Lots of people think of ways they can claim to be the first, but I can probably claim a last.
But first, an explanation of what short-wave broadcasting is.
Short-wave broadcasting refers to the use of frequencies between 2 and 30MHz to transmit a radio station hundreds or thousands of kilometres to listeners who may be outside your own city or on the other side of the world. It was made possible when Guglielmo Marconi discovered shortwave propagation in a series of experiments during 1923 and 1924. At first amateurs, and then existing (very new) broadcast stations, followed up by the world's first true shortwave broadcasting station PCJJ which opened in Holland in 1927.
Shortwave broadcasting grew rapidly, both as the only way for nations to broadcast to remote regions of their own country, and as the way for governments to directly promote their own viewpoints to the world. During World War II and the Cold War, shortwave broadcasting was key in what your own side called information, and the other side called propaganda.
In more recent times, firstly satellite television, and then the internet, have taken over the dominant role of promoting one's viewpoint to other nations, and so much of it has shut down, and nobody much builds new transmitting stations any longer. Even within nations, new technologies such as solar-powered FM transmitters have mostly removed the need for crackling, unreliable shortwave to reach remote places.
That's why the shortwave transmitting station that I helped design, build and commission in the mid 1990's will probably turn out to be the world's last new one.
Australian foreign aid had decided to fund a rebuild of the national broadcaster's transmitters in the Republic of Vanuatu. In the 1970's, they had built the current transmitting station in the suburbs of the capital Port Vila, and urban growth was forcing them to move outside the town.
We were looking for work, and so we put in a bid. As usual, I was responsible for the antenna design, and I got rather angry about what we'd been informed was the recommended design - a very expensive antenna that couldn't do the job properly (because its coverage radius was half of what was needed). So I set about designing something that would meet the claimed performance of their design, but would actually achieve what they claimed, and explain why this was needed. I presume this was one reason why we won the contract.
Customers need to believe that what you're proposing is low risk, which means that new one-off designs are never appropriate. But what you can do, and what I did, is to take existing well-proved designs and combine them in new ways.
I could buy a much simpler antenna (a fan dipole) for about one-tenth of the cost of what we were supposed to be using. And that cost saving let me buy more of them while keeping the same price for the job.
The Republic of Vanuatu isn't symmetric - it extends about 450km to the north from the capital, and a bit less to the south, but only about 100km to the east and west.
You'd normally design an antenna to send as much power as possible to where the people are, and as little as possible to where there is nobody. That's why the antenna we'd been told to use was wrong - its coverage area was a circle, twice as wide east/west and going half as far north/south as it should. So the geogaphy let me design something which would take power away from east & west, and send it out to the north & south instead. It only needed two of the fan dipoles set up in parallel to do it, and gave me many times as much power towards the northern end of the country than the original antenna could ever have done.
We did end up needing two pairs of antennas, because one pair couldn't cover the entire frequency range. But even so, four fan dipoles plus the power-splitting hardware still cost less than the original antenna would have, and in a country that gets lots of cyclones, having multiple antennas means that you have much more chance that something usable will survive if you get cyclone damage.
It turned out that this antenna design was the most reliable thing that we designed anywhere in the whole job. Everything worked first time and kept working. So I decided that it was worth getting a published technical paper out of it.
At first, I wrote a paper for a local engineering journal. But the problem was that nobody much outside of Australia would have ever seen it.
Later, I decided that it was worth going for publication in an international journal. Of course you can't re-publish the same material, so what I did was to write a paper on operational experience. In 2001, I submitted this to a special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting, and their reviewer was nice enough to advise that he hoped it would become a new standard design. It's still the only paper that I've ever got published in an international peer-reviewed journal.
The reviewer's comment was a nice pat on the back. But unfortunately, it's more likely to be the last design rather than any new standard.
Design of an HF antenna system for Radio Vanuatu, JEEEA, vol. 15, no. 1, pp.1-6, 1995
Operational Experience of a New HF Tropical Band Broadcasting System: IEEE Trans Broadcasting, March 2002 (Vol 48 Iss 1 pp 35-38)