Analogue TV DX

This page details my experimentation with the local Amateur Radio broadcasts.

It discusses my former interest the long distance reception of tv transmissions.

I erected aerials at our home in Royal Melbourne Golf Club during the mid 1980s. I have used these to receive local ABC and Network Ten transmissions during golf tournaments. This included mobile TV vans and an internal score board.

I was able to receive ABC TV on channel 4 from Gippsland and watched test match cricket on the regional ABC TV station. The ABC is a government network that did not have commercial breaks. During the 1980's test cricket was transmitted in regional Australia on the ABC. Unlike the city that watched all cricket transmissions via the commercial 9 network.

During atmospheric skip conditions I have received TV stations from: Shepparton, Taralgon, Ballarat, Bendigo and Mount Gambier

Before the nationalisation of the Australian Television industry. I use to enjoy watching channel 6 Ballarat and channel 8 Bendigo during atmospheric skip. These were independent country networks with some unique programming. Most of Australian TV is now repeated from Sydney. This excludes local news services and current affairs.

During the late 1980's, I lived with my parents on the Mornington Peninsula and erected Deep fringe UHF aerials to receive VK3RTV. This is an amateur television station on Mount Dandenong that use to transmit at 10 watts ERP on UHF channel 35 but now transmits on channel 16.

Rohan with aerials at Rye
Photo of Rohan adjusting VHF & UHF TV aerials in Rye and RMGC in Black Rock.

Shown above is my 18 element UHF band 4 fringe aerial (on top), old dual band VHF 1 & 3 and a tri band standard tv aerial for VHF 1 & 3 and UHF 4 (with orange fixtures).Not shown was my gold 96 element deep fringe UHF 4 & 5 aerial that I used to receive Bendigo TV from almost 200 kms away from Mt Alexander in central Victoria.

Photo of VK3RTV
Photos taken of VK3RTV on UHF 35 in Rye.

When the extra country tv stations were introduced back in the 1990's. My reception of VK3RTV was slightly effected. At this time VK3RTV transmitted between channel 35 & 36, the new Bendigo channel 35 VIC TV (now Win TV) made things a little difficult. I used the 18 element UHF aerial with a UHF -> VHF down converter to convert channel 35.5 to channel 4. My 96 element UHF aerial was connected to the main pre-amplifier and received Bendigo channels 29, 32 & 35. This allowed reception of both services.

Line of sight plot
Line of sigth plot to Mt. Dandenong.

Line of sight plot
Line of sigth plot to Mt. Alexander.

While the new country Analog TV networks were being installed I received many test patterns from around Victoria on my tv in Rye. This included clear transmissions from Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton. I assume these TV stations disappeared because their spectrum transmission footprints were established.

Before MCT 31 was given a long term license, I received SKA TV from St. Kilda on channel 31.

In total, the stations I could receive were:
Melbourne: 2, 7, 9, 10, 28, 31, 35
Bendigo: 29, 32, 35.
Arthurs Seat: 58, 61.

I had line of sight to Arthurs Seat from my parents home on the Mornington Peninsula.

Arthurs Seat
Photo looking East towards Arthurs Seat in Rye.

If I pointed my 96 element UHF 4 & 5 aerial towards Melbourne, with it connected to the masthead pre-amplifier, I received lots of duplicate channels from the different repeaters around the greater Melbourne area.

Here is a listing of the Melbourne and Bendigo Analog TV services in 2003. Note that Bendigo now has channel 38.

Analog TV Allocations
Analog TV spectrum allocations for Melbourne and Bendigo.

I have received many country television stations from almost 200kms away using deep fringe UHF aerials and a masthead pre-amplifier.

During atmospheric skip I have received direct television services from King Island and Launceston. During unusual skip conditions I have received Channel 0 from Toowoomba Queensland and TV ONE from New Zealand. New Zealand channel 1 is between Australian channels 0 and 1. During this skip event, that occurred in the evening before 10pm, I watched TV ONE close for the day. An analogue clock with the time of midnight was transmitted by TV ONE.

With the introduction of digital tv services accross Australia my hobby of long distance tv reception is coming to a close. The new digital tv signals give sharp dvd quality picture at the cost of not being receivable outside reasonable signal strength range. The signal attenuates from good to unwatchable with a very rapid distinction.