Outback radio reception

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:35
ThreadID: 30857 Views:15255 Replies:11 FollowUps:14
This Thread has been Archived
Hello everyone,
I apologise if this post appears twice
When you are in the really remote regions of Australia what do you do for radio reception? I know most of the new caravans are fitted with car radio receivers but has anyone used a portable radio that offers high sensitivity for AM reception. I know Dick Smith has couple of Sangeans that are supposed to be Ok but I haven't spoken to anyone who actually owns one. One radio is an all band short wave receiver with AM/FM and the other is a Digitor (by Sangean) advertised as a long distance AM radio. I would appreciate advice on (1) which brand of car radio is good these days for radio reception and (2) which brand or type of portable radio works well in the bush. I know that to increase range on AM you need a long aerial and all the portables I have come across only have an internal aerial for the AM band. I would appreciate 'first hand' experience on the radios.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:00

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:00
I use the HF radio & get Radio OZ & lots more.
AnswerID: 155465

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:16

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 01:16
Yep. Me too. HF radio and all of the ABC, BBC and a few other Rx frequencies programmed in.

Listened to the footy on the Canning with a couple of cold cans. Doesn't get much better really.

FollowupID: 409444

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:53

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:53

On the HF, what frequencies is the ABC?
Can it be received all over Australia?

FollowupID: 409455

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:44

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:44
Hi Wayne,

ABC Domestic radio frequencies can be found at the following link
ABC Domestic short wave service

More info on Radio Nationals Asia Pacific Service can be found here ABC Asia Pacific short wave service

Most of the time I listen to the domestic service most of which originates in the NT. I can even get it in Vic most of the time.

There are some other frequencies too I thought. If I get time I'll go through what's programmed in my NGT and write them down. I did have a list but I'm not sure where it is.

FollowupID: 409503

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:29

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:29
Thanks Dave, I will check it out.

FollowupID: 409512

Follow Up By: andy - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:03

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:03
Hi Dave

we are regular visitors to Oz and carry a Sony SW-Receiver with us. Wondering if there are regular weather reports at fixed times on ABC Domestic short wave service or ABC on medium waves? What would be the times to listen for them.

FollowupID: 409668

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 07:33

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 07:33
Hi Dave

Obviously, normally, you are interested in the weather for your local area so you'll need to listen to the local ABC stations for the area you're in. The ABC website will provide details. Weather reports are always? given at the end of news broadcasts which normally occur on the hour and at some half hour points. There is usually a more detailed analysis somewhere beteen 7am and 9.30am depending on the radio station. The PNN station also does a quick wrap of the weather in all the state capitols many times a day.

And, of course, if you have internet this is an excellent website:

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 409672

Follow Up By: andy - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:58

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:58
Hi Mike

thanks for reply. Most of the time we are in the bush where day time reception of even local medium wave stations becomes difficult. I guess that the local
stations you mentioned are at medium waves and not at short waves. We are members of VKS and have to their weather reports - but very often miss out
because communications become difficult in the evening.

We will see if the local stations can be received in the morning.

FollowupID: 409779

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 06:48

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 06:48
Hi Andy,

Nightowl too eh?

What sort of HF radio have you got?

FollowupID: 409783

Follow Up By: andy - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:31

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:31
Hi Dave

its only 22:17 pm here (on the other side of the world).

We are using an old Codan 9105 (X2) with 10 fixed frequencies.

Our Sony SW receiver covers 150 kHz to 30 MHz and is occasionally used to listen to BBC and other european shortwave stations. Whilst travelling in Oz
(mostly Great Sandy Desert) we have searched for weather reports without much success yet. Last winter we got stuck near the Pilbara for a week due to
heavy rainfalls. It would have been nice to know in advance what was coming
and to find a more elevated camping spot....

FollowupID: 409793

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 22:55

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 22:55
Good radio. Only a bit limited in no of Rx frequencies though if you have the gear (laptop & cable) you can reprogram in the field I suppose.

There are automated weather reporting stations too but I'm not sure how much inland they do, I thought they were mainly marine oriented.

I've got the frequencies in my set from memory - this one or the 9323 definately has them. I can't lay my hands on them at the moment though.

FollowupID: 409881

Reply By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:18

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 23:18
I have a Sangean ATS 505.
It's not a bad radio and does a better job than the average in picking up radio stations but I don't think its the bees knees. I know I could for example I could pick up the Melbourne ABC (774) in Canberra in the evenings but not really clearly. Just enough to hear the AFL broadcast.

I have a Radio/Cd player fitted in my caravan and that is just average. No different from the normal car radio. I know my Sangean is better than that. I intend to pick up an aerial for it from Dick Smith for my FNQ jaunt coming up.

AnswerID: 155471

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:55

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:55
Daytime can be a problem but at night there is no where in oz you cant get abc. Trick is to know which station so it doesnt just fade out. that station is 891 I have listened to it in the NT and regulary listen to Port Power games just with a busted arse portable right over in WA. It can be picked up more clearly in WA than WA stations quit often
AnswerID: 155489

Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:47

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:47
A very large aspect of radio reception is in the antenna. Get a good signal to it and even a cheap radio can do well. For AM (ie, medium waveband) reception the simplest decent antenna is a long wire - the longer the better and the higher the better. Try to get at least 10m of wire in the air (20 would be better), ensure _none_ of touches the ground, caravan, car etc. Use some nylon string at the end of it to tie it to a tree branch or similar. Strip the end of the wire and insert it into the antenna socket of your radio. If the radio doesn't have an antenna socket (then don't strip the end) wrap about 7 or 8 turns of the wire tightly around the base of it's telescopic antenna and secure with tape or similar.

As for radios – the Sangean is… OKish… mutter mutter :) but not a patch on a top quality short wave receiver. I have owned a Sony 7600 for 13 years which is still going strong and is able to resolve SSB transmissions even – so you will be able to receive the VKS737 network on it. In all respects it is far superior to any other domestic radio I have owned – many others say the same. However it’s almost quite a bit more expensive. I cannot recommend it highly enough.




Mike Harding
AnswerID: 155501

Follow Up By: Member - Peter R (QLD) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:42

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:42
A good way to get the wire in the air is to attach a light strain fishing trace with a sinker attached.
Hoist this as high as you can into a tree and when moving on , if wire does not come down easily the trace is easily broken for retrieval of wire.

FollowupID: 409469

Reply By: kesh - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:50

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:50
I have a Sangean ATS 803A receiver, also an Icom communications receiver with all the bells and whistles.
In reality, there is not much to choose between the two in actual receiving performance as tested using the same antenna.
The Sangean has continuous coverage, 150kHz - 30mHz. plus fm. The BFO allows tuning of sideband reception so all 3.5,7,14 mHz amature bands etc. can be listened to plus VHS737. It has timed switch off, on and up to 12 channels by push button. LCD display, operates on 6D size batteries but I plug in a 12-9v. adaptor from the van electrics.
The external antenna connection over rides the internal one, using a long wire we get very good all band reception in the W.Qld. channel country. (often listen to VKS traffic on the CSR)
Gets a very good thumbs up from me.
AnswerID: 155502

Follow Up By: Al-one - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 20:28

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 20:28
Who did you get the Sangean ATS 803A from? I don't think Dick Smith stocks this model Sangean.
FollowupID: 409623

Reply By: Footloose - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:25

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:25
In remote locations, AM reception is much more problematic than HF broadcast stations, regardless of your setup. The ABC has numerous HF frequencies which will enable you to listen in, especially at night.
AnswerID: 155507

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:41

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 08:41
Listen to the news as I go through towns.
Otherwise the wife, who is a radio (ABC) addict, goes without.

I just enjoy a good book and catch up when we get back :-).
I thought we went away (as in leave, depart, not participating any more, back to basics) so to get a break from these gadgets and technology and pressures of modern life. :o)
Do you need to know the latest thing Johhny Howard has denied?

(Now where is my PDA with my latest ebook on it? Must remember to pack it.)
AnswerID: 155509

Reply By: Darian (SA) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 09:08

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 09:08
My favourite ABC radio is RN and lthe ocal radio - both AM. They are down in the medium wave sector - as an example, Adelaide local radio is .891 Megs - the antenna should be 80m by my calcs - 20m for 1/4 wave - this means our car antennas and the ferrite ones inside the portable radios are a disgusting compromise - so we should expect poor reception in the bush - as others have said, heaps of stations come up at night anyway. My vehicle produces so much interference that I can't hear low signals in the bush while mobile - I pick up my news at over brekkie and at the end of the day.
AnswerID: 155517

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:37

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 11:37
I used to get around vehicle interferance for faint channels while listenung to the footy by pulling the fuel control rod off of my 2h motor and turning it off while driving so the only thing that works is the motor
FollowupID: 409515

Reply By: greydemon - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 13:17

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 13:17
I just try to avoid travelling during the cricket season so I don't need a radio. If the world ends I'll probably find out when I stop somewhere for fuel. (Hopefully the price will have fallen due to lower demand, but more likely it will go up due to ceasation of supply)

I accept that from last week it got harder - I now can't travel during the Super 14 season either, unless it is to Western Force away games.

AnswerID: 155553

Reply By: kesh - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 21:12

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 21:12
Al-one. I bought the Sangean about 16yrs. ago from an electronic store in Bathurst which I am sure no longer exists. At the time there was a similar unit with a tape deck but not quite the overall gadgetry (ssb reception etc.) of the one I bought.
Sorry I cant be more helpful. I have the original manual, which is most comprehensive including the full circuit diagram, but no mention of the au. importer or distributor.
As I said, this model is excellent for our requirements, we are avid ABC listeners of an evening, such stations as 1548 Townsville, 702 Syd. 576 Rad. Nat. come in without fade at our location NW Eromanga.
cheers the kesh
AnswerID: 155639

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 12:50

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 12:50

Some great reponses above, with heaps of info.

As I've spent the last 40 years in NT, and western Qld, have always been chasing the "ultimate" AM receiver, as enjoy the news, and some music. Have a Bearcat HF receiver, which is big, and is not always happy with the dry, western climate-bad RF noise, with long wire aerials.

Apart from old model Eurovox am/fm receivers(don't know what the newies are like), the best AM receiver would have to be the radio/cassettes, provided in toyota troopies and 79 series utes. These are made by Fujitsu, and have excellent AM reception, when coupled to a Mobile One (Axis is another brand) am/fm whip aerial, 1500mm long. These look like a 27 meg aerial, but are designed for broadcast bands.

Have picked 3SR, in Victoria, while travelling south of Winton Q. Time of year will always dictate how good reception is too. While working in Kimberly, about 1968, was able to pick 2UW regularly every evening, during August that year, using a Sony receiver, and about 100M of wire strung from tree to tree. We were camped at a place called Milligans Lagoon, if anyone knows that area.

The Dick Smith catalogue used to have all the am frequencies in the info section.


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 155722

Follow Up By: kesh - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 16:10

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 16:10
Bob Y : have to agree with you there. The one supplied as original in our '97, 75 series tray back has always been excellent. Quilpie to Windorah then all the way up to Winton 585 Bourke radio is clear as a bell. Longreach ABC always good, NSW regional as well.
My comments however are more to do with a "camp" set up, something to listen to instead of the always interesting night sounds.
Home at the moment, and bloody missing our mining camp! (too hot still)
FollowupID: 409726

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (9)