1923: Portable radio tests in Wellington

Evening Post, 15 October 1923, p 8


On Saturday afternoon some interesting and useful work was carried out by the Wireless Section of the Signal Corps. A mobile unit under Lieut. RS Wheeler, equipped with a 30 watt continuous wave portable transmitting and receiving set, left the signal hut at 3pm by motor, and proceeded to various points in the suburbs, where the installation was set up and put into communication with signal headquarters, Wireless Station, which was operated under the direction of Second Lieut. Ashbridge.

After establishing communication and exchanging messages of a military nature, the unit dismantled the set, and under the direction of headquarters, moved to another locality where the same operation was repeated.

Some smart work was accomplished, and in one instance the unit was dismantled, packed up, motored a distance of half a mile, re-erected, and reopened communication within eleven minutes, which is considered a very creditable performance.

The working distance was approximately two to three miles, but this range could be increased up to one hundred miles without reduction in efficiency. Mr SG M’Gregor, of Awakino, reports hearing the signals quite distinctly on his set, which uses one valve.

A feature of the wireless equipment is the use of small copper gauze “mats” four feet by two feet in place of an earth. Earth mats prevent loss of time in setting up the station, as they act on the capacity principle and may be spread out on dry ground with good radiation effect. The set is very compact, the whole equipment and five men being transported in one car.

The station at headquarters is a very efficient one, and is capable of communicating with Fort Coutley [presumably a misspelling of Fort Cautley, i.e. North Head. -Ed.], Auckland, and Radio Awanui in daylight, with a signal strength sufficient for the exchange of traffic at normal morse rates. It is hoped that the installation at Corps Signals, Christchurch, will be ready to cooperate with Wellington and Auckland Signal Corps in about a week.

The following formed the personnel of the mobile unit: Lieut. Wheeler, Corporal Boyle, Sappers Morrison, Emens and Driver WJ Creed, while Headquarters was operated by Second Lieut. Ashbridge, assisted by Sapper Mitchell.