Auckland Radio 1960-1969

1960

On 1 Jan, the Post & Telegraph Department (which operated New Zealand’s coast stations) was renamed the New Zealand Post Office (Post Office Act – 1959), but it remained a government department.

Auckland Radio ZLD operator Ray Chandler
Auckland Radio ZLD operator Raymon Chandler, November 1960. Ray was a PO radio operator from 1947 until his retirement in 1989 and was a member of the Musick Point Radio Group until his death in 2018. In this photo, Ray’s ‘hat’ is one of the old ceiling baffles that were used to dampen echoes and reduce noise in the operating room. These tiles were replaced by the familiar perforated acoustic tiles, but obviously this one found another use before being disposed of.
QSL card from ZL1ARY in December 1960
ZLD operator Raymon Chandler was also an amateur radio operator, and sent this QSL card to shortwave listener Brian Webb in December 1960.
Aerial view of Musick Memorial Radio Station in 1961
Looking south over the receiving towers at Auckland Radio ZLD Musick Memorial Radio Station in 1961. The direction finding (DF) antennas can be partially seen at the top right of the photo.
Medium-wave DF aerials at Musick Point
Medium-wave DF aerial towers at Musick Memorial Radio Station can be seen near the centre of this photo c1961.
Undated, pre-1961 photo. "The right hand rack has a double panel of alarm 'grasshopper' fuses near the top, then a storage unit for the HOR's coil sets. The next rack to the left has line monitoring and patch panels. The next rack has an HRO monitor receiver and speaker, plus what I think is the intercom to the receiving station. In the next rack is a control panel for a Collins auto-tune transmitter. I cannot identify the other 3 racks' contents. To the left of the racks is the oldest of 3 Collins 231 3KW auto-tune transmitters.
Undated, pre-1961 photo. “The right hand rack has a double panel of alarm ‘grasshopper’ fuses near the top, then a storage unit for the HOR’s coil sets. The next rack to the left has line monitoring and patch panels. The next rack has an HRO monitor receiver and speaker, plus what I think is the intercom to the receiving station. In the next rack is a control panel for a Collins auto-tune transmitter. I cannot identify the other 3 racks’ contents. To the left of the racks is the oldest of 3 Collins 231 3KW auto-tune transmitters. Photo from the collection of Jack Paton with notes by Gordon Cooper.
1963

Staff have been occupied with re-cabling and jumpering as a result of the re-routing of all the circuits that previously went to Auckland via the undersea cable to St Heliers being now routed via Tamaki-Ellerslie. The underwater cable to St Heliers is literally on its last legs and will preferably not be repaired again.

Authority for the reconstruction of Auckland Radio has been obtained and the equipment is to be replaced with modern equipment suitable for unattended operation.

NZPO Radio Information Bulletin, Nr 13 – Sept 1963, p 8

1964

The annual calibration of the old Marconi DF receiver was carried out during a recent spell of cold but fine weather. The spread of houses into what, a year or two ago, was farmland, has caused the loss of more of our test pegs and caused a bit of head-scratching at times. The calibration of the sea sectors was held up occasionally by fog and the need to top trees on the cliff edges. No news yet about bringing the Telefunken set into use.

The working frequency on our main marine transmitter was changed from 524 kc/s to 432.5 kc/s on 8th June for a month’s trial. This was not a happy choice however, as the fifth harmonic of this new frequency appears on 2162.5 kc/s on the small ships to Auckland Radio frequency. Putting traps in the aerial feeders at the transmitting station reduced the level of this harmonic at the receiving station to just under ten microvolts, a tolerable level on this service.

NZPO Radio Information Bulletin, Nr 15 – Aug 1964, pp 9-10.

1965
Musick Point, 9 Feb 1965
Musick Point, 9 Feb 1965. Photo: Whites Aviation, Alexander Turnbull Library
1966
On 22 Oct 1966, Auckland Radio copied a weak MAYDAY call on 2182kHz from the ship Golden State which had collided with another vessel near Manila.
On 22 Oct 1966, Auckland Radio copied a weak MAYDAY call on 2182kHz from the ship Golden State which had collided with another vessel near Manila. This summary was sent to Radio Division in Wellington from Auckland Radio manager Pat Columb
Working on the 6-channel JRC single sideband transmitter (installed in 1967).

It looks like the tech is probing the high voltage parts with a neon stick to ensure the volts were dead prior to working on the transmitter. He seems to be keeping his other arm behind as we were trained to do to avoid getting plated.
– Ralph Sanson

1968

At 4.05 pm on 13 June, Auckland Radio ZLD received a PAN (Urgency) radiotelephone message from the coastal freighter MV Maranui, after the vessel’s cargo of bulk wheat shifted in a severe storm:

APPROXIMATELY 25 MILES EAST OF MERCURY ISLAND. ARE THERE ANY VESSELS IN VICINITY? LIST IS INCREASING.

Another call was made to Auckland Radio ZLD at 5.03 pm:

MAYDAY MAYDAY FROM MARANUI. POSITION 36.48 SOUTH 176.25 EAST. LISTING BADLY, REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.

A minute later:

CLEARING LIFEBOATS AND LIFERAFTS NOW IN CASE THEY ARE NEEDED.

ZLD contacted the 8160 GRT Swedish freighter Mirabooka, which was approximately eight miles from Maranui.

Through outstanding seamanship in extreme conditions, the captain of Mirabooka picked up six crew from Maranui‘s liferaft, but nine others were swept away to their deaths.

In 2005, Maranui‘s resting spot was found when a trawler’s net snagged and brought up a radar scanner at 36° 42′ S, 176° 25’ E. (See more at maritimeradio.org)

1970 – 1979