Monday, 31 March 2014

Blog Promotional Items

These items I ordered recently arrived today, I am very pleased with them and they will help me to promote my blog and the group / hobby.


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - St Leonards Athletics Ground Launceston, Tasmania - Relay for life 2014 - 30/03/2014

Date: 30/03/2014
Time: 00:15 - 4:45am
Location: St Leonards Athletics Ground Launceston, Tasmania - Relay for life 2014
Radio: Digitech AR-1733
Total stations logged: 116
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 837kHz - 4RK (Rockhampton)
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 370

Notes: Over the weekend my wife and I participated in relay for life (http://www.relayforlife.org.au/) this is a community funding raising event where you get together a team of between 10 and 15 people and camp out at a local sports ground, the goal is to keep your baton moving around the track as a team non stop for 24 hours. Photos from this event can be seen here: http://photosbysabrinaandco.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/relay-for-life-29-30th-march-2014.html


As I had a night shift between 2am and 4am I took along my Digitech AR-1733 and did some listening before and just after this shift. Overall I logged 116 stations, no new stations were logged and as I was not using my 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380, no New Zealand stations were logged. Overall it was a good session and the location on the sports track worked well, being close to the transmitter on 1008kHz did mean that stations on 999kHz and 1017kHz were blocked out very badly by this. It was also my first serious session with my AR-1733 in a long time and again it proved to be a very capable ultralight radio.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Hobart Tasmania

Date: 26/03/2014
Time: 23:10 - 23:55 local
Location: Hobart CBD, Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 67
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 612kHz - 4QR (Brisbane) - 1791km
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 230

Notes: My wife and I have just returned home from spending a couple of days away in Hobart, about 180km south of where we live in Launceston. Our trip was planned many months ago to do some shopping and also attend a performance of Mrs Brown’s Boys (http://mrsbrownsboys.com.au/)

This was not a radio trip but I took my new stealth ultralight dxing bag (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/diy-stealth-ultralight-dxing-bag.html) in case I did get a chance for a session. After a day of shopping and attending the performance of Mrs Brown’s Boys I was very worn out by the time I returned to the hotel room just after 11pm. I took the chance to have a quick listen and what was meant to be a quick listen turned in to a 45 minute session. Overall I logged 67 stations and being further south meant that a number of stations that are just under the 1000km mark at home were pushed up in distance to the next scoring group. I noticed a number of stations I would have expected to hear were missing and looking at my log sheet showed that I only managed to log 3 stations above 1440kHz. On a number of other frequencies across the band I was getting bad interference with signals dropping in and out very badly at times, this was to the point where it was even affecting a number of the local Hobart stations.

By 11:55pm I was dead on my feet and headed to bed. This morning while looking out the window I think I found the source of the interference, a large number of air conditioning units were just outside the windows of our room. (See photos below) Having a very quick listen this morning showed that the closer I got to these the worse the interference was. This is something I will keep in mind for next time we go away.

Overall it was very enjoyable to go portable in a different city; I also spotted a few locations while out driving which I will keep in mind for next time I get down to Hobart. I also purchased a new ultralight radio (Digitech AR-1736) and a 2W handheld UHF CB radio (http://www.uniden.com.au/AUSTRALIA/p_uh720SXnb_index.asp) this will be used when I am out and about ultralight dxing in the bush, parks and other locations as a secondary communications method if needed.

Photos of the offending air conditioning units:






Monday, 24 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Tamar River Viewing Platform, Launceston Tasmania

Date: 24/03/2014
Time: 19:05 - 19:50
Location: Tamar River Viewing Platform, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 92
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 1386kHz - Radio Tarana - Henderson, New Zealand - 2429km
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 258

Notes: A few weeks ago while out walking with my wife we came across a new viewing platform on the bank on the Tamar River, this is only a short walk from our house. At the moment I am without my car for a couple of days while it is being repaired so tonight just before sunset I set off for a walk to this viewing platform to see how well it works as a portable ultralight dxing location. The walk was nice and flat and with my new “stealth ultralight dxing bag” (more on this in the next few days) I strolled long and took some photos on the way. On arriving at the viewing platform another group was just leaving and this gave me free access to the viewing platform for the whole time I was there.

I set myself up and managed to log 92 stations from Tasmania, Victoria, ACT, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, my best catch was Radio Tarana from New Zealand on 1386kHz and I took a video of this. Just as I was leaving and darkness had really set in again tuned to this frequency however the signal was down in the noise and I could only rate this as poor. This location is away from the main road and domestic noise which means the signals I heard were all easy to copy and the band conditions were very good with very little back ground band noise.

This spot proved to be a good find and being within walking distance of home means I can use it more in the future.
I also left my tripod in my car so all photos and videos are hand held.

Photos
The view as I was walking to the location

Viewing platform

The view looking back towards the Launceston CBD





The viewing platform as I was leaving



Video

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Punchbowl Reserve - Launceston Tasmania

Date: 23/03/2014
Time: 8:10am - 9:10am Local
Location: Punchbowl Reserve, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 23
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 594kHz - 3WV (683km)
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 46

Notes: This morning my wife and I headed to the Punchbowl reserve which is a large public park / reserve which borders the suburbs of Punchbowl, Norwood and Newstead. The Punchbowl reserve has a large open area, a number of BBQs, a children’s playground, duck pond with viewing platform and a creek runs along the side of it. This is all surrounded by bushland with a number of walking tracks.  I grew up close to the Punchbowl reserve and have spent a lot of time in and around this area attending picnics and BBQs, walking in the bush, mountain biking and  playing cricket on the makeshift wicket. A couple of years ago when I was heavily involved in the photography hobby I took a lot of photos around this area too.

It was very early when we arrived and we were the only people around. My wife was taking some photos of the ducks and I was her able assistant by carrying her tripod. When we reached the bottom park area I setup on some large rocks to undertake some ultralight dxing while she went off to take some photos. Her photos can be found here: http://photosbysabrinaandco.blogspot.com.au/

From an ultralight dxing point of view I logged 23 stations including 3WV from Horsham at 683km which was the furthest station I logged. I received a good mix of Tasmania and Victorian stations with signal levels being very good given the location. We also walked up to the main waterfalls, from this location the same stations were received but at a weaker signal level in most cases, this is due to the cliffs that surround this location.

Photos

Map

Entry sign

Viewing platform at duck pond

Walking to my spot

Walking to my spot

My wife and I. My Portable Ultralight DXing kit in my backpack


Setting up for an Ultralight DXing session

Ultralight DXing

Ultralight DXing

Ultralight DXing

Packing up

 A happy Ultralight DXer after a successful session

Walking to the main falls


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Launceston Tasmania - 21/03/2014

Date: 21/03/2014            
Time: 22:10 - 22:55 local
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 124
New stations logged: 2 - 558kHz 6WA / 1269kHz 6RN
Furthest station logged: 1269kHz 6RN - Busselton (2916km)
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 240

Notes: Last night we had a 1.5 hour power outage at home due to a storm, this was just on darkness, just when I was about to start my ultralight dxing session. I did have a listen to the band while the power was off and noticed that the level of band noise was down on what I normally get, I did start to log some stations but gave up as the power came back on and I had to go to work to resolve an issue.

When I returned home I started again and managed to log 124 stations including two new ones from West Australia on 558kHz and 1269kHz. I did notice that the band noise was worse than normal and I can only put this down to the storm we were experiencing at the time. When I got to the top of the band between 1521kHz and 1557kHz I experienced a really strange situation where all I got was band noise, no stations at all including the 6 on these frequencies which I normally hear almost every night. I took a video of this and have added it to the video of my loggings below.

Overall it was a good session and the two new stations were both a surprise, 1269kHz 6RN from Busselton has broken my all time distance record and was very close to me breaking the 3000km mark for the first time. I have also including at the end of my video a short clip of my AR-1733 listening to the local airport ATIS service on 134.750MHz

Video:




Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Launceston Tasmania - 19/03/2014

Date: 19/03/2014
Time: 05:30am - 6:25am Local
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 115
New stations logged: 1 - 1215kHz - HPON, Bowral
Furthest station logged: 1548kHz - 4QD. 1995km
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 177


Notes: Following my success of yesterdays early morning Dxing session: (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/ultralight-dxing-report-launceston_18.html) I got up a bit early this morning and ran another session. It was very dark when I started and this helped me to log 115 stations including a new station on 1215kHz from Bowral New South Wales running 350W. Signal levels were an improvement on yesterday’s session and I was very impressed with the signal levels coming from New South Wales and Queensland and I was able to log 4 Queensland stations before the signal levels dropped off at sunrise. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Launceston Tasmania - 18/03/2014

Date: 18/03/2014
Time: 6:05 - 6:45am local
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 70
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 972kHz - 2MW (Murwillumbah) 1565km
Medium wave radio challenge 2014 Score: 94

Notes: This morning I was out of bed a bit earlier than normal, so took the chance to do some ultralight dxing before heading to work. It was still fairly dark at my location and the signal levels from most stations were half way between what I hear of a day time verses a night time (http://dx.qsl.net/propagation/greyline.html)


I logged a good mix of Victorian, New South Wales, ACT, South Australian and Tasmanian stations; towards my west was still in total darkness which accounts for the 10 South Australian stations I also logged.

The Cat Killed My Digitech AR1733 Ultralight Radio

Since getting my 7.5" loop stick Tecsun PL-380 late last year, my other radio (Digitec AR1733) has not seen much use, until yesterday I could not even remember the last time I had used it.

While doing some things around the house yesterday I decided to tune this to the air band for a bit of a listen. I heard a few planes and then it all went quiet for ages. When I walked back in to my office / radio room the Digitec AR1733 was on the floor dead, thinking it was just lose batteries I opened the back, this was when I heard a rattle from inside it which I had not heard before. I replaced the batteries but it was still dead.  Thinking they might have been flat I swapped these for new ones, same result. I next took the batteries out of my digital camera (which were fully charged) and put them in, same result of a dead radio. 

At this point I decided to open it up and see what had happened, the PCB was broken near the bottom battery connector on the rear PCB and the front PCB had snapped around the tuning dial, I don't know how they did it but they killed it :(

So I am now in the market for another ultralight radio, I don't use it much but I like to have a backup and the air band coverage of this model is handy at times.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Round Hill, Burnie / Mersey Bluff, Devonport

Ultralight DXing Report - Round Hill, Burnie

Date: 15/03/2014
Time: Early afternoon
Location: Round Hill, Burnie Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 29
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 810kHz - 2BA (Bega) 594km
Medium wave DXing Challenge 2014 Score: 58


Ultralight DXing Report - Mersey Bluff, Devonport

Date: 15/03/2014
Time: Mid afternoon
Location: Mersey Bluff, Devonport Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 23
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 594kHz - 3WV (Horsham) 611km
Medium wave DXing Challenge 2014 Score: 46

Notes: My plan for yesterday (Saturday) was to do a smallish portable ultralight dxing session in the afternoon in the Trevallyn state reserve. During the week I had undertaken some research on the location using Google earth and had picked a couple of spots to check out.

Come yesterday morning my wife was not feeling very well, to give her some peace and quiet and a chance to rest up I decided to take the opportunity to put my plans for the Trevallyn state reserve on hold until another day and instead head for a drive to Devonport on the North West coast. As I left Launceston just after 9:30am it was a nice sunny day and I was looking forward to a nice drive and a good ultralight dxing session. As I left Elizabeth town (over half way to Devonport) the sky was turning dark and it was not long until the first drops of rain hit my windscreen, hoping it would just be a passing shower I kept driving.

By the time I arrived in Devonport the rain had really set in, not wanting to give up just yet I went and grabbed a drink and some lunch and did a bit of window shopping. As I left the shopping centre the weather was looking a little better so I headed up to Mersey Bluff which was my planned location for this session. The weather at the bluff was worse and after a couple of minutes I decided to instead head to Round hill lookout near Burnie which was only another 35 minutes away up the coast and try the bluff again on my drive back home.  

On the drive towards Burnie the weather was getting even worse and when I arrived at the turn off for the Round hill lookout the showers had tuned in to decent rain, at this point I was tempted to give up and drive home as clearly the weather gods were against me. Instead I headed in to Burnie to grab a snack and a drink; I also stopped at a retailer who was having a sale as I was looking for a new case / bag for my ultralight radios and related equipment.

As I walked back to my car the weather had started to clear up so I went straight to Round hill lookout. I had only been up there once before a few years ago but the road was still fairly good (gravel for the last section to the top) and when I arrived at the top another family group was just leaving. I setup at the main lookout and managed to log 29 stations and take some photos / videos before the rain started again. From the results of my loggings I suspect this would be an excellent location of a night time, the road is not closed of a night time and if required a tent could even be setup to protect against the weather. With this I packed up and head back towards Devonport.

The weather as I approached Devonport was looking better and the rain had cleared up by the time I pulled in to the car park at the top of the bluff near the light house. I setup on a well placed bench and logged 23 stations plus took some photos and videos until again the rain came. Again I think the bluff would make an excellent night time location with the only issue being that the road to the top is locked of a night time, it would require packing out on the road and walking up which would not be a huge issue. I retreated to the car and waited about 15 minutes but the rain showed no signs of stopping so I headed home to Launceston, the rain was my constant companion for the drive home.

At the end of the day when I arrived home 7.5 hours later, just before 5pm I had driven 322km for the day and having undertaken two ultralight dxing session 45km apart.

Photos

Round Hill - Burnie: View from the lookout

Round Hill - Burnie: View from the lookout

Round Hill - Burnie:

Round Hill - Burnie:

Round Hill - Burnie: Me :)

Round Hill - Burnie:

Round Hill - Burnie: Microwave linking site for Hydro Tasmania

Round Hill - Burnie: Don't get too close

Round Hill - Burnie: Main commercial / broadcasting tower

Round Hill - Burnie: Telstra Tower

Round Hill - Burnie: Mobile phone tower

Round Hill - Burnie:

Round Hill - Burnie: View from the top of the viewing building

Round Hill - Burnie: Main lookout platform

Round Hill - Burnie: view back towards the city of Burnie

Mersey Bluff - Devonport: Light House

Mersey Bluff - Devonport: Light House

Mersey Bluff - Devonport:

Mersey Bluff - Devonport:

Mersey Bluff - Devonport:

Mersey Bluff - Devonport: Me with the light house in the background

Mersey Bluff - Devonport: Portable Ultralight DXing Set up


Video






Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Why Ultralight DXing is the perfect hobby (For me at least)

Over the past 15 years my hobbies have been a major issue for me. As a teenager I became heavy involved in the radio scanning hobby, which lead me to UHF CB and then me obtaining my amateur radio ticket (ex VK7FPGB) which I let lapse a few years ago. I also started the original “Launceston Scan” Yahoo group which grew to become the “Scanning Tasmania” website and forum which is still active today. It has been over a year since I was last a member of this forum and now have no connection to it at all. In early 2008 I was getting a little bit sick of the radio scanning hobby and the issues associated with this, which in part lead me to try my hand at photography. Very soon after starting with this I found I had some talent and a passion for photography. In late 2008 I decided to get back in to radio scanning in a small way which then grew again and this lead to me focusing on this and photography taking a back seat. Over the next 5 years I changed and moved between both these hobbies plus I also tried my hand at creative writing, computer animation, programming and I also became heavy involved in the LEGO Technic hobby to the point where in early 2013 I ran a LEGO expo in Launceston called “Brixhibition” and following this I was elected the vice-president (North) of the Taz-brick Collectors Club. 

By the middle of 2013 things had come to a head and after much soul searching I decided to leave all my other hobbies behind and just concentrate on the ultralight dxing hobby. Late in 2013 Gary offered to build for me a Tecsun PL-380 with this famous 7.5” Loopstick mod, when I received this in the mail my interest and passion for ultralight dxing really took off. I have also suffered from some health issues over the past 8 years and these mean that sometimes I am unable to get out and do things that I would like to do, ultralight dxing is a good reason to go out when I want to / can and it is also just as enjoyable if I am stuck at home too.

I find the ultralight dxing hobby to be a really good fit for me; this is for a number of reasons as it combines a number of my previous interests in to one hobby:

Radio Communications: 
Back when I first got interested in radio as a teenager one of the things I most enjoyed was listening to distant stations on the AM and Short-wave bands. This was something I have not done as much over the past few years and I have missed it. The cost of equipment is quite low and it is easy to source locally or via the Internet. Where as a scanner can start at $200 and go up in to the thousands, broadcast receivers are much cheaper and unless you want to get very serious a basic $60 radio will do 95% of what you need. I have been very happy with how well my AR1733 and modified PL-380 work.

After 15 years in the radio scanning hobby on and off, it had to me lost some of the appeal; you can only hear so many taxi drivers calling for jobs or Jones waste talking about bin pickups before you get sick of it. As I work during the day my scanning time is limited to a night time during the week or of a weekend, while you can sometimes hear interesting things during these times most of the radio traffic I am interested in happens during the day, while I am at work. As shortwave and medium wave broadcasting is a 24/7 business at any time of the day or night I can be comfortable that I will be able to pick up something of interest. Of late I have been quite sick and this has seen me take some time off work, even with having the whole day to myself for a couple of weeks on and off I still was not happy with what I was able to hear on my scanners. If I was not happy in a situation like this when I have the time to do it then I finally decided that I never really would be happy in that hobby.

Photography:
My various portable ultralight dxing sessions have allowed me to take some photos / videos which I have found really enjoyable. This also gives me a chance / excuse to get outside which is a positive for my health.

Computers / Programming:
I have always had a serious interest in computers (it is also my job) and programming. Ultralight dxing lets me continue with this due to my database I have created. I also enjoy the data analyst side of the hobby and again this is something I can do from home when I am unable to go out.

Writing:
The ultralight dxing hobby gives me a good reason to continue writing as I produce my reports from each of my sessions. I also communicate with various people online via forums and Yahoo groups and run my blog.

It was not until late 2013 that I really got serious about this hobby, the kindness and support I have received from many on the ultralight dxing group and other groups / forums has been very much appreciated. This is especially true for Gary who is a real asset to this hobby, even to the point of modifying radios for people all across the world including myself.

Ultralight dxing is the perfect hobby for me, it combines a number of my interests and it has been one of the main reasons I have been able to drag myself out from my illness and become the person who I used to be again.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Launceston Tasmania - 10/03/2014

Date: 09/03/2014 - 10/03/2014
Time: 23:40 - 00:50
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 130
New stations logged: 3 - 828kHz Radio Trackside / 954kHz Radio Trackside / 1485kHz 5LN               
Furthest station logged: 1296kHz 6RN - 2768km

Notes: Late last night / earlier this morning I had the opportunity to do a late night ultralight dxing session at home, this was due to not needing to get up early due to the public holiday today. My session started off at 23:40 and as always I did a check on my two New Zealand check frequencies of 909kHz and 1386kHz which both produced sound results, 1386kHz peaking at a very good signal level. Over the next hour and in to the early hours of this morning I logged 130 stations including two new New Zealand stations and 5LN from Port Lincoln on 1485kHz running just 200W, this was heard just before I ended my session.

Total stations logged for each area were:
ACT - 6
NSW - 52
QLD - 7
SA - 15
TAS - 12
VIC - 29
WA - 1
New Zealand - 8

Overall the band was sounding close to the best I have heard it with the latter time of this session producing must less domestic noise.

I took a video of some of the stations I logged which is linked below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB74fNKNzHs


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Ultralight DXing Report - Gees Lookout - 09/03/2014

Date: 09/03/2014
Time: 14:10 - 14:30 Local
Location: Gees Lookout - West Launceston
Radio: 7.5” Loopstick Tecsun PL-380
Total stations logged: 15
New stations logged: 0
Furthest station logged: 621kHz - 3RN. 445km

Notes: This afternoon I spent some time searching for Gees lookout which is a spot I had heard about in the past but which I had never personally visited until today. After driving around some side streets in West Launceston I parked in Argyle Street and walked in (see map below).

After taking a wrong turn and ending up going the wrong way I turned back and took the path back until I found the turn off with the lookout sign. The track down to this is very steep and I hurt my knee slightly on the way down. When I arrived at the lookout it was empty which gave me a good chance to take some photos and hit the band. Due to the metal construction of the lookout platform I was unable to set up my tripod and after a period of time my feet got sore from standing on it, for future visits I will bring something to stand on to help my feet.

From a radio point of view I logged 15 stations across Tasmania and Victoria. I was also able to prove my theory that this location blocks the HPON station on 1008kHz enough to hopefully of a night time be able to hear stations on the neighbouring frequencies of 999kHz and 1017kHz.  I also noticed that stations to my south were blocked very well with the signal levels of the Hobart stations being very low compared to normal.

The walk back up was a challenge due to the steepness of the climb and my sore knee. I had worked up a decent sweat by the time I got back to my car. Overall this was a very enjoyable session and it laid some good ground work for preparing for a night time session at this location in the future.


Photos

Map

View looking towards the first basin 

The gorge

Gees Lookout

Gees Lookout

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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Barrow):
“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.


Photos

Map

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


Video













}, 10);