The following three undated photographs with annotations from New Zealand Post Office files appear to have been used in plans to replace the two original Oregon Pine masts with a single steel lattice tower plus secondary masts in 1923. The photos also show the original stone building and the small stone hut.
Radio weather-forecasts and 4pm barometer readings…are broadcast nightly from Wellington and Awanui, but have recently been discontinued from Awarua.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Marine Department, 1922
The wireless time-signal sent from the Observatory have [sic] been received by many ships at considerable distances from New Zealand. The signals are transmitted by the Wellington Radio-station…on a wavelength of 600 metres, and are Telefunken quenched-spark signals. The type of signal sent from the Observatory consists of long dashes of about one second duration, and it is probably due to this long dash that the signal reaches so far. The longest distance reported to the Observatory was 4320 miles, for the wireless-telegraph time-signal received by the SS Tainui. The SS Waimana reported the reception of the time signal at a distance of 3638 miles.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Department of Internal Affairs, 1922
A new 165-foot steel lattice tower was erected to replace the original 150-foot Oregon Pine masts which had rotted.
By the mid-1920s Wellington and some other coastal radio stations were using the new ‘beam’, short-wave radio technology for improved, long-distance communication with shipping, even as far away as the Ross Sea…[Engineers of the Marconi Company] had refined the so-called ‘beam’ system using special directional antennae that allowed short-wave radio signals to be beamed along clear paths rather than radiated out in more diffuse and thus less effective signals.1
In June last the two wooden masts at Radio-Wellington, which had been in service since 1912, were replaced by a new 165 ft steel self-supporting tower. The semi-umbrella type of antenna erected on the new structure is proving equally as efficient as the ‘T’ antenna erected on the old masts.
Consideration is now being given to the matter of equipping Radio-Wellington with a continuous wave valve transmitter. The installation of this equipment would permit of the use of different types of transmission for fixed and mobile service, facilitate long-distance communication with ship stations, and reduce to a minimum interference with adjacent radio-telephone broadcasting transmissions.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Post & Telegraph Department, 1924
On Wednesday 12 May, the winds on Tinakori Hills proved too strong for the steel lattice tower erected just three years earlier and it collapsed after all four legs sheared off their bases.
ALM (Les) Willis became Superintendent (date unknown).
On 1 January, the callsign of Wellington Radio changed from VLW to ZLW, under the new worldwide callsign allocations agreed at the 1927 International Radiotelegraph Convention. (This was the second change in callsigns, as prior to 1913 there were Auckland – NZK, Awanui – NZA, Wellington – NZW and Bluff – unallocated.)
James H Hampton became Superintendent (date unknown).
The station got a second short-wave transmitter in late 1929.2
1. Wilson, A.C. (1994). Wire and wireless: A history of telecommunications in New Zealand 1890-1987, (p 115-116), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.
2. Wilson, A.C. (1994). Wire and wireless: A history of telecommunications in New Zealand 1890-1987, (p 116), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.