1929: Wellington Radio to get short-wave ability

New Zealand Herald, 12 June 1929, p 13


The most up-to-date wireless station in New Zealand is shortly to be erected by the Government on the Tinakori Hills, Wellington. It is estimated that the station will cost about £6OOO, and it will be far more efficient than the high-power plants at Awanui, North Auckland, and Awarua, in the South Island. Whether these stations will be scrapped has not been definitely decided, nor has any decision been reached regarding the future of the present high-power station, ZLW, on the Tinakori Hills, operated by the Government. A considerable saving is expected to result from the operation of the new station.

Work will begin almost immediately. The Hon JB Donald, Postmaster-General, stated yesterday that the new station would be used chiefly for communicating with the Pacific Islands, although it would serve as an emergency plant for communication with Australia and with the short-wave stations in the United Kingdom at certain hours of the day. Communication with the Pacific Islands is now conducted chiefly from Awanui.

The now plant has been ordered from Sydney, and it will be completely assembled there about the end of this month. Extensive efficiency tests will be carried out before it is dismantled for transhipment to Wellington. In order to ensure that full consideration will be given to local needs and conditions, the Minister has arranged that Mr JR Smith, engineer-in-chief of the Post and Telegraph Department’s laboratories, shall visit Sydney to be present at the tests.

Study of Latest Developments.

Mr Smith will supervise the final installation. During his stay in Australia he will investigate recent wireless developments, such as long-distance short-wave telephony, photographic transmission, modifications of the beam wireless system used in Canada and the United States and the broadcasting technique of the Commonwealth Post and Telegraph laboratory at Melbourne.

The Minister added that considerable correspondence had passed between Australia and New Zealand concerning recent developments in wireless transmission and reception. There were many technical problems common to the two countries to be considered, and it would be of great value to the Dominion to give one of its experts a chance of conferring personally with engineers in Australia.

It is possible that the radio stations at Awanui and Awarua will be retained for special purposes. Proposals for the installation of a new and more up-to-date high-power plant were made as early as 1924, when Sir James Parr was Postmaster-General. The Wellington station was established on Mount Wakefield in 1912, and the Awanui and Awarua stations were opened for commercial purposes in 1913.

Need of Station Foreseen.

Reference to a suggested supplementary station for long-distance communication was made by Sir James Parr in the annual report of the Post and Telegraph Department for 1924-25. “The proposed modernisation of the radio stations at Awanui and Apia by the installation of continuous wave transmitters in place of the present spark equipment is still in abeyance pending possible developments in connection with the erection in New Zealand of a high-power station, which would probably incorporate tho specific services at present performed by Awanui,” he said.

Several important improvements have been made at Awanui and Awarua during recent years, although additions have always been made with a view to the possible erection of a new station. Sir William Nosworthy, who was Postmaster-General in 1925-26, stated in his annual report for that year that investigations were still being carried out regarding improved long-distance transmission, which had received such prominence throughout the Empire through the opening of the British Government station at Rugby in December, 1925.

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