Himatangi Radio 1970-1979

Engine room and southwest corner of transmitter hall, c1970
Engine room and southwest corner of transmitter hall, c1970. Courtesy Jon Asmus
Hostel for single staff at Himatangi Radio contained 14 bedrooms plus a 2-bedroom flat for the hostel manageress.
The hostel for single staff at Himatangi Radio contained 14 bedrooms plus a 2-bedroom flat for the hostel manageress. Photo c1970
A portion of the aerial transmission line network at Himatangi Radio, including three of the remote-controlled switches
A portion of the aerial transmission line network at Himatangi Radio, including three of the remote-controlled switches. Photo courtesy Jon Asmus
Technician inspects power-driven aerial transmission line switch, one of many such switches controlled from a console in the transmitter hall
Technician inspects power-driven aerial transmission line switch, one of many such switches controlled from a console in the transmitter hall. Photo courtesy Jon Asmus
Aerial switching console, which remotely controlled switches in the antenna field
Aerial switching console, which remotely controlled switches in the antenna field. Photo courtesy Jon Asmus. Click to enlarge.

“When I was working at Himatangi Radio in the 1970s, the Campbell Island and Raoul Island weather skeds took place every three hours around the clock. From memory the main frequencies used were in 11 MHz and 5 MHz region, depending on propagation. The weather skeds generally lasted for about 15 or 20 minutes.

“Our job was to activate the transmitter from the console which was in the transmitter Hall. The transmitter used was a Redifon (I think). It ran about 1kW of compatible AM (carrier plus one sideband) but was capable of SSB too.

“The antenna was a rhombic which had a resistive termination at either end. As it happens, Raoul island is 180 degrees opposite to Campbell Island from New Zealand. Once the weather shed or phone call was completed with either Raoul or Campbell, we got instructed to change the antenna direction which was a very complex job of operating a key switch on the console. Obviously this simply reversed the termination end.

“I cant remember if the antenna was purpose-designed for that service or not. It may have well been for another circuit in earlier times.”

– Paul Chamberlin ZL1BBR, December 2019

George King (right) Officer-in-Charge, Himatangi Radio shares a light-hearted moment with Deputy OIC Don Snadon at the control console, c1974
George King (right) Officer-in-Charge, Himatangi Radio shares a light-hearted moment with Deputy OIC Don Snadon at the control console, c1974. Photo: Rex Johnson
10kW Collins Auto-Tune transmitter with coaxial aerial output seen at top right, c1974
10kW Collins Auto-Tune transmitter with coaxial aerial output seen at top right, c1974. Photo: Rex Johnson

“The first Collins was installed in 1974 while I was at Himatangi. The aerial output was coaxial (the black tube in the top right corner of the TX picture) and it fed a coaxial aerial switch matrix mounted on the wall behind it. The output of the matrix went to a high-powered balun transformer for converting the 75 ohm coax output to the standard 600 ohm open-wire feeders used on the outside plant. The transmitter was self-tuning (from data selected at the drive unit) and fed a purpose-installed vertical wideband double-discone for use on the HF shipping radiotelephone service.”
– Rex Johnson

Two Collins transmitters buttoned up on the night shift in the early 1980s.
Two Collins transmitters buttoned up on the night shift in the early 1980s. Photo: Alan Turner
Drive unit for Collins Auto-Tune transmitter, c1974. Photo: Rex Johnson
Drive unit for Collins Auto-Tune transmitter, c1974. Photo: Rex Johnson
Robert Burnett at the main console in the Himatangi Radio transmitter hall. This photo was taken after changes to the indicator panels this and the aerial switching console.
Robert Burnett at the main console in the Himatangi Radio transmitter hall. This photo was taken after changes to the indicator panels here and on the aerial switching console. Photo courtesy Jon Asmus. Click to enlarge.
Drive Room looking east towards the air-con room, c1970s
Drive Room looking east towards the air-con room, c1970s.
Photo: NZPO, courtesy Jon Asmus. Click to enlarge.
Drive Room looking west towards the main entry, c1970s
Drive Room looking west towards the main entry, c1970s. Photo: Rex Johnson. Click to enlarge.

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