Xmas Anniversary for VLI Sydney

This article was originally aired over Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” program. Copyright to the author, Adrian Peterson

Christmas Anniversary for ABC Sydney on Shortwave – VLI

In the Christmas edition of Wavescan each year, it is our custom to choose a Christmas radio station and tell its story. This year, we choose another shortwave station that was inaugurated during the Christmas season many years ago, and the choice falls upon the now silent Home Service shortwave station that was on the air in Sydney, Australia.

It was on December 22, 1948, that a small 2 kW shortwave transmitter was officially inaugurated at Liverpool in New South Wales under the Australian callsign VLI. A few days earlier, local radio listeners noted test broadcasts from the new transmitter on several different channels in the international shortwave bands.

The large ABC radio station located at Liverpool on the southern edge of the city of Sydney was established in the year 1938 for mediumwave coverage of Australia’s largest metropolis. The two main transmitters carry the national and state service for the ABC and these have been on the air under the callsigns 2BL & 2FC.

A few years ago, the historic callsign 2FC was relinquished and the national programming for the Sydney area is now on the air under the generic callsigh 2RN. Two other mediumwave callsigns have been in use at Liverpool; 2JJ which is now identified as Triple J on FM, and 2PB which carries parliamentary broadcasts and news relays.

The new shortwave unit was implemented for coverage of coastal areas north and south of Sydney where mediumwave coverage was poor at the time. Initially, two channels were in use and these were scheduled as follows:-
VLI2 6090 kHz Morning & evening
VLI3 9500 Daytime

However, on June 1, 1951, the numeric designators were changed and VLI2 became VLI6 and VLI3 became VLI9. Two years later again, the 9 MHz channel was dropped and the transmitter was on the air full time on just one channel, 6090 kHz.

Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, at 1402 UTC on October 7, 1983, the VLI transmitter malfunctioned and left the air abruptly. The official cause was stated to be the failure of the main transmitting tube.

The small transmitter was soon afterwards removed from its location against one of the big 50 kW mediumwave transmitters and all of the wooden poles, all painted white, that carried the feeder line to the rhombic antenna system were also removed.

During its 35 year history, station VLI carried a composite relay from both 2BL & 2FC, and its signal was heard quite reliably well beyond the coastal areas. Many QSL cards were issued to confirm the reception of VLI, and they were always the regular ABC QSL cards that were in use at the time.

Just as a matter of interest, the callsign VLI was in use back in the year 1919 for the New Zealand ship, “Aorangi” (AY-or-ANG-gee). Then in January 1943, the VLQ transmitter at Pennant Hills that was on the air with the programming of “Australia Calling”” was re-designated as VLI.

Two years later, Radio Australia dropped the usage of the station at Pennant Hills and the callsign VLI was deleted. However, three years later again the call was taken up for the 2 kW transmitter located at Liverpool.

And that is the story of the Christmas station VLI that was inaugurated on December 22, 1948, just 55 years ago.

ABC Home Service in Liverpool on Shortwave

Callsign & Frequency Usage

——————————————————————————————————————
Callsign kHz Year Date Information
——————————————————————————————————————
VLI SW 1948 Dec 22 Official inauguration
VLI2 6090 1948 Dec 22 Schedule morning & evening
VLI3 9500 1948 Dec 22 Schedule daytime
VLI3 9540 1951 Change from 9500 to 9540
VLI6 6090 1951 Jun 1 New numeric designator
VLI9 9540 1951 Jun 1 New numeric designator
VLI6 6090 1952 9540 dropped, now only one channel 6090
VLI6 6090 1983 Oct 7 Closed 1402 UTC failure transmitting valve
================================================================
ABC Home Service in Liverpool on Shortwave

Information & Reference

——————————————————————————————————————
Year Date Call kW kHz Information Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
1948 Nov VLI 2 Test broadcasts several channels R&H 77:14 2-49
1948 Dec 22 VLI 2 Official inauguration 10:30 am
1948 Dec22 VLI 2 Opened 7:00 pm, VLI2 & VLI3 ARW 77.8 2-49 31
1948 Dec 22 VLI 2 Dedication ceremony 8:30 pm speeches
1948 VLI 2 2 kW STC at Liverpool with 50 kW 2FC & 2BL
1948 VLI 2 Antenna 1/2 wave dipole long feeder lines whitepoles
1948 VLI 2 Coverage NSW coastal areas beyond 200 m Sydney
1948 Dec 22 VLI2 2 6090 Schedule morning & evening R&H 77:14 2-49 84
1948 Dec 22 VLI3 2 9500 Schedule daytime R&H 77:14 2-49 84
1948 Dec VLI 2 Ray Simpson 1st QSL R&H 77:14 2-49 84
1949 VLI2 2 6090 Schedule morning & evening R&H 77:14 11-49 90
1949 VLI3 2 9500 Schedule daytime R&H 77:14 11-49 90
1950 VLI 2 2 channels 6090 9500 WRTVHB 1950 70
1951 VLI 2 2 channels 6090 9500 WRTVHB 1951 72
1951 VLI3 2 9540 Change from 9500 to 9540
1951 Jun 1 VLI6 2 6090 New numeric designator R&H 77:14 7-51 84
1951 Jun 1 VLI9 2 9540 New numeric designator R&H 77:14 7-51 84
1952 VLI 2 2 channels 6090 9540 WRTVHB 1952 73
1952 VLI 2 9540 dropped, now only one channel
1953 VLI6 2 6090 Only one channel WRTVHB 1953 80
1958 VLI6 2 6090 Only channel R&H 77.14 3-58 112
1974 Apr 15 VLI6 2 6090 Small blue map Australia QSL card AMP
1977 Jun 13 VLI6 2 6090 Small blue map Australia QSL card AMP
1983 Oct 7 VLI6 2 6090 Closed 1402 UTC failure transmitting valve DXN 2-84
===============================================================

ABC Mediumwave Radio – Studio Locations in Sydney

References

——————————————————————————————————————-
Station City Year Date Location
——————————————————————————————————————-
2FC Sydney 1924 Jan 10 Roof Garden, Farmers Building, Pitt St R 77.11 12-12-23 457
NW corner Market & Pitt WW 77.1 27-4-28 5
1928 Apr Her Majesty’s Building, Pitt St WW 77.1 27-4-28 5
1930 2FC at Market St WW 77.1 21-3-30 12
2BL Sydney 1923 Nov 13 Daily Guardian roof, Phillip St R 77.11 12-12-23 470
4 Bligh St WW 77.1 21-3-30 12
Her Majesty’s Building, Pitt St WW 77.1 27-2-28 5
1930 Joining 2FC at Market St WW 77.1 21-3-30 12
===============================================================

ABC Mediumwave Radio – Transmitter Locations in Sydney

References

——————————————————————————————————————
Call Location Year Date Information Reference
——————————————————————————————————————
2FC Willoughby 1924 Jan 10 Highest hill, Middle Harbour R 77.11 12-12-23 456 Pennant Hills 1926 Mar 29 Opened at new location WWW 77.17 9-4-26 23
Liverpool 1938 Transferred LI 79.23 3-7-37
2RN Liverpool Changed callsign

2BL Sydney 1923 Nov 13 Daily Guardian roof, Phillip St R 77.11 12-12-23 470
Coogee 1925 New location at Higg St WW 77.1 21-12-28 7
Liverpool 1938 Transferred LI 79.23 3-7-37

2JJ Liverpool 1975 Jan 19 New service, standby transmitter HABC 79.7

2PB Liverpool Same transmitter new service
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