1912: Pennant Hills model for Awanui and Awarua

Dominion, 17 July 1912, p 4


A selection of interesting photographs of the recently completed wireless station at Pennant Hills (near, Sydney) has been received by the Secretary of the Post and Telegraph Department (Mr D. Robertson). The particular interest this station has for New Zealand is that both the Awanui (north of Auckland) and Bluff stations are to be its facsimiles, and that when all three are in working order a large section of the South Pacific Ocean will be under wireless control. It will then be an easy matter to exchange confidences with Australia even in the day time, without recourse to a submarine cable.

A general view of the Pennant Hills station discloses little save one immense mast of latticed steel and the usual, station buildings. This mast is 400 feet in height, and weighs between 50 and 6O tons, and a closer view shows that it is like the stick of an umbrella, for radiating from the top are a number of wires, which slope downwards and outwards to a surrounding ring of poles about 100 ft. in height, which org stayed to the earth with insulated wire ropes. There are other stays for the mast itself, adding further to the web of wires, which have been woven on the spot.

A feature of the great mast (which is four times as high as the Grand Hotel) is that it has no foundation. It stands on a blunt point, which rests on a number of thick plates, which effectively disconnect the mast from the earth electrically. The wires above are practically doubled by the counterpoise or web of wires, which radiate from the mast about three feet above the ground. This counterpoise is an offset against absorption by the earth of the electrical waves, and a general concentration.

The Pennant Hills station is reported to have spoken 2000 miles in the day time, and 4000 miles at night, and if that station can perform such work, the Awanui and Bluff stations will have just as big a working radius.

“Of course,” said Mr T Buckley, chief electrician to the Post and Telegraph Department, “we hear that these distances have been worked, but until the official reports are available it might not be well to rely on them too much. The wireless is freakish. When I was in America I heard of a station on the coast which had spoken to Japan – at night. Curious things have been done on freak nights, but when it comes to working day and night steadily, you cannot rely on such figures.”

Mr Buckley has visited the Pennant Hills, which he considers a very well-equipped 30-kilowatt station.

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