The Co-operative Global Radio Memories Project
Shortly afterwards, on September 9, 1943, a new station came on air. Known as All Services Radio it was operated by the International Red Cross for military personnel from the USA, Australia and New Zealand who were marshalling on Grande Terre in preparation for the island hopping campaign towards Japan.
The station broadcast on 960 kHz. Each day, between noon and 2pm, and again from 5pm-10pm, All Services Radio broadcast programs of the US Office of War Information (OWI). These programmes were received via shortwave relay. The station ended broadcasts in February 1944.
It was immediately replaced by a station operated by the American Expeditionary Forces and was identified simply as AEF. This soon changed to the American Entertainment Service, identifying as AES and using a frequency of 975 kHz with one of the more powerful 1000 watt transmitters obtained by the fledgling AFRS for use in the South Pacific and North Africa.
As Armed Forces Radio Service the station was allocated the callsign WVUS and established as the 3rd in a network of stations which became known as The Mosquito Network.
WVUS broadcast for 17 hours daily providing standard AFRS programming, from 7am-midnight.
In late 1945, the studios were relocated from Noumea to the Tontouta airbase, about 45 minutes drive north of Noumea. In March 1946, WVUS ceased using the Mosquito Network as a station ID, and came under the management of the Army Airways Communications System (AACS).
WVUS ceased broadcasting on the evening of Saturday, June 15, 1946. Exactly one month later, the Tontouta airbase also closed down. This was the last remaining US base in the South Pacific outside American territory.
NZNBS Pacific Unit
During the period April 1943 to August 1944, the New Zealand
National Broadcasting Service stationed its Pacific Broadcasting
Unit in Noumea.
When the unit left Noumea in August 1944, all of its equipment was left behind, and donated to Radio Noumea.
On Air Fungus
Fungus was another serious problem. It not only grew in shoes,
toes and crotches, it grew in equipment such as microphones. The
ultimate in radio listening pleasure is not listening to a man
scratching his fungus-filled crotch while being cheerful through
a fungus-filled microphone.
A Dog Named Satchmo
The station at New Caledonia had a professional cast of players.
Among them were Jack Paar and Jackie Cooper. Paar was later to
do the 'Tonight Show' on television. Jackie Cooper was an actor
best known for his childhood role in a move called 'The Kid'.
Remote Grocery Order
It cannot be said, however, that the day-to-day operation
of the Mosquito Network is always free from troubles. There are some
things in the South Pacific that no-one can reckon with.
DX Reception Report
I came across some of my old copies of notes taken when
listening to DX and later used for sending reports away. Among
them were the ones I logged when up in the Pacific during the
war and written in pencil (no ballpoints in those days) on yellow
teleprinter paper which I operated. There is even a stamp
'RNZAF Cypher Office'.
1. original held in the Alex Allan Collection, New Zealand Radio DX League Archives Legacy Collection © The Hocken Library
2,3 US A.SC Photo © from 'Star Spangled Radio', A Sharpe Report by Ivan Saddler, © 10/2001 Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications, and Computation. Glendale, AZ. Website: www.smecc.org.