On 24 October, radiotelegraph station Auckland Radio NZK began operation from a small hut on the roof of the new, and not yet opened, Chief Post Office.
The station used a Telefunken Type D spark-gap transmitter of 2.5kW and the first manager was LW (Pat) Bourke (pictured).
The tubular steel masts of the station were erected on the two domes of the building, a distinctive feature of its ‘English Renaissance’ architecture. The domes themselves were 10.5m above roof level.1
After the new Auckland CPO was opened in November 1912, the PCB cable station was transferred to a location on its roof which it shared with Auckland Radio. Also in 1912, the Pacific cable itself was cut near the entrance to Doubtless Bay and redirected to Takapuna Beach. From here cable messages were relayed to the new CPO by overland wires. In 1912-1913 a new trans-Tasman cable was laid between Bondi (Sydney) and Muriwai on Auckland’s west coast, with messages from it reaching the city via an underground cable between Muriwai and Harkins Point. All these developments had made Auckland the country’s major overseas communications link on the eve of the First World War.2
1913: John L Davies replaced Pat Bourke as manager.
While the station’s spark-gap transmitter performed well, the effectiveness of the station was handicapped by poor receiving conditions.
Auckland Radio’s callsign was changed from NZK to VLD. (Later, on 1 Jan 1929 it changed to ZLD.)
Ralph S Wheeler replaced John L Davies as manager.
1917: Les H Steel became manager.
1 Wilson, A.C. (1994). Wire and wireless: A history of telecommunications in New Zealand 1890-1987, (p 96), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.
2 Wilson, A.C. (1994). Wire and wireless: A history of telecommunications in New Zealand 1890-1987, (p 104), Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.