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"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.

Wavescan, April 14, 2013

Australian States on Shortwave-7: Tasmania

The island of Tasmania is the smallest state in the Commonwealth of Australia, and it is also the only state that is separated from the mainland continent. A total of 334 additional nearby islands, mostly uninhabited, make up the territory that is encompassed as the state of Tasmania.

This Australian island is almost triangular in shape, it is more than 200 miles long from north to south, and less than 200 miles wide from west to east. More than 1/3 of the entire island is set aside as nature and tourist reserves, and it is stated to this day that there are some wild areas in the southwest that are not yet thoroughly explored.

Tasmania is home to several unique flora & fauna, and the most famous animals would be the Tasmanian Devil, a small fierce black wild animal, and the Tasmanian Tiger which is thought to be extinct. Both the Tasmanian Devil & the Tasmanian Tiger are classified as marsupials, with an underbelly pouch for carrying the young.

Unique flora in Tasmania would include the Huon Pine, which is considered to be one of the best boat building timbers known to man. The small Tasmanian Waratah is unique; as is also the Tasmanian Blue Gum, and the white flower of this tree is the state floral symbol.

The total population in Tasmania is around 1/2 million, and Hobart is the state capital. The second city is Launceston which is located in the central north of the island, close to the northern coastline.

The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sight the island and he landed at Blackman's Bay near present day Hobart in 1642. The island was originally named Van Diemen's Land, though in 1856 the island was renamed Tasmania in honor of its original explorer.

At the time of the first British settlements in the early 1800s, there were around 5,000 Aborigines on the island, grouped into nine tribes. One of the Aboriginal tribes gave the name Lutriwita to the island. The last known Tasmanian Aborigine died in 1905.

A Hobart born girl by the name of Mary Elizabeth Donaldson surprised the world when she began a friendship, and then marriage, with Prince Frederick of Denmark. They met at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Very little can be said about the matter of shortwave broadcasting on the island of Tasmania. No shortwave broadcasting station has ever been established on the island, though shortwave is used for local and distant communication.

Back more than 100 years ago, a Marconi wireless station was installed temporarily on the north coastal area now known as East Devonport. The communicating station on the Australian mainland was located on the south coastal area of Victoria, near Queenscliff. On July 12, 1906, communication between these two stations across Bass Strait was opened and the Governor-General of Australia in Melbourne and the state Governor of Tasmania in Hobart sent messages of good will to each other.

However, it was another six years before a permanent wireless station was installed in Tasmania itself. On April 30, 1912 station POH at Queens Domain, Hobart was officially opened as the 2nd station in the original Coastal Wireless Network. At the end of that same year, the callsign was changed to VIH in line with new international allocations.

Wireless station VIH was in use for communication with similar stations on the Australian mainland and in New Zealand, and also with nearby shipping. During the early explorations of Antarctica, VIH was also in communication with stations MQI on Macquarie Island & MAL on the Antarctic mainland.

Even though there has never been a shortwave broadcasting station on the island of Tasmania, yet there have been many notable occasions when shortwave stations at other locations have made broadcasts to Tasmania for relay by local mediumwave stations.

Back in December 1928 for example, the Norwegian whaling ship, "Nielsen-Alonso" made a broadcast on shortwave from Antarctica for relay by station 7ZL in Hobart. At the time, 7ZL was a new mediumwave station, owned during that era by a commercial organization.

Then, in the following year, during the annual Hobart Regatta in February 1929, a small shortwave transmitter was placed on the local coastal ship, MV "Toorah" and details of the events in the waterways of the Derwent Estuary were broadcast for relay by the same radio station 7ZL. The remote shortwave transmitter was operated by amateur radio operators and the temporary callsign for this Regatta transmitter was 7BR.

On numerous occasions, the AWA shortwave station in Melbourne, VK3ME, carried a relay of major news and sports events for rebroadcast by mediumwave stations in Tasmania. These broadcasts were taken from several mediumwave stations including 3DB & 3LO, and they were rebroadcast by the ABC in Tasmania, and also by stations 7LA in Launceston and the old 7UV in Ulverstone. Then too, radio programs on shortwave from VK9MI, the mobile marine station on the MV "Kanimbla" were sometimes rebroadcast by 7LA when the ship was in nearby waters.

In 1963, a parabolic receiving antenna was installed at the transmitter site of the ABC regional station 7NT near Kelso for the experimental purpose of receiving ABC programming on shortwave from Melbourne. Then too, there were occasions when the ABC regional station 3GI in the Gippsland area lost its landline connection with programming from Melbourne, and they took an off air relay across Bass Strait from 7NT.

At least one known broadcast on shortwave from Tasmania took place on May 20, 1975. A program originating in the studios of the ABC station 7ZR in Hobart was relayed by Radio Australia, Shepparton with 100 kW on 15270 kHz. A QSL card from the ABC in Hobart, showing the huge high level Tasman Bridge, verified this shortwave reception. Maybe over the years there have been a few other shortwave broadcasts of a similar nature.