A.W.A. were pioneers of broadcasting in Australia. As early as August, 1920, Mr. F. T. Fisk gave a public demonstration of wireless broadcasting in Sydney to an audience of more than 100 at a meeting of the Royal Society of N.S.W. In October of the same year, he arranged a complete public broadcast concert in the Queen's Hall, Federal Parliament House, Melbourne, to an audience of some hundreds of people. This was the third large public demonstration of broadcasting that had taken place in any part of the world. In January, 1921, a weekly broadcast programme was transmitted from Melbourne by A.W.A. and was heard by experimenters and others at distances up to 1000 miles.
Broadcasting Station 2FC was opened on December 23rd, 1923, and this was followed by the inauguration in 1924 of Broadcasting Services at Station 3L0 Melbourne and Station 6WF Perth, while in the following year Broadcasting Stations 4QG Brisbane and 5CL Adelaide came into operation. All the above stations were designed by the engineers of A.W.A. Ltd. and the highly technical equipment manufactured at the Company's Radio-Electric Works, Sydney.
The high standard of transmission maintained by the principal Australian broadcasting stations to-day is primarily due to the research and experimental work carried out by the engineers of A.W.A. The manufacture of broadcasting transmitters is a highly technical phase of industry, and the Company is to-day producing broadcasting transmitters which compare more than favourably with those manufactured overseas, which demonstrates what can be done in the field of wireless when a definite policy of Australian manufacture has been laid down.
Experiments in wireless telephony have been carried out by Mr. E. T. Fisk for over a period of five years, and during that time many records have been achieved both in regard to overseas wireless telegraphy and overseas broadcasting. To further develop overseas broadcasting and telephony, the Company designed and manufactured at its Radio-Electric Works the 20 k.w. Short Wave Transmitter now installed at Pennant Hills, and it was by means of this transmitter that many of the overseas records since established have been effected.
To Australia fell the honour of transmitting the first Empire Broadcast Programme. On September 5th, 1927, the transmission was effected through A.W.A.'s overseas experimental station VK2ME, Pennant Hills. The reception in Great Britain was remarkably successful, and the programme was re-broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation to crystal users and other listeners throughout Great Britain. It is estimated that over one million listeners-in heard the programme.
This was followed on October 17th, 1927, by the second and what might be termed the first world-wide programme through Station VK2ME, the programme being arranged by Station 2FC. This was the first occasion on which programmes were transmitted on dual wave lengths the normal wave length of Station 2FC, 422 metres for local reception, and that of the special experimental Station VK2ME, 28.5 metres, for overseas reception and re-broadcasting by the British Broadcasting Corporation. The world-wide interest occasioned by the Eucharistic Congress in Sydney was increased by A.W.A. transmitting the proceedings to England and America through the Company's Experimental Station VK2ME, and the successful re-broadcasting in the latter country.
Another notable transmission was effected on January 10th, 1930, when the singing and talking portions of the Paramount "talkie" film, "The Love Parade," starring Maurice Chevalier, were transmitted from the Prince Edward Theatre', Sydney, to Commander Byrd. The transmission was effected on the 20 k.w. overseas transmitter designed and manufactured in Australia by A.W.A.
About half an hour after the transmission, Commander Byrd signalled back via San Francisco and A.W.A. Radio Centre, Pennant Hills:-
"2ME, Sydney. As Paramount's most southern representatives, at Antarctica, we are pleased to report your fine broadcast of the Paramount Sound Picture, 'The Love Parade,' enjoyed and greatly appreciated. This is the first sound reproduction received here. Admiral Byrd and inhabitants of the Antarctica join us in thanking you for your programme and best wishes.- Joseph Rocker and Willard Van De Veer, Paramount's Cameramen in `Byrd's Antarctic Exedition."
The successful development and application of short-wave wireless telegraphy and telephony has revolutionised long-distance wireless communication. In 1922 the Wireless Research Engineers of A.W.A., working under the guidance of Mr. E. T. Fisk, commenced experimental work in Sydney in connection with short-wave wireless communication, resulting in the achievement of many long-distance records. In January, 1924, the first successful transmission of low-power short-wave signals was effected from England to Australia from the Marconi Station at Poldhu, Cornwall, to Mr. Fisk's Experimental station at Vaucluse, Sydney.
During 1924, the Company installed a specially designed short-wave transmitter on the S.S. "Niagara," trading between Sydney and Vancouver, and at, A.W.A. Radio Centre, Pennant Hills, near Sydney. So successful were the results that the S.S. "Niagara" was in touch with the Radio Centre regularly throughout the voyage to Vancouver and return, a distance of 7,000 miles, which constituted a record in Marine Wireless communication.
Another notable achievement by A.W.A. in short-wave low-power wireless communication was the record distance attained by the short-wave transmitter installed on the Commonwealth liner the "Jervis Bay" in September. 1926.During the whole of the voyage from London to Sydney and return, the "Jervis Bay" was daily in communication with A.W.A. Radio Centre, Pennant Hills. This is the longest distance worked by a merchant ship, and it is worthy of note that the short-wave apparatus was wholly designed and manufactured in Australia at the A.W.A.'s Radio-Electric Works.
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