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Globe Wireless Seatex Service – Shutdown

20 Aug 12
Peter Bull

From Tony Belts & Kevan Bourke:

On the morning of August 17, 2012, the Globe Wireless Seatex service was shut down, this was the last remaining HF service at Gnangara Maritime Coast Station which has been operating in its current form for Globe Wireless since 1997, and many years before that when owned by OTC.

This marks the end of an era with some 45 years of continuous HF service at the Maritime Coast Station, a sad day for many people. OTC moved to Gnangara from their old transmitting station at Bassendean in 1966, having operated from there for many years prior to that.

I have heard it said that Gnangara was once the largest commercial HF station in the southern hemisphere. In this time it has seen Seatex, Seaphone, Radio Telephone (Radphone – RTF), Radphone Direct Dial (RDD), Radio TeleGraph (Morse – RTG), Radio TeleType (RTT), Global Maritime Distress Surveillance System (GMDSS), Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS), Digital Selective Calling (DSC), Qantas and other aviation HF services, plus other services. It operated as VIP (Perth) and in later years added VID (Darwin) when that closed.

Gnangara had radio operators and staff working 24/7 for many years. The radio staff alone in 1995 had 7 staff working flat out.


  1. Peter Bull August 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    From Jim Simpson:
    Noted thanks Peter – I remember it well!

    Memories, Memories… FYI All too – probably the last vestige of commercial HF radio operation in Australia, albeit in later years under contract to Globe Wireless following their takeover of OTC’s/Telstra’s VIP Seatex operation remotely controlled from the Globe Wireless Coast Radio Station at half Moon Bay south of San Francisco, USA.

  2. Peter Bull August 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    From Henry Cranfield:
    I believe it was built to replace Applecross as a TX site as there was a requirement to provide HF Radio ccts to NASA floating comm stations in the Indian Ocean and Bassendean was the receiver site. (Now a shopping centre)NASA had ships like oil tankers fitted with Log periodic antennas and dishes. The transmitters at Gnangara were Marconi 10KW and they had frequency diversion on receivers for Telex working.(The receiving site was Bulbrook shared with DCA?} The TX station was designed to accommodate the Marconi TX’s et they were in a row upstairs with X-bar aerial switch. If you ask Cyril Vahtrick he was the designer if I remember rightly?

  3. Peter Bull August 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    From Cyril Vahtrick:
    Peter, of course I have no detailed knowledge of the later developments at Gnangara, so I can only talk about the early history. When OTC was created, it took over the Coast Radio stations in the Perth area. Bassendean was the receiving station and Applecross was the transmitting station. When OTC began improving and increasing its international services, we augmented Applecross and Bassendean to provide international HF relay facilities during times when radio propagation from our eastern states encountered difficulties. Further development of these sites had been considered but there was pressure from local government authorities to vacate the sites which were fast being surrounded by real estate development. With the NASA requirement for HF support over the Indian Ocean – I think primarily for the ARIA aircraft, but I agree with Henry that some ships were also involved –we first established Gnangara and then transferred the Applecross facilities to that site. Bassendean continued as the receiving site but I am not sure for how long before it was also replaced.

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