Chathams Radio 1913-1929

1913:

In July, the Temuka Leader reports that John L Davies is at Chatham Islands, helping to build the wireless station, and that we would be in charge of the station for twelve months.

Station opens on 18 September (see official report of opening). There were only two staff, who handled operating and technical duties. John L Davies was the officer in charge, and James H Hampton was the assistant operator. They lived together at the station.

Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913

Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913. Note the lattice towers with topmasts which apparently proved unsatisfactory, as different towers appear in later photos. Courtesy: David Smith. Click to enlarge

Chatham Islands Radio Telegraph Station. Date unknown

Chatham Islands Radio Telegraph Station. Date unknown. Courtesy: David Smith

Chatham Islands Radiotelegraph Station

Chatham Islands Radio Telegraph Station. Date unknown. Courtesy: David Smith

Apparatus at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913

Apparatus at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913. Courtesy: Chris Underwood

Engine alternator at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913

Engine alternator at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913. Courtesy: Chris Underwood

Batteries at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913

Batteries at Chatham Islands wireless station in 1913. Courtesy: Chris Underwood

1914: Ralph S Wheeler replaces John L Davies as Officer in Charge.

1916: Ralph S Wheeler leaves the Chathams.

1917: Les H Steel becomes Officer in Charge.

1923: ALM (Les) Willis becomes Superintendent (the new title for the Officer in Charge).

It is believed that the following photos were taken some years after the station opened (there are more buildings) and it appears the original masts had been replaced with more robust and modern towers. If anyone can date these photos, please contact us.

The captions are from handwritten notes on the back of each photo.

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

1. Photo taken from WSW of the plant. The stays in left hand corner are from outer mast of big aerial. Mast about 25ft from [unclear]. See mast in nr 2.

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

2. The point from where nr 1 taken (is) shown by arrow. (Mast of one [unclear] big aerial.) The tower bears west north west of the plant. This photo gives an idea of the distance the plant is situated from the buildings.

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

3. The line of the buildings from the supt’s residence, nne to ssw. The photo was taken from a point NE of the plant. See nr 1 for area behind photographer.

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

4. This snap was taken during the erection of the plant. This gives idea of the Southerly situation. By placing nr 3 to the right and nr 5 to the left of this snap, in line with the land line, it will give an idea of the surroundings.

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

5. Photo taken from NW of the plant. The tower covers the plant from WNW wind – a wind seldom experienced.

Photos 3, 4 and 5 combined

Photos 3, 4 and 5 combined

1913 photo of Chatham Islands wireless station

6. Photo showing distance between tower and mast. The centre (wood) mast is a stay for big aerial.

1927:

In accordance with a new international agreement on callsigns, Chatham Islands Radio changes from VLC to ZLC on 25 November.

ALM (Les) Willis leaves Chatham Islands.

» 1930-1949

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