Field Day Contest 2013

The current Napier Branch Field Day team has been in the fray for over 30 years. Stan ZL2ST, Peter ZL2LF, John ZL2QM, Lee ZL2AL and Michael ZL2FAR are regulars. We have enjoyed success at winning the Patea Trophy many times often placing first nationally with top scores. Success is enjoyable but having fun with your mates is always our objective. We have been doing the Jock White Field Day contest so long that any of us can do each other’s job.

Peter ZL2LF to John Zl2QM “This connector is stuffed John!”

Each year, the equipment varies as do the antennas but the constant is the usual tent and the generator.

Yaesu FT1000MP’s, K1EL electronic keyers and IBM laptops are used along with the N1MM Contest logger N1MMjwfd1  which has a module specifically designed for the Jock White contest. We always use boom mic/headsets and Bencher keyer paddles. The program controls the radios, operates the keyers, while keeping track of QSOs, multipliers and total scores. It also prevents us from making duplicate contacts and creates a Cabrillo format file for submission to the contest organizer.

We gave up using paper logs over 15 years ago and have used several logging programs since then and finally settled on N1MM. It’s free to download and use. The screen shot shows that when the callsign is entered, the RSTs are automatically placed (may be modified) and it waits for our op to enter the other station’s number and branch number. When you hit Enter, the contact is logged, the score calculated and multipliers considered. The running total score for the band is always at hand. N1MMjwfd2  The score screen is shown for the 40M operation only. The 80M operation is on another laptop screen.

At the end of the contest, the 80M and 40M logs are combined and the total score is arrived at. No paper or pens are needed. Computer logging takes care of the mechanical side of operating and allows us to concentrate on searching, pouncing and operating. Sending automatic perfect CW exchanges allows the other station to copy the numbers much easier with fewer requests for repeats.

Stan ZL2ST pressurizing the spud gun to shoot a line over the trees for an antenna halyard.
Stan ZL2ST pressurizing the spud gun to shoot a line over the trees for an antenna halyard.

The team assembled Saturday morning and quickly got to work. Peter, John and Stan got to work assembling the 80M vertical loop and 40M horizontal loop antennas.

Lee assembled the two stations in the tent. Computers and radios were lit up when the generator was fired up.  Meanwhile last minute changes to antenna lengths were made to bring them into resonance.

"Another 2 metres added here will bring it down to 3550 Khz"
“Another 2 metres added here will bring it down to 3550 Khz”

All was ready on we were into it at 3pm contest start. Stan and Lee got away to a good start and 40m was playing very well. ZL2G was slowly edging away from the pack. It became evident early on that our competition was coming from the usual ZL1s and ZL2QF who won the Patea trophy in 2012.

Stan ZL2ST lurking in the trees on the other end of the 80M halyard
Stan ZL2ST lurking in the trees on the other end of the 80M halyard
Stan ZL2ST is off and running on 80M
Stan ZL2ST is off and running on 80M

For most of the contest, ZL2QF was only a few contacts behind and chasing us. We were ahead on 40M while they were level with us on 80M and the final score always comes down to the multipliers each station works.

John ZL2QM running them on 40M
John ZL2QM running them on 40M

In previous years, the various branches around ZL fielded a lot of teams and most were active. We felt that there were more “Home” stations entered. 40M has traditionally been a band where we trail behind our 80m band station. This year the activity was almost equal in QSOs made.

John does the graveyard shift just before midnight
John does the graveyard shift just before midnight

Big scores over 600 – 700 QSOs on 80M hasn’t happened over the past few years which may be a reflection of sunspot activity, more home stations or just overall reduced contest participation. We don’t know but I am sure the Contest Organizer, Stuart ZL2TW will comment at a later date. Our raw scores are up on last year and we had additional multipliers which gave us nearly 40K more points than last year.

Lee ZL2AL satisfied with the final score on the screen.
Lee ZL2AL satisfied with the final score on the screen.

The weather was kind to us and fortunately Murphy didn’t strike in any major way. The end of the contest saw a good score in the log. The important thing was we had a lot of fun. It sure beats watching TV for the weekend doing something a bit out of the ordinary. A fast teardown of our setup and we were back home in Napier two hours after the contest ended.

73, Lee ZL2AL


Good Operator’s Guide

Good Operators Guide by Riley Hollingsworth FCC

The following hints are a starting point for being a good operator. They have been put together from various statements made by Riley Holingsworth of the FCC during many different presentations he has made.

Please think about them.

You don’t “own” or get preference to use any frequency.

Realize that every right carries responsibilities, and just because you may have a right to do certain things doesn’t mean it’s right to do them in every circumstance.

Give a little ground–even if you have a right not to–in order to help preserve Amateur Radio and not cause it to get a bad name or hasten the day when it becomes obsolete.

Respect band plans, because they make it possible for every mode to have a chance.

Be aware that we all love Amateur Radio, and there’s no need to damage or disgrace it just to save face.

Cut a net or a contester a break, even if you don’t have to and even if you have no interest whatsoever in nets or contesting.

Don’t operate so that whoever hears you becomes sorry they ever got into (or tuned in on) Amateur Radio in the first place.

Keep personal conflicts off the air. Settle your arguments on the telephone, the Internet or in person. Just keep them off the air.

Monthly News

Meeting February 6, 2013


Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.

Apologies: ZL2DC, ZL2VM, ZL2LAB.

Present: Dave ZL2DW, Mike ZL2MY, Rob ZL2US, Lee ZL2AL, Peter ZL2LF, Karl ZL1TJ and newly licensed Shane Redlick, now ZL2PG.

Minutes previous meeting, confirmed correct: ZL2MY, ZL2TC.

Arising: Laurie ZL2TC: the 2m 70cm dual band antenna installed during the January 27 working bee was donated to the club by Apex Comms (Dave ZL2DW).

Correspondence: A letter to the Property Manager, Napier City Council, to enquire regarding the possibility of the council assisting with an application of graffiti proof paint to the club rooms.
A cheque for $ 51.11 received from Hastings AREC for the use of the 725 repeater during the Silver Fern Rally. Email notices from Lee ZL2AL regarding the newly established NARC web site.

Finance: No financial matters were reported.

General business:
Dave ZL2DW: the possibility that the clubrooms be used for this years Tranz Tasman 80m contest, initially raised by Mike ZL2VM.
Laurie ZL2TC: A proposal is under consideration that the club becomes more active with participation in NZART sponsored competitions. To be followed up.

Lee ZL2AL: posted a notice on the local supermarket notice board to gauge the interest in other groups making use of the clubrooms. One response was received from a local cultural group looking for a Sunday pm meeting place. Laurie: The time slot may clash with the clubs proposed contest activities which may at times run into Sunday afternoon. Lee to investigate further.

Rob ZL2US congratulated newly licensed Shane, ZL2PG. Also expressed some disappointment with the lack of consideration shown by several prospective participants who, after making initial commitments, failed to communicate their inability to take part in the weekend course.
Peter ZL2LF suggested a rethink of the way the course is organised, assuring a a firmer commitment from candidates.
Karl ZL1TJ thanked Lee for setting up and maintaining the club’s very first web site. It is well designed and rich in information regarding the club’s long and distinguished history and also current affairs and references. As in time search engines acknowledge the club’s existence it will be easier for those interested to find us via the world wide web.

Laurie referred to the address on amateur radio by Mr Riley Hollingsworth to be accessed through the NZART reflector / website.
The meeting closed at 8:10 pm.

The evening was rounded off by a live demonstration by Peter ZL2LF of the digital modes used by amateur radio operators, followed by Lee’s video presentation of the 2006 Raoul Island DXpedition, called by the Microlite DXpeditioners as only minimal gear was brought.

Thanks to Peter and Lee.

Karl, ZL1TJ


Feb 5 – Work in the Radio Shack

Stan, Lee and Peter went to the clubrooms and:
1) Hung the ladder up on the wall in the shack.
2) removed all the records from the wardrobe and Stan made a big start to sorting them out
3) Took the wardrobe, old glass cabinet, and other stuff to Marewa junk dealer. Stan was amazed when I brought back $40.00
4) Cut out 2 shelves just below the tea counter and re-located the beacon under the shelf. Strangely, it still works!
5) Mounted the white bulletin board on the right hand side wall near the op desk.
6) Peter arrived and we removed all the old gear from under the long green bench that the beacon was on. Peter took most of it home to sort out and check for operation.
7) put a lot of records back under the long beacon cabinet and has a box of paper for recycling
8) Lee removed all the old Canadian Air force manuals for re-cycling.
9) The following day, Laurie ZL2TC was in and ran a cap strip down the wall and sorted the coaxial cables. The VHF and UHF radios are now operational.

The shack looks amazing!

Still a bit more to do. Lee got the AEA Electronic Keyer going and has won a Trade-me bid on a Galbraith keying paddle to be donated to the club.

Thanks for the help guys. More to come!


VK – ZL Contest 2012

Five of us gave it a good go on 21 – 22 July in the recent ZL – VK Contest with call sign ZL2GT. It kept us occupied on air from 8pm Sat. night until 2am Sunday morning at the Guides/Scout Camp east of Hastings near Haumoana. We ran dipole aerials on 80m (CW mode) and 160m (Phone mode).

There was much frustration being able to hear and not work many VK stations but we did manage a few but it certainly was not our best year, our guys on 80m/CW made similar comments. ZL event stations with large/gain aerials seemed to have the edge over our dipoles but having said that our contact numbers were creditable but the VK multipliers were not as we had hoped.

We can at least be happy with our “Boys Weekend Away”. Many thanks to those who worked us, every point helps. Photographs below……
David ZL2DW

Peter ZL2LF Lost in the Moment
Michael ZL2MY Checks the Log for Dupes
Dave ZL2DW Listens to Mike ZL2VM working a station
Peter ZL2MS does the business

Secret Operating Technique