Activities Monthly News

The Trans Tasman Contest 2013 – ZL2GT


IMG_0192s (Medium)
Our magnificent site at Haumoana under blue skies and no rain!

Some weeks back the build-up banter began between contestants and some “stretching of the truth” was embarked upon. Prior arrangements came together on a great weather weekend and off went the ZL2GT Team to Moore Rd, Haumoana to be active in the
ZL – VK competition on 80m CW and 160m phone.

IMG_0175s (Medium)
The very expensive 30 Metre dipole centre insulator

Our crane……….yes crane, arrived early and soon after we had our Inverted Vee ant’s up and going. The 30m high hook provided the support for our rope halyard and we were easily able to pull up the two aerials. The 80m aerial was suspended about 6m below the 160m aerial and was at right angles to it, we had little or no interaction between the two bands. RG213 coax fed both aerials. We were well ready with plenty of spare time.

We also erected 40/20 m dipole for Randall to enjoy a brief guided tour around a band not often used (yet). Lots of time too for a cuppa and a catch-up.

A bulk package of Fish and Chips arrived and duly enjoyed before “the business” began.

Not so many participants on 160m this year and sadly we had a “standing crash” level of about S9 so this put paid to some contacts that might otherwise have been easily made.

IMG_0199s (Medium)
Dave ZL2DW (left) getting to grips with N1MM while Mike ZL2VM looks on

This year we introduced computer logging (N1MM), were shown the deep end and got on with it. As usual, something put off for some time turns into something we wish we’d done years ago. Thanks to Peter ZL2LF for his persistence, encouragement, PC’s and wry smile.

IMG_0195s (Medium)
Peter, ZL2MS Looking for those elusive VKs

We logged 42 contacts on 160m SSB and 69 contacts on 80m CW. Last year we logged 62 contacts on 160m and 79 contacts on 80 m CW.

The event adds to the experience level and we can now embark upon plans for next year.


Happy punters at Moore Road were: David ZL2DW, Peter ZL2LF, Peter ZL2MS, Graham ZL2BCK, Randall ZL1NW, Rob ZL2US, Sue, ZL2DC, Bill ZL2UBG and me, ZL2VM. Not all stayed overnight.

Peter, ZL2LF looking at the numbers on N1MM Logger
Peter, ZL2LF looking at the numbers on N1MM Logger

(Right) Peter, ZL2LF operating

73, Mike Bull ZL2VM

Activities Monthly News

The Trans Tasman Contest 2013 – ZM4T

Where did the other Trap and wire element go????
About 80PSI should do it Laurie!

The Trans Tasman contest is a unique test dreamed up by the VKs to test how well each country can perform against the other. The rules and scoring are interesting and have many hooks. Michael ZL2MY and I decided to do the six hour Saturday night contest a few months ago. Saturday 20th July at 9Am saw us gather at the club rooms to repair the existing 80M antenna and erect a new inverted “L” antenna for 160M. Our Prez Laurie, ZL2TC showed up to help us with the antennas. Thanks Laurie! He discovered that vandals had made off with one of the 80/40M traps and most of the wire element. We decided to ignore the trap and add enough wire to make it work on 80 and replace the trap at a later date. A couple of spuds and a bit of pumping by Laurie and the spud gun fired a line over the treetops. The 80M was up and working, resonant on 3600 Khz.

If I an just get through that little hole in the canopy, it should exit the top

Suspect Antenna
The 160M inverted L element was raised to height with a few more spud gun shots and the 3 radials were strung out around the clubhouse and surrounding park. A quick check showed that the antenna showed a very high SWR with a minor resonance at 1900 Khz. We added 6 feet to the upright “L” and it came down to 1.805 Mhz where we wanted it. The impedance was around 200 ohms with an SWR of over 5 to 1. Quite ridiculous! I made the decision to cut our losses and tune the beast with the antenna tuner and hope for the best. We really wouldn’t know how well it worked until we were well into the contest.

Contest Start
Last minute checks were made and the contest started at 8 Pm local time. We very soon found we were leading the pack with our serial numbers. That was quite surprising as our urban noise levels were high and that combined with some mediocre antennas should have seen us at the end of the pack.

Michael Looking For Rare VKs!
Michael Looking For Rare VKs!

Hour two from 9 Pm to 10 Pm was the most productive and by midnight, only a few hardy ZLs were still around. It was great catching old contest friends and meeting new ones. Michael and I have never done the Trans Tasman previously. Pulling the VKs out of the noise was a bit a of a trial at times but we did manage to work a fair number on SSB and CW. We used an adaptation of the N1MM logging program set up in the JWFD mode and simply ignored branch numbers. The VKCL program was not used as there was no CW message interface written.

That was 5W1SA!
That was 5W1SA!

Our club secretary Karl, ZL1TJ dropped in for a natter around 9.30 Pm and watched the proceedings while doing some video of the station in operation.

And suddenly it was all over at 2 Am Sunday morning. Michael was into it and pulled down the 160M antenna from the trees and rolled up the radials and considerable lengths of rope. I wonder if the neighbours were watching the crazies in the park in the middle of the night?

I looked at our QSO totals and it appears we are definitely in with a chance. Our last S/N was 109 (with 1 DUPE) and the highest S/N we encountered was 79. There are many categories of the contest a team can enter and the scoring is rather bizarre so we really won’t know how well we have actually done until the contest organizer declares the winners of the categories.

65 x 80M CW QSOs
5 x 160M CW QSOs
38 x 160M SSB QSOs
68 x ZLs worked
39 x VKs worked
TOTAL QSOs = 108
1 x 5W DX station worked in Samoa
Groupings? – Many but haven’t worked them out yet
Radio: FT1000MP Mk5
Logging: N1MM with K1EL Keyer, Heil Headset
Antennas: 80M single trap dipole and 160M Inverted L up about 15M

Michael and I really enjoyed the contest. It was great fun and highly recommended for next year.

73, Lee ZL2AL and Michael ZL2MY

Monthly News

NARC Minutes July 4, 2013

Meeting on Wednesday 3 July 2013 at the Clubrooms 123 Latham Street

Chair: Laurie ZL2TC, the meeting started at 7:30 pm.
Apologies: ZL2GAZ, ZL2DC, ZL2LF.
Present: Mike ZL2VM, Lee ZL2AL, Dave ZL2DW, Rob ZL2US, Stan ZL2ST, Jan ZL2CZE, Dave ZL2MQ, Mike ZL2MY and Karl ZL1TJ.

Minutes previous meeting, confirmed correct: ZL2AL, ZL2VM.
Arising: To be discussed during general business.

In: A request from the Hamilton Branch, via NZART, to send a submission supporting adequate aerial heights allowance in the proposed Hamilton City Council District Plan proposal.
Acknowledgement of our submission to the Napier City Council to the Draft Annual Plan 2013/2014 regarding antenna heights by Laurie.
Out: A submission to The Hamilton City Council as detailed above.

Finance: No significant financial transactions reported.

General business:
Lee reported having bought an additional aerial mast for the club via Trade me, he does not seek reimbursement for the cost of both the mast and transport and so made another donation to the club.

Laurie ZL2TC Demonstrating the NARC VHF/UHF "Pool Cue" Antenna
Laurie ZL2TC Demonstrating the NARC VHF/UHF “Pool Cue” Antenna

Laurie presented a completed prototype of the club project dual band VHF / UHF base station aerial. Mounted inside a 2m fibreglass rod the aerial exhibits SWR less than 2:1 on both bands and can handle up to 100Watts. To be offered in kit set form at a cost in the region of $50.

Stan referred to the Memorial Contest, both phone and CW coming up this weekend.

Rob suggested the Napier ARC organise the annual end of year combined branches dinner this year.
Agreed to by Laurie, Dave 2MQ offered to check if the Maraenui Golf Club might be suitable.
Suggested date: Friday 29th of November.
Laurie reminded us that Stan ZL2ST first joined the Napier ARC on 12 June 1955, 58 years ago.

Lee ZL2AL explains how the ARRL “Logbook of the World” QSL system functions

The meeting closed at 8pm and was followed by a QSL card of special interest session.
Lee presented a brief talk on the history of the QSL confirmation needs arising from the establishment around 1936 of the DX Century Club and similar schemes whereby radio hams could prove their prowess in world wide radio communications.

Stan ZL2ST
Stan ZL2ST showing his QSLs from the old days

Presently the original 100 countries target stands at 340. To obtain a DXCC Honour Roll accreditation a total of 331 countries must be confirmed. In NZ only 4 or 5 have achieved this and of these two were present at the meeting namely Lee himself with a total score of 336/340 and Stan with a score of 339/340, with only North Korea missing! Cards of special interest were presented by Dave 2DW: early Plessey and combined Branches Millennium Cards,

Laurie_ ZL2TC
Laurie ZL2TC showing his prize 6 metre QSLs

Stan 2ST: Sine wave George, Bouvet Island, 2m Wellington to Christchurch, Dave 2MQ: EME moonbounce contacts,

Laurie 2TC: Mexico City on 6m, SSB 2m contact with ZL2TOT with a homebrew converter putting out 50 milliwatts and Lee himself with a few of his most treasured cards out of a collection packed in 8 shoe boxes, some 2000 cards, the most treasured one being form North Korea.

Dave ZL2MQ showed his rare EME cards and gave an outline of the difficulties work EME contacts.

DAve ZL2MQ showing his EME QSL cards.
DAve ZL2MQ showing his EME QSL cards.

Lee finished with a short explanation of the ARRL ‘Logbook of the World system. Lee’s total log entry of 47000 QSO’s has been matched 11000 times there. The system holds some 500 million QSO’s at present.

Karl ZL1TJ.