High Frequency Radphone Service

Radphone operating console at the Brisbane Communications Centre

The National HF Radphone Service

PMG/Telecom/Telstra's involvement with VIS started in 1956 with the running of the Melbourne Olympic Games. At that time there was only one cable to establish contact with the outside world, so PMG/OTC established the Overseas Radio Terminal.

There were many HF point-to-point radio circuits to places such as London, Johannesburg, Bombay, Calcutta, Port Moresby, Tarangau, Montreal, Hong Kong, Colombo, Wau, Lae, Capetown, Honiara, several other Pacific Islands and many more.

As undersea cables were established to major centers around the world, the HF radio circuits were closed, with satellites being the final death knell for point-to-point radio circuits.

By the late seventies the only radio circuits left were Honiara, Davis base, Casey Base, Mawson Base, Macquarie Island and of course VIS ship to shore.

At this time, Sydney VIS had the reputation of being the best HF ship to shore in the world.
The full operation of all radio circuits were handed over to OTC in the early eighties.

Mariners may remember this recording transmitted for frequency adjustment:

"This is Sydney Australia. The Eastern terminal of the overseas radio telephone service, transmitting a test message for the purpose of identification and circuit adjustment for stations scheduled for communications with Sydney at this time".

Listen to the recording by James Dibble, ABC Announcer the same man who lent his voice to the "Speaking Clock", which was also maintained by the ORT. There were actually two of them, one "on air" and one for back-up. It is believed the speaking clock is now in a museum somewhere.

In 1995, transfer of all Radphone operations from Sydney to Brisbaneradio VIB at Ningi, commenced and continued untill it's closure on 28th February 2002 after more than 55 years of operation. High frequency transmitters and receivers were remotely controlled from the Ningi complex. Various types of power outputs from 1kw to 10kw as well as directional antennas and a whole range of channels from 4 - 22Mhz could be selected.






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