NZ Net News 133, 25 May 2024

This is a free fortnightly newsletter about the New Zealand Net.
If you would like to be notified by email when a new edition is published, please contact ZL1NZ.
Browse our Newsletter Archive and List of Net Tips.

Featured key

Speed-X telegraph key at ZL1NZ

Photo: ZL1NZ

By Neil ZL1NZ

This Speed-X 320-001 key was given to me in the late 1960s by a friend of my father.

You can tell it’s a real radio key. No shorting lever, and it has nice large contacts to handle cathode keying.

Connected to a code practice oscillator, it got plenty of use as I waited for my 15th birthday so I could take the amateur radio examinations.

I still have this key, along with its removable cover. Speed-X keys will always be special to me.

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

NZ Net expands in response to feedback, new sessions introduced

We recently asked NZ Net members as well as other CW operators around the country (as many of them as we could find) to tell us what would make NZ Net more appealing to them.

More than a dozen people responded, and there was a huge number and variety of suggestions.

One of the most frequently received comments was: “I love the net, don’t change anything!”

So, our Net Controllers committee looked for ways to keep the existing net in its current form (but with some improvements we’ll be unveiling slowly) while also picking up on some of the new ideas.

We are today announcing two projects, which will run on a trial basis until the end of June. Please give these projects as much support as you can.

Trial 1: 15 wpm sessions

When: 8.30pm Monday and Thursday
Where: 3535.0 kHz
Starting: Mon 27 May

Road sign Speed Limit 15Many people told us they love the idea of the NZ Net, but don’t feel competent to check in. The biggest obstacle they cited was speed.

We are therefore introducing new sessions of NZ Net, during which Net Control will operate at a fixed speed of 15 wpm. NCS will use correct timing (not Farnsworth spacing), so the net opening will sound something like this.

Any station can check into the net at any speed up to 15 wpm. NCS will slow down, if necessary, long enough to take the check-in, before returning to 15 wpm.

If a station calls at a speed above 15 wpm, NCS will direct them to “QRS 15.”

In all other respects, the 8.30 session will be run exactly the same as the 9.00 session. So, this is a great opportunity to practise net operating, Q Signals, and even a bit of traffic handling.

You can choose to check in to the 8.30 session or the 9.00 session – or both.

Net Control Stations for the 8.30pm sessions trial will be ZL2GVA, ZL2GD and ZL1NZ.

Trial 2: Weekend sessions on 40m

Weekend NZ Net cartoonWhen: 9.00pm Saturday and Sunday
Where: 7035.0 kHz
Starting: Sat 1 June

Believe it or not, some people just aren’t getting enough NZ Net!

In response, we are launching Saturday and Sunday sessions of the net, at the usual time of 9.00pm.

And, we’re taking the opportunity to do a little experimenting with the 40m band, to see whether it can provide reliable coverage around New Zealand. We expect it will make it easier for our VK friends to check in too.

One possible downside is QRM, especially with DXpeditions and contests at the weekends. So we’ve selected a frequency that we hope will avoid these issues as much as possible.

Net Control will most often be Dave ZL4LDY in Dunedin.

But wait, there’s more!

  • If you check into any of these new sessions, your QNI will be counted in the monthly web stats, and you’ll make progress towards becoming an NZ Net Member (requires 25 check-ins within 12 months).
  • Formal traffic (radiograms) can be relayed between sessions of the net. For example, during one of the 8.30pm 15wpm sessions, a station could send traffic addressed to a station that is not on the net but which often checks into the 9pm session. Net Control on the 8.30 session could offer to take that traffic and QSP (relay) it during a 9pm session.
  • Naturally, all stations checking into any session of the NZ Net agree to abide by the NZ Net Code of Conduct.

Quick notes

Huge display of morse keysStraight Key Night is not far away (Sun 9 June) so now’s a great time to think about what key you’ll use and get it ready for service. I used to think that straight keys required virtually no maintenance. Then I had an old P&T key fall apart during SKN a few years ago. Don’t let that happen to you! 🙂

Peter ZL1PX has recently resumed his on-air training for new CW operators. Lessons are every Monday at 8pm on 7040 kHz. Contact Peter for details.

The ARRL’s Logbook of the World online QSL service has been offline since 16 May after what the League called “a serious incident involving access to our network and headquarters-based systems.” Although no details have been revealed, the League says LOTW data remain secure. I wonder if we’ll see a resurgence in paper QSLs? I only have a few hundred left. 🙂

Key collection photo: Frank van der Pol

Photo flashback

Thelma Souper ZL2JO

One of New Zealand’s most famous radio amateurs, Thelma Souper ZL2JO, was a devoted brass-pounder.

Thelma was licensed in 1931, and held the callsigns ZL2FR, ZL1CN and ZL3AO. After World War 2, she became ZL2JO.

She was very active on the air and was also a founder in 1962 of NZ Women Amateur Radio Operators. The WARO website records that:

“Although hubby Noel was a radio engineer she (Thelma) was the first licensed, passing her exam the day before they were married. After nearly 30 years of marriage Noel eventually became licensed in the 1950s.

“After the 2nd World War the number of YL operators grew and a formal organisation considered. Thelma Souper was the driving force. Her early experience in Amateur Radio had included being prevented from joining a Wellington radio club in which women were not welcome. She was determined that the new generation of female recruits would gain greater acceptance than she had experienced in what was still a male dominated hobby.”

Greetings from Italy

Antonello (Tony) IK0PHU, a member of the MORSE Group sent us the following Marconigram, via email:

Marconigram from IK0PHU to NZ Net via email

Tony uses a sideswiper key, and he has an excellent fist, as you can hear in the Morse Challenge, later in this edition of NZ Net News.

Unrectifying the situation

From the New Zealand Post Office’s Radio Information Bulletin, Vol 1, Oct 1958:

On arrival in a fault vehicle at a VHF urban mobile base station to carry out routine maintenance, the technicians found that interference was being caused owing to rectification in some local metallic junction. Efforts to trace the source in the aerial and stay systems were unavailing. One technicians was (like the proverbial plumber) sent in the fault vehicle into the city to obtain additional materials. When he was about 100 yards from the station the interference disappeared. He was called back and as the vehicle approached the interference returned. The trouble had been caused by rusty bolts, etc., in the fault vehicle, which was on future occasions parked at some distance from the aerial system.

Morse challenge

In the following message, what “fascinates and unites us”?

Please send your answer via radiogram or email to ZL1NZ.

Answer to previous Morse Challenge
The first product sold by the now-defunct MFJ was the model CWF-2 CW Filter in 1972. There’s an advertisement for it in NZ Net News 132. Answers were received from IK0PHU, IZ0ONL, VK3DRQ, ZL1ANY, ZL2GVA and ZL2IR.

Video: Straight keying technique

If you’re a new CW operator, here’s a video from a couple of years ago that may help you in preparing for NZ Straight Key Night on 9 June.

Advertising archive

1983 Southern Cross Electronics advert featuring the Icom IC-751

Break-In magazine, July 1983


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