Chatham Islands Radio 1980-1991

1980

A brief recording made in Dunedin in 1980 of Chatham Islands Radio on 2182kHz AM:

1981

Chatham Islands Radio ZLC c1981
Chatham Islands Radio ZLC c1981. Photo: Tony Graham
Tony Graham at Chatham Islands Radio in 1981 or 1982
Tony Graham at Chatham Islands Radio in 1981 or 1982. Photo: Tony Graham

1982

The 2182 kHz radio telephone desk at ZLC Chatham Islands Radio, c1982
The 2182 kHz radio telephone desk at ZLC Chatham Islands Radio, c1982, including a Collins 51S-1 receiver at left and two Codan fixed frequency receivers at right. See closeup views below. Photo: Tony Graham

We used to monitor 2182 kHz listening for ships in distress. During the night when the phone link to New Zealand was shut down, this was our link back to New Zealand.
One Codan receiver was probably for 2182 kHz and the other I guess for working shipping on 2162 kHz. We would transmit on 2182 then move and transmit on 2104 while listening to 2162. We used to use two Collins receivers before the new layout, one on 2182 and the other for working.
Even now in 2009 this set up still looks semi modern to me and doesn’t look 27 years old (other than the Phone Switch Board on top of the console that is.)
– Tony Graham

Closeups from the photo above:

Collins 51S-1 receiver
The Collins 51S-1 receiver is set to AM mode.
Various station switching and audio amps for two transmitter
Various station switching and audio amps for two transmitters.
In the top rack: 2 Codan fixed frequency receivers and a power supply. In the 2 lower racks: Clarifiers for the fixed frequency receivers.
In the top rack: 2 Codan fixed frequency receivers and a power supply. In the 2 lower racks: Clarifiers for the fixed frequency receivers.
Telephone switchboard for Radio ZLC
Telephone switchboard for Radio ZLC. Is that teleprinter tape holding down the object on top?
Tony Graham at Chathams Radio ZLC
Tony Graham setting up the phone link from Chatham Islands Radio to New Zealand (an almost 800km link) c1982. Photos courtesy Tony Graham

During the day when we had the phone link open it could manage two separate telephone lines back to New Zealand. During the night we switched it off, so there was no communications available to the outside world! Other than of course from our Radio Station where we could call up our fellow Maritime Safety Radio Stations back on the mainland (New Zealand).
– Tony Graham

Chathams Radio ZLC, c1982
Chatham Islands Radio ZLC, c1982. Photo: Tony Graham [Click on photo to enlarge]
Tai Rio, c1982. In 1989 Tai became the final manager of Chatham Islands Radio.
Tai Rio, c1982. In 1989 Tai became the final manager of Chatham Islands Radio. Photo: Tony Graham
Ted Day at Chatham Islands Radio c1982
Ted Day at Chatham Islands Radio c1982. Photo: Tony Graham

1983

ZLC radio operator Tim Sollart at work
ZLC radio operator Tim Sollart at work in 1983. By this time, the Collins 51S-1 receiver had been replaced by a solid-state Yaesu FRG-7700, and the central switch panel had also been changed.

1985:

Undated photo of Chatham Islands Radio, possibly 1985-1987.
Chatham Islands Radio ZLC, possibly 1985-1987. Courtesy Chris Underwood
Undated photo of Chatham Islands Radio, possibly 1985-1987.
Chatham Islands Radio ZLC, possibly 1985-1987. Courtesy Chris Underwood

1987

Kay Cottee aboard Blackmores First Lady
Kay Cottee aboard Blackmores First Lady as she approached the Cape of Good Hope later in her voyage. Australian National Maritime Museum

On 14 December Chatham Islands Radio chatted with Australian sailor Kay Cottee aboard Blackmores First Lady. Kay was on her way around the world, having passed south of Stewart Island, and was to become the first woman to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation.1

1988

On 18 September a celebration was held to mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of Chatham Islands Radio.

Date unknown

Construction at Chatham Islands Radio. Date and circumstances unknown.
Construction at Chatham Islands Radio. Date and circumstances unknown.
Construction at Chatham Islands Radio. Date and circumstances unknown.
Construction at Chatham Islands Radio. Date and circumstances unknown.

Two extensions were done in my time out there. The extension to the station, with new operating room was in early 1982 (around February, I think), and the extension to the Hostel (the new recreation room) may also have been in ’82. The hostel extension was built by local builder Tom Solomon (obviously not the Tommy Solomon, last full blooded Moriori who died in 1933, I think). It is possible the hostel extension was in ’79 on my first stint down there, but I’m thinking ’82. Lester Price was manager in ’82 and should be able to confirm these dates.
– Nigel Marshall

It is interesting to see the changes at ZLC since I was there in 1968. I never heard a mention of the later addition to the station, but the new hostel was still under construction when I left Chathams during the last quarter of that year. (I arrived there on the 9th of April of that year, the day before the infamous “Wahine” storm of the 10th.)
– Barry Munro


Notes:

1. Cottee, K. (1995). First Lady. Sydney, Australia. Pan Macmillan. p 56.