1913: New wireless station opened at Chathams

New Zealand Herald, 20 September 1913, p 9


The radio telegraph station on the Chatham Islands was opened for business yesterday. By the establishment of this plant, the islands have been rescued from their isolation out in the Pacific. Weather reports and shipping intelligence will be received from this new outpost, but its greatest value will be as a means of communication with the mainland.

A little steamer that has nearly always been sorely buffeted on its infrequent journeys with passengers, mails, and cargo between Lyttelton and the Chathams has in the past been the only link with this little community of whites and half-castes. When a new radio plant was erected on the hills above Wellington, it was decided that the temporary apparatus which was used on the Wellington Post Office, should be moved to the Chathams, and with some new parts, that plant is now installed. A notice was issued by the Secretary of the Post Office (Mr W.R. Morris) yesterday that the Chatham Islands office is open for business. The hours of attendance are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to midnight daily, including Sundays and holidays. The charge for messages to or from New Zealand will be 6d per word, and whenever the new station is used for transmitting messages, an additional transit rate of 4d per word will be charged. All messages will be sent through the Wellington radio office.

The plant on the Chatham Islands, like that on the Auckland Post Office, is of 1 1/2 kilowatts. It will have an effective night range of about 1000 miles. Apparently an excellent situation has been chosen, as the Auckland station has had splendid results in working with it over the distance of nearly 600 miles. Mr J. Davis (sic), who was formerly in charge of the Auckland station, is officer-in-charge at the Chatham Islands, and he has an assistant operator.