The 1996 data taking of the SMC experiment used polarized protons to measure the spin-dependent structure function g(1) of the proton. Three liters of solid granular ammonia were irradiated at the Bonn electron linac in order to create the paramagnetic radicals which are needed for polarizing the protons. Proton polarizations of +/- (90 +/- 2.5)% were routinely reached. An analysis based on a theoretical line shape for spin-1. systems with large quadrupolar broadening was developed which allowed the nitrogen polarization in the ammonia to be determined with a 10% relative error. The measured quadrupolar coupling constant of N-14 agrees well with earlier extrapolated values. The polarization of the nitrogen nuclei was measured as a function of the proton polarization in order to provide a test of the equal spin temperature (EST) hypothesis. It was found to be closely valid under the dynamic nuclear polarization conditions with which the protons are polarized. Large deviations from EST could be induced by cross relaxing the proton and nitrogen spin systems at low fields. Nitrogen polarizations up to 40% were reached by these means. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.