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Early ZL3 Amateurs

A Guide to Amateur Radio Stations in Christchurch 1932

By David Ricquish

‘Wireless listening will have a bit of a run, like ping-pong, or put-and-take, and then die down’ is the now classic observation from a New Zealand Post & Telegraph official in late 1922.

At this time, potential amateur radio operators in New Zealand were struggling to gain approval to even make broadcasts in the first place. In fact, one of the earliest licenses to simply receive wireless had been issued only 8 years earlier - on April 24 1914 - to Canterbury College.

In 1920, the Postmaster-General had commented: ‘The question of granting to qualified persons facilities for the erection and operation of wireless experimental stations in times of peace is at present being considered’.

image of The very well equipped ‘ham shack’ of ZL3DC

The very well equipped ‘ham shack’ of ZL3DC, Ted Travis
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)

This introductory guide takes a look at some of the early radio amateurs in Christchurch, then the second largest city in the country. In particular, the focus is on the very early 1930’s, less than a decade after ‘The Radio Telegraph Regulations for Amateur Experimental and Broadcasting Stations' came into force in January 1923.

Tell us more about these early radio amateurs. Share your photos or memorabilia of the early days of radio in Christchurch.
We’re looking for scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, old QSL cards, old photos of ‘ham shacks’ or equipment which can be used to keep these early days ‘alive and on air’ at the web site.
Each call-sign will be included in our on-line virtual archive project so everyone can find out more about the people who gave the first broadcasts to their fellow citizens in the city.
Either email us or check our contacts page for other options.

On July 1 1932, there were 74 licenses issued to amateur radio operators in the city, of whom 73 were men and 1 was a woman. This list was published in the ‘N.Z. Radio Call-Book’, compiled by the N.Z. Radio Record (later ‘The Listener’) in Wellington.

image of NZ Radio Call Book 1932

NZ Radio Call Book 1932
(Cleve Costello Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)

At this time, there were only two broadcasting stations on air in the city, 3YA of the Radio Broadcasting Board in Gloucester Street (980 kc with a 500 watt transmitter) and 3ZC of the Farmer’s Co-op Association from Cashel Street (1200kc with a 250 watt transmitter)

As a result, a number of the ‘amateur transmitters’ were also known to still broadcast music programs and talks. Their licensed frequencies included much of the upper medium wave (AM) band as we know it today, and therefore it was relatively easy for people across the city to hear their broadcasts.

Most broadcasts however, took place in what is commonly known as the short wave (SW) band. In some cases, they were using transmitter powers of 40-70 watts that gave good coverage across the city.

Here’s a full list of those early amateur radio broadcasters, together with some examples of their QSL (listener confirmation) cards that often contain fanciful designs and information about their technical equipment.

Call License Holder Address

3AB Evans, LC 40 St. Martins Road
3AC Radio Society of Christchurch 91 Cashel Street
3AD Banwell, CJ 9 Chelsea Street, Linwood
3AE Venables, RK 163 Moorhouse Avenue
3AF Sandford, GG Moncks Spur, Redcliffs
3AK Lane, SW 19 Bridle Path Road, Lyttelton
3AM Copp, LF 44 Vogel Street
3AN Edwards, SSt.D 26 Patten Street, Avonside
3AS Laugeson, NW 47 Stapletons Road
3AT Marquet, LJ 30 Chichester Street
3AW Mintrom, RW 62 Barton Street
3AZ Stanton, R 17 Martin Avenue, Beckenham
3BA Buckhurst, EB 98 Office Road
3BB Smith, WT 165 Bealey Avenue
3BE Boy’s High School (Dyer, HE) Straven Road, Riccarton
3BF Prince, E 29 St. James Avenue
3BG Hurrell, LW 163 Edgeware Road
3BH Gabites, JF 445 Marshland Road
3BJ Hunter, LC 62 Colombo Street
3BM Cook, D 29 Nelson Street, New Brighton
3BO Hullett, EW 30 Bay View Road, Redcliffs
3BR Savage, V 26 Sylvester Street
3BS Rose, WC 398 Gloucester Street
3BT Herrick, EM (Miss) 97 Fitzgerald Avenue
3BW O’Connell, FA 77 Bealey Avenue
3BX Vincent, F 174 St Asaph Street
3BZ Venables, RK (portable) Christchurch
3CA Hughes, CA 106 Wildberry Street
3CB Whitlock, LG 27 Reeves Road, Opawa
3CC Elliott, JB 25 Frankleigh Street, Spreydon
3CE Henderson, RG 100 Rugby Street
3CF Simpson, AEH 99 Abberley Road
3CG Brown, HPV 10 Merivale Lane (and elsewhere)
3CH McKnight, S 85 Trafalgar Street
3CK Shipley, EG 2 Puriri Street, Riccarton
3CM Toon, WT 73 Canon Street
image of QSL card issued by Bill Toon (ZL3CM)

QSL card issued by Bill Toon (ZL3CM) who used a powerful 100 watts Hartley transmitter
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3CN More, LAB 48 Hackthorne Road
3CP Parton, CW 69 Hackthorne Road
3CR Hervey, CR 30 Peterborough Street
3CT Tabley, JR 113 Milton Street
3CV Hughes, W 3 Faraday Street
3CZ Rose, FL 398 Gloucester Street
3DC Travis, EH 43 Papanui Road
image of QSL card issued by Ted Travis (ZL3CM)

QSL card issued by Ted Travis (ZL3DC) for reception in 1934
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3DF Ball, LF 334 Wilson’s Road
3DG Claydon, BT 47 Hornbrooks Road, Mt Pleasant
3DI Taylor, K 10 Norton Street, New Brighton
3DJ Walter, FW 99 Briggs Road, Mairehau
3DK Holmes, CE 65 Slater Street
3DL Smith, PO 264 Milton Road
3DM Calvert, R 26 Konini Street, Riccarton
3DO Hunter, RP 30 Randall Street
3DP Sweeney, APH 192 Moorehouse Avenue
3DQ Goldsborough, RF 19 Fielding Street
3DU Wilson, VJ 33 Rosebery Street
3DX Ripley, RH 52 Hopkins Street
3DZ Moyle, WF 61 Ruskin Street
3FB Freeman, JF 7 Athelston Street, Spreydon
3FD Willmott, SV 146 Jubilee Avenue, North Brighton
3FG Wickham, L 69 Wyon Street, Linwood
3FI Roscoe, JH 4 Saltaire Street, North Brighton
3FJ Robinson, VE 7 Holmwood Road
3FK Hepburn, LD 247 Fifield Terrace
3FL George, ARW 16 Stafford Street, Riccarton
ZL3FL lists the countries ‘worked’ in this QSL for 7260kc

ZL3FL lists the countries ‘worked’ in this QSL for 7260kc
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3FM Knowles, JH 171 River Road
3FO Blackmore, WV 7 Clarke Street, Sumner
3FQ Walker, EM 50 Jerrold Street
3FR Lilly, CP 173 Bealey Avenue
Colin Lilly (ZL3FR) issued this thick QSL card for his 40 watts broadcasts

Colin Lilly (ZL3FR) issued this thick QSL card for his 40 watts broadcasts
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3FS Smith, DAF 106 Bletsoe Avenue
3FV East, JC 326 Papanui Road
3FY Evans, LC 64 Ryan Street, Linwood
3FZ Gledhill, AF 2 Antigua Street
A moa and a cabbage tree provide antenna supports in this 1934 QSL card from ZL3FZ

A moa and a cabbage tree provide antenna supports in this 1934 QSL card from ZL3FZ
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3GA Gale, WT 51 Slater Street
QSL card issued by Bill Gale (ZL3GA) who ‘can’t understand why you get me on BC Band

QSL card issued by Bill Gale (ZL3GA) who ‘can’t understand why you get me on BC Band
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


3GH Voss, CHJ 91 Wilson’s Road
3GK Jacobs, FJ Bordesley Street, Linwood

Many other amateur broadcasters followed in the coming years of the 1930’s and in the seventy years since then. Share their stories, and celebrate their call-signs and contribution to Pacific radio with us.

Here are several examples of other Christchurch amateur radio broadcasters from the same era.
Christchurch Cathedral features in this 1933 QSL card issued by ZL3GU

Christchurch Cathedral features in this 1933 QSL card issued by ZL3GU
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)


Example of an art deco influenced design from ZL3HB in this 1934 QSL card

Example of an art deco influenced design from ZL3HB in this 1934 QSL card
(Eric Shackle Collection, Radio Heritage Foundation)

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