History of wireless telegraphy and broadcasting in Australia/Topical/Publications/Australian Radio History/NT AM Stations

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NT AM Stations[edit]

Northern Territory A.M. Radio Stations

Part of the most comprehensive list ever compiled of Australian A.M. broadcasting stations.

11 Feb 1944 - 5DR - Darwin[edit]

Darwin Radio. Established at a cost of £2,000, and operated by the Army to entertain our troops during WWII, with the 1500 KHz. transmitter at Cemetery Plains. The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Brian Wright; an announcer from 2GB. The former EMI studios in Homebush, Sydney, were reopened to produce records for all the army stations, with 2GB providing transcription programs. They also relayed programs from the B.B.C. and the A.B.C. via a shortwave receiver at Leanyer. They produced their own variety style song and comedy program every Saturday night in front of the troops. On air 0600-0900 and 1630-0100. Often heard in New Zealand. Lieutenant Lionel Lunn from 2GB, and Sergeant Len Maugher (later at 3AW, then head of the Nine TV network), were their announcers. Closed on 8-2-1946 with the transmitter being maintained by P.M.G. technician Ken Soare. Taken over by the A.B.C. on 12-3-1947, using 200 watts (2,000 watts in 1952). On air 0700-1000, 1200-1400, and 1800-2230 until 1960. Live programs included local sport, dances, and plays. They only had one announcer until 1960, as most programs were on relay from Adelaide. Changed their callsign to 8DR on 5-7-1960, then later to 8RN.

Mar 1944 - 5AL - Adelaide River[edit]

Army station. Relay of 5DR. Closed on 8 Feb 1946. This callsign was later allocated to an A.B.C. station in Alice Springs on 30 Nov 1948.

30 Nov 1948 - 5AL - Alice Springs[edit]

A.B.C. Started as a relay of 5CL, with studios situated next to the Court House. On air 0630-1000, 1200-1430, and 1700-2230. Changed their callsign to 8AL on 5 Jul 1960, and became a relay of 8DR with some local programs. Now covers all of inland Australia with a separate short wave service. Callsign 5AL was first allocated to an Army station at Adelaide River in March 1944.

5 Jun 1960 - 5KN - Katherine[edit]

A.B.C. Relay of 5DR. Changed their callsign to 8KN on 5 Jul 1960.

11 Jun 1960 - 5TC - Tennant Creek[edit]

A.B.C. Relay of 5AL. Changed their callsign to 8TC on 5 Jul 1960.

5 Jul 1960 - 8AL - Alice Springs[edit]

(See 30 Nov 1948 - 5AL) A.B.C.

5 Jul 1960 - 8KN - Katherine[edit]

(See 5 Jun 1960 -5KN) A.B.C. Relay of 8DR.

5 Jul 1960 - 8TC - Tennant Creek[edit]

(See 11 Jun 1960 - 5TC) A.B.C. Relay of 8AL.

5 Jul 1960 - 8DR - Darwin[edit]

A.B.C. (See 5DR 11 Feb 1944). Darwin Radio. Off the air for 34 hours after Cyclone Tracy cut their landline to their transmitter on 25 Dec 1974. Back on air using a landline from their studio to Melbourne, feeding a Radio Australia shortwave transmitter at Lyndhurst, and back to a receiver at their Darwin transmitter site. Changed to 8DDD FM in October 1990.

12 Dec 1960 - 8DN - Darwin[edit]

Licensed on 12 Feb 1960. Owned by Doug Charlton (see 7DY). Organised annual Rock Eisteddfods with Northern Territory bands. Put off the air on 25 Dec 1974 by cyclone Tracy. They borrowed a spare transmitter from 8HA which was delivered by the Army to hasten the restoration of all emergency communications. On 1 Jul 78 they were taken over by 25 intruders stating on air that they had established an emergency interim government. Opened a relay transmitter at Katherine in 1981. Converted to stereo on 1 Dec 1983. Launched 8HOT FM in 1991. Their manager, knowing that the station was having financial problems, established another company to take over the licence. He was eventually sacked, and on 23 Oct 1991 the stations' chairman sought a court injunction to prevent the sacked manager from entering the station. Had to close 8DN on 14 Feb 1992 due to a lack of advertising, and a contravention of Australian Broadcasting Tribunal regulations. The 8DN frequency was later used by the A.B.C. as 8RN.

1971 - 8?? - Darwin[edit]

Established at Berry Springs by the Northern Territory Emergency Service, to provide information to the public during emergencies. Radio Australia (P.M.G.) technicians operated the transmitter. Closed in June 1991.

2 Mar 1971 - 8HA - Alice Springs[edit]

Was to open as 8NT (Northern Territory), then 8CA (Central Australia), before opening as 8HA (Heart of Australia). Started by Eddie Connellan (founder of Connair) and George Brown (Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Base). To speed up the opening date, S.T.C. used a DC6 aeroplane to deliver the technical equipment. Purchased 4VL in 1984, and sold it in 1986. Purchased 4KZ in 1987. Still owned by the first 23 shareholders. Their slogan was "Broadcasting to Central Australia". Now has an F.M. relay at Uluru (Ayers Rock). (In 1947 the P.M.G. refused an application from the Alice Springs newspaper to launch a commercial station there).

Dec 1974 - 8GO - Gove (Nhulunbuy)[edit]

A.B.C. Originally received 8DR programs via a three hop tropospheric link from Darwin. Now receives their programs via satellite.

1980 - 8JB - Jabiru[edit]

A.B.C. Relay of 8DR. (Commencement pre Jun 1981 per DOC Station Book of that date)

1985? - 8DN - Katherine[edit]

Relay of 8DN Darwin. Relicensed to FM station 8HOT after 8DN closed.

1990 - 8RN - Darwin[edit]

(See 5 Jul 1960 - 8DR) A.B.C. Radio National

1990 - 8RN - Katherine[edit]

(See 5 Jul 1960 - 8KN) A.B.C. Radio National

1990 - 8RN - Tennant Creek[edit]

(See 5 Jul 1960 - 8TC) A.B.C. Radio National

Jul 1992 - 8HOT - Katherine[edit]

Relay of 8DN Darwin. Relicensed to FM station 8HOT after 8DN closed, becoming Australia's only AM repeater of a commercial FM service.

2000? - HPON - Darwin[edit]

HPON licence awarded at auction to NT Tab Pty Ltd, using the former frequency of 8DN.

2005? - Yolngu Radio - Darwin[edit]

TCBL licensed to Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation, transmitter on separate mast at 8RN site. Shifted to FM, with FM test transmissions commencing 8 June 2017, permanent FM from 1 July 2017 with final day of AM transmissions 30 June 2017.

2005? - Yolngu Radio - Elcho Island[edit]

TCBL licensed to Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation, planned but never implemented. Instead established LPON then FM TCBL.

2005? - Yolngu Radio - Gapuwiyak[edit]

TCBL licensed to Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation, planned but never implemented. Instead established LPON then FM TCBL.

2005? - Yolngu Radio - Nhulunbuy[edit]

TCBL licensed to Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation, planned but never implemented. Instead established LPON then FM TCBL.

2005? - Yolngu Radio - Yathalamarra[edit]

TCBL licensed to Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal Corporation, planned but never implemented. Instead established LPON then FM TCBL.

Letter to the Editor[edit]

"Dear 5DR Darwin. Congratulations on an achievement. The people of Darwin thank you for bringing to us one of the most essential amenities of modern life". Letter to the Editor, 13-3-1947, on the opening of 5DR. (Photo is their early AR7 Short wave receivers, used for relaying some ABC and BBC programs).