Wellington Radio 1920-29

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.

An early view of the Wellington Radio site on Tinakori Hill

An early view of the Wellington Radio site on Tinakori Hill. The aerial was supported by two 150-foot masts made of Oregon Pine. The notations on the photo relate to plans to replace the two timber masts with a single steel tower, completed in 1923.

An early view of the Wellington Radio site on Tinakori Hill

An early view of the Wellington Radio site on Tinakori Hill. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

Undated photo of a "new wooden mast" at ZLW

Undated photo of a “new wooden mast” at ZLW. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

1923: A new 165-foot steel lattice tower was erected to replace the original 150-foot Oregon Pine masts which had rotted.

Steel lattice mast at Wellington wireless station erected in 1923

Steel lattice mast at Wellington wireless station erected in 1923. Auckland Weekly News, 20 May 1926. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19260520-43-2

Undated photo showing a wooden mast at ZLW being lowered.

Undated photo showing one of the original wooden masts at VLW being lowered. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

Undated photo showing a wooden mast at ZLW after being lowered.

Undated photo showing the rot in a wooden mast which had been felled. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

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

1926: On 13 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.

Wreckage of the tower at Wellington Radio, blown down in a gale. Note on photo says c1929, but this looks like the mast destroyed in 1926

Wreckage of the tower at Wellington Radio, blown down in a gale. Note on photo says c1929, but this looks like the mast destroyed in 1926. Courtesy David Smith

1927: On 26 November, VLW changed to ZLW, as part of new international agreement on callsign allocation.

1929: Wellington Radio got a second short-wave transmitter in late 1929.2

Notes

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.

» 1930-1939