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Perth Radio VIP POP

1912 - 2002

In 1905 the Federal Government of Australia introduced the Wireless Telegraphy Act giving the Government complete control over wireless activity and the Postmaster General the exclusive right to transmit and receive messages nu wireless and to issue wireless licences.

In 1909 the Federal Government, through the Postmaster General’s Department, committed £10,000 to establishing two coastal wireless stations in Australia. On 21st October 1909 tenders were called for the construction of these two wireless stations, one to be in Perth and the other in Sydney. In December of the same year an Imperial Press Conference was held in Melbourne which discussed the future of wireless communications in Australia and the Pacific and the proposal to establish a chain of coastal radio stations.

In the April of 1910 the Australian Federal Government announced the successful contractors for the two wireless stations as Australasian Wireless Limited who were an agent for the German company Telefunken. That same year the Postmaster General appointed the first Engineer for Radio Telegraphy in Australia.

By September 1911 the Australian Federal Government had completed negotiations for the purchase of the Applecross transmitter site and clearing of the site and construction of the station commenced.

On 19th August 1912 the other station in the contract, Sydney Radio located at Pennant Hills, was officially opened with the callsign POS (Post Office Sydney - later changed to VIS) under the control the the Postmaster General's Department. Following on, on 30th September, the Applecross station opened as Perth Radio with the callsign POP (later changed to VIP).

Still in 1912, other smaller coast radio stations were established at Melbourne POM, Hobart POH, Brisbane POB, Adelaide POA, Thursday Island and Port Moresby. These were joined in 1913 by further stations in Darwin, Mount Gambier, Rockhampton, Cooktown, Townsville, Flinders Island, Wyndham, Broome, Roebourne, Geraldton and Esperance.

From 1912 the callsign prefix letter V was used in many Commonwealth countries as a commemoration of the recent death of Queen Victoria. Australia was allocated the prefix group VH to VK. Following an international wireless convention, which allocated prefixes on a world wide basis, the PO callsigns were changed to VI, giving Perth Radio it's VIP. In all, the Australian government established 22 coast stations, all with VI prefixes.

In 1914 WW1 broke our and between 1916 and 1920 the Royal Australian Navy tooks control of all Australian coast radio stations and all wireless telegraphy in Australia. During this time the Navy installed a new 60 kiloWatt Poulsen arc transmitter and valve operated receivers.

During World War I, the Applecross Wireless Station received an emergency signal from the Cocos Islands giving the position of the German light cruiser, SMS Emden. The station relayed the information to the HMAS Sydney, which was escorting a troop convoy close to the Cocos Islands. The Sydney gave chase and captured the Emden in one of Australia’s most famous sea battles of the First World War.

In 1920 control of Perth Radio had reverted back to the Postmaster General but in 1922 control of the station was transferred to Amalgamated Wireless of Australasia Limited (formerly Australasian Wireless Limited).

In 1927 AWA installed an HF beam aerial system, enabling direct communication between Australia and the United Kingdom. The Applecross Station became a feeder station for international telecommunications traffic.

Between 1939 and 1945, as a result of the outbreak of WW2, the Royal Australian Navy again took over control of the Applecross Station, along with all other coastal radio stations in the country.

After the cessation of WW2 a review took place of the Imperial Communications System which resulted, in 1946, in the formation of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission. In 1947 this new body took over control of Perth Radio and other wireless stations from the Postmaster General.

In 1960 two rhombic aerials were installed at the station to provide communications associated with a NASA space mission.

In 1967 Perth Radio's operations ceased at the Applecross site and the OTC began vacating the site. On 14th October 1979 the Wireless Hill Telecommunications Museum officially opened on the Applecross site and in 1994 the Institution of Engineers, Australia, erected a plaque on the site in recognition of the heritage significance of the former wireless station and the contribution of engineers in
the history and development of Australia.

The closure of the Applecross site in 1967 was the result of a transfer of the stations operations to Bassandean.

1976 saw Perth Radio taking over control of Geraldton Radio VIN and it's radiotelephony facilities including distress watch on on 2182 kHz.

In 1978 the stations operations move once again, this time to Gnangara, a few kilometres to the North of Perth.

From 1996 the station also remotely controlled operators remotely controlled the GMDSS transmitters and receivers of  Darwin Radio VID.

Perth was the main Radiotelegraphy station until the closure of morse code services in February 1999. An automatic telex service was provided until this was taken over by Globe Wireless using the existing equipment at Perth Radio.

Services from Perth Radio VIP ceased on 30th June 2002 along with all the other Australian coast radio stations.

Perth Radio Links

100 Years of Wireless Hill

In 2012 it will be 100 years since the opening of Perth Radio POP. Plans are being devised by the local community to celebrate this milestone. It is not yet known (March 2011) what these plans are and whether they will include any radio activity.


Ship's Nostalgia - The Radio Room