Awarua Radio 1911-1913: Construction

The Awarua wireless station: The glass insulators in position ready for the placing of the pivot and the lowering of the tower

“The Awarua wireless station: The glass insulators in position ready for the placing of the pivot and the lowering of the tower.” E Chaplin Photo, Auckland Weekly News, 29 May 1913. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19130529-14-1

The Awarua Radio tower lowered onto its glass insulators

The Awarua Radio tower lowered onto its base insulators. Date unknown.

The bottom of the tower was concave, and rested on a ball formed in a large iron plate which sat on the three stacks of insulators. (This plate is in the collection of the Awarua Communications Museum.) The insulators were also separated from each other by more iron plates.

Working on the mast at Awarua Radio. The mast was approximately 400ft high and weighed about 60 tons. Date unknown.

Working on the mast at Awarua Radio. The mast was approximately 400ft high and weighed about 60 tons. Date unknown.

Working on the mast at Awarua Radio. The mast was approximately 400ft high and weighed about 60 tons. Date unknown.

Working on the mast at Awarua Radio. The mast was approximately 400ft high and weighed about 60 tons. Date unknown.

German Telefunken engineers with other workers at the Awarua wireless mast in early 1913

German Telefunken engineers with other workers at the Awarua wireless mast in the winter of 1913.

Working on the aerials at Awarua Radio. Date unknown, but probably 1913

Working on the aerials at Awarua Radio. Date unknown, but probably 1913.

The umbrella type antenna covered a circle 360m in diameter. From original blueprints of Awarua/Awanui wireless stations

The umbrella type antenna extended 50m from the tower, and with its supporting wires covered a circle 360m in diameter. From original blueprints of Awarua/Awanui wireless stations. The fuzzy mark to the left of the tower is the crease from where the blueprint was folded. (Click for larger version)

Part of the Awarua Radio antenna, possibly being prepared for raising

Part of the Awarua Radio antenna, possibly being prepared for raising. Date unknown.

Detail of the Awarua Radio transmitter building, taken from the previous photo.

Detail of the original Awarua Radio transmitter building, taken from the previous photo.

A rigger hangs from the 400 ft tall Awarua wireless station mast c1913

A rigger hangs from the 400 ft tall Awarua wireless station mast c1913.

The handwritten note on the back of the photo above reads:

Wireless Station Awarua. At two points up the tower heavy steel rod supporting stays were attached and led to 20 ton concrete anchor houses on the ground about 800 feet out from the base. The main aerial comprised a number of bronze wires arranged like the ribs of an umbrella running 400 feet up the tower then outwards 300 feet held by tail wires running to 20 ft poles spaced around tower. Another 60 wires running back to the tower formed the auxilliary earthing system (counterpoise).

Another account says that the stays were attached at the 150ft and 300ft levels on the tower and were iron rods, broken up by insulators, and that the anchor houses were 42 tons. It also says the height of the tower was 394ft, whereas it is commonly described as 400 or even 410ft.

A rigger paints the top of a lower guy just below its attachment to the tower at the 150ft level.

A rigger paints the top of a lower guy just below its attachment to the tower at the 150ft level.

A rigger paints one of the upper guys, photographed from the 150 level of the tower.

A rigger paints one of the upper guys, photographed from the 150 level of the tower.

Looking down from the top of the 400' mast at Awarua Radio. The transmitter/operating building is at the foot of the tower with the engine house to the left. One of the three concrete anchor blocks for the tower is at the top left of the photo.

Looking down from the top of the 400′ mast at Awarua Radio. The transmitter/operating building is at the foot of the tower with the engine house to the left. The northwest anchor block for the tower is at the top left of the photo. Date unknown.

» 1913-1919