Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Frank Holden, for sharing this episode of Sounds Historicalvia Radio New Zealand. In commemoration of the first radio link between New Zealand and the UK, host Jim Sullivan features a 1964 recording of New Zealand radio pioneers, Frank and Brenda Bell:
The first radio link between New Zealand and England took place 90 years ago yesterday and last night it was re-enacted. In 1964 at the time of the 40th anniversary Frank and Brenda Bell recalled the 1924 event which Frank Bell orchestrated from their home in Shag Valley, East Otago. His sister Brenda recalls the historic occasion from her home. The recording was made at Shag Valley to mark the 40th anniversary between Frank and Cecil Goyder of London. Allan Frame and Clive Liddell also recall the event. Then Martin Balch reports from the vents at Shag Valley Station on 18 October 2014. He talks to Mike ZL4OL from Dunedin, Dave Mulder, ZL4DK and Mike Mather ZL2CC from Gisborne. Frank Bells’ great-grandchildren Henry and Lucy re-create the 1924 event by talking to children at Mill Hill School, London.
Below, I have embedded audio players for Part 1 and Part 2 of Sounds Historical. While I would encourage you to listen to the whole show, you’ll find the anniversary recording in Part 2 beginning around 36:00. Enjoy:
The New Zealand Bellbird (Anthornis melanura) provides the interval signal for RNZI (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
One of my favorite shortwave radio broadcasters is Radio New Zealand International. RNZI has authoritative news–with a focus on NZ and the Pacific islands–music, sports and their own unique character, though they operate on a very modest budget by international broadcasting standards.
Fortunately, in the 3 hour recording of RNZI below, I caught not only the interval signal as the broadcast began, but also as it went off the air. This recording was made on March 14th 2013 starting around 8:00 UTC on 9,765 kHz. (You’ll note news of the Pope.)
“We currently broadcast to the Pacific using both analogue and digital (DRM) shortwave transmitters.
“Most of our local partner stations are now using our digital transmission to provide a higher quality and more reliable signal for re-broadcast to their own audiences.
“But many individuals and those living on the more remote islands are still very much dependent on analogue receivers – particularly in times of crisis such as the cyclone season – and it’s likely that analogue shortwave will continue to play a major role in the region for many more years to come.”
Something he didn’t mention was the importance shortwave radio played in Fiji last year when the government shut down Australia’s ABC’s FM stations. Unlike the internet or FM radio, shortwave radio crosses borders without regard to who is in power.