1976: Two new masts for 500 kHz at Awarua

Southland Times, 16 November 1976

Post Office riggers Terry Forde and Arthur Williams bolting on a section of one of the new masts

Post Office riggers Terry Forde and Arthur Williams bolting on a section of one of the new masts

The two new radio masts at the Awarua radio station were erected in just under three hours each yesterday.

Condemned five years ago because they were unsafe, the original* masts were demolished by the Army last month.

The two masts are 30 feet shorter than the 150ft originals, are much lighter and slimmer, and, unlike the originals, are not self-supporting and need 12 guy wires each to keep them in firm position.

Using a crane to ease the several sections of each mast into position, and a team of Post Office riggers to bolt the sections into place, the operation went off without a hitch in perfect weather.

The 500 kHz aerial to be carried by the masts will not be operating for a few days.

Mr WB Ten Kley, the supervising engineer with the Post Office, said the masts will be aligned for plumbness to make sure they are absolutely perpendicular, and then the 500 kHz main marine aerial will have to be re-erected.

Mr Ten Kley said, given good weather and “lots of luck”, the aerial on the masts should be operating by Friday afternoon.

This will not be the end of the operation, however.

The last of the three original masts still stands, and this is scheduled for demolition next year.

* Editor’s note: This news report repeatedly refers to the previous towers as ‘original’ which they were not. There was originally only a single mast, 400 feet tall.