Alert Bay is a small community on Cormorant Island, off the north east coast of Vancouver Island. The station was built to improve coverage on the north east side of Vancouver Island.

<--- Alert Bay's first mast (Daily Colonist Oct. 27, 1912). It wasn't uncommon to trim a nearby tree or trees to serve as supports for the aerial wires.

 

Google Map location here and some station photos in chronological order on this page.

 1912   April news item advises Alert Bay station to be built.  June 12 Colonist has a tender request for the construction of an operating house and double dwelling, closing on July1st.  Land survey dated July 15,1912. 

 

   August 1, 1912 edition of the Colonist newspaper reports Haughton has visited the site and notes excavations are well under way. A 900 foot tramway is being built to the beach to facilitate supplying the station.

 

1913   Station is commissioned in the spring. January paper reports the call sign CFD. After the 1913 Berlin Conference it became VAF.  5 1/2 kW transmitter and a 3 kW installed.  Wooden stepped masts 180 feet high and 1200 feet between them. 1000 foot tramway to the dock with a gasoline engine powered winch at the top end. Good communication with Triangle Island, Point Grey and Victoria is reported. Dwelling contains 12 rooms and is plumbed with hot and cold water. Water is from a well and elevated water tank. Operations building is illuminated by electricity. Three operators on station.
   An indication of the popularity of wireless, and its ability to quickly communicate along the coast, was the fact that shipping not so equipped would stop at the Alert Bay station to send and receive messages.

   Operator Lofty Harris has moved in for a few months.
 
1915   Operator Bill Harker arrives in January with his family and stays for seven years.

1915  Christmas card from the FPV Newington with a collage of Alert Bay items. Operations building in the top left corner.
(Photo from the Royal BC Museum Archives.)

 

1917   Operator Herbert Jeune got married this year.
1919    Alert Bay duplex dwelling.   General view of the station showing operations building to the right, dwelling in the rear and a small shed to the left.   Photos from the Colonist newspaper via a microfiche.
1919 Station dwelling. 

Photos from the Colonist newspaper via a microfiche.

 

1923   Operator Sid Jones arrives for a 3 month stint and then moves onto Digby Island. OIC is Tommy Raine. Station operation is improved with the installation of an 8 kWatt four valve continuous wave transmitter equipment. The age of the spark transmitter is coming to a close.
1933     Christmas card shows Shatford, Mennie, Robertson and Crow as operators. Mennie did some photography on the side. Card must have been up on a noticeboard for some time, as evidenced by all the thumb tack holes!   (Hammerer collection.)

 

1938    CW Frequencies in kHz: 101, 109, 136, 174
   MCW Frequencies in kHz: 174, 441, 500
   Phone Frequency in kHz: 1630

   Sid Elliott comes in as OIC sometime before 1948.

 

1948   Some of the operators with Sid were George Huddlestone, Bill Keel and Dick Pattinson.

 

1949   Stave Mellor arrives in September as OIC replacing Sid Elliot. During Stave's time some of the operators were Brian Harrison, George Huddlestone, Smokey Hooper, Buck Lassaline, Jock, George Holmes, Aubrey Mainard and Alec Amie(?)

 

1955   Stave Mellor departs inSeptember.
1975   60 years later and still the same building. Oddly there was a pane of stained glass over the front door. Engine room access on the left.
(FrankStatham photo.)

 

1979 New operations building erected. Station takes over Bull Harbor's duties.  Bull Harbor closed.

1987  General view of the station's operation centre.  A couple of ITT receivers and I suspect a RA17 receiver behind the vertical note holder.  Extel teletype behind operator. 

 

1994   Station shut down and duties amalgamated down the coast to Comox Radio.

 

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Alert Bay CFD/VAF
The Next Six Stations

  The first five stations were so successful the Dominion Government decided to expand coverage northwards along the coast to Prince Rupert. The new station at Triangle Island at the north tip of Vancouver Island provided coverage to the southern central coastal waters. Further north the Ikeda station on the west side of Moresby Island provided similar coverage to the northern central coast. Digby Island (Prince Rupert) provided communications to the northern waters and Alaska.  These stations also provided much needed weather observations and vessel movement reports to the newspapers.

  Two of these new locations did not last long. Triangle Island and Ikeda were isolated and hard to staff and so were abandoned after a dozen years. Triangle shut down and a replacement station was built at Bull Harbor, on Hope Island, a place just as remote, but more accessible. Ikeda met the same fate and was relocated up to Dead Tree Point on Graham Island. North eastern Vancouver Island's in-land waters were served by a new station at the community of Alert Bay.