Tasmania Information

Hobart (Mt Koonya)

  • Location: Mt Koonya, 50km ESE of Hobart (lat 43.1122° S, long 147.8061° E)
  • Type: DWSR2502C C band radar (5.610GHz); 14ft dish; Peak Power out 300kW; Sensitivity-114dBm;
  • Availability (Typical): 24 Hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Mt Koonya radar was built as part of the Strategic Radar Enhancment Project (SREP) which aimed to close significant gaps in the existing radar coverage for Australia by delivering four new radars across the country.

Geographical Situation

The radar location is on the Tasman Peninsula just on 46km east-south-east of Hobart.The radar site is some 478m above sea level with the tower an additional 36.6m above ground level (the tallest radar tower in the country).

The Tasman Sea dominates to the east and south of the radar while Norfolk Bay and Frederick Henry Bays lie to the north and northeast respectively.Storm Bay lies to the west south west.The Wellington Range dominates the topography to the west northwest with Mt Wellington (1260m) some 54km from the radar.There are a series of narrow ranges further to the west and southwest including the Snowy Range, Picton Ranges, Hartz Mountain, Western Arthurs to name but a few.

Hills near the radar including Mt Arthur approximately 8km to the south and Mt Fortescue 14km to the east-southeast east block low level echoes close to the radar.

Based on detecting echoes at a height of 3000m the radar coverage extends to Bicheno on the east coast , Derwent Bridge in the central highlands to the northwest and Strathgordan in the southwest all around 150km from the radar. Larger echoes can be seen beyond 200km from the radar taking in St Helens on the east coast, Queenstown in the west and beyond the southwest of Tasmania.

Meteorological Aspects

The radar is well sited to provide very good coverage for the Greater Hobart area and near by towns.The radar, being sufficiently far enough aware from the Wellington range, will allow a view of rain bands and fronts moving in from the west. Storms developing over the central plateau and approaching Hobart from the northwest will be able to be tracked and monitored to the west.The view to the east is extensive allowing a good view of rain and showers moving in from the east.

The location close to a myriad of busy water ways is ideal for Doppler observations which provide wind speed and direction information.

Non-meteorological aspects

In most cases, processing of the radar signal removes permanent echoes caused by hills, buildings and other solid objects, but sometimes a few slip through. These usually show up as small, stationary or erratically moving specks, mostly over the higher ground to the north and west. On cold clear winter nights and mornings these echoes may become stronger or increase in number due to downward refraction of the radar beam.

During strong winds and very rough seas, sea clutter may be visible off the coast out to a range of about 30 km. This sea clutter tends to remain in the same area and can therefore be distinguished from rain echoes, which generally move with the wind.

West Takone

  • Location: Loones Hill, West Takone, 35 km WSW of Burnie and 27 km SW of Wynyard (lat 41.181° S, long 145.579° E)
  • Height: 588m above sea level
  • Type: WSR81 C band radar (5.625GHz); 8 ft dish; Peak Power out 250Kw; Sensitivity¬† -114Dbm; Weather Watch only.
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The radar coverage is 360 degrees and encompasses much of Bass Strait, Tasmania's northwest, central north and to a lesser extent, the northeast and the west coast as far south as Strahan. The coverage to the south is limited in range by the Central Plateau. In all this radar has proven to be an invaluable forecasting and monitoring tool.

False echoes are sometimes viewed close in from the nearby pine plantations particularly in damp conditions. Anomalous propagation from Bass Strait cause similar echoes. Permanent echo suppression and swept gain characteristics take care of the majority of these.

Hobart Airport

  • Location: Hobart Airport (lat 42.83° S, long 147.51° E)
  • Type: WF100 C-Band Radar (5.625GHz); 6ft Dish; Peak Power out 250Kw; Sensitivity -114Dbm; Windfinding and Weather Watch radar.
  • Availability (Typical):: Midnight-0300; 0430—0900; 1030—1500; 1630—2100; 2230-midnight.

Interpretation Notes

This installation is primarily a windfinding radar. The coverage in weather watch mode is poor. Surrounded by mountains and hills in most directions, it provides coverage for the immediate area surrounding Hobart Airport, about 40km along the Coal River Valley to the northwest and to the southeast over Frederick Henry Bay to the Tasman Peninsula.