ROUGH RADIO

Hammerer Photos 000 to 025

Harold Hammerer started his career as an operator with Queen Charlotte Airlines in 19xx and joined the Government radio system in 19xx. His first station was Pachena until it closed in 1958. At that time Estevan Radio was moved down the coast to Tofino Airport and Harold moved there.

 

   He ended his career in Victoria as the Area Operations Manager responsible for the operational side of all stations on the island.

 

   Although the photos are modern (post 1950), Harold does have some of the old letters and messages that were circulated by the generation earlier than him. I've included all these items as they are interesting never-the-less.

  01   A group of lighthouse keepers on course at the Victoria electronics shop taken in August 1961. The beacons mentioned in the photo caption refer to the radio transmitters installed at many lighthouses. These beacons could either transmit continuously or in a sequence with a similar beacon on an adjacent light station. A ship could use its radio direction finder and get a bearing from each beacon and thus determine her position.

 

   There would be two beacon transmitters, one in use and the other on standby, an automatic change over panel monitored (checking power output and correct Morse modulation). On a sequenced station there would be an additional timing panel plus a general coverage receiver for accurate clock checking.

02   A second set of grizzled light keepers. There were generally two keepers on each station, a senior and a junior. It wasn't uncommon for the senior's wife to act as the junior due to the lack of staffing.

Reverse of photo is below.

 

03  Signatures and stations of the keepers on the back of the above photo.

 

04 Bull Harbor before the station's construction.

 

05 1954 Christmas Card from Vancouver aeradio station. The aeradio station performed a similar function to the marine station, but communicated with aircraft. There were combined marine/aeradio stations eventually along the BC coast: Prince Rupert, Sandspit and Tofino come to mind. The operators worked side by side switching between the two positions as the shift cycle progressed.

As the card came from Harold, there were no names against the photos for some strange reason. Al Miller supplied a few names, but Harry Lathwell's daughter managed to come up with all but two of them, and eventually all the names were filled in.

 

  06   Cape St. James (southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands) was an important radar/communications site during WW2.
07   Cape St. James barracks some time after WW2.
  08   Cape St. James light station and beacon antenna in the distance. Beacon was continuous, not a sequenced radio beacon, as it was primarily an aircraft navigation aid. The next beacon to the south was Cape Scott and another at Tofino.
  09   Cape St. James barrack block.
   10   September 3, 1935 letter from E. Haughton, Divisional Superintendent, asking the lads to do the paper work correctly.

   Looks like he is trying to keep the Ottawa money and his own local budget separate. He didn't want the local money being spent on Ottawa's projects.
11   April 4, 1933 letter from the Divisional Superintendent E. Haughton where he mentions some new transmitters going in at Victoria/Gonzales. By this time vacuum tube transmitters and receivers, while not perfected, were displacing the old spark transmitters and crystal receivers.
12   March 24, 1943 letter signed by Walter Howard, Radio Inspector. The wave meter is a device to measure radio frequencies.
13   A testy message from E. Howard to the workshop, November 1938. The number of words in a telegraph message determined the transmission charge.
  14   This is a display of some vacuum tubes. I suspect it was put together as an example of those used in the typical transmitter of the day. The larger ones would be the transmitter output tubes. Vacuum tube transmitters had the advantage of good frequency stability and a very much reduced set of harmonics, resulting in less spectrum use over the old spark equipment.

   The big bottle types may be an English Marconi T250 used in the latter half of the 1930's. This tube was rated at 250 Watt plate dissipation. It could handle up to 4000 volts on the plate. Filament required 12.5 Volts at 5.5 Amps.

   The smaller tubes may represent the oscillator and driver tubes.
15   Message from operator Deacon at Pachena (VAD) to L. Stephenson in Victoria (VAK) on May 16, 1932
16   Cape St. James transmitter and receiver around 1952. This equipment stashed in the corner kept this very isolated station in contact with the world. Receiver is sitting on top of the transmitter. Transmitter would be fixed frequency so no external tuning would be available. Station transmitted synoptic weather reports to Prince Rupert radio and wasn't a coast station as such itself.

   The device above the clock is a wind direction indicator. Against the right hand side of the photo is a recording barograph. Completing the meteorological equipment would be the rain gauge, wind speed indicator, a mercury barometer, wet & dry bulb thermometers and the light keeper's eyeballs. The keeper would take a weather observation at, say every six hours, and radio it in to the local coast station. The coast station would pass it on to the weather office.

  17   1928 pay record for the wireless service on the British Columbia coast. All the names of all the folks manning the stations. By this time there were nine stations: Prince Rupert (Digby Island), Dead Tree (Queen Charlotte Islands), Bull Harbour, Alert Bay, Cape Lazo, Point Grey (Vancouver), Victoria (Gonzales Hill), Pachena, and Estevan Point.

18   This and the next photo is an antenna change over switch. If there was only a single antenna at the station it would have to be shared between the transmitter and receiver, since only one of the devices connected at any one time. Or one antenna could be switched to serve two transmitters.

   This unit could do it easily. The devices would be connected to the tops of the insulators, and the centre nut would connect to the long wire antenna. The big solenoid would be energized remotely to pull the antenna arm from one side to the other. There was also a second switch on the bottom right which would provide a connection to energize an indicator back at the operating position to confirm the position of the change over switch.
19   Another view of photo #18.
20   February 1936. A pointed letter from Division Superintendent Eddie Haughton after he discovered the workshop is wasting money.
21   Eddie Haughton letting the Workshop know the vacuum tubes are on the way--December 1935.
22   An operator at either Bull Harbour or Alert Bay, me thinks, sometime in the 1950's. Note the National HRO general coverage receiver near the top of the centre rack and the Marconi at the bottom. I think those are fix tuned receivers behind the operator's head.
23   An operator at either Bull Harbour or Alert Bay, me thinks, sometime in the 1950's.
24   Dominion Government Radio Service R709 No. 1 receiver. This is a regenerative receiver covering in two bands: 150-400 Meters and 400-800 Meters (375 kHz to 2000 kHz). No information located on the Internet regarding this radio. I'd date it from the 1920-1935 period. Interior view is photo 52.
25   1933 Christmas card from Estevan Point wireless station listing the operators at the station.