Number 11

With Robert Copeman

Wellington New Zealand (R.Copeman)

During the years 1970, 1971, 1974, 1978 and 1979, I had holidays in New Zealand and stayed with relatives in Wellington. This gave me a chance of checking out the TV and radio DX possibilities while there. In all the years visiting Wellington, FM radio had not commenced in New Zealand, so my main interests were TV and AM radio.

During the holidays of 1970, 1971 and 1974, Wellington New Zealand only had one TV station, which was WNTV 1 (later to become TV1Ch1). Programs didn't commence until 2.00pm local time, though they ran several hours of gray scale patterns, checkerboard patterns and finally the WNTV 1 test pattern before programs commenced. In later years, after WNTV 1 became TV1Ch1, TV2Ch5 opened, giving viewers a long awaited second choice. This was sometime after the commencement of colour in 1974. Once colour commenced, the PM5544 test pattern and Test Card "F" became common place outside of program hours. Unfortunately, even on my last trip in 1979, no FM radio had commenced in New Zealand and the only choices on television were the TV1 and TV2 networks.

Back before colour in the days of WNTV 1, the local test card ran the same music every day before going to programs. Also, apart from the various relays of the major New Zealand TV stations in regional areas, WNTV 1 was also relayed into many suburbs of Wellington, with some of the translator stations only in milliwatts, covering one or two streets. It was actually possible for viewers to contact the TV station and request their own translator TV station to be installed, so that they would have clear reception. Even today, these low power translator stations continue to operate. One set of translators at on Donkey's Flat overlooking Aro Street were so low powered, it was possible to walk out of range of the transmissions, with the mast still in view.

Some of the Wellington suburbs using TV translators relaying the main transmitters at Kaukau include: Brooklyn (Donkey's Flat), Seatoun, Karori, Strathmore North, Thorndon, Wadestown, Wainuiomata and several others, including Northland Fire Station and the Wellington Grain Silo. This was done because of the hilly terrain in many areas throughout the suburban landscape. Many houses in Wellington are built on the sides of hills and in some cases, residents have to first dig away an area in the hill to build the desired house or extend. Some of the houses were so far up from the streets that private mini cable cars were installed to allow residents to get to their mailboxes and the street. In most parts of Wellington, the views are nothing less than truly spectacular.

Receiving TV DX from Wellington is possible, though I didn't see any myself. The relatives I stayed with at Island Bay only used an indoor antenna. I later stayed with a cousin not far from Aro Street, where local reception from the Kaukau transmitters suffered from bad ghosting caused by the hills close by. From this location, I was able to receive snowy reception from the Donkey's Flat transmitters above Aro Street. To see the other translators, I took my portable TV and traveled to the various locations by suburban buses.

AM radio reception was exceptionally good from Island Bay, which is about four miles south of Wellington City. Christchurch and Dunedin stations from the South Island could be received as permanent signals, along with various regional country stations in the North Island, including Wanganui, Masterton and Palmerston North. At the top of the hill at the back of my relatives place in Island Bay, it was even possible to receive faint reception from Auckland AM stations during the day. This was all done without the aide of a loop or longwire antenna.

On the eastern edge of Wellington City is Mount Victoria. At the top of this mountain, there were the 2ZM AM transmitters (later to convert to FM broadcasting). From the top of Mount Victoria, one has an excellent view of Wellington City and harbor. Another area with spectacular views was the suburb of Kelburn, which is served by funicular cable cars (cable trams), running back and forth from the city to Kelburn. The original cable cars ran in service until 1978, then were taken off, due to safety reasons. In 1979, Swiss built modern cable cars were introduced, bringing the line back into service.

That's all for Out and About, so farewell for now,

Robert Copeman.

WNTV-1 Wellington, NZ B/W test card March 1970.

WNTV-1 Wellington, NZ B/W Test Card May 1972.

WNTV-1 Wellington, NZ Test Card F February 1975.

TV1 ch1 Wellington, NZ PM5544 Test Card 1/10/1978.

TV1 ch1 Wellington, NZ Test Card F 2/10/1978.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ Test Card F 30/10/1978.

TV1 ch3 Aro Street, Wellington NZ Test Card F 13/10/1978.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ Colour Bar 1/10/1978.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ Goodnight Kiwi 17/10/1978.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ PM5544 Test Card 1/10/1978.

TV2 ch8 Aro Street Wellington, NZ PM5544 Test Card 7/10/1978.

TV1 ch1 Wellington, NZ PM5544 19/10/1979.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ PM5544 Test Card 19/10/1979.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ PM5544 Test Card 30/9/1979.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ T1 Test Card 19/10/1979.

TV2 ch8 Aro Street Wellington, NZ T1 Test Card 19/10/1979.

TV2 ch5 Wellington, NZ Ident Slide 19/10/1979.

TV1 ch3 Aro St Wellington, NZ PM5544 30/9/1979.

Willis St Wellington, NZ March 1970.

Wellington City and Harbour from Mt Victoria March 1970.

Oriental Bay Wellington, NZ March 1970.

2YA Wellingtton, NZ Transmitter March 1970.

2ZM Wellington, NZ Transmitter Mount Victoria April 1971.

Northland Fire Station Northland Wellington, NZ April 1971.

Wainuiomata Road Wainuiomata Wellington, NZ April 1971.

Karori Road Karori Wellington, NZ April 1971.

The Parade Island Bay Wellington, NZ 10/5/1974.

Cable Car leaving Kelburn Wellington, NZ 25/4/1974.

Dee Street Island Bay Wellington, NZ 25/4/1974.

Dundas St Seatoun Wellington, NZ 18/10/1978.

Aro st TV Translators and Donkey's Flat Wellington, NZ 6/10/1978.

Aro Street Wellington, NZ 6/10/1978.

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