RNZ Sounds Historical: 90 years since first NZ/UK radio contact

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Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Frank Holden, for sharing this episode of Sounds Historical via 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:

(Source: Radio New Zealand)

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:

Part 1

Part 2

If you’d like to read more about this historic event, check out this article on nzhistory.net.nz. The Otago Daily Times also features a photo of the transmitter the Bells used.

I’m a little surprised to discover no articles about Frank or Brenda Bell on Wikipedia (of course, their uncle, Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell is featured).

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International

799px-Wellington_city_with_Cable_CarFor your listening pleasure: two full hours of Radio New Zealand International, recorded on November 22, 2013 starting around 7:59 UTC on 9,765 kHz.

This recording begins with the The RNZI interval signal: the charming and unmistakable call of the New Zealand Bellbird.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International

The New Zealand Bellbird (Anthornis melanura) provides the interval signal for RNZI (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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.

The RNZI interval signal is charming and unmistakable: the call of the New Zealand Bellbird.

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.)

Click here to download the full broadcast as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Note to SWLing Post reader, Mike:
I hope you enjoy these sounds from home!

RNZI says shortwave ‘will continue to play major role’ in Pacific

In an age where shortwave listeners feel they only hear negative news from the major broadcasters, it’s refreshing to see that one of our favorite stations understands the value of shortwave radio.

In an interview with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU),
Chief Executive of Radio New Zealand, Peter Cavanagh, said:

“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.”

Read the full article here.

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.