NZ Net News 95, 10 Dec 2022

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Featured key

Rockcrusher spark key (15kW, 50A). American Marconi Co, 1917

Rockcrusher spark key (15kW, 50A). American Marconi Co, 1917. Photo: telegraph

“The turn of the 20th Century saw the birth of wireless communication. Telegraph key designs evolved to meet the needs of the new wireless systems. These systems operated at high voltages and currents. Hence, the early Wireless Keys, also called Spark Keys, had much larger keying contacts than landline keys. Some had contacts over 12mm in diameter.”

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

Quick notes

The Experimenter magazine, April 1925

The Experimenter magazine, April 1925

Paul ZL1AJY liked his first QCX Mini transceiver so much that he bought another one! So he now has 80m and 40m coverage. Paul has also designed and built a set of touch paddles for his ultra-portable station.

Music and Morse Code, there seems to be a connection. As an example, my wonderful cousin Ken could copy 40wpm with ease. He could also pick up any instrument and coax music from it – despite having had no musical training. In this edition of NZ Net News, you’ll find a few items relating to Music and Morse.

Looking towards the end-of-year holidays, just a reminder that NZ Net operates every day except Saturdays and Sundays, although the holidays can be very quiet. If you don’t hear a net start at 2100 NZDT, then feel free to start it yourself, or just have a casual chat with anyone else who turns up.

The BBC is preparing to close many of its radio and television services over the next ten years. The BBC would eventually become an online-only operation.

SKN brings keys out of the cupboard

Screenshot of Marahau SDR waterfall

Marahau SDR, 0852 UTC, 4 Dec 2022

It was another very busy Straight Key Night on Sunday 4 December, with lots of NZ Net members participating as well as many other old hands (old fists?) that we don’t hear so often. There were also some new CW ops, so it was a nice mixture. Great to have such a good turnout again.

Propagation across the Tasman was pretty bad, as usual for this time of year at that hour, but I did get one reception report emailed from Reunion Island!

There were several Japanese stations working a contest and their signals, although much weaker than the ZLs, were often quite readable here (see waterfall display above).

The next SKN is in June 2023, and we should hear some of our VK friends then.

Photo flashback

US Senator Barry Goldwater K7UGA tunes up his S/Line, probably for a little traffic handling.

US Senator Barry Goldwater K7UGA with his Collins S/Line (date unknown)

Net numbers

NZ Net stats to November 2022

NR43 R ZL1NZ 41/38 AUCKLAND 0800Z 1DEC22
ZL1BWG 21 ZL1NZ 22 ZL1PX 13 ZL1RA 13 ZL2GD 15 
ZL2GVA 14 ZL2KE 12 ZL2LN 6 ZL2TE 8 ZL3TK 22 
ZL4CU 5 ZL4KX 14 TOTAL 214 QTC 93

Hamming along, singing a song…

Here’s a ham radio song, written in the USA in 1948. Do we have a song for hams in Aotearoa New Zealand? If you know of one, please send it along!

sheet music for the Ham Song by US compose Le Roy Priest, 1948

Morse challenge

Sticking with our musical theme, here is a recording of Lucifer by the Alan Parsons Project. I have set it to start about 40 seconds into the piece, where the Morse Code has faded up to the point of being fairly readable.

Your challenge: what is being sent in Morse at the beginning of this recording? There are two signals heard simultaneousy (different pitches) but you can choose whichever is easier to copy.

Send your answer by radiogram or email.

Answer to previous edition’s Morse Challenge

VIA closed at 1330 UTC, 31 January 1993, as coast radio stations were replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Correct answers were received from ZL1ANY, ZL1AYN, ZL2GVA and ZL3TK.

Video: ZL4RA’s guitar Morse

By Chris ZL4RA, Queenstown

I was let loose on the poor, unsuspecting ham radio world in 2018 and can only offer my most sincere condolences.

My primary radio interest revolves around Summits on the Air as an activator in the challenging ZL3 region, and all HF activity is portable QRP on an Elecraft KX2 or Yaesu 817 on CW or SSB.

I have no home station due to extreme QRM – so if you catch a whiff of me on the bands I’m very likely operating in 80k winds, waist deep in snow, fighting off Yeti and feral Moa between overs and handing out 599s like they’re going out of fashion, even though it took a half-dozen QRZs and RPTs for me to QSL.

Advertising archive

And now, another exiting radio adventure with Billy Hallicrafters!

Billy Hallicrafters helps rescue a downed pilot, 1957 comic book style advertisement

Billy Hallicrafters to the rescue, 1957


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