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 Do the stations marked on radio dials still found at those spots?
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:31:52 AM on 20 April 2010.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 738

Bob from the USA here, have a question about the dials on most vintage Australian radios:
Most if not all Australian tube radios have radio station callsigns on the dial. And I've also heard that the Australian equivalent of America's FCC changed the spacing of radio stations from 10KHz to 9KHz what, 30 years ago?. I suppose to create some bandwidth for extra stations at the top end of the AM broadcast band. If that's the case, then stations dial locations will be less and less accurate as you go from the low frequency end of the band to the upper end. Which I suppose the government figured that most vintage radios with stations on their dials were pretty much out of use? Or did the government insert new stations every tenth or so slot throughout the band? In which case the dials won't be that far off.

Callsigns on radio dials implies that stations rarely changed their callsigns, not like here in the USA it seems a change happens once a year or so...

Calstan dial glass
Click on image for larger resolution


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:59:49 PM on 20 April 2010.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3958

Dial spacings were changed in the late 70's to 9KHz. Alegedly to go with European spacings? What that achieved other than confusion is not clear.

A this point the frequency of several stations was also changed substantially, with little or no logic as far as I can see.

2AY merely went from 1500 to 1495; 1260 3SR did not move as that' s a multiple of nine, 1600 3NE moved to 1566 There have been additions & closures, but little movement since. There was another change prior to that as in the thirties the top of the BC Band was 1500 KHz that was moved to 1605, now it's in the 1700's to let in more "community radio".

Marc


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 8:47:48 PM on 20 April 2010.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
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G'day Bob,

I've taken the liberty of providing your post with a thumbnail image, which can be clicked on to view the full sized version, as the larger image was hyper-extending the site's tables.

As far as I knew Australia was the only country to adopt 9kHz channel spacing for the AM band though I've never really researched as to other nations that may have done so. Another thing is that I am not really sure why the Commonwealth Government went down this road. Perhaps it was to annoy the Japanese, who at the time were building millions of AM radios very cheaply and flooding markets with them. Around the same time the government was setting in place a lowering of import tariffs and the government may have believed that the differences between a radio designed for Australia and one designed for other countries along with Australia's small market may well have made Japanese companies think twice before bothering to send anything here. The same could probably be said for Australia's unique VHF television channels. Nowhere else is there a Channel 0 or 5A, well, not that I am aware of anyway. Back to manufacturing, we all know that if channel spacing was a way of obstructing imports on the basis that manufacturing a unique model would prove uneconomical then it wasn't going to be the case although countries like China, Taiwan and South Korea are playing the game now and the Japanese only export high-end equipment here.

Australian call signs have rarely changed throughout the broadcasting era. Some notable exceptions are 2BL which began life as 2SB, changing to 2BL a very short time after starting business. Then there is 2UE which used the callsign 2EU in their very early days. This station was inundated with complaints because the callsign spoken with an Australian accent sounded like 2'ay you!' and it sounded a bit ocker to the upper classes who were more or less the providers to the broadcasting industry before stations were allowed to advertise. I'll note at this time that 2UE is not only Australia's oldest commercial broadcaster but is still a going concern today and is one of Sydney's highest rating stations. Not bad for a station that is approaching their 90th anniversary.

Under international law, a radio station must have a callsign but does not have to use the callsign for identification provided that some other acceptable name, such as a company or network name is substituted. For example, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, owned by the Commonwealth Government owns 2BL, 3LO, 4QR, 5DR, 6WF and 7ZL but all broadcast under the callsign 'ABC' even though all these stations broadcast local content relevant to their home city rather than being networked.

In the commercial radio sector, many still broadcast using their callsign, especially AM stations which only have two letters. FM station callsigns here have three letters and because of the high number of FM stations many of them don't have a good choice of letters that are easy to roll off the tongue and so they adopt a name instead though in my opinion, not always a good name or a long-lasting name. Some names like Nova and Vega have stayed whilst others have changed.

Lord only knows what will come of it when digital radio becomes more widespread and dozens of new broadcasting licences are issued by our almost bankrupt government.

Lastly, I'll mention that the Calstan dial glass your photo illustrates is what we know as an 'all-states' dial. Some radios only show stations for the state they were sold in. The famous Astor Mickey model KM is one example. All the stations in bolder lettering are located in the state capital cities. Australia's national capital, Canberra, is seldom represented for an unknown reason. Their oldest commercial station, 2CA, can be spotted in the middle of the NSW part of the dial but it may be that because Canberra's population would have only been about 100,000 people at the time the status of their radio stations on a national dial would not have been high. Of course, any proud resident of the Australian Capital Territory would not agree and I can't blame them. Wink


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 1:42:24 PM on 21 April 2010.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 738

Marc wrote: "2AY merely went from 1500 to 1495; 1260 3SR did not move as that' s a multiple of nine, 1600 3NE moved to 1566 There have been additions & closures, but little movement since. There was another change prior to that as in the thirties the top of the BC Band was 1500 KHz that was moved to 1605, now it's in the 1700's to let in more "community radio"."

Sounds like they kept stations fairly close to their old frequencies. And added a new "allocation" slot approx every ten existing moved slots. Possibly locating the new allocation slots in such a way as to avoid excessive interference to stations in towns a few hundred miles away. They might have used computer SW to help them optimize these new allocation slots.

I think they did 9KHz in Europe, and I notice that radio stations in Guam, which is governed by the USA, are spaced 9KHz. KGUM is at 567KHz, KTWG at 801kHz, and a construction permit for a station on 1017KHz. KUAM AM 630KHz, and KVOG 1530 kHz, "normal" frequencies for the USA. Think they did this to cut low frequency hetrodyne whistles on nearby country's 9KHz spaced stations, not being a good neighbor if you produce a 3KHz whistle on one of their stations.

Oh, I found out what "VL2UV" on the right end of the Calstan radio dial was. Was an educational station at 1750KHz. At about 200W, but with nothing else on or near that frequency, that 200W should have wide coverage at night. Hams run power of that level, and can communicate pretty far. Was surprised that an AM radio could tune such a large range as 520 to 1790KHz. Almost made it to the 160m ham radio band.

Some of our older stations have 3 letter callsigns, like WOR in New York City. One station had such a call, changed to some 4 letter callsign, and later wanted their old 3 letter one back, but some reason couldn't have it. So they did this trick: (stations are required to ID at the top of the hour with their call letters and without extra words, city of licence. So "KLA" took the new call "KLAA. and IDed as "KLA, a Dallas station". as commas don't get spoken, it meets the requirements, as the rule doesn't say anything about extra time spacing of the call letters. Smile

Some of your FM stations that are sisters of AM stations, or ones that moved from AM to FM, could do this trick to keep people thinking that it's the old station. As I understand it, your FM's have three letters after the number, and AM's just two letters after the number.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 7:12:18 PM on 21 April 2010.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
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That is another thing. All Australian radio station callsigns begin with the prefix 'VL'. But for some odd reason the prefix was seldom utilised whereas amateur licencees are required to quote their full callsign which includes the prefix 'VK'.

You are right that FM stations have callsigns with a number and three letters. Stations that have moved from AM to FM were allotted a new callsign for their transmitter but as per what I said before about legal requirements they were not required to state their allotted callsign on air. Two examples are Sydney's 2WS which changed to FM in or about 1992 and were allotted the callsign 2UUS to closely match what they already had but then continued to use 2WS as their station ident. 2GO on the Central Coast of NSW became 2GGO but still ident as 2GO.

In the same way, many community radio stations have shifted from FM to AM continue to use their three-letter callsign as a station ident even though their newly allotted callsign only has two letters.

Personally I prefer to listen to stations that keep things simple both in programming and how they present themselves. I am a fan of 2CH (in the middle of your dial and they have a live music feed on their website if you want to sus them out - http://2ch.com.au/). Their programming is perfect for old radios because they play everything from the 1930s upto the present day. They still even broadcast time pulses on the hour - not many stations do that now.

Some AM stations here that are located in hilly areas have translators than run on low-powered FM transmitters but to my knowledge the translators are allotted the same callsign as its parent station with the suffix "-T".


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 12:28:33 AM on 24 April 2010.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3958

As I repair radio's, whilst I was tied to the house caring full time for my mother. I did a complilation of the radio stations 1930's 1969, & current then.

Ok you have to be bored to distraction & in need a life, to sit down & do this, but, when you are doing caring work like that; Life is in fact on hold.

This is extremely handy on sets that have no frequency markings. Albiet I note on the Astor "Football' there are two dots; one is 1400KH: Referred too in the repair data.

This is Excel XLS file. If there is a problem, get back to me & I will convert it to something else.

I have sent it to Brad for forwarding.

Marc


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 8:02:14 AM on 24 April 2010.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 738

Marc wrote: "As I repair radio's, whilst I was tied to the house caring full time for my mother. I did a complilation of the radio stations 1930's 1969, & current then.

Ok you have to be bored to distraction & in need a life, to sit down & do this, but, when you are doing caring work like that; Life is in fact on hold."

I have some idea what that would be like, as my brother is caring for our mom nowadays. He works and lives nearby mom's, and I'm on the other side of the USA. I can't quit my job, as jobs are hard to come by nowadays. He still can go to work, but needs to sleep over at mom's to be sure she eats and whatnot.

I'm looking forward to seeing that xls file of radio stations.

There's a Wikipedia set of pages of lists of Australian radio callsigns, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_radio_station_callsigns


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 10:47:05 PM on 24 April 2010.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3958

I have seen that site & it needs updating.

They recently let loose a community station here at around 1629 KHz and probably due to a lack of technical people who know anything about transmitters, it is overmodulating to the point where it is adversly affecting the signal of the local commercial station on 1566 Khz.

If you are able to handle Excel, it would be a matter of simplicity, and not a lot of work, to add the newer stations. The older information in that document is a bit harder to come by: but you have it.

I would agree with the 2CH comment. I have a 66ft longwire pointed in that direction & it romps in once the sun gets low.

Marc


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 12:41:09 AM on 25 April 2010.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
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G'day Marc,

I've sent the file to Bob as requested. Sorry it has taken so long. I've been working on the new e-mail features I talked about on the front page the other day and I'm making steady progress.

Good to hear that 2CH is coming in on your set. It's been a few years since I did a station logging exercise but the last time I did I got 3AW, 3TT and 3MP when looking for Melbourne stations. 4WK and 4BC came in with some fading from Queensland. 2CC came in from Canberra. Nothing from SA, TAS, WA or NT though. Living in a flat limits where I can put an aerial and how high, etc.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 1:03:41 PM on 25 April 2010.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 738

I took a better picture of my Calstan radio's dial, and added it to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_radio_station_callsigns a day or two ago. More directly, in high resolution: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/51/Calstanradiodial.jpg
I compared this dial with Marc's list list Brad emailed me, and >80% nearly match. There's a few on the dial and a few in the list that aren't matched up, and I modified that list and sent it to Brad and Marc.

I found 4KQ on the internet and streaming it now. I don't think that counts as DX, though Smile


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 3:36:29 PM on 26 April 2010.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3958

Brad.

Thanks for sending list, this should provide a foundation to build on.

My problem is WA stations and some signals from that direction. SA no hassle. There is a Granite range starting about a mile & a bit away & it causes problems.

Radio Australia is only around 60 miles away and its signal suffers. 2AY is a similar distance but due to where the transmitter is, works the other way. OK by day but starts fading around 7Hrs GMT.

For the benefit of all

http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/HOMEPAGE/PC=HOME

is a better spot for radio stations albiet that I could not quickly spot the new local?

I do not have the restraints for antenna, the house is on a 112 acre paddock (there are others) As said repairs antenna abt 20m, Communications reciever 50m.

If one wanted to be stupid North south limit is 300 metres East West abt 850m ( I can get a Cessna in & out without much hassle)

Marc


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 4:11:22 PM on 27 April 2010.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 738

Looking around that ACMA (looks to be your "FCC") website, found a pdf of a list of AM stations by callsign

http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib100059/radio_1.pdf and by frequency
http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib100059/radio_3.pdf. I see a few 3 letter callsigns on AM.
And FM callsigns
http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib100059/radio_2.pdf and freq:
http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib100059/radio_4.pdf. I see a few 2 letter calls on FM. And it doesn't look like Australia has a "college radio" subband on FM 88 to 92, like the USA does.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 8:03:32 PM on 28 April 2010.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3958

Basically what you have, is all there are.

Marc


 
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