Laurie and I got everything ready for the first ECI Net at 7.30Pm. We really didn’t know what to expect but the Icom IC-765 was ready on 3615 with Laurie at the mic and I was ready with the old 2M radio set for the HB repeater on 670. We started the roll call and much to my surprise had 12 stations call in on 670 in quick succession Things were going well until Murphy showed up . More on that later.
Laurie was kept busy on 3615 with 6 stations checking in. All in all we heard from Hastings, Napier, Pakowai, Takapau, Palmerston North and Gisborne with good communications both ways. We followed up the check-ins with a question on what capability each station had. Many had National System, 670, 725 and HF. About half the stations had portable battery power capability.
The shack was set up so that we could have a headset on 3615 but it proved quite difficult to operate the 2 stations site by side. We will solve that next month for the check-in by moving the 2M radio out of the shack and into the main room away from the noise of 3615. We won’t need headsets either.
The 2M radio was a problem in that it would transmit on 610 and when I release the hand mic the frequency readout would wander off 670 to 669 or down further. I know that I didn’t hear replies from several stations until I twigged to what was happening. Obviously a radio fault and we will put a different radio into service next time. We have a spare Yaesu FT1500 for our use.
Dave Walker let us know that the IC765 was a bit off frequency. In fact it was about130 Hz high on thansmit. We will sort that before next time.
Thanks to all for making it successful and we hope it will continue and become a bit more crisp as time goes on. The concept of an informal network of trained amateurs being offered to CD, Police, Fire SAR or any other service that needed us may prove attractive if a disaster happens. If nobody wants us we still may be able to help each other if it all turns pear shaped some day!
Meeting on Wed 4 March 2015 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham St.
Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.
Apologies: ZL2US, ZL2MO, ZL2VM, ZL2MQ.
Present: Lee ZL2AL, Mike ZL2MY, Erroll ZL2IT, Bert ZL2OC, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD, Dave ZL2DW, Blue ZL3TT, Willy ZL2AGD, Stan ZL2ST and Karl ZL1TJ.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed correct: ZL2MY, ZL2TC.
Arising: Dave ZL2DW reported on Branch 13’s visit to Hastings Civil Defence Base, a productive meeting, re-establishing contacts with CD personnel and flying the flag for AREC.
Lee ZL2AL: the first Emergency Check-in Net (ECI) to be run by himself and Laurie from the clubrooms on Wednesday 18th of March at 7:30 pm. Frequencies both the 146.700 repeater and 3.615 Mhz.
Lee: The club’s website gets 200 to 300 visits each month and is obviously worthwhile.
Correspondence: Exchange with Debby, NZART regarding the proposed public liability insurance.
Finance: Stan ZL2ST reported a severe increase in power charges, Powershop decided that at $1.75 per unit and zero line charges NARC was not profitable. New rates will add up to $700 per annum.
Lee proposed generating our own , using photovoltaic technology, and the generator for peak loads. A discussion on the various pros and cons led to Laurie and Karl to investigate this further.
Dave ZL2DW generously offered to donate 4 surplus batteries and several solar panels to the club.
Karl brought up the joint public liability insurance scheme proposed by NZART. Of the initial 19 branches expressing an interest 9 have so far decided to proceed. The estimated cost per branch per annum is $173. After discussion it was moved by Karl and seconded by Peter ZL2CD that the Branch joins the scheme. The motion was passed 7 to 1.
General business:Laurie: the club’s first ‘Open Door’, social Sunday afternoon will be held on the 15th of March, starting 2pm. Laurie to open the door as Wally is tied up with work that day.
A few months ago, Lee was charged with selling off older pieces of the club station and updating with newer radio gear. The older equipment was auctioned on Trade-Me and the proceeds were actually in excess of the cost of the newer equipment by $218. The excess money from the sales was returned to the club treasury. Stan and all present once again thanked Lee for all the work he does for the club. Stan reported participation of himself, Lee, Wayne ZL2WC and John ZL2QM in the Jock Whyte memorial contest under the ZL2G banner. All went well, good fun had and the points total may well be another winner.
Dave ZL2DW mentioned up-coming Branch 13 activities, both social get togethers: 1. A visit to the local taxidermist on the 7th of March (one Cornflakes Net participant is considering having himself stuffed eventually so the family can enjoy his presence a few more years), and 2. An overnight stay in the DOC Makahu Hut at the foot of the Kaweka mountain planned for April 11,12 and 13. Not many bunks are available so the early Ham gets in. Activities: tramping, hunting etc.Sounds like fun.
The meeting closed at 9:45 pm
Erroll ZL2IT explained and demonstrated WSPR (say “Whisper”), another recent and most interesting amateur radio pursuit. WSPR stands for Weak Signal Propagation Reporting Software. WSPR implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions. Normal transmissions carry a station’s callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and transmitter power in dBm. The program can decode signals with S/N as low as -28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth. Stations with internet access can automatically upload their reception reports to a central database called WSPRnet, which includes a mapping facility. Digital mode transmitting very low power (5 Watts or less) signals at designated frequencies, containing only callsign, locator and power, to be picked up by stations around the world and acknowledged via the internet. The program produces some beautiful propagation maps in real time.
Essentially a tool for testing propagation and probing the mysteries of radio waves. It was a great presentation with slides and a live demo at the end. Thanks Erroll.
The Jock White Field Day contest rolls around every year near the end of February and the ZL2G team always hopes for fine weather to put up antennas, tents and guy ropes. We are seldom disappointed. This year the weather in Hawkes Bay was a cracker and Stan ZL2ST, John ZL2QM, Wayne ZL2WG and Lee ZL2AL planned another assault on the Patea trophy operating from the ZM4T Contest site in the hills above Tongoio beach about 30 Km north of Napier.
We arrived Saturday morning and pulled up the horizontal full wave loops for 80M and 40M. Antennas checked out OK. Over many years and trials with other 40M antennas we find that a low horizontal loop, being a NVIS antenna works the best for us. The vertical full size loop works very well on 80M. Two FT1000MPs were used, one being the Napier Club’s radio. IBM computers running N1MM software along with K1EL keyers and Bencher paddles complete the setup. The club’s Honda generator was fired up and working. This is probably it’s 25th or more field day outing. Thanks to Karl, ZL1TJ who repair some smashed AC power outlets from an accident last year. Stan’s tent somehow managed to stand up again in one piece and the stations were quickly set up. Antennas were checked again, measured and trimmed and strangely we were ready for the 3PM start.
Antennas were measured and trimmed and strangely we were ready for the 3PM start.
The contest opened up and within the first hour 40M was well ahead of the pack and 80M was just in front. The rest of the day fist day was in a close race with ZL1XH, ZL2QF, ZL1VK and a couple of other stations for top honours nationally. The central region was a two way race with ZL2QF and we exchanged the lead a few times. ZL2QF sprinted ahead of us on 40M at one point and we were ahead of them on the other band. The end of the contest put us 30 or 40 QSOs over ZL2QF and at the time of writing this Stan is scoring the logs so the outcome is unknown.
Our team has been doing this same contest for the past 35 or years. We also do a few other international contests during the year. We are well aware of trends and operating practices in contests. And we have become so aware over the last few years of how the style and practices of the Jock White contest have simply not changed. Frankly some of the operating practices are archaic and counterproductive to modern contesting. The Jock White has stagnated and 2015 edition was just as poor as usual with some very good and some very bad operating practices heard.
1) Many stations are still using paper logs. This is really unacceptable with the free N1MM contesting program having an inbuilt module to run the JW. N1MM keeps track of band changes, band modes and real time scoring. Stations that use paper logs are doing themselves a disservice by keeping their contacts waiting at times and making so much work for themselves by having to score manually. But what about the contest organizer not accepting electronic logs? That is true but it is such a simple matter to print out a N1MM log and email it to the organizer which is quite acceptable. An N1MM printed log is at the very least readable and scored pefectly which has the make the organizer happy!
2) At least 10% of the ops were using a hand key. In fact some of the CW was almost unreadable. Worse, the op had to repeat and repeat wasting his time and ours. Most radios have built in electronic keyers with perfect timing. The N1MM logging program generates its own serial number exchange perfect each and every time. I can the the bleating I write this. “But I don’t know how to use a paddle, or I don’t know how to do this or that”. Amateur radio and contesting is all about finding a solution to a problem. Just make an effort to learn a new skill and do it!
3) At least 1/3 of the ops were using “Fifer Niner” on phone instead of clearly pronounced English speech. The NZ Jock White contest is the only contest on the planet where old WW2 British military and NATO pronunciation is used. I cannot understand why as this type of number exchange is quite unnecessary, doesn’t add any readability and frankly sounds ridiculous.
4) At least 3/4 of the stations were answering with “My number to you is” Of course it’s his number to me. I am hearing him!!!!. The correct is exchange is “You are five nine (pause) “one seven three” (S/N) (pause) “Branch two five” (Branch) “Over” and do not repeat the exchange without being asked for it!
5) A third of the ops would repeat back the number to me that I just gave them before giving me their number sequence!!!! One infuriating station consistently gave me his full report and numbers as soon as I finished a CQ without me acknowledging his call and that I had actually heard him. It is bizarre and it changes the pattern and sequence of operating.
These practices just continue on year after year and do nothing to improve contest operating standards. New operators in the Jock White contest simply ape the style of stations they hear and fall into the same poor practices. It is obvious that most have never participated in a modern international contest. I think that the Jock White contest deserves better and it can only get better if these practices outlined above were acknowledged as being silly and counter productive.
The ZL2G team enjoyed ourselves immensely as we always do. There is nothing better than spending a weekend away playing radio! It is a great outing each year working on antennas and portable power. We knew what to expect and that’s the game we are in. That’s the Jock White Field Day contest for 2015.Will we do it next year? Maybe. Maybe not!
Meeting on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham Street
Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.
Apologies: ZL2DW, ZL2DC.
Present: Lee ZL2AL, Dave ZL2MQ, Mike ZL2MY, Willy ZL2AGD, Wally ZL2MO, Bert ZL2OC, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD, Stan ZL2ST, Bob ZL2BDL, Rob ZL2US, Jan ZL2CZE and Karl ZL1TJ.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed correct: ZL2MO, ZL2ST.
Arising: Revell, insisting on a firm time frame for the ongoing club room upgrade but had to be content with statements from both Wally and Laurie that members would prefer a more relaxed approach. Revell’s enthusiasm for getting things done is much appreciated all the same.
Finance: Stan reported on financial affairs and reminded the gathering that subs are now due.
Rob ZL2US reported the combined branches dinner was enjoyed by all, with some 36 members attending.
Lee and Stan kept up the Contest Group’s reputation by clocking up more than 1500 contacts with 70 countries during the previous weekend’s CQ WW CW contest. Conditions were good, the highlight was a contact with EL2DT in Monrovia, Liberia.
Wallie sought and was given the ok to source and purchase replacement translucent panelling for the front porch. The timing of further working bees was discussed and agreed on.
The meeting closed at 7:45 pm.
And was then followed by Lee firing up computer and projector and, instead of presenting the promised Logging Software demonstration, had to revert to plan B for technical reasons. This was a video presentation, first showing the efforts made by London RGSB members to commemorate the historic contact between Frank Bell and Cecil Goyder at Mill Hill School, London,
The second video about the December 2011- January 2012 HK0NA Dxpedition to a dismal place called Malpelo Island. A fascinating story.
As Lee says, take part in one of these and you make close friends for life. But it has to be said that it was a miracle that no one was hurt and these guys, some in their seventies must have been both fit and brave. Getting the gear up to the top of the mountain must have been horrendous. Anyway… that’s Ham Radio at it’s best.
MINUTES OF THE NAPIER AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
Meeting on Wednesday 5 November 2014 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham Street
Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.
Apologies: ZL2MQ, ZL2CZE, ZL2DC.
Present: Lee ZL2AL, Dave ZL2DW, Mike ZL2MY, Willy ZL2AGD, Wally ZL2MO, Bert ZL2OC, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD, Stan ZL2ST, Mike ZL2VM, Rob ZL2US, Erroll ZL2IT,
Phil ZL2RO and Karl ZL1TJ.
Minutes of the previous meeting: read and confirmed correct: ZL2AL, ZL2MO.
Arising: Lee: thanking Wally for organising and supervising window panel replacements. The not so easily damaged policarbonate panels look great and should last a long time.
From the Napier City Council, acknowledgement of receipt of our letter asking for assistance with the exterior repaint of the building. Labour is not available but council will make the paint available at Council buying rates.
The $500 cheque from Keep Napier Beautiful as a contribution towards the building repaint was banked, the annual account for repeater licences from RSM is due for payment.
Dave ZL2DW reported the Branch 13 (now) annual Waipukerau Meeting and Munchies was a success, with some 22 attending and fun being had by all. A reminder that the combined branch end of year dinner at the Taradale RSA is not far away now, book with Dave ZL2DW or Rob ZL2US.
Laurie briefly reported on the antenna erection efforts the previous Sunday by ZL2AL, 2MY, 2SS, 2MO, 1TJ and himself, when a tiltover mast and Hustler five band vertical were erected and the forty/eighty meter diplole repaired.
Election of Officers
An election was held to confirm the new executive for 2015. Results as follows: President: Laurie ZL2TC Secretary: Karl ZL1TJ Treasurer: Stan ZL2ST AREC: Mike ZL2VM Building Maintenance: Wally, ZL2MO Committee: Laurie ZL2TC, Lee ZL2AL, Michael, ZL2MY, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD
The meeting closed at 7:45 pm and was followed by the AGM.
Which was then followed by the annual Pan Pac Homebrew Contest.
Our newest licenced member Revell ZL2SS presented what he himself rated to be a very humble entry: a Homebrew audio morse code oscillator.
The other entry: a 23 cm yagi antenna constructed by Laurie ZL2TC was probably somewhat more sophisticated.
But rightfully considering the relative experience of the builders the meeting voted overwhelmingly for the oscillator, resulting in Revell being the current holder of the Trophy.
And of course we are looking forward to Revell joining the CW boys of the club (at 25 wpm at least) soon.
The mission was to erect the new Hustler All Band vertical antenna on a tilt-over mast that was donated to us by Hilton Myer ZL2MN (SK). ZL2TC, ZL1TJ, ZL2AL, ZL2MY, ZL2MO and ZL2SS assembled bright and early on Sunday morning ready to do great things. The weather was warm with sunshine and perfect antenna weather.
We had two jobs to complete. The first was to repair the 80M/40M trap dipole which had one leg disconnected from the a supporting giant gum tree. The spud gun soon took care of getting a line over the top branches while Laurie installed a new halyard line on the top of the VHF dipole mast.
The second job was to assemble the Hustler vertical antenna and get it on the mast. The photos below tell the story.
And does it work? Yes, indeed it does. A quick run with the antenna analyzer showed resonant spots near where they were supposed to be on each band. The morning turned into afternoon and there was limited time to check how well it will actually work and we left around 3Pm. We were getting some good signals through on 15M and 40M Comparison with the trap dipole showed that the vertical was noisy. We expected that. In any case, the job is done and the antennas are back in operation.
Our next project is getting the bigger mast up to put the tri-bander on. That will happen at the next working bee.
Meeting on Wednesday 3 September 2014 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham Street
Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.
Present: Lee ZL2AL, Revell ZL2SS, Peter ZL2CD, Wally ZL2MO, Bert ZL2OC, Mike ZL2MY, Willy ZL2AGD, Erroll ZL2IT, Mike ZL2VM, Rob ZL2US, Stan ZL2ST and Karl ZL1TJ.
Minutes of the previous meeting: read and confirmed correct: ZL2MO, ZL2TC.
From the Napier City Council, the signed Lease Agreement. Valid for 15 years (from 1 November 2009), with a right of renewal for a further 15 years.
An application to the Keep Napier Beautifull Group for a grant of $500 for an external paint and repair job for the clubrooms.
Stan reported having a number of bills to pay, on the credit side is powerline company Unison’s refund for $170 and a few deposits by Lee for Trademe receipts.
Rob reported the annual combined branches 13 and 25 Christmas dinner will be held at the Taradale RSA club on Friday November 21. Cost about $22. Bookings to Rob or Dave ZL2DW.
Laurie gave Wally ZL2MO another pat on the back for ongoing improvements to the clubroom interior, the radio room has been repainted and the operating bench extended. Looking great.
Karl presented the enclosure with circuitbreakers and safety switch needed to replace the outdated porcelain fuses etc. on the electrical distribution board. The cost of $85 was approved. Meeting closed at 8pm.
Followed by Laurie,
explaining the history and the workings of the Maidenhead Locator System.
The system was devised by Dr John Morris G4ANB around 1980 and adopted by a group of amateur radio managers meeting at the town of Maidenhead (near Windsor), Berkshire England.
Details of the system can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maidenhead_Locator_System
Searching the web with ‘QTH locator’ brings up a number of sites with tools that provide instant locator codes by pointing to a location on a worldwide map.
An interesting talk.
The meeting was rounded off with a cuppa and a chat with fellow hams.
The Club Project “Q” Antenna kit assembly was set down for Wednesday May 21, 2014. We all met at the NARC Clubrooms and quickly got stuck in to the task at hand. Each ham was given a kit of parts and over the next hour great quantities of RG58 coax, tape, heat shrink tubing, pop rivets and aluminium foil came under combined forces of flying fingers, sharp knives, pop riveters, heat guns and soldering irons. The photos below tell the story.
At the end of the hour 5 antennas were assembled, with connectors fitted and Laurie ZL2TC checking their operation with the Bird 43 wattmeter and radio. All of the antennas checked out perfectly with a 1:1 SWR on 2M and a little over 1.5 to 1 SWR on 70CM.
It was a great night which saw the completion of the 2014 Club construction project. 20 of these antennas have been made this year and this is the last of them being assembled. Some discussion took place of a possible club project for next year. We have some interesting ideas to explore. Watch this space.
The Hawke’s Bay Hamfest April 5, 2014
After kicking around ideas for the past year the Napier Amateur radio club decided to to get stuck in and do it on the weekend of April 4th and 5th The planning paid off! Emails were sent to 40 clubs around the North island with an attached Flyer which they kindly sent out to their members. Thank you to the hard working club secretaries! With the Nelson Park Cricket Club in Napier venue arranged, the weather looked a bit ominous but typical of Hawke’s Bay the heavy weekend rain forecast turned into an insignificant shower Saturday morning. The Friday night get-together renewing old acquaintances and meeting new ones before the hamfest allowed hams to register before the opening the next day. Saturday morning saw a small car boot sale in the car park and an audience of nearly 70 hams gather to enjoy the day.
Powerpoint Presentations on SDR technology by Jan ZL2CZE, Antennas by ZL2AN, Solid State 2M KW Amplifier Construction by ZL2MQ, Propagation by ZL2AL and Mobile Installations by ZL2TC were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. After lunch, Bob Sutton ZL1RS, a notable EME Dxers made a presention on his trips to Africa, the Pacific and other parts of the world operating EME for the past 25 years. Bob and Chris ZL2DX then did a live on screen demonstration of EME contacts using JT65B mode on 2M into the USA with his antenna array set up outside the venue.
Raffles and draws took place during the day. Thanks to ICOM NZ for their prize donations.
The day ended with a few drinks and a few farewells to those who had travelled long distances. About 20 hams and a few of their YLs stayed on and enjoyed the hospitality of the Napier RSA on Saturday night before traveling home the next day.
The Napier Amateur Radio club wishes to thank the six speaker/presenters and all the amateurs who helped us make the event so successful. In addition we say thank you to all the local amateurs and those who traveled long distances to be with us on the day.
It was a weekend of fun, absorbing new technology and refreshing old ones. The bonus was renewing old acquaintances and meeting new ones. Ham radio was the winner on the day.
MINUTES OF THE NAPIER AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
Meeting on Wednesday 7 May 2014 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham Street
Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm. Apologies: ZL2US, ZL2DC, ZL2DW.
Present: Lee ZL2AL, Mike ZL2MY, Wally ZL2MO, Bert ZL2OC, Revell ZL2SS, Willy ZL2AGD, Stan ZL2ST, Mike ZL2VM, Dave ZL2MQ, Peter ZL2CD and Karl ZL1TJ.
Minutes of the previous meeting: read and confirmed correct: ZL2MO, ZL2ST. Arising: Mike ZL2VM on the Irirangi trip: there are actually 22 transmitters on the site.
Mike added some further interesting detail to the previous report.
Correspondence: The annual Branch circular from NZART containing the Update form for Branch Callbook information, pro-rata subscription information, the latest membership promotion, Remits for the Annual Conference, Notes for Examination Supervisors on new rules and a letter from President Vaughan Henderson ZL1VH regarding Callbook format.
Finance: The smile is back on Treasurer Stan’s face after both the Bay Hamfest and the Q-Tenna project returned a fair profit, boosting the club’s coffers to much healthier levels.
General business: Stan thanked Lee for all the time and energy he invested in the organisation of the recent Bay Hamfest, the outcome being a resounding success, both from the point of satisfaction of participants and from the financial side. Mike ZL2VM was given credit for suggesting the use of the Nelson Park Cricket Pavillion which turned ou to be perfect for our purpose.
Laurie, as well as entertaining the gathering with his discourse on mobile radio, had assembled a number of kitset Q-Tennas which were sold at the hamfest. Some more have been sold since and again Lee organised the despatch by courier. Feedback from buyers has been positive.
The possibility of a repeat of the Hamfest was discussed and generally agreed to but possibly with a two year interval, the next on to be 2016.
The few remaining Q-Tenna kitsets will be made available to club members, Thursday May 21 is to be a ‘Come and assemble your Q-Tenna night’ for those interested.
Dave ZL2MQ offered to build low powered 2m and 6m digital (JT4 or JT64) beacons for the club. The offer was gracefully accepted, Laurie to get the paperwork for this underway.
Wally is now ready to start the interior paint job, Lee to provide hime with a key.
Laurie reported briefly on the Wanganui Junk (mostly) sale. To be repeated next year.
Stan reported on the ZM4T contest Goup being highly successful having scored victories in the CQWW, both CW and Phone contests and also beating the ‘Aussies’ etc. in the Oceanea and WPX
contests. Sadly the goup may not be together much longer for various personal reasons.
Remits: Of those present 8 were eligible to vote and voted as follows:
Remit 1: 6 against, 2 abstentions.
Remit 2: 8 in favour. Stan moved to give our delegate discretion.
Laurie to approach Warren ZL2AJ to act as our proxy at the Annual Conference.
The meeting closed at 8.20 pm.
Followed by Lee’s presentation of the 2009 K4M Midway Island DX pedition. Another great James Brooks production. Midway Island, grabbed by the US for it’s guano fertiliser was the scene of the (in)famous WW2 Battle and remained a Navy base for many years. At present it is a nature reserve and the Dxpedition had to be timed with the annual vacation of the albatros population as these birds and antennas don’t go together. The island’s runways are being maintained by a crew of 40 or so Thai workers, mainly as an emergency landing site for aircraft in trouble.