In December, radio operator Irwin Smith departed and Clyde Williams arrived from Wellington Radio ZLW.
[Read Clyde’s account of life in the Chatham Islands]
In April, radio operator Clyde Williams left ZLC and returned to Wellington Radio ZLW.
1965: Telephone terminal with privacy system installed.
Until 1965, maintenance and repairs at Chatham Islands Radio were carried out by the Christchurch Radio Depot or, in emergencies, by the resident Superintendent of the station.
My appointment to the Chathams as the first resident Radio Technician in 1965 was instigated mainly by Norman Kirk MP (later Prime Minister) who had promised Chatham Islanders that they would be able to ring up New Zealand and overseas from their home phones. Previously such calls could only be made from Waitangi Post Office or the radio station, a couple of kilometres distant.
On arrival, I installed a new single-sideband transmitter and terminal equipment, which involved major reconstruction at the radio station.
Any call destined for New Zealand was transferred from the Telephone Exchange at Waitangi to this terminal at the radio station, and connected to the appropriate transmitter at the station.
The initial setting up of the daily service to New Zealand was carried out at the terminal before connecting up the telephone operator and the local person making the call.
This terminal equipment had a 5-band privacy system which enabled privacy on all calls. With earlier equipment, residents were able to listen to phone calls on their short-wave radios.
To my knowledge, this equipment was also installed in the Stout Street Exchange in Wellington, and may have been supplied to other island circuits such as Rarotonga.
The last time I saw the equipment in a similar position was at the Waikanae Post Office, which had been transformed into a Post Office technical museum, but I do not know if it still exists.
– Don Nicol