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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 497, July 11, 2004

Australian Radio Anniversary - VLG Lyndhurst

Another nostalgic callsign during the Lyndhurst radio era in Australia was VLG, a callsign that was in use by both the ABC Home Service on shortwave as well as by Radio Australia in its external services to Asia and the Pacific.

The Lyndhurst radio station, as was mentioned here in Wavescan a few months back, traces its earliest beginnings to the year 1928 when a small locally made transmitter was installed in a galvanized iron shed on the top of a small hill in rolling grazing country near Lyndhurst, east of Melbourne in Victoria.  A more substantial building was constructed in 1935,

For a period of 14 years, the VLR transmitter was the sole occupant at Lyndhurst until a new 10 kw unit was installed.  The inauguration date for this new shortwave unit was June 21, 1941, just a little over 63 years ago. 

In the original planning, this new 10 kw transmitter was intended to be a replacement unit for the original and lower powered VLR.  However, because of the pressing needs of World War II, both transmitters were needed for national and international coverage.

Back in mid-1941 when the new transmitter was taken into regular service, it was operated on air under the same callsign as the first original unit, VLR.  For a period of a little over a month, it was noted on air in Australia, New Zealand and the United States with a relay of programming from "Australia Calling," Radio Australia. 

This unit, constructed by STC-Australia, was heard initially on 11880 kHz as VLR3 and on 15230 kHz as VLR4.  The usage of these callsigns was rather confusing due to the fact that the other VLR was also on the air with the same programming, and also because the other unit had also been identified previously as VLR3 and VLR4, though on different channels.

Because of this confusion, the new transmitter was re-identified on air a month later under a new callsign, VLG, beginning on August 24, 1941.  At this stage, VLR3 became VLG5 and VLR4 became VLG6.  It was on the air part time for both organizations, the ABC Home Service and "Australia Calling."

In the late 1950s, a new transmitter building was constructed over the old building and three new transmitters at 10 kw each were installed.  These units had been manufactured by RCA in the United States for use in American navy vessels.  It is probable that the original 10 kw STC transmitter with the callsign VLG was removed from service in 1958, and the VLG broadcast service was now carried by any of the three available units.

It was on June 1, 1951 that the numeric designators were changed so that the number following the callsign indicated the frequency band.  Thus, for example, VLG7 on 15160 kHz became instead VLG15.  In 1961, Radio Australia dropped the on air usage of callsigns, though the ABC still announced them in their programming. 

Some ten years later, the ABC discontinued the usage of the VLG service and they used just two shortwave units on air, VLR and VLH.  In 1966 a total of eight new shortwave transmitters were installed at Lyndhurst and the usage of the three battleship units was phased out.

It was on June 12, 1987 that the last ABC broadcast was heard from Lyndhurst, though Radio Australia had closed out the usage of this relay station a few months earlier.  The broadcast callsign VLG was in use in the era just after World War I by two coastal steamers in New Zealand, the "Maunganui" and the "Mangaia," and it was in use as a broadcast service from Lyndhurst for a period of 47 years.

Many QSL cards were issued over the years to verify the reception of the VLG services from Radio Australia and the ABC.  From the ABC, the original QSL card was a simplified text card in black print.  Radio Australia issued four different cards for the specific callsign VLG, and these were:  the famous kangaroo card in orange; the large circular map with Melboune as the center of the world; the well known yellow and blue map card; and another map card with the Kookaburra superimposed.