NZ Net News 91, 15 Oct 2022

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Featured key

Magnetic paddles by SQ9KFQ

Magnetic paddles by SQ9KFQ

Robert Sadurski SQ9KFQ makes a very nice selection of keys in Poland. These hand-made beauties include magnetic paddles and magnetic straight keys. Would love to try one of those!

Robert’s keys feature lots of brass and some, such as the one shown above, have black acrylic on top of the base, which nicely complements the brass.

You can contact Robert via or his Facebook page.

See a demo of this key in this edition’s feature video.

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

Quick notes

tower with birds nest at VK3DRQWhat’s going on in this photo taken at VK3DRQ? Look closely, or read on to find out!

Gerard ZL2GVA, our Friday Net Control Station, has just begun chemotherapy for prostate cancer. I’m sure all NZ Net members will be wishing Gerard the very best and looking forward to hearing him on the Net whenever he can be there.

Bede ZL4KX in Dunedin has joined the Net Control roster and is now hosting the Friday sessions. With his strong signal and quiet receiving location, Bede has always been a great help in relaying some of the weaker signals during the Net, so it will be wonderful to have him as a regular NCS.

The SKCC Oceania QRS Saunter for slow-speed CW will take place today (Saturday, 15 October) from 0000 UTC until 2359 UTC.

Memorial Contest results, announced in the latest Break-in, confirm a low turnout on CW, with only six stations submitting logs. There were four New Zealand stations (all of them NZ Net members) and two Australians. The rugby game on Saturday night may have affected participation. Another factor could be the new requirement that logs be submitted as electronic files. Results were:

  1. ZL1NZ
  2. ZL1BWG
  3. VK5LJ
  4. VK2IG
  5. ZL2GVA
  6. ZL2GD

Photo flashback

Auckland Chief Post Office in 1912

Auckland Chief Post Office in 1912. Photo: WA Price, Alexander Turnbull Library

The Chief Post Office was the original home of Auckland Radio. The radio station was located in a small hut on the roof of the building and the aerial was strung between two tubular steel masts erected on the building’s domes.

In this photo you can see the oak aerial spreader above the far dome, and the outriggers used for the guy wires of the mast on the near dome.

Auckland Radio NZK opened at the CPO on 24 Oct 1912. The following year the callsign changed to VLD. In 1929 it changed again, to ZLD.

In 1939 the station moved to Musick Point in the Auckland suburb of Bucklands Beach, and it is now the home of NZART Branch 86 Musick Point Radio Group.

Marconi ship station ready for a new home

Marconi ship station at ZL2WTNZ Net member David ZL2WT is hoping that a museum or other organisation would like to take on the preservation of his beautiful 1960s Marconi ship station.

This amazing setup was lovingly assembled by David, a retired ship’s R/O, in a partitioned section of his garage, and was recently featured in the book Kiwi Garages by George Lockyer.

The gear is operational on 80m and ZL2WT has checked in to the NZ Net a few times with it.

If you know of a suitable group that could take on this responsibility please contact David who is prepared to offer generous terms.

The equipment weighs an estimated 700-900kg and requires 3.5m of bench space. It will need to be collected from Hawke’s Bay. David is NOT interested in splitting the items.

Ready to shake things up?

NZ Shake Out advertisement

Ham radio equipment stacked high at ZL1NZHere in the Shaky Isles, earthquakes are a fact of life, and something for which we need to be prepared – as our NZ Net members in the South Island know particularly well.

The annual Shake Out earthquake drill will be held at 9.30am on Thursday 27 October.

Although protecting life is the primary objective, I do wonder how my ham shack would fare in a good jolt.

This is probably one case where sheltering under the desk wouldn’t be such a good idea. There are two AR-88s on it and they weigh about 45kg each.

Lots of other gear is on shelves, ready to be launched onto the floor if the walls start moving.

Have you prepared your shack for an earthquake? Please tell us how you did it!

Morse mischief

Ron McMullen’s website The Australian Telegraph Office is one of my favourite sources of information and entertainment. Here’s a brief sample from one of Ron’s descriptions of life on the wires.

ink bottle‘Bumpy’ Bill was an old style Telegraphist. He wasn’t going to get involved with modern contraptions like typewriters. He’d always written his telegrams with a pen (dipped in a bottle of ink he kept by his sounder) and he always would. He wasn’t alone in that, a few of the old hands had never learned to type.

One day, a wag substituted disappearing ink for the ink in Bill’s bottle and alerted the teleg sitting next to him who listened carefully to Bill’s next telegram. Half-way through Bill realised the ink was disappearing and said to the man, “Look at this.”

“What’s up, Bill?”

“Whaddayamean what’s up? There’s nothing on the page.”

“Looks all right to me,” said the man, and from memory recited what should have been on the page!

Morse challenge

Old Morse Key charactersA few days ago, an old Morse training key was sold on Trade Me. It was made in the USA and on its cover (pictured) was a list of International Morse characters.

But, three of them are different to what we use today.

Your challenge is to tell me the names of the three characters and their current representations in International Morse. One is easy, the others a bit harder. So, even if you can only get one, send your answer.

Please send your answers by radiogram, or by email if no propagation.

Answer to previous edition’s Morse Challenge

In NZ Net News 90 I asked you to identify the stations and the message heard in an old recording.

The two stations in the recording were inter-island ferries. Arahura ZMBS called Arahanga ZMBN on 500 kHz radiotelegraphy and asked to make contact on Channel 16 (the marine VHF radiotelephone calling channel).

By the way, the Radio Officers heard in this recording were Roger Wincer ZL2RX aboard Arahura ZMBS and Des Long with his speedy bug aboard Arahanga ZMBN.

Correct answers were received from VK6RR, ZL1ANY, ZL2WT and ZL4OL.

Arahura ZMBS (left) and Arahanga ZMBN

Video: SQ9KFQ paddles

Special guests at VK3DRQ

Eggs in birds nest in tower at VK3DRQ

‘For several years we had a couple of Wattlebirds (Anthochaera) nesting in our trees, but this year they decided to go for something stronger and used my radio tower.’ – Manny VK3DRQ

Advertising archive

Advertisement for Beacon Radio transformers, Break-in magazine, February 1956

Break-in magazine, Feb 1956


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