NZ Net News 97, 7 Jan 2023

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Featured key

Finnish armed forces morse key

Finnish armed forces key. Photo OH6NT

By Thomas OH6NT

This is a Finnish Armed Forces key, marked “Puolustuslaitos” (Department of Defence). This marking was in use from 1922 onwards. My guess is the key was made in the 1950s.

It is nickel-plated brass, with a base of hard rubber, 5×8 cm. This type of key was used in the Finnish Army field vibrator telegraphy unit “VSHKS”.

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

Quick notes

Old Ameco novice transmitter with a 4-400A valve installed (joke)

Improving the performance of a QRP transmitter

HNY everyone and welcome to the first NZ Net News of 2023. I hope that one of your New Year resolutions is to check into the NZ Net as often as possible! As you’ll see from the stats section below, we had a very strong 2022, so it will be a big challenge to beat those numbers. Please encourage your friends to give the net a try in 2023 and let me know if you have suggestions on how to make the net even more fun.

Things worth thinking about is the title of a new series that will run occasionally in NZ Net News. You’ll find the first TWTA item in this edition, written by radio amateur and engineer Michelle Thompson. I have a few more articles lined up, but contributions are very welcome. Articles should be thought provoking, evidence-based reflections on issues in amateur radio.

Straight Key Month is underway. Throughout January you may hear United States stations using the callsign K3Y, or stations in other countries (including New Zealand) calling CQ SKM. What’s it all about? Well, every January is Straight Key Month for members of the Straight Key Century Club. SKM isn’t a contest, but there are still a few things to know before jumping in. Get the details.

Speaking of the SKCC, have you seen the just-released QSL card for the K3Y operation? It’s a gorgeous design by Steve N0XC. I imagine most readers will recognise the receiver in the photo, but how about the key? Your challenge for this NZ Net News is to tell me the manufacturer plus the model number plus the model name of the key. Please send me your answers via radiogram – or email if no propagation.

The FISTS Down Under group is planning to deregister as an incorporated society in Australia, but the group’s activities will continue. Details are in the December FDU newsletter (pp 6-8). There are also changes locally, with NZ FISTS Liaison David ZL2WT stepping down, and the FDU committee appointing Philip ZL1PSH as the NZ Coordinator. David did a lot to keep FISTS NZ going in recent years, including eliminating membership fees, donating the financial assets, closing the bank account and working to reintegrate the NZ and Australian sub-chapters back into one organisation. Thank you very much David, and good luck Philip.

Monte Palomares special event station EG1NMP will be on the air 7-10 January operating “all bands and modes.” Details were in in NZ Net News 96.

Net numbers

Graphs showing NZ Net stats for the past three years

December was a bit quiet on the NZ Net, as we lost one of our most faithful members, Bruce ZL1BWG, and poor propagation made it almost impossible for our Australian colleagues to be heard here in NZ.

Nevertheless, we ended the year with 2593 check-ins (up 12% from 2272 in 2021) and 901 pieces of traffic handled (up 56% from 576). Thanks everyone for a very good effort!

NR1 R ZL1NZ 45/42 AUCKLAND 0800Z 2JAN23
ZL1BWG 6 ZL1NZ 22 ZL1PX 14 ZL1RA 14 ZL2GD 16 
ZL2GVA 19 ZL2KE 10 ZL2LN 2 ZL2TE 11 ZL2WT 1
ZL3TK 22 ZL4CU 5 ZL4FZ 2 ZL4KX 16 TOTAL 189 
QTC 50

Photo flashback

Radio room of SS Red Oak Victory

Radio room of SS Red Oak Victory, a WW2 Victory ship, now a museum in Richmond, California

Series banner for Things worth thinking about

Who we are (and what can we do about it?)

Michelle Thompson V5NYVBy Michelle Thompson W5NYV
Co-founder, Open Research Institute

There are big differences in how minorities experience things in amateur radio. For example, I experienced a big difference in the type of mail I received from two co-authored ARRL QEX articles. One was about 3d printing microwave horn antennas, and the other was a recommended strategy for AMSAT-NA to take full advantage of current space industry realities. In both cases, I collaborated with a man that I regularly work with. In both cases, my name and the male co-author’s name were listed by each other, and contact information was presented for both without any significant differences in the way a reader would see it.

In both cases, the mail received by the male author was respectful, positive, and complimentary. In both cases, the mail received by me was aggressive, dismissive, and interrogative. There was at least one extremely harsh message with personal insults and expletives. I “should never spoil the magazine with” my “dreck ever again”.

Sexism, racism, and bigotry exist in amateur radio. These problems are real and they come from both leadership and the rank and file. These problems cause harm. It’s natural to wonder if the problems and the demographics are related. Could we revitalize amateur radio with diversity?

We have the impression that amateur radio in the US is almost completely dominated by older white men.
For a telecommunications service that is supposed to be accessible to, serve, and enhance the communications skills of the general public, not really knowing “who we are” is problematic from both a regulatory and a practical point of view.

How can we continue to justify our spectrum if we cannot show that we are authentically serving the general public?

Are the impressions we have about our demographics wrong or right?

The pain points are numerous. The lack of diverse participation in a fun and easy technical entry path objectively harms our technical workforce readiness. In the era of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) value, emphasis, and mandates, underrepresentation and exclusion has real economic and national security implications.

Continue reading

Is your pitch perfect?

musical notePaul ZL1AJY and I were musing about why some hams have trouble zerobeating (both on CW and on SSB) and his theory was that it might relate to difficulty in recognising the “correct” pitch of a sound.

Paul discovered an online test of what I’ll call “pitch recognition ability” (there isn’t much info accompanying the test unfortunately). The test has 26 recordings of familiar tunes, but some are played with deliberate errors. You have to identify which samples are correct.

We each gave it a go, and we got identical scores – not perfect but pretty good. Paul claims he has no known musical ability and the same goes for me, but I joked that I like jazz, so all notes are good.

Now it’s YOUR turn. Try this test and see how you do. You don’t have to report your score (unless you want to) but it would be interesting to know if anyone gets all 26 correct.

» Take the test

Video: Haptic CW decoder for hearing impaired

The Long Island CW Club (LICW) has developed a haptic/visual CW decoder which could be a big help to CW operators with hearing impairment.

The device will sell for approximately US$275.00. For more information, contact LICW via email.

Racing yachts in touch with NZ

The leading yachts in the single-handed Golden Globe round-the-world race have now passed south of New Zealand on their way to Cape Horn and the finish line in France. It has been fun listening to them on HF, in communication with Passage Guardian Radio in Canterbury.

Live race tracker screenshot from the Golden Globe race

Race leader Simon Curwen prepares to leave the Bounty Islands to starboard (as required). 2nd place skipper Kirsten Neuschafer leads Abhilash Tomy passing between Stewart Island and Snares Islands. Positions as at 0800 UTC, 4 Jan 2023. Image courtesy

Competitors in the GGR must use boat designs and technology from the 1960s. Sextants and paper charts instead of GPS. HF radio instead of satellite phones. While SSB is nice, just imagine what they could do with CW!

Advertising archive

Advertisement for CW training on cassette

73 magazine, Dec 1973


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