Letter to the Editor Shepparton News 20230313


Staff member
I sent this to the Shepparton News Friday early in the morning, That can account for a typo or two!
It appeared in today's paper, Monday 13th March, 2023.

To The Editor, Shepparton News.

What would you do with a big lotto win?
One thing I want to spend the money on is to buy Radio Australia.
That was my place of work in the 70s and 80s. It was an interesting place back then, being Australia's voice to the world. There were 100KW transmitters, 50KW and 10KW ones as well. While I was there, the old original 100KW transmitters were replaced with new ones.
It is sad that the “Powers To Be” decided Radio Australia was no longer needed. And sad too that millions of dollars of equipment was scrapped so it is no longer possible to make it operate again. It was very hard to witness this destruction but fortunately I was able to be out there a couple of times while this was going on and rescued a few bits out of the big bins. A couple of things were a power supply and a device tester I built while working out there years ago.
What is possible though, is to turn the site into a wonderful technology museum. Also, I'd have it as a Maker Space, school technical learning centre and the base for our local Armature Radio club.
Before it was finally sold to the current owners, our radio club were kindly granted access to the facility for 48 hours, 3 years ago, Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th, of March 2020. We constructed connections to the antennas and had ham radio sets connected to work around the world. This activity attracted a lot of interest world wide and we had visitors from around Australia attending to get a chance to use the wonderful curtain array antennas on their ham radio sets. I talked to a couple of American hams on my low power radio but was mostly interested in making the hardware to facilitate the connecting to the antennas. Another interesting activity on that weekend was the recreation of the Moon Bounce experiment that was tried out there many years ago. Back then, I think a 50KW transmitter was used, but this time, only 400W was needed. A signal was sent using an antenna that was aimed towards the Moon, and a few seconds later, the signal echo was heard. If you are at all interested in looking at more information of this weekend, see the Shepparton And District Amateur Radio Club (SADARC) forum post.
The final transmission
brought tears to my eyes as that was the last time the Radio Australia tuning signal will ever by sent. Memories!
The current owners probably just look at it as a block of land to be developed and do not comprehend what they actually have. It is a bit like regarding The Mona Lisa as just a painting. Radio Australia, set up as I would like, has the capability to be a major tourist draw card for the area as there are many ham radio operators all around the world who would really love to have a chance to try the antennas out. Radio Australia is about the only last remaining place in the world that still has them still standing and is a real treasure. Many local hams and electronic enthusiasts (my self included) have items they are eager to donate to a museum there. One thing I rescued for the museum is an antenna VSWR trolly meter that was in the bin. It is a trolly that was lifted up to run on the feeder wires to the antennas and pulled back and forth to measure the minimum and maximum voltage to test the antenna tuning. A length of feeder could be set up across the transmitter hall to have this as a “working” exhibit.
It would be great if there could be some local interest in this as it is a very rare opportunity to do something this important.
Anyhow, that is what I would do with a big lotto win!
Denys Parnell VK3ZYZ.