1935: New valve transmitter of 50-watt aerial rating replaced the spark transmitter, which was retained for emergency use.
1942: A Security Intelligence Report stated: “The equipment on the Station is old, particularly the Benzine Motor which provides the requisite power. Nevertheless, the plant is functioning satisfactorily.”
Alex Glennie writes:
I believe [the Benzine Motor referred to above] was likely much the same as installed in 1913, 29 years previously. Here is a passage from the book I am writing of my father’s [Charles Alan Glennie] time on the Chathams during WW2:
“In another incident he spoke of the old benzine motor and generator at the Wireless Station that another staff member, Jack Bonisch (must have been after 1944 when Bonisch arrived on the Chathams), was having trouble stopping. Father simply took the high tension lead in his hand, shorted it to ground .. with the motor coming to a stop.”
I remember him telling me also, that there was a bank of batteries used at the station as a back-up for emergency power supply, hence the benzine motor and generator. These batteries required distilled water that the staff produced at the station. With the war situation and the isolation, commodities were often in short supply and so people either had to make do or go with out. I put it to Charles once that it would be easy to use the water distilling plant to produce alcohol and consequently their own liquor. He never confirmed or denied but gave me a wry grin”.
There are 10 seconds relating to Chatham Islands Radio in the following video, starting at 1:12.