service for the outback areas of Western Australia.

ABC Radio & Radio Australia – Wanneroo, Western Australia

Time Lines

————————————————————————————————-
Service Call kW Year Date Events
————————————————————————————————-
ABC VLW 2 1939 Oct 19 New transmitter activated with test broadcasts
10 1960 Replacement transmitter installed
1969 Jan 1 VLX callsign amalgamated into VLW
1993 Dec 14 VLW outback service closed

ABC VLX 10 1949 April 19 New transmitter activated
10 1961 Replacement transmitter installed
50 1962 Additional new transmitter installed
1969 Jan 1 VLX callsign amalgamated into VLW

RA VLW 2 1940 Jan 24 1st tests to Africa for “Australia Calling”
1940 Apr 7 Regular relay for “Australia Calling” begins
1941 Jan Africa Service terminated
1941 Oct 1 Relay to Indonesia for “Australia Calling”
1945 Africa Service taken by new VLC Shepparton

RA VLW 10 1969 Test broadcasts to Africa 2 @ 10 kW

RA VLX 50 1963 Jan 6 New relay for Radio Australia to Africa
1973 Mar 4 Radio Australia relays ended
============================================================
ABC Radio & Radio Australia – Wanneroo, Western Australia

References

————————————————————————————————-
Year Date Information & Reference
————————————————————————————————-
1932 Dec 14 5 kW MW 6WF activated at Wanneroo 15 m NW of Perth; RA 26 2
1938 Wanneroo radio base under construction; LI 79.24 29-10-38
1939 MW 6WN transferred from GPO building to Wanneroo; RA 26 2
1939 Oct 19 New 2 kW transmitter activated as VLW, tests, 6WF & 6WN; RA26
1939 Dec 12 VLW officially opened for ABC Service
1940 VLW 11830 testing new overseas service; ARW 77.8 1-1-40
1940 Jan 12 1st test to Africa VLW2 9650
1940 Jan 15 1st VLW program to Africa
1940 Jan 24 1st relay for “Australia Calling” beamed to Africa 9652.4 kHz; RA26
1941 Jan Africa Service terminated; AMP 625
1941 Oct 1 Australia Calling relay to Indonesia; RA26 2, AMP 625
1948 New 10 kW for Wanneroo; RN 4-48 150
1948 ABC announces construction new station Waneroo; R&H 77.14 84
1949 Apr Testing beginning April 6130 kHz; R&H 77.14 90
1949 April 19 New 10 kW transmitter activated as VLX; RA26 3
1958 Jan VLX 10 kW moves 6130 to 6140 avoid PNG; R&H 77.14 2-58 112
1959 Rebuilding program began, new transmitters & antennas ; RA26 2
1960 10 kW replacement transmitter installed for VLW; RA26 3
1961 Replacement 10 kW transmitter installed for VLX; RA 26 3
1962 Additional new 50 kW transmitter installed for VLX; RA 25 3
1963 Jan 6 New RA relay to Africa no calls, 1963 – 1973, 50 kW; RA26 2
1963 New relay C Africa 9590 & 11955 2 hrs daily; R&H 77.14 3-58 112
1953 New RA relay 9590 & 11955 2 hrs daily; R&H 77.14 3-63 117
1969 Jan 1 3 SW on air & VLX callsign amalgamated into VLW; RA 26 3
1969 Test broadcasts Africa, 2 @ 10 kW, then regular service; AMP 347
1973 Mar 4 Africa Service transferred to Shepparton; AMP 347, 625
198x Mar Three day tests to Africa on 9710; RA 3
1983 RQ for fundung upgrade Wanneroo; Spectrum
Rumors of coming closure unfounded, will be upgraded
1990 VLW Wanneroo to go to Muchea, 80 kM north Perth; ADXN 1-90 9
1990 VLW Wanneroo to go to Muchea; NASWA 2-90 21
1993 Dec 14 VLW outback SW service scheduled to close; ODXA 1-94 61, 8-94
1994 Jan 17 New date for closure of VLW; ODXA 2-94 65
1994 Jan 21 Finally left the air at 2200 UTC; ODXA 3-94 61
AMP Station Profile, ODXA 8-94 72
Robert Jones Station Profile, ADXN 9-77
===========================================================


ABC Radio & Radio Australia – Wanneroo, Western Australia

Known Shortwave Channels

————————————————————————————————-
Call kW Service kHz
————————————————————————————————-
VLW 2 PMG 6130 6140 9560 9610 11830

VLW 2 ABC 9680
VLW2 2 ABC 9560 9665
VLW3 2 ABC 9680 11830 11950
VLW5 2 ABC 9610 9680
VLW6 2 ABC 6140 9520 9610 9680 11830 11840
VLW7 2 ABC 9520 9680
VLW9 2 ABC 9610
VLW11 2 ABC 11830 11840

VLW 2 RA 6130 9652.4
VLW2 2 RA 9650
VLW3 2 RA 11830
VLW4 2 RA 9615 9623 9665
VLW5 2 RA 6180

VLW 10 ABC 6140 9610
VLW6 10 ABC 6140
VLW9 10 ABC 9610

VLW 10 RA 7180
VLW 10 RA 9665

VLW 50 ABC 9610 15425
VLW9 50 ABC 9610
VLW15 50 ABC 15425

VLX 10 ABC 6130 9610 15425 4897.5
VLX2 10 ABC 4897 6130
VLX3 10 ABC 9610 15425
VLX4 10 ABC 4897
VLX6 10 ABC 6130 6140
VLX9 10 ABC 9610
VLX15 10 ABC 15425

VLX 50 ABC 9610 15425
VLX9 50 ABC 9610
VLX15 50 ABC 15425
============================================================

ABC Radio – Wanneroo, Western Australia

QSLs

————————————————————————————————-
Call kW kHz Year Date Card Holder
————————————————————————————————-
VLW 2 Kangaroo CPRV
VLW 2 PMG CPRV
VLW3 2 11830 1945 Mar 4 Kangaroo AMP
VLW3 2 11830 1945 Oct 12 Kangaroo AMP
VLW5 2 9610 1948 Apr 5 Kangaroo AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1966 Aug 22 Australia Blue Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1971 Jan 25 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1974 May 5 Australia Blue Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1977 Aug 4-1 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1977 Aug 4-2 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW6 10 5140 1982 Apr 12 Signed Card AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1982 Jul 13 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW6 19 6140 1990 Sep 12 :arge White Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1991 Nov 19 Large White Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1992 Jan 10 Large White Map AMP
VLW6 10 6140 1993 Nov 22 Large White Map AMP
VLW7 2 9520 1945 Oct 22 Kangaroo AMP
VLW7 2 9520 1946 Jan 20 Kangaroo AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1963 Oct 17 Australia White MapAMP
VLW9 10 9610 1966 Aug 1 Australia Blue Map AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1977 Jul 27-1 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1977 Jul 27-2 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1982 Feb 4 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1982 Feb 4 Signed Card AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1982 Apr 12 Signed Card AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1990 Sep 12 Large White Card AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1991 Dec 6 Large White Card AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1993 Oct 29 Large White Card AMP
VLW9 10 9610 1993 Nov 30 Large White Card AMP
VLW9 50 9610 1973 Apr 19 Australia Blue Map AMP
VLW9 50 9610 1973 Jul 25 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 50 9610 1973 Sep 17 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 50 9610 1977 Jul 31 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW9 50 9610 1977 Aug 22 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW11 2 11840 1952 Jan 7 Australia White MapAWR
VLW15 50 15425 1969 Dec 4 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1969 Dec 7 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 16425 1970 Mar 15 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1970 Dec 2 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1977 Jun 17 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1977 Jun 17 WA Blue Map AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1982 Apr 12 Signed Card AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1990 Sep 21 Large White Card AMP
VLW15 50 15425 1993 Nov 4 Large White Card AMP
VLX4 10 4897.8 1951 Aug 4 Australia White MapAWR
VLX9 50 9610 1966 Aug 1 Australia Blue Map AMP
VLX15 10 15425 1959 Sep 30 Australia White MapAMP
VLX15 50 15425 1966 Jul 26 Australia Blue Map AMP
===========================================================

Radio Australia – Wanneroo, Western Australia

QSLs

————————————————————————————————-
Call kW kHz Year Date Card Holder
————————————————————————————————-
VLW4 2 9665 1940 Aug 18 Kangaroo CPRV
VLW4 2 9665 1940 Aug 22 Kangaroo AWR
VLW4 2 9665 1941 Jul 28 Kangaroo AWR
VLW4 2 9665 1942 May 3 Kangaroo AWR
RA 10 7290 1971 Jan 24 Darwin Antennas AMP
RA 10 9665 1971 Sep 24 RA Card AMP

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Comments: 1

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  1. On September 26, 2021, John Paskulich wrote to us:

    Good morning

    Your site and others seem to tell the same story about 6WN history.

    “Then in 1939, another ABC station, 6WN, was transferred from its city location atop the GPO building and installed as a 2 kW unit at Wanneroo”

    I believe it is in error. Refer to this site with original published information. The story was corroborated to my colleague by a PMG technician of the era (now deceased) who actually installed the system.

    https://oldaustraliantelephones.weebly.com/misc-wa-telecomms-history.html#f

    Regards

    John Paskulich

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