Oliver Road 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 HRO'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 three 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 HRO’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 three Collins 231 3KW auto-tune transmitters. Photo from the collection of Jack Paton with notes by Gordon Cooper
From left: A Collier & Beale transmitter which had an HF100 in the final. Next, what I think are a couple of STC 5KW transmitters used for radioteletype. There was a third one with a modulator that could be placed on the air/ground voice circuits if needed. That looks like part of the third STC in the middle of the floor. At the far end is what looks like another Collins (a 1KW and a 300W were there somewhere).
From left: A Collier & Beale transmitter which had an HF100 in the final. Next, what I think are a couple of STC 5KW transmitters used for radioteletype. There was a third one with a modulator that could be placed on the air/ground voice circuits if needed. That looks like part of the third STC in the middle of the floor. At the far end is what looks like another Collins (a 1KW and a 300W were there somewhere). Photo from the collection of Jack Paton with notes by Gordon Cooper

Gordon Cooper adds:
“Sometime in the 1950s, CAA installed two new Collins Type 231D-20 3KW auto-tune transmitters for the voice air/ground service. Neither of these are in the photos above. The transmitting station needed a change of layout to fit these into the floor space, so this picture and the control racks photo were probably taken before that happened. Those possible STC transmitters do not quite fit my memory of them. Collier & Beale made something that looked similar with lots of square holes in the front doors to help cooling.”

Auckland Radio transmitter hall, 1946
“The transmitting hall is located three miles back along the point from the main building. It houses 18 transmitting sets, and the largest has a power of three kilowatts, while the smallest is 100 watts. The transmitters have a selection of 29 aerials spread over an area of 35 acres. Miles of underground cables connect the transmitters with the main building.” Photo: Whites Aviation, 29 Aug 1946, Alexander Turnbull Library

Notes to photo above:
View of the transmitting hall from the entrance. On the left can be seen three AWA HF transmitters: #68, #536 and #67. At the rear are three Collier & Beale HF transmitters. In the right corner is AWA #100, then coming up the right hand side are C&B #666 (500 kc/s), C&B #873 (HF), AT3 (HF), Collins #3 (500W) and Collins #15 (3kW). At the desk is Ron Turner, with Owen Pepper and Keith Bone working on #67.1
– Doug Morris

Technicians at Auckland Radio ZLD: H Wiggens and possibly Robert William Fielding who died in 1951 at age 30 when the yacht Argo disappeared during the disastrous Centennial Yacht Race
Technicians at Auckland Radio ZLD: H Wiggens (standing) and possibly Robert William Fielding who died in 1951 at age 30 when the yacht Argo disappeared during the disastrous Centennial Yacht Race. They appear to be working on the Collier & Beale 666 transmitter. Courtesy Chris Underwood
Ron Turner and Keith Bone with a 3kW Collins 12-channel auto-tune transmitter
Ron Turner and Keith Bone with a 3kW Collins 12-channel auto-tune transmitter, 29 August 1946. The three cabinets are (from left): power supply, driver/final amplifier, modulator. At left is a 500W Collins transmitter. Photo: Whites Aviation, Alexander Turnbull Library

The transmitting station comprised a main transmitting hall (approx. 17 metres by 13 metres) an engine room (approx. 4 metres by 3 metres), a workshop (approximately 5 metres by 3 metres), kitchen, storage room and toilets.

Transmitters for Auckland Radio ZLD. At far left is a 1kW Nautel MF radiotelegraph transmitter. At far right, with doors open is a 1kW JRC HF SSB transmitter. To the left of the JRC is a 1kW Dansk MF radiotelegraph transmitter
Transmitters for Auckland Radio ZLD. At far left is a 1kW Nautel MF radiotelegraph transmitter. At far right, with doors open is a 1kW JRC HF SSB transmitter. To the left of the JRC is a 1kW Dansk MF radiotelegraph transmitter (still in use on the 630m amateur band at Musick Point). Other transmitters in the photo are older units by Collier & Beale and RCA. Photo: Paul Chamberlin

RCA 351 and C&B 873 transmitters
RCA 351 and C&B 873 transmitters
RCA 351, C&B 873, Dansk and two JRCs
RCA 351, C&B 873, Dansk, 2 JRC transmitters

MPRG member Paul Chamberlain ZL1BBR, who was a technician at Auckland Radio ZLD, recalls that the following MW and SW tranmitters were in use up until the station’s closure in 1993.

“When weather and other main broadcasts were being made, all three SSB transmitters were in operation simultaneously, covering various frequencies,” says Paul.

JRC NSD-166N transmitter
JRC NSD-166N 2-ch ‘main’ SSB transmitter
JRC NSD-166P transmitter
JRC NSD-166P 6-ch “standby” SSB transmitter

“The operators could use either of the MCW transmitters,” says Paul. “Both were always kept functional.

“The advantage of the Nautel [compared to the Dansk] was that if any of the sixteen power supplies or power amps failed, the others carried on. That was good for technicians.”

Dansk S 265-3F-4M MF radiotelegraph transmitter
Dansk S 265-3F-4M MF radiotelegraph transmitter

RCA 351 transmitter
RCA 351 transmitter
Collier & Beale 873 transmitter
Collier & Beale 873 transmitter

Collier & Beale 277 transmitter
Collier & Beale 277 transmitter
Emergency generator
Emergency generator

Transmission equipment
Transmission equipment
Transmission equipment
Transmission equipment

Oliver Rd misc equipment
Odds ‘n ends at the Oliver Rd transmitter site

The Harris transmitter, being fairly new, was sold when Auckland Radio closed in 1993. All of the other transmitters are now in the Vintage Transmitters collection of the Musick Point Radio Group.

See also: Removal of transmitters following station closure


Notes

1. Morris, D.C. (2002). Auckland Radio, Alpha & Omega. Waitakere City, NZ: Copy Out West. p. 65.