Charleville (AUS) maritime radio and stuff

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Posts: 134
Joined: Sat May 28, 2022 4:27 am
Location: On or near a dike

Charleville (AUS) maritime radio and stuff

Post by 13dka »

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon 12365kHz - I heard a coastal weather transmission in English at the dike, with a signal that made me believe it would be from the UK or the US. Back home it turned out it was - of course - VMC Charleville (Queensland, eastern Australia), the sister station of Wiluna Radio (which is in western Australia). They replaced a number of true coastal stations a few years ago and are both strangely located totally not at the coast.


Last Wednesday I drove to the dike to scan the bands for an hour or two, remembered that station and tuned in 30 minutes after the full hour - it was even louder (on the Belka with just its whip), peaking above 40dB/uV on the meter. The noise was around 5, so that's 35dB SNR -- enough for comfortable listening without missing a word. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my cellphone (again!) so I couldn't record that spectacular signal from (almost) the other side of the globe, some 10,000 miles or 16,000km away.

On Thursday and Friday evening I went to the dike again, this time with my cellphone ready for recording. When the VMC came on, it was barely audible due to some solar radiation storm and still nothing to phone home about the next evening, you guys all know that classic story.

Saturday the conditions had recovered so far that I could at least hear some of the IBP beacons again, besides 4X6TU (which is always there) very grass roots signals from Sri Lanka and Japan, but none from Australia or NZ. At the same time as the days before (2130Z) I switched to 12365kHz and got a pretty serviceable signal:

When I looked around for the sister station VMW (Wiluna) in western Australia on 12362kHz I could pick it up only much weaker, but I heard station VIC ("RCC Australia" in Charleville again) responding to a radio check request by some vessel they called "Sea Force"):

Back home I tried to find some VMC reception videos on YouTube and found a few. The only videos getting close to that signal quality were made with considerable antennas or they were recorded in Australia. I like to keep on rambling about how good the Belka is and how "the dike" and its 10dB "ocean gain" is a deciding factor. But... if you subtract the 10dB ocean gain from the signal, you still have a comfy signal despite the mediocre conditions. On the puny whip.

Until 2300Z (1:00am local) I also caught some satisfying bycatch with the whip:

Among those there were stations from Japan that came in short and long path at the same time. Here's JH3NGD (Kazu-san) as an example:

You can hear the echo from the long path (max. ~31,000km or 19,000 miles) signal arriving ~100ms later than the short path signal from Japan (~9,000km/5,600mi). Other stations from Japan had the same effect. First time I heard that on the whip.
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