Alert Bay VAF
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. Some station photos in chronological order are here.
1912 Land survey dated July 15, 1912.June 12 Colonist has a tender request for the construction of an operating house and double dwelling, closing on July 1st.
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 kWatt transmitter and a 3
kW. 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 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. Other photo is the 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 8 kWatt four valve continuous wave transmitter equipment. The age of the spark transmitter is coming to a close.
1929 Staff is comprised of Chief Operator Kelk, C.W.(Tommy) Thomas,
Basil Robson, Carl Ward, and Jim Kitchin.
The C.W. transmitter was moved into a new addition to the operating house and new power control wiring installed. The double dwelling was wired for electric lights and connected to starting battery by an under-ground cable. A new operating desk was built. The old tree mast was taken down and a new 150-foot angle iron mast erected in its place. New automatic safety switches have been wired up to safeguard the operator from contact with live high voltage wires in the transmitting room.
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 notice board 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 in September.
1975 60 years later and still the same building. Oddly there was a pane of stained glass over the front door. (Frank Statham photo.)
1979 New operations building erected. Station takes over Bull Harbour's duties.
1994 Station shut down and duties amalgamated down the coast to Comox Radio.