1945: How two-way radio link is operated

Auckland Star, 26 October 1945, p4

How Two-Way Radio Link Is Operated

THE call to New York was made without fuss or bother. An order was lodged with the superintendent of tolls, at Auckland, a few days ago. The telephone in the Auckland Star office on which the call was made was tested by a technician who rang from Wellington.

This morning, the toll department rang the Auckland number about 10 minutes before the scheduled time for the opening of the conversation. An assurance of “standing-by” was given. The chattering voices, mentioned in the article descriptive of the talk to New York, were those of girls on the switchboards of the toll system, it was explained. These girls do not listen to overseas radio-telephone conversations, as the technical monitoring is done by other operatives.

>h3>Voice Transmitted From Wellington

Once the New Zealand caller is switched to the radio apparatus the girls cannot be heard. The transmitting and receiving apparatus is housed near the top of perpetually wind-blown Tinakori Hill, in Wellington, just above the city, and the receiving set is in a new post office at Makara, near San Francisco. [sic]

In America, the transmitting and receiving stations are located at separate points, about 30 miles out of San Francisco proper. The New Zealand transmitter is only five kilowatts, whereas the California transmitter is of 20 kilowatts.

Endeavours are being made by the New Zealand Government to install a 50 kilowatt transmitter. At present, only one conversation can be conducted on the circuit at a time. Until further equipment is available no extension can be made.

U.S. Inland ‘Phono Lines Used

Although the New Zealand subscriber is connected to only one of the Californian stations, namely, the transmitting or the receiving station, at one instant, for all practical purposes speech can be conducted by this radio-telephone system in a similar manner to that on a New Zealand toll line.

When the New Zealander’s voice reaches San Francisco “on the ether” it is extended from the radio receiving terminal to the United States subscriber over the inland telephone trunk network.

The conversation is controlled by three officers in the Wellington toll exchange. A technical control operator observes the call continuously, to ensure that the automatic device for switching the New Zealand caller to the transmitting or receiving apparatus at the appropriate time is functioning correctly.

Timing by Stop-Watch

A traffic operator observes the call for the purpose of timing the duration of the conversation. Calls are timed by stop-watch, and allowance is made for any time lost on account of difficult circuit conditions. The third officer is the traffic control operator, and his duty is to bring the New Zealand subscriber to the telephone and connect the calling party with the person wanted in America. While one call is in progress he busies himself preparing for the next, so that it may be accepted smoothly and without delay.

Technical officers at the transmitting and receiving points in New Zealand are continuously observing the call to ensure that the best possible results are obtained. Sometimes atmospheric conditions cause difficulties. This morning conditions were good, apparently at both ends.

The demand for calls is keen. More than 30 calls had been booked by this morning. It was reported from San Francisco that “many calls” had been sought at that end.

Additional Apparatus Wanted

It is expected that additional service time may be made available if traffic conditions warrant an extension of the present hours—6 a.m. to 8 a.m. However, a 24-hour radio telephone service from New Zealand will not be practicable until more powerful transmitting equipment is obtained and installed at Wellington.

Until this morning it was not possible for the public to talk to the United States by radio telephone. From November 25, 1930, until the war, New Zealand enjoyed radio telephone service to the Australian States, and from July 20, 1931, until war silenced all civilian radio-telephony in 1939, it was possible to talk to the United Kingdom. Charges made for a conversation with a person in the United States are the same as those for a call to Britain.

Some further calls to the United States are to be made from Auckland to-morrow.