1960's view of Lazo's operating position. Manning photo.
Cape Lazo (Comox)
Cape Lazo is on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, about half way up.
This station was one of the original five stations and was operational in February of 1908.
Comox Coast Guard Radio, the station's present identification, reflects the name of its
After over 110 years of local operation the facilities at the station are to be remoted to Victoria MTCS Station sometime in the spring of 2017. No operations staff will be kept at the station.
Google Earth View here.
Walter Howard's grandson, in an email to me, tells of being taken out to the wireless station in the early 1940's by his father and be shown how the cliff's erosion had swallowed up their old residence and orchard. Down on the beach they could look up and still see the foundation bricks in the clay of the bluff.
Some Lazo photos in chronological order are available here.
1906 Cecil Doutre, Dominion Superintendent of Wireless Stations for the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and Eddie Hughes, Project Engineer, sail on the Marine & Fisheries Vessel 'Quadra'. They make site selections for the new chain of wireless stations along the British Columbia west coast. Cape Lazo was one of the selected sites.
1907 Land purchased in 1907 for $2000. Victoria Times July 12: SS 'Cascade' delivering supplies to construct the station. July 27 edition of the Daily Colonist reports: "The station at Cape Lazo being constructed by Mr. Frost, the Nanaimo lighthouse builder, is well under way."
1908 Station on the air in February 1908 with Morse as operator, who resigns shortly afterwards. Station operational with the call sign SKD. 1 kWatt spark transmitter. Morse's stay was very short.
1909 Charles Bradbury was OIC with Jim Harker as second operator. Lean-to accommodation for operators built. 2 kWatt transmitter installed in the fall or early 1910.
1910 Bradbury and Harker on staff at $85/month.
1911 24 hour operational coverage instituted. Synchronous gap being installed during December. In December a tender was let to build a house for the operators. Charles Bradbury as operator.
1912 In December tenders called for additional housing to make the station more attractive to married men. By the middle of December the newspaper reported that Lazo was the first station to be fitted with synchronous spark transmitters.
1913 Call Sign changed from SKD to VAC in accordance with the Berlin Conference. Synchronous spark gap being tested before being installed at rest of stations.
1914 Military guard posted to the station for the duration of World War One. Walter Howard on staff.
1920 Late in the year a rumor circulates that the station will be closed. Only WW1 guard shacks are being demolished. Station isn't as essential as it once was due to advances in radio systems giving longer communication ranges than in previous years.
1929 A right of way was slashed and a pole line erected to carry central station power to the dwellings and operating house. The dwellings were wired for lights and the wiring in the power house rearranged. A 100 watt radiophone transmitter was installed to replace the 50 watt transmitter previously in use.
1936 Modulated CW frequencies 187, 417, 500 kHz
Radiotelephone frequency 1630 kHz
Riggers working on tightening antenna guy wires at Cape Lazo. No date but is from the 1910 era. Photo from the Royal B.C. Museum.
Interior view of Cape Lazo's first operations building. Transmitter control board on the left with receiver on desk to the right. Photo from the Royal B.C. Museum.
Charlie Bradbury on watch. Photo taken from opposite side of room from the one above. Note chair is the same. Photo from the Royal BC Museum. Time is around 1911.