NZ Net News 132, 11 May 2024

This is a free fortnightly newsletter about the New Zealand Net.
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Browse our Newsletter Archive and List of Net Tips.

Featured key

Mecograph right angle semiautomatic key

Photo: VK2IXV

By Herman VK2IXV

My Mecograph Model 3 is the square-weight model, with a round cornered base, manufactured by Benjamin F Bellows in 1906. Its serial number is 2880.

It has the following interesting features:

*The bug is all brass, except for the pendulum, which is plain spring steel.

*This model saw the re-introduction of the ‘fan’ thumb piece, first used on ‘The Coffee Vertical’.

*The speed of this bug is not controlled by the 2 fixed square pendulum weights, but by a spade-shaped metal clip, which slides along the pendulum.

*The bug features a large number “3”, which is cast underneath the base.

* If you have an interesting key for this feature, please send a nice clear photo and a few words describing it.

Quick notes

Yaesu heaphones with foam packaging wrap attached to ear pieces with elastic bands.I like my Yaesu headphones. The sound is great for CW, but the construction quality is poor. And, of course, the foam ear pads perished with age. Fortunately, I was able to refurbish these headphones myself. Sharp-eyed readers may notice that they’re not quite the same as new. 🙂

Two NZ Net members demonstrated their CW skills while producing top scores in the recent ZL3NB Autumn Sprints, which took place each Tuesday evening in April on 80 metres. Grant ZL2GD took first place in the 100W CW/SSB division, and Gerard ZL2GVA was first in the QRP CW division.

The Sangster Shield Contest is next weekend. This annual QRP CW contest takes place 0800-1100 UTC on 18th and 19th May. Open to NZART members only.

Bug Roundup is also next weekend, from 0000 Saturday 18 May UTC to 0000 Monday 20 May UTC. Look for bug operators on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 metres, between x.030 and x.035 MHz.

Photo flashback

Hiram Percy Maxim

Hiram Percy Maxim was a co-founder and the first president of the American Radio Relay League and the International Amateur Radio Union. He graduated in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1886, when he was 17, and later developed the first commercially successful silencer for guns.

The photo shows Maxim in the radio room of a steamer as he was returning from Europe to the USA.

Cook Islands on CW soon

Steve ZL2KE on a beach in Cook IslandsNZ Net member Steve ZL2KE will be making another visit to Cook Islands from 20 July to 6 August. He will be operating as E51KEE, initially from Rarotonga, then later from Aitutaki.

Although there are radio amateurs living in Cook Islands, none are active on CW, so this will be a great opportunity to log new contacts using our favourite mode.

Steve plans to operate mostly on the higher bands, but hopes to check into the NZ Net too.

Net numbers

Graph of monthly NZ Net data to April 2024

NR25 R ZL1NZ 51/48 AUCKLAND 0900Z 1MAY24
ZL1AYN 18 ZL1GQ 2 ZL1NZ 22 ZL1PX 10 ZL1RA 1
ZL2GD 14 ZL2GVA 14 ZL2KE 12 ZL2LN 2 ZL2TE 13 
ZL3TK 12 ZL4BDG 5 ZL4CU 1 ZL4FZ 1 ZL4GW 4 
ZL4KX 14 ZL4LDY 11 TOTAL 225 QTC 29

Consultation update

Three weeks ago, we kicked off a round of consultations on ways to improve the NZ Net. The response has been impressive, with dozens of ideas put forward. Thank you everyone who got in touch. It’s really encouraging to see so much interest in the Net, and in promoting CW generally.

Some of the ideas would require changes to the Net, while others could be new initiatives which could expand and extend what the Net already does.

Naturally, there was a wide range of opinions. Some people wanted the Net to continue just as it is, while others argued for significant changes.

All of this means that our Net Controllers Committee has been very busy debating the ideas and coming to a consensus on which ones we’ll put into practice and when. Our intention is to test a number of things, probably not all at once, and see what works.

So, you’re possibly wondering: “What are these ideas?” We’re not quite ready to unveil them yet, but we expect to be able to outline the first projects in the next edition of NZ Net News.

Morse challenge

Please send your answer via radiogram or email to ZL1NZ.

Answer to previous Morse Challenge
The four callsigns heard in the recording of the Western Area Net (WAN) were K0SN (net control), W7EKB, W7GB and KI6BHB. Answers were received from VK3DRQ, VK6RR, ZL1ANY, ZL2GVA and ZL4LDY.


Net tips

Net Tips logo cartoon of operator pounding his straight keyBy Neil ZL1NZ

During our NZ Net consultation, a couple of people asked about NZ Net Trivia. They were uncomfortable with the name, thinking that it trivialised what the Net does.

Perhaps I can explain the origins of this item, and suggest a way to address any concerns.

NZ Net Trivia was started in the early days of NZ Net as a weekly training activity for operators who wanted to learn traffic handling. Just before closing the net, Net Control would announce “NZ Net Trivia is next” and then excuse any stations that did not wish to participate.

Then NCS would send a QNC radiogram (a message to All Stations) containing a trivia question, i.e. a question of general knowledge – often arcane! Stations would then respond in a subsequent net session, if they wished.

The words NZ Net Trivia were used as the Address of the radiogram, indicating that this was a message to “Operators interested in participating in the trivia exercise.”

Occasionally, these radiograms would not be actual trivia questions, but more of a skill test – for example, doing a calculation or solving a riddle. The name NZ Net Trivia seemed to stick, even though some messages could have been better addressed to NZ Net Quiz, or something similar.

In summary, there is nothing official or sacred about the Trivia name. Any station is welcome to send the occasional radiogram to All Stations offering a Quiz, or Trivia question, or some Information of interest to people on the Net. All we ask is that you follow the radiogram format and do not monopolise the Net with continual messages of this sort.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Net Manager.

Advertising archive

QST magazine advertisement for the MFJ CW-F2 CW filter, December 1973. This was the company's first product.

QST magazine, December 1973

After 52 years in business, US-based accessory manufacturer MFJ will be cease all manufacturing on 17 May. Founder Martin F Jue K5FLU said repairs would continue to be offered for some time. The closure includes other brands that MFJ acquired over the years – Ameritron, HyGain, Cushcraft, Mirage and Vectronics – but it appears the company might continue selling products that it sources from other manufacturers.


If you have suggestions on how to make the NZ Net better, or things you’d like to see covered in these updates, please contact ZL1NZ. You might even like to write something for the newsletter.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear you soon on the NZ Net!

Neil Sanderson ZL1NZ, Net Manager
New Zealand Net (NZ NET)
3535.0 kHz at 9pm NZT Mon-Fri