1939: Radio service to link Musick Point and Sydney

New Zealand Herald, 5 August 1939, p 16

RADIO CENTRE
NEW TAMAKI STATION
SERVICE FOR AIRCRAFT
INSTALLING EQUIPMENT
ACTIVITIES START SOON

A point-to-point short-wave service with Sydney will shortly introduce the activities of the Musick memorial radio station at Tamaki. With the first aerials erected and the elaborate plant in the course of installation at the transmitter, the receiver and the direction-finding unit, the centre is rapidly being prepared to fulfil its duties in tho guidance of transocean aircraft, for which Auckland is to be a terminal point.

In the modest wooden buildings which provide temporary facilities until the far more pretentious memorial blocks are constructed, skilled technicians of the Post and Telegraph Department are assembling equipment for the early introduction of the services. Their immediate task is the preparation of the short-wave service with Sydney, but, simultaneously, work is proceeding on the erection of tho direction-finding plant and the other telephonic and short-wave units which are to provide communication with aircraft and with the Awarua radio station, near Bluff.

Tall Steel Pylons

Three 75ft steel pylons and a tall wooden mast mark the site of tho transmitting station on the commanding heights above Eastern Beach. Two of these towers, erected at right-angles to a geodetic line with Sydney, will be used for the direct service with Australia, and engineers were engaged yesterday in making highly scientific tests of the outdoor wiring system.

With the exception of the mediumwave transmitter, for which the already-established internal airways service plant at Mangere can be substituted temporarily, all the equipment is available for assembly. The work is expected to be well advanced within the next few days, and it is hoped that communication with Sydney will be established for testing purposes next week. It is expected that the service will be brought into use almost immediately, more particularly for the exchange of weather information by the New Zealand and Australian aviation meteorologists.

Maze of Aerials

At the receiving instruments, which are located less obtrusively on the headland above Eastern Beach, the bulk of the staff will be located, the transmitter being remotely controlled by means of a cable laid between the two units. Technicians are now engaged at the receiver in mounting the equipment, which includes a teleprinter for the immediate transfer of radioed advice to the airways control authorities at the base at Mechanics’ Bay.

Foundations are still being prepared at the transmitter for two 150ft masts. Each of the massive steel pylons, which will dominate the landscape when they are raised, requires a heavy concrete base, and, under the direction of the Public Works Department, this work is now being carried out.

The maze of aerials, guy-wires, leadins and feeders which surround the transmitter and the receiver furnish only a trifling indication of the actual wiring work that has to be performed. In addition to the heavy cable which links the two units over more than, two miles of country, an extensive earthing system is regarded as an essential for one branch of transmission. As a result, six miles of wire will be buried a foot below the ground on a radial plan, a special type of plough being used as an entrenching tool to set out the web of wiring.

Fractional Accuracy

There is no phase of the transmitting and receiving activities which will not undergo exhaustive tests before the station commences full operations. Not the least of these exacting tasks will be the calibration of the radio direction-finder. To obtain fractional accuracy in this service, radio bearings will be taken of the position of a boat on the Tamaki Estuary and these figures checked minutely with the results of theodolite calculations.

With plans prepared by the Public Works Department, tenders are shortly to be called for tho erection of the permanent station buildings, which are designed as a memorial to Captain Edwin C. Musick and the crew of the ill-fated Samoan Clipper. The radio centre will also contain about 12 houses for married members of the staff, quarters for single men and several other small wooden buildings.