Saturday, 8 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Mt Barrow - 08/03/2014

Date: 08/03/2014
Time: 9:20am - 11:00am Local
Location: Near stone hut, Mt Barrow State Reserve. Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380 + Digitech AR1733
Total stations logged: 33
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 729kHz - 5RN. 1053km

Notes: Being a long weekend here in Tasmania and with our summer now officially finished, I decided to take the opportunity to go for a drive and do another portable ultralight dxing session today. My original plan was to head to Mt George / Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River where it joins in to Bass Straight. After I set off from home and stopped for petrol I decided given the nice day to instead head up Mt Barrow which is a favourite spot of mine, I had not been up there for a couple of years, not since I have become involved in the ultralight dxing hobby.

Some information on Mt Barrow from Wikipedia (
“Mount Barrow is a mountain located 46 kilometres (29 mi) north east of Launceston, Tasmania. The mountain habitat is a mixture of temperate old growth rainforest, subalpine and alpine landscapes. It is the closest alpine mountain to Launceston and the plateau extends to 3 kilometres (2 mi) and reaches a maximum altitude of 1,413 metres (4,636 ft) above sea level, making it the second highest peak in eastern Tasmania. The road to the summit is periodically closed in winter due to snow, with the snow line located at around 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) metres.”

As I turned off the highway the road changed from asphalt to gravel road to forestry trail. On reaching the main reserve area about half way up I stopped to stretch my legs before tackling the very rough road to the summit, the closer you get to the top the worse this gets with some spots not leaving much of a gap between the side of the road and a large fall off the side. I was lucky enough not to meet any oncoming traffic as I drove up and on arriving at the top another group was also parked, they appeared to be collecting some samples of the plant life. I took this chance to grab some photos before setting up over near the stone hut at the foot of North Barrow peak and hitting the bands.

Shortwave: I did some checking around the shortwave bands and managed to hear a few stations including Radio Australia, Radio New Zealand and a couple of Asian language stations and the time signal stations on 5MHz and 10MHz. This was using my Digitech Ar1733 with a 7m wire aerial attached to the whip antenna running along the front of the stone hut.

FM Broadcast Band (87.5-108MHz): Due to the large high power TV / radio transmitter towers close by this band was a mess with both my radios receiving many image / overload frequencies. TAS Racing Radio on 87.6MHz was a bit of a surprise and came in very well when using the external aerial.

VHF Air Band: While listening to the other bands I had my Digitech AR1733 sitting on the local air traffic control frequency of 123.8MHz which actually transmits from the tower on the top of North Barrow Peak. I heard a number of aircraft on this frequency and it provided good background sound while checking the other bands. Launceston tower on 118.7MHz was also received very well from this location.

Medium wave: Given the time of day I was not expecting amazing results, this proved to be correct with only 33 stations being logged. This was made up of 22 Victorian stations, 10 Tasmania stations and 1 South Australian station which was 5RN on 729kHz, this station was also the furthest station logged at 1053km. Overall the band preformed as I was expecting with all the local stations I was expecting being audible and a number of Victorian stations coming in very well. Over about the 600km mark they dropped off very quickly with only 3 stations being heard past this distance. Due to this location being away from any medium wave transmitters I don’t experience any overload and all stations were only heard on their correct frequencies.

Overall I was very pleased with this experience and today was a good practice in portable operation ready for me to undertake more of this in the future. With winter coming soon I doubt I will be able to get back up here again before this sets in.



Towers on North Barrow Peak

View back towards Launceston

Main Television / FM radio transmitters for Northern Tasmania

The view

My set up

My set up

Me checking the bands

The clouds rolling in



  1. As always Paul, great to read your interesting reports, see the photos and hear the audio clips of what you hear on the Ultralights there in Tasmania
    Good DX


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