Hastings/ Havelock North NZART Branch 13 Early History
I believe that this history was laboriously compiled by Peter Stevens, ZL2AS. Pete was an engineer and a compulsive record keeper. When he passed away in the 1980s he had filing cabinets stacked with thousands of articles gleaned from the various amateur radio journals. He just simply ripped out the pages and filed the articles under headings. Pete was also a fanatical model engineer and belonged to the Keiranga Gardens Model Railway Club in Havelock north. Without his work the history of the Hastings/Havelock North Branch 13 and indeed the history of ham radio in Hawkes Bay may have been lost forever.
Dave Walker ZL2DW had the information in a DOS word format on the old 5 ¼” floppy discs which he kindly loaned to me in the 1990s with the intention of my uploading our history up on a website. Sadly, I wasn’t able to develop the website on my own and the copied discs, sat on my hard drive until late 2009 when I decided to get a move on and sort the files out into some sort of acceptable format to put a file up in the ZL2AS and new ZL2GT Newsgroup Reflectors in early 2010.
The files detail the formation of the club through to the 1990s. The ones that I really enjoyed were the stories of the comradeship and enthusiasm of the local Hawke’s Bay hams. The gap in the period from 1939 to 1945 speaks volumes about ham radio. It wasn’t! Its participants were overseas during WW2. The government closed down all the amateur stations and seized their equipment for war use.
There is a section on how our 670 and 725 repeaters came into being. The story of our Sunday morning branch net and the Cornflakes net is told. The list of Officers below reminds us of the history and dedication those before us gave to the club. Amongst the list you will see sons of their fathers and you will see familiar callsigns with unfamiliar names. You will also see hams that are still giving their all to keep our club going.
Someone once wrote “You cannot know where you are heading unless you know where you have come from” Hastings/ Havelock North Branch 13, now the Hawkes Bay Amateur Radio Club Inc has come a long way over the past 78 years. I wonder what will be said about this 2010 lot in the year 2088 and I ponder what our hobby will be like and indeed, whether amateur radio will exist.
73, Lee ZL2AL – January 2010
LIST OF OFFICERS 1926-1992
YEAR PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT SECRETARY AREC S/L
1931 R. Scott 2CR
1932 J. Mills 2BE F.Hunt 2GQ G.Tyler 2GE G.Tyler 2GE
1933 F. Hunt 2GQ H.Etheridge 2FW C.Simpson 2KD G.Tyler 2GE
1934 H.Roberts 2FY G,Tyler 2GE S.J.Hislop 2BN G.Tyler 2GE
1935 G.Tyler 2GE
1936 G.Tyler 2GE
1946 N.Padman 2QS H.Roberts 2FY R.Thompson 2AAN
1947 N.Padman 2QS P.Crook 2MQ
1948 P.Crook 2MQ D.McLeod
1949 E.Beale 2AT G.Grundy
1950 G.Grundy 2AAZ
1951 G.Grundy 2AAZ
1958 E.Napier 2ARL
1959 R.Brooker 2KT E.Napier 2ARL
1961 R.Brooker 2KT N.Donkin 2ALD J.Sutherland 2ACC
1962 R.Brooker 2KT N.Donkin 2ALD J.Sutherland 2ACC
1963 R.Brooker 2KT N.Donkin 2ALD J.Sutherland 2ACC L.Richards
1964 R.Brooker 2KT N.Donkin 2ALD J.Sutherland 2ACC L.Richards
1965 R.Brooker 2KT N.Donkin 2ALD J.Sutherland 2ACC L.Richards
1966 R.Brooker 2KT
1967 R.Brooker 2KT K.Potroz 2BFK J.Carrell 2AWZ
1968 K.Potroz 2BFK J.Carrell 2AWZ
1969 K.Potroz 2BFK J.Carrell 2AWZ
1970 J.Carrell 2AWZ K.Potroz 2BFK J.Carrell 2AWZ
1971 J.Carrell 2AWZ F.Sayliss 2TMO J.Carrell 2AWZ
1972 J.Carrell 2AWZ F.Sayliss 2TMO J.Carrell 2AWZ
1973 B.Hooker 2BCS H.Johnson 2BEJ J.Carrell 2AWZ
1974 B.Hooker 2BCS H.Johnson 2BEJ J.Carrell 2AWZ
1975 P.Stevens 2AS A.Steenson 2TGI C.Martin 2ATA J.Carrell 2AWZ
1976 P.Stevens 2AS A.Steenson 2TGI C.Martin 2ATA J.Carrell 2AWZ
1977 P.Stevens 2AS A.Steenson 2TGI C.Martin 2ATA P.Stevens 2AS
1978 F.Giles 2AGI A.Steenson 2TGI C.Martin 2ATA P.Stevens 2AS
1979 F.Giles 2AGI A.Steenson 2TGI J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1980 P.Stevens 2AS J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1981 R.Crawley 2AQR J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1982 A.Gilchrist 4PZ R.Brooker 2KT J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1983 R.Brooker 2KT F.Danrell 2AUI J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1984 G.Rusbatch 2BIW F.Danrell 2AUI J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1985 G.Rusbatch 2BIW F.Danrell 2AUI J.Wilson 2BAO P.Stevens 2AS
1986 F.Danrell 2AUI D.Walker 3DK H.Thornton 2TKL P.Stevens 2AS
1987 F.Danrell 2AUI R.Goodall 2BPU H.Thornton 2TKL P.Stevens 2AS
1988 D.Walker 3DK R.Goodall 2BPU H.Thornton 2TKL F.Burns 2TKV
1989 D.Walker 3DK R.Goodall 2BPU H.Thornton 2TKL P.Stevens 2AS
1990 W.Lowes 2UBG R.Goodall 2BPU F.Giles 2AGI P.Stevens 2AS
1991 W.Lowes 2UBG R.Goodall 2BPU F.Giles 2AGI P.Stevens 2AS
1992 W.Lowes 2UBG R.Goodall 2BPU F.Giles 2AGI D.Walker 3DK
History – Jimmy Mills, ZL2BE
About Jimmy Mills – he certainly was a loner. In the 30s as far as I know, Ron Scott and I are the only Hastings hams ever to have been invited into his shack. The night we went there (once only) was a great event – to see Jim’s two tubes about 18 inches high poking up above his rig was great for us considering that we were only using 201A’s and the sound of his power generators was great to our ears. I think he had more power than the rest of Napier and Hastings hams put together. It was like visiting a commercial radio station but even they, in those days, were unlikely to have such a powerful rig. Often when we were listening at home we would hear Jim working stations we could not even hear. I often wondered if he could hear them either, Hi Hi! – in addition to his main rig he had a couple of 852 rigs on display but we didn’t see any of them working, although as I said his generators were humming along and his big tubes glowed red.
By Colin Simpson (Colinserved with the NZ Post Office in Hastings from February 1931 until 1936 with the callsign ZL2KD.)
History from 1921 – Recalled by Tom Clarkson ZL2AZ
The germ of radio interest that was later to blossom into the activities identified by the radio amateur movement was present in Hawkes Bay in the years immediately following the first World War. It was not as lively as that in some other parts of the country such as Gisborne and Dunedin which at the time seemed to be centres of great advancement; nevertheless a good start was made in many directions. Personal recollections in Hawkes Bay are from the early twenties, the period in which radio emerged from its wartime cloak of security and during which receiving and transmitting licences became available and in which broadcasting first made its voice heard. Living in Hastings and travelling daily to school in Napier I was on the lookout all the time for things of interest in this subject, in both these places. Some of the strong impressions gained then had reverberations of coincidence for me years later. e.g. I walked daily past the Post Office in Hastings Street, Napier, hearing the morse sounder upstairs – years later by mutual reconstruction of movements, I found that it had been contributed to by Telegraphist Harris – Casey, 4CA! So he was in the vicinity too.
In 1920 there was no proper opportunity for radio interest. In Hastings particularly the custodians of the law were well aware that anything to do with “wireless” was to be suppressed with their utmost rigour. I found this to be due to a “criminal” they had previously dealt with and whom I never met, but admired indirectly. Eric Battershill of Hastings had operated a radio station, effecting communication with ships, and possibly interfered with them. He was prosecuted, but with what penalty I don’t know. However his exploit brought fame to Hastings, as the home of an early amateur. He left Hastings for Australia soon after, though his family was still there during my school days. In 1922 I visited Christchurch and there first met the late great Jack Orbell, he was then constructing a transmitter using an aeroplane wind generator for H.T., for which he hoped to get a permit. The fact that I came from Hastings impressed Jack and he wanted to know all about Battershill, which unfortunately I couldn’t tell him. I think his transmissions were just about at the end of World War I so official unease made this a period of doldrums for aspirants in the field of radio. The only equipment to be seen was on ships and this meant hitching a ride out on a lighter to their moorings in the Napier roadstead and seeking the indulgence of the ship’s operators to many of whom I was indebted – Mr. Riach of the “Taiaroa”, Mr. Hextall of the “Dorset”.
In 1921 radio reception for experimental purposes became legitimate, it being possible to obtain a “provisional permit.”I have described the general situation in “The Quiet Spectrum of 1920” published in Break In Jan/Feb 1970. Here I might mention local effects. The “Permit” was a formidable document, and even to obtain one was quite a hurdle, with character references, secrecy declaration, and the filtering effects of the government processes. Gradually a few aerials appeared in Napier and Hastings. In that year a Napier book shop got a copy of Elmer Bucher’s “Wireless Experimenter’s Manual” which I obtained and from which I built my first receiver, a loose coupler, galena detector and specially indented Brandes head phones. A few months later I was able to convert it to a regenerative valve detector using a UV200. These acquisitions being financed by services to the steam driven baling press and threshing mill. In the receiving only era of 1922 and 1923 most of my associations were with Hastings friends and at the Napier Boys High School. We had a school radio club and assembled a honeycomb 3 – coil receiver and amplifier together with a Magnavox horn loudspeaker, an advanced feature at that time. In that circle there were a number subsequently active on the amateur bands, G.W. Mitchell, L. Holt, E. Edmundson, B.C.W. Spackman, S.J.K. Hislop, R.H. White. While some of the boys had the essential interest, it was found that many of them only wanted to experience the novelty of hearing a “wireless concert” such as they had read about.
In 1922 a short lived radio club was started by Dave Rees in Hastings. He was an enterprising electrician there. He and Alf Marshall, a Hastings motor engineer were leaders in radio technique. Alf first showed me a receiving valve circuit in an “oscillating” condition, quite a thrill. He also made up a receiver using Meyer tubes on behalf of Jim Mills and started him on his radio career. My own activities had the advantage of special talents of two friends, F.S. Longly who was a skilled telegraphist and A.D. Henderson a young plumber and electrician, then recently arrived from Dunedin where he had the benefit of some instruction lectures by the famous Professor Jack. Together we undertook numerous experiments, including field expeditions to test our reception in rural conditions. These included an expedition to Te Mata Peak in Havelock North, at a time of meagre access, and when heavy items such as the “accumulators” had to be carried up. We also had a DXpedition to Waimarama. These efforts were all in order to receive ship and coastal stations and the long wave arc and alternator stations in America and Europe, which responded well on those occasions. I think the first reception of speech or broadcasting was in September 1922 when I identified transmissions from the xperimental broadcasting station of Arthur McLay of Wellington. (15 watts, 0.6 amp in aerial) His transmitter had been made by an ex – Hastings telephone technician, R.L. Apperley. Real DX needs another paragraph.
Early in 1923 the amateur world was startled by the Timaru schoolboy, Ralph Slade, when he started logging numerous United States amateurs on 200 metres and higher wavelengths. Everyone tried hard to do the same. At last I started to hear them on 6th May 1923. Good signals from 6CGW, and many others including the famous Hoover Cup winner 9ZT (now W6AM). And I logged 6JD on spark. Shortly after this the first American broadcast, KHJ I think, was logged by Paul Barcham. The best I could do at that time was KDYX in Hawaii, although with better receivers two or three years later reception of American stations was commonplace. Many of us concentrated on receiving, and also prepared for the amateur exam, in terms of the new regulations introduced early in 1923. This was a slow process with little information being available. Before the regulations came out, some of us had become impatient – we wanted to transmit. Perhaps time softens the extent of crime after so long. In my article “The Ford Coil” Break In Jan/Feb 1973, I referred to clandestine spark transmitters used with invisible aerials. Quite high prowess was developed with this, other guilty parties being Duncan Henderson and Jack Hogan. (Later,2FM) Jack trod a doubly perilous path, his father being the highly respected and feared police sergeant. We got through that phase, but I later had a bad set – back in the one valve receiver period. We had found how effectively oscillating receivers could be heard around the town. To this day I don’t know what scurrilous informer was at work, but one night there came a knock on my door. The Telegraph Engineer from Napier appeared, with assistants, to inspect my receiving station. Horror of horrors there was my telegraph key connected in the aerial lead. “My boy – what is that key doing there?” Unlawful wireless transmitting. A serious offence. A bad situation. Reported in the Hawkes Bay Tribune. A severe telling off. Distressed parents – family honour impugned. A period in distress!
By the end of 1923 I was ready for the amateur exam but it took time to get an appointment and I had to supply my own buzzer, and eventually had the exam on 15th January 1924. Even then getting on the air was a slow business but I got the call 2AR and started up on 30th April 1924, first QSO with 3AF. Our assigned wavelength was 140 metres, but most of us were on about 160 at that time. Information on technique was scarce. In 1923 I first saw “QST” and soon imported that fund of useful guidance, Ballantine’s “Radio Telephony for Amateurs.” I used the reversed feedback circuit and the power was low, the only H.T. being the public supply 230 volts D.C. At first our house was fed with the positive earth and I had to persuade the Borough Electrical Engineer to change it over to negative earth (Edison 3 -wire system) to avoid having my filaments “up in the air.” In perspective it is easy to see that we were very poorly informed on antennas. Our whole approach used features associated with the Marconi quarter wave grounded antenna. It was several years before linear radiators were evaluated and their advantages employed. The counterpoise was commonly used in 1924 but it was thought of in its function of assisting the ground connection. My antenna had four wires in cage form spaced with wooden bicycle rims and the counterpoise was a three wire fan. (Later, as wavelengths were reduced, longer, higher single wires came into vogue, and I think Ivan O’Meara was the first to work one as what we called “the three harmonic antenna” that is three half waves properly fed in the centre.) Even so for anyone interested in the low frequency band early techniques deserve respect, especially reducing losses in smallish radiating systems. My closest neighbours were in Gisborne, 2AC, 2AD, 2AE and 2AF. I fraternised a lot on the air with Bob Patty, 2AE and was indebted to him for a lot of assistance and information, With just a few watts on 140 metres, DX was scanty and Australia was the objective. Notable contacts were with 3BQ, 2LO, 2IJ, 2DS, 2CM and 2BK. The last one mentioned, Frank Leverrier, VK2ADE is still a good QSO on 15 and 20 SSB. But the best contacts were with a marine mobile, which I refer to especially. But first I must mention the build up of stations in Hastings. Paul Barcham (in partnership with Dave Rees) came on in June, 2BH. And the next month Eric Beale, 2BC. Then in October or November a prominent Wellington amateur moved to Hastings. This was C.R. Clarke, 2AW. Roy was an auto electrician and joined the staff of the Tourist Motor Company. So by the end of the year there was quite a lot of activity.
Napier was the centre of attention for all amateurs in September 1924. Jack Orbell 3AA was travelling to the U.K. and decided to make his trip into a mobile DXpedition. So 3AA was installed on S.S. “Port Curtis” bound for England via Cape Horn and leaving Napier on the 4th September. He signed with the intermediate X instead of the usual Z. Jack had his equipment alongside the official spark set. He had a low loss regenerative receiver, also one with two RF stages. (But that design was not a favourite, being before the days of screen grids or neutralising.) I think the oscillator was a 203. Somehow I got out to the ship in the roadstead so had a pleasant visit at the scene of action. Skeds were arranged and we called 3AA for a short period. Then Jack responded with his position and calls heard. It was a great thrill, and a new one, to get in that list, perhaps a couple of thousand miles out on the long haul to Cape Horn. Well that was about as far as 2AR got, but there was no holding the “big boys” of that time. 2AC had earlier contacted CB8, the world’s greatest DX, and everyone wanted to hold 3AA right to England. 4AG very nearly did, and worked well north of Pernambuco, a marvelous achievement. The great significance of this exercise only became apparent later. The experience brought Frank Bell and Ralph Slade to the pinnacle of DX efficiency. Frank gained the record for the Pacific, working U6BCP and then on 13th October, 4AG was heard in England. The crowning achievement on 14th October 1924 the two way QSO between Z4AA and G2SZ. This was the heroic era of discovery and accomplishment, with a NZ station at one end of each global record. These remarks have concentrated on the significant year of 1924.
I would like to draw attention to a later significant year, 1931. What was done at the time of the earthquake is only too well known and appreciated. It may not be generally recognised however that that was the occasion when the “standing” of the amateur movement became established in this country. This has stood us in good stead, and is still doing so. A beneficial effect for all of us has been left by the amateurs who did so well on that occasion. I left Hawkes Bay early in 1925, moving to the metropolis of Auckland and becoming 1FQ. I retained some envy for friends in Hastings and Napier for a certain reason, possibly a figment of the imagination. There is a lot of water under the Heretaunga plains, conducive to good earth conductivity, and excellent performance of all kinds of antennas. This extends in the Napier area with the extensive river system, augmented by the low lying parts to the south of the city and of the old inner harbour. Whether true or false, I must say Hawkes Bay amateurs always seem able to take it, and hand it out too.
(Recalled by Tom Clarkson, ZL2AZ) (HISTORY.21A)
From Break In of May 1928
ZL2AS was on the air a couple of months ago working ZL2GA at Puketitiri, who was working with a portable QRP set, and had just received a card from France reporting on his signals being heard while in QSO with ZL2GA; signal strength r6 while with 2GA it was about r2-3. How is that for Skip hi! 2GA is about 70 miles away from Napier. 2BN will be on the air again as he has just got hold of some batteries so we may expect to hear his well known call percolating through the aether any day (or night) now. ZL2AS received a visit from three hams from Hastings, 2BB, 2BC, 2BE. They had an interesting evening with the new transmitter which 2AS has just installed and helped to juggle around with condensers and chokes until a pure D.C. note was obtained. When this was completed the gang retired to a local restaurant of fame(?) and had a hamfest on a miniature scale. When suitably replete they had some thrilling driving with 2BE in his car, and ended up an otherwise good evening by having to push the car from a shingle bed into which they had run by mistake. It is hoped to have another meeting soon, again, which goes to show that ham radio is beginning to wake up from its summer sleep. By ZL2AS (HISTORY.28A)
From QST of May 1931 – The 1931 Earthquake
Tragedy swept New Zealand on February 3rd when two of its most prosperous towns, Napier and Hastings, were overwhelmed by earthquake and fire. More than 350 residents were killed and thousands of others injured by collapsing buildings. All telegraph and telephone wires were destroyed and communication with the outside world was completely cut off. Though the day will long be remembered as one of horror and suffering for the people of those cities it must be recorded as a highlight in the history of amateur radio in New Zealand. For radio amateurs, as in so many previous national emergencies, made a splendid job of rapidly re-establishing communication and maintaining it until the ordinary communication channels were restored. Mr G.E.Tyler, ZL2BE, was at his office in Hastings when the first wrecking blow had fallen. Escaping through falling walls and buildings by the merest chance, ZL2BE reached his home to find his equipment hopelesssly wrecked. Rushing back into the town, Tyler recovered some “B” batteries and a storage battery from a ruined radio shop and with apparatus from his station soon assembled a workable low powered transmitter. Making contact with ZL2FF of Gisborne, ZL2BE gave the news of the disaster and made an urgent appeal for doctors, nurses and medical supplies which were rushed by planes to the stricken towns. ZL2FF was soon taken over by the local Post and Telegraph Department and contact was maintained with ZL2BE on both CW and ‘phone without a break for two days. Hundreds of urgent messages were exchanged between the two stations during this time.
The greatest credit is due to these stations. The work they performed was a bright spot in the gloom of disaster. In Napier, ZL2GE did yeoman service also with a low powered outfit. He managed to recover a few “B” batteries from one of the radio stores before fire destroyed it and with these under his arm he bolted for home, where he reconstructed his transmitter and soon made contact with amateur stations in Christchurch and Wellington. His station was also taken over by the Post and Telegraph authorities and considerable traffic was handled with the post office at Wellington. ZL2GQ rendered help when a small steamer was dispatched from Gisborne with doctors, nurses, medical supplies and rescue parties. The steamer was not quipped with radio and ZL2GQ, at very short notice, erected a small transmitter on board and worked schedules with ZL2AC on the voyage. During his stay in Wellington ZL2GQ handled considerable traffic and enquiries from relatives of those in the stricken towns. ZL1FX of Auckland was also of great service in keeping schedules with ZL2BE and ZL2AC. He handled both press news and enquiries from anxious relatives in Auckland and was on the air continuously. ZL2AC was on the air day and night with inquiry traffic to Hastings, Napier and their surrounding towns. He gave news of the disaster to the Christchurch aerodrome and medical supplies were rushed by plane. All communication lines from Gisborne to Napier had been destroyed by huge earth slides.
A government plane service was established between these two towns and ZL2AC acted as local airport contact station with the callsign FP18. ZL2XP of Wellington, went to Napier with a portable outfit and did splendid work with it on 7 mc. with ZL2AW, ZL3AD and other stations. He handled a vast amount of press and general traffic. In Palmerston North, ZL2AX also contributed great assistance during the early period of the disaster. Another station which assisted was ZL1BG of Rotorua, from which constant contact was maintained with the affected areas. Among the stations which performed valuable work were ZL2BG, ZL2BO, ZL2CR, ZL2GD, ZL2GK, ZL2GP, and ZL2DN. Many other stations, of which there is no definite record, gave splendid cooperation and all showed the real amateur spirit in putting service to the community before all else. Both the press and the public voiced the appreciation in no uncertain terms. Because of the work accomplished in this crisis it is quite certain that amateur radio in New Zealand has been given a vigorous fillip.
By Ivan O’Meara, ZL2AC
There are glaring errors in this account. See the next article for a clearer view of the events following the earthquake.
The 1931 Earthquake from Break-In May 1981 (Written 50 years later)
By Clive Liddell, ZL3ND
As one of the few people left who were active on the day of the earthquake I feel that I should place on record my observations so that accounts of communications on that day are complete. Firstly may I correct some of the obvious errors of fact in the story on page 48 of the March 1981 Break In. (Enclosure HISTORY.31A below, refers.) For some reason the identities of ZL2GE and ZL2BE have been mixed up and these errors have unfortunately been perpetuated in the ARRL publication “Two Hundred Metres and Down”. ZL2BE, Jimmy Mills was in Hastings and made the contact with Wellington while ZL2GE, George Tyler of Napier was in the middle of the earthquake in town and made his way home to construct a single valve transmitter powered by batteries obtained from the town. I do not know of the details of the establishment of communications by ZL2BE but can relate how ZL2GE made contact with Wellington.
At the time of the earthquake I lived in Wellington with the call ZL2BI. The first I heard of the quake was when I arrived home about 4 p.m. from my first day of teaching school and my father gave me the news. He also said that there was no communication with the stricken area. A few minutes later I switched on and after hearing nothing on the 7MHz band called CQ HB. Immediately I received a phone call from the R.I. asking me to keep off since they were trying to establish contact with Hawkes Bay. The band was dead and it was apparent that there was no contact between Wellington and any part of the affected area. Some time later I heard ZL2AC calling CQ so I rang to get permission to call. This was readily granted so I called him but was answered by ZL2GQ also of Gisborne. According to my log this was at 4.49 p.m. This contact failed. During the whole of the time there were no other signals audible on the band.
Looking back now it is obvious that the band was rapidly changing. Shortly afterwards I heard the second harmonic of ZL2GK Syd Perkins who lived across the road, calling and obviously making contact with George Tyler, ZL2GE of Napier. Syd had been at home since about 1 p.m. by courtesy of his employer the Government Life Insurance Office. There was no need to look at the call book since we knew nearly all the amateurs in the country. When I rang Syd to offer assistance he asked me to bring over a receiver as his was not going too well. He had been in touch with the Post and Telegraph Department and had to go into head office (by tram). There he had an interview with the Secretary and had to sign another declaration of secrecy. It is probably at this stage that the decision to take over amateur stations was taken. When he arrived back at a little before 6 p.m. I had a receiver there, one that my father had just completed, containing an RF stage. Syd’s transmitter consisted of two fifty watters in a push-pull oscillator. At about 6 p.m. Captain Wally Ashbridge ZL2GP who was in charge of Army Signals in Buckle Street and well known to us arrived with a line telegraph operator. Wally came in the door and duly announced that he was formally taking over the station in the name of the Post and Telegraph Department. Contact was made with ZL2GE who had been in touch with officials at his end and official reports were copied. In my turn I remember copying the official report from the Postmaster at Port Ahuriri. George’s signals were not very strong and were somewhat chirpy. In addition he was an ex RN operator.
The Navy transmitters were located in the bowels of the ship and were keyed by massive relays. To produce good morse the operators adopted a swinging style to overcome the time lag but on direct keying this made them somewhat difficult to follow. In reading some newspaper clippings of the time we find mention of speeds of 35 words per minute for much of the traffic. In fact the maximum speed might have been as high as 25 but most likely about 20 words per minute. Unfortunately our line operator could not receive our tone morse instead of the clicks of the sounder to which he was accustomed. His speed would have been in the 30wpm range. Earlier George had made contact with Christchurch but conditions obviously prevented any lengthy exchange. For the next three days this link was the only official channel between Napier and Wellington until lines were re-established. From my observations I believe that this was the first reliable contact with the earthquake area. HMS Veronica was in Port Ahuriri and gave the first news but with the uncertainty of their berth remaining intact they had to leave after rendering valuable assistance. Other amateurs made their way to the area and provided much needed communication with the outside. ZL2GE, ZL2BE, ZL2GK (ZL3GK) and ZL2GP have all passed on and at this fiftieth anniversary, I could not let it pass without seeing that the record of the work of the two principals ZL2GE and ZL2BE was corrected.
The 1931 Earthquake – By D.J. Chapman ZL2VR and Peter Stevens ZL2AS
“There can be, at this time, no more topical or important subject than the calamitous earthquake that has almost razed to the ground the towns of Napier and Hastings. The day of February 3rd 1931, will remain for long, a day of grief and consternation for the country as a whole, even as for years the date ’79 A.D. was significant only for the anihilation of the cities of Herculaneum and Pompei by Vesuvius.” So quotes the Editorial from Break In for the month of February, 1931. It goes on to extol the feats of two local Hawkes Bay Amateur Radio enthusiasts from Napier and Hastings, who were able to transmit messages to the outside world, of the tragedy of that day in February. ZL2GE, George Tyler, of Vigor Brown Street, Napier and ZL2BE Jim Mills, of Hastings. Regretably, it overlooked the parts taken by other amateurs in the saga, one of whom, ZL2AT, Eric Beale of Hastings would appear to have been on the air and made contact with stations outside of Hawkes Bay before either ZL2GE or ZL2BE were active.
In Hastings, at the time of the earthquake, Mr Beale was at work in Hawkes Bay Farmers building serving a customer. Feeling an uncontrollable urge to flee the building, he headed for the front door with the only obstruction – a large glass display case of cutlery -obligingly bouncing out of the way for him. (The H.B. Farmers building was a newly built structure and was one of the few that remained relatively unscathed by the earthquake.) Outside, Mr Beale stopped to help carry a shop girl to safety in the middle of the street, which was fortunate for him as otherwise he would have run directly into the area outside the Williams and Kettle building which then collapsed into the street. Instead he stopped in the centre of the intersection of Queen and Market Streets where he was relatively safe. After the initial shock had passed he returned to H.B. Farmers long enough to retrieve his bicycle from the heap where it had been thrown along with a number of others and rode the mile or so to his home in Grays Road. There he found his family safe and damage mainly confined to fallen chimneys and flooding from a burst roof water cistern.
With his wife’s assistance he dragged an old writing cabinet containing his amateur radio gear out of the house and to the centre of the garden. Although his equipment was normally mains powered it was built in small modules joined to each other with short wires and so it was possible to quickly disconnect the power output stage and get the receiver and transmitter driver stages running on batteries. (He was fortunate in that he had a receiver that H.B. Farmers was agent for, at his home for repairs and this had a fresh 135 volt battery and a 12 volt accumulator, which he used for his radio.) By about 11.30 a.m. he had the equipment running and about 11.40 he heard (or was heard by) Arnold Perry, ZL2FC (and B. McCormack, ZL2CP) of Wairoa who was using his private broadcast station, 2ZP, retuned on to 140 metres. Several messages were exchanged which Mr Beale passed to the GPO in Hastings, by bicycle, for delivery. (He also managed to contact a Wellington amateur who passed a personal message to relatives in Wellington and later called ZL2AT back and confirmed that the message had been delivered. At the Post Office Mr Beale spoke to a reporter from the local newspaper and requested that a postboy or some other lad be made available to collect the messages he was receiving at his home in Grays Road and deliver them to the Post Office. He did not receive the promised assistance and Mrs Beale delivered more messages to the P.O. while he was busy on the air. It was not until several hours later that Mr Beale, with his batteries rapidly going flat by this time, heard that the Post Office had either not received the news that he was in contact with the outside world or had for other reasons decided to co-opt the station operated by ZL2BE, Jim Mills, which was admittedly closer to the Post Office than was Beale’s home in Grays Rd. George Tyler, ZL2GE, was at his place of business in Napier when the earthquake struck. Somehow, Mr Tyler was able to escape unhurt, although the whole building seemed to collapse around him. He quickly realised that with a severe shock such as the one just sustained by the area, all telegraphic communication with the “outside world” would be severed, therefore he decided his efforts were best directed to re-establishing communications rather than to delay and assist with the rescue work.
He rushed to his home, found that his wife and family were safe, and his home only slightly damaged, but his radio equipment smashed and broken on the floor. He also found that there was no power to run the transmitter, so he returned to the ruined town, to find some batteries to power his radio. He entered the now burning inner city centre, to search amongst the ruins of the shops which sold radio equipment, and was able to rescue a couple of accumulators, and three B batteries to take back home. Then came the re-construction work. He had to rebuild a transmitter from the broken equipment, and by 1 p.m., just two hours after the first shock, ZL2GE was sending out his first call for help, a CQ on 40 metres. Luck was against him and for the next two hours he continued to send out repeated calls to the outside world without any response. Then a Christchurch amateur answered, and the first hurdle was surmounted. Forthwith he poured out the news, requesting the Christchurch amateur to advise the Post Office in Wellington of the contact, and that he ZL2GE, would stand by for traffic. At the same time a Wellington ham, ZL2GK, operated by S.Perkins of Lyall Bay, heard ZL2GE, George, and made contact with him. ZL2GK was immediately requisitioned by the Post Office as an official station, but it was manned by amateur operators and for the next three days and two nights, transmitted messages to and from the stricken area through ZL2GE in Napier. ZL2GE, George Tyler, worked under extremely difficult conditions for a greater portion of the period, and no praise is too great for him as he neglected everything personal to help the Post Office in its work of keeping contact with the stricken town.
In the midst of all the anxiety and distress, George pleaded with his wife to leave and take the children to safety, but she too would not leave the station and her courageous husband. She remained at his side, providing him with food and drink to sustain him during his long period of operation. Meanwhile, at Hastings, ZL2BE, Jim Mills, had set up his transmitter, which was not damaged by the earthquake, but because its normal engine driven power supply was unserviceable had to try to find batteries to operate it from. These were provided by the Post Office and Jack Sinclair, ZL2PP, at that time a lineman with the P.O. recalls spending much of the early afternoon carrying boxes of No6 dry cells to a room adjacent to Mills operating room and then connecting them all in series to provide HT power for the transmitter. He established contact with ZL2FF, C.T.C. Hands, of Gisborne, who relayed his urgent messages. Later ZL2BE was in direct communication with Wellington and was made an official Post Office station, being assisted by Post Office telegraph operators in shifts. One volunteer operator is believed to have been a priest but full details appear to have been lost. Gisborne was also cut off from the rest of New Zealand as a result of the upheaval, and ZL2FF kept that town in touch with the outside “world” until normal communication could be re-established. A quote from the Postmaster, Hastings Official Report of the earthquake says “later I was informed that a radio amateur station had been established in Mills garage. I investigated and found the information to be correct. It was through this channel that I personally sent out the first messages by key, and subsequently arranged for my operators to continue, and also to transmit private messages.
Mr J.C. Mills ZL2BE is deserving of special mention for the ingenuity he and his companions showed in arranging emergency power, and establishing communication outwardly by morse, with telephonic reception, which made communication continuously continuous day and night until telegraphic communications were restored to workable order.”
Another radio operator, not at that time licenced as an amateur was W.V. Harris, a telegraphist aboard HMS Veronica in Port Ahuriri at the time of the earthquake. Harris was sent ashore with a portable radio station and this was set up and provided vital ship to shore communications during the first day or so of the emergency. Years later, Harris, now licenced as ZL2ABA, returned to live in Napier. Today, his son, Bob, lives in Hastings and still has the same callsign. Also involved in the restoration of communications to Hawkes Bay were ZL2BO, H.C. Dixon and ZL2AK, A. Cooper, who traveled to Hawkes Bay from Wellington with portable equipment and who set up their gear and provided valuable assistance operating as radio ZLN. ZL2GQ, F.I.R. Hunt, of Gisborne took passage by steamer as radio operator and also joined the rescuers in Napier. Other amateur radio operators mentioned in early reports were ZL1BG, Dr B.G. Thompson, Rotorua; ZL2AC, I.H. O’Meara, Gisborne; ZL2AX, J.V. Kyle, Palmerston North; ZL2BG, J.G. Tinney, Wellington; ZL2BI, C.G. Liddell, Wellington; ZL2CR, R.J.H. Scott, Hastings; ZL2DN, S.W. Boon, Stratford;; ZL2GC, A. Howarth, Dannevirke; ZL2GD, B.R. Adair, Gisborne; ZL2GP, W.G. Ashbridge, Wellington; ZL3AD, C.J. Banwell, Christchurch; ZL3AW, R.W. Mintrom, Christchurch and ZL3AX, F.P. Earland, Greymouth.
The value of the assistance given by Amateur Radio to the Post Office can be gauged by the following extract from the Post Office Annual Report 1931, in the section devoted to the Hawkes Bay earthquake. “Radio Communications – amateur radio stations rendered valuable service in supplementing means of communications as soon as possible after the earthquake. Efforts were at once made by the Department’s Wellington Radio station to establish communications with amateur radio stations at Napier and Hastings. The first indication of success was at 3.45 p.m. when a message from the Postmaster, Hastings transmitted by a Hastings amateur radio station was picked up by a Wellington amateur. Efforts to gain further contact with the Hastings station was heard working with a Gisborne amateur station, by whose assistance contact was arranged. By 7 p.m. Wellington Radio succeeded in establishing communication with the Hastings amateur station already referred to and important messages were exchanged until landline connections were restored. About 4 p.m. on the 3rd, another amateur radio station at Wellington established contact with a Napier amateur station. The Department assumed control of both these amateur radio stations, placing Departmental telegraph operators at the disposal of the Wellington station to assist the amateur operators with the operation of the station. The two stations exchanged a large number of urgent messages until the Wellington station was released at 4.20 p.m. on the 4th February, working with Wellington Radio direct. In addition to those radio amateurs already referred to who participated in the establishment of direct channels to Wellington, considerable assistance was rendered by other amateur radio stations at Gisborne, Wairoa, Rotorua and Wellington.”
From the foregoing extract it can be seen that official recognition was given to Amateur Radio by the Post Office, and furthermore it was acknowledged that without the channels of communication provided by hams, the situation would have been much more complicated in those very early hours after the devastating shock of the earthquake. As a direct result of the earthquake amateur radio communications network, the Amateur Radio Emergency Corps was formed in March 1932 and this group still provides similar services when called upon to do so. It is unfortunate that no official recognition appears to have been given to ZL2AT who’s actions were certainly as praiseworthy as those of ZL2GE and ZL2BE, and this omission was unfortunately carried on by the early reports published in Break In and QST in who’s report are a number of errors and inconsistencies. The Earthquake and Amateur Radio. By D Chapman, ZL2VR. Break In April 1981 The Napier Earthquake. By C. Liddell, ZL3ND. Break In May 1981. New Zealand’s Tragic Earthquake. By I. O’Meara, ZL2AC. Break In March 1981 and QST, May 1931. The Shock of 31. By G. Conly Napier Earthquake (1931) Communications.(Draft) A.B. Flack, ZL2AMA
From Break-In January 1932
Well, the Spring Show is over and the boys did their stuff and they certainly made a fab job of it. The natives of this particular district were given a real radio treat and several were initiated into the mysteries of ham radio. Over 450 messages were passed over the traffic transmitter, and the star performance was on the second day when 2AL shot 90 msgs into 1BF in 40 minutes. They tell me that the overs were 20 each and not a repeat in the whole QSO. 1BF sure knows his operating oats. By the way, if those stations who took our traffic will send their accounts for postages to the writer he will see that they are met. 2FY has resigned the secretaryship of the local branch as he will be leaving the district shortly and 2AL has taken the job over. We are sorry to be losing 2FY as he has done FB work in keeping the gang together. Somebody borrowed 2DK’s call the other day and the results came out on the broadcast band, and the R.I. with a loud voice threatened to smite the hams hip and thigh unless the culprits were produced before another moon had passed. The men of Ham, trembling before such words and calling loudly upon the saints, cried “who amongst us hath done this dirty deed?” And lo and behold, it came to pass that on a certain night a hireling of the King of Ri together with the chief of the men of Ham, bore down upon the cause of the QRM, and there was much wailing and gnashing of the molars. Here endeth the first lesson. “There he sits in an empty shack, A Pirate who looketh exceedingly black. For eleven more months and ten more days must pass ere he getteth his mitter back!”
Our old friend 2BE blew in to the last two meetings. Glad to see you Jimmy OM. Keep it up and the local gang will be 100 percent NZART. 2FQ is building a 50 watt M.O.P.A. and will shortly be making big holes in the ether. Stan French has got his call at last so 2JB will be making a little more licensed QRM on 80. The local gang flung a special meeting in honour of 2GK from HQ who came up to read the riot act in the way of a new constitution. After Sid had got through it and the boys woke up, Hot Dog Dave provided the eats, which believe me where really needed. 2GK missed his job when he took up insurance. He should have been a Philadelphia lawyer. Good add. for Pulmonas, too. 2GE still doing all the talking at branch meetings but as he sells things for his crust it becomes second nature and a habit. However, the boys understand and sympathise. 2 has again threatened to build a transmitter and one of these days we will hear Bruce at the end of a key and another old War operator will have got bug. It might be a Kathleen Mavourneen business but it will come.
From Break-In March 1932
Haven’t been able to scribe for the past month as the writer went on a ham visiting expedition around Gisborne and Rotorua way over the holidays and has also only just returned from a business trip on the West Coast of the North Island. Quite a number of shacks were visited but time did not permit a visit to all. The gang hr has lost Secretary Jack Chew (2AL) who has been transferred to ZLW but you can trust the Commercials attracting our best men. The last meeting of the local branch, took place on the 5th inst, as it was supposed to be our annual meeting. We decided to throw it open to a gallery by broadcasting the proceedings over 2CR’s phone transmitter, and any listening ham schooled in the rules of debate must surely have thrown a fit at the unparliamentarily method of running a meeting. However, every case on its merits, and we sure know how to keep the gang together and 100% N.Z.A.R.T. The only thing that we were scared about was that the mike might be open while 2KT was entertaining the bunch! At this meeting the boys fell good and hard for the H.Q. idea of the R.E.C. and a strong working committee was formed to get it going. Nobody knows better than we do that such a scheme is needed, and as a matter of fact we already had a similar scheme on this year’s programme. Jimmy Mills, of 2BE and QRP fame, was elected chairman for 1932, while 2GE took on the doubtful honour of sec and treas. Quite a number of new hams were enrolled and we had much pleasure in welcoming an old timer in the form of Eric Beale, 2AT, who years ago was ZL2BC.
The Bing Boys (2FQ and 2FW) are again on the air and making the writer’s life miserable with local QRM. The brothers Spittenkoff (2CR and 2FY) had a phone QSO – but there, that’s enough of that. Hi! 2KT is thinking of taking a trip round with the next J.C. Williamson crowd that comes over from Aussie and the local boys are thinking of presenting him with a phone outfit in order to cut out the QRM on 80. Nobody would work while he was on the air. 2AT got a letter from a YL op the other day, and did the OW go crook? Ask Eric. Comrade Weaver, one of our non-transmitting members, is taking a trip to the Old Country next month, and is taking a receiver with him to report on the local gang’s signals while on the way, and it is learned that 2CR, is going to run ten 210A’s in parallel, with the hopes of bagging the world’s CQ endurance contest. The younger members of the fraternity are getting seriously alarmed at the number of YL OPS that are breaking into the game, and are suggesting that shortly they will be dubbed “Queens” if they are caught looking at a copy of “Break In.” –
From Break-In May 1932
Sorry, gang, that there were no notes last month as I have been out of town. Also have to apologise to 3CU for the non maintenance of guard skeds, but in this case the chap who was supposed to have kept them, fell down on the job. There appears to have been little activity here during the last month, as most of the gang has been kept busy chasing a crust. ZL2CR and 2FW have been busy building the R.E.C. transmitters and by the time these notes appear we will have seen how they perk. ZL2AT is very bucked these days as his grid modulated phone is getting into Nelson R8. 2CR is building a super station and by the size of it, it looks as if 2BE will have to get a few more K.W. tubes. ZL2KJ now very much in evidence these days, but then again the bread and butter comes first. 2KT still has a few more stories to tell and is occasionally heard with a decent DC sig. Haven’t heard 2FY for a while now. How did the class B modulator go, Harry? ZL2GE, off the air with the MOPA and working on portable. Batteries for MO and buffer ran out and no time to make another power supply. ZL2FW still digging into the innards of radio sets, and they tell me that his shack is now like a second-hand shop. ZL2BE reluctantly had to resign from the presidency of the local branch owing to private pressure of business. Hi! 2CR is now king pin. Anzac Day will see if the local R.E.C. unit is any use or not, and judging by the keenness of the gang it should go off without a hitch.
From Break-In June 1932
The Hawke’s Bay section has been thoroughly organised, and keen interest is being shown by all members. The section held a field day recently and a very enjoyable time was spent by all concerned. The outpost at Dartmoor contacted zone at Pukitapu at 12 noon as arranged. At 12.10 the zone contacted the guard (2SE) at Napier. At approx 12.15 2SE worked back to the zone station. The local branch was held in readiness to go with a search party for three boys who were lost at Cape Kidnappers recently. They were missing for about three days, and it was decided that the R.E.C. should give some assistance, but they turned up OK -to the disappointment of the gang. We experienced a fairly sharp earthquake on the 5th about 8p.m, and five minutes after the lights failed the gang and transmitters were in readiness, but fortunately no damage was done, so their services were not needed. It is proposed to hold another field day shortly. Hawke’s Bay R.E.C.
Amateur radio is becoming more popular in this district, and we welcome 2KI and 2KK to the ranks; and there is also prospect of more enthusiasts qualifying for their tickets. So far the gang have had two false alarms since the forming of the R.E.C. One was for two juveniles who wandered astray to Cape Kidnappers, but returned without radio assistance. The other was on Thursday, 5th, when a quake of no mean intensity arrived unannounced, whereupon the R.E.C. portable was hired to the shack of 2GE who was found “kind all het up, “dropping candle grease into his power tranny. At this stage we will inform all who answered the QST from here on that night that funny noises began issuing from nowhere, and until located, it was impossible to use the receiver. The results of the field day held on Anzac Day were very gratifying as will be seen in the R.E.C. notes. ZL2AT is very pleased with grid modulation, having reached Nelson with it. What did you do with that jimmie-o-goblin, Eric? 2BE continues to rebuild. 2CR now ex-2CR embarks for VP in June. We are sure losing a keen member. All the best from the gang, Ron OM. 2FQ busy with crystal control (hm! hm!). In between times QSO’s 2FW on 240 cycles (?). 2FW trying bridge rectifiers and finds fascination in burning contacts off 2FQ’s new key. 2FY is also rebuilding but QSO’s on QRP in meantime. 2GE building BCL receiver and how! 2GY lost in a maze of haywires. 2JQ heard working W’s quite often. 2KD is not heard so much lately; s’pose QRL. 2KI and 2KK also not heard much. 2KJ is very QRL, but when he does come on, “O Ether, look out!” 2KM at Pokowhai, heard occasionally, 2KT still doing strong. 2JB is at Masterton, we believe, and the boys send you 73’s, Stan. “The Bing Boys.” 2FW and 2FQ
From Break-In July 1932
Nothing much of interest has happened here during the past month, unless of course, the fact that 2GE, wishing to try the effect of a bleeder across his 450 volt power pack, and used his hand as the resistance could be called interesting. How,Dick? The local Motor Cycle Racing Club are going to run a TT race of 12 laps over a 10 mile course. It has been suggested that phone transmitters be installed at two or three vantage points around the course in order that the crowd at the starting point may be advised of the progress of the race. However, more next month as the gang must be consulted (or insulted as the case may be). A transmitter branch of the Napier Aero Club has been formed, and by the time these notes are read, some progress should be made with the installation of apparatus at the hangar. 2CR we hear is building a transmitter for one of the local firms. FB. 2FW’s contracted YL-itis. Hi! 2FQ hopes for a big (?) total in QRP test. 2FY a condenser mike expert. 2GY assembles bikes when not making haywire. Say, Les, read the little red book. 2KJ: Anyone like to offer Mark a job? 73 Boys. – ZL2FQ
From Break-In October 1932 (1)
At 1.30 a.m. on the 16th inst., I was awakened by a quake of fair intensity but of such a nature that indicated that the immediate locality was not its centre. A few minutes later I commenced to search the 80 and 100 metre band for urgent signals. None was heard but several local amateurs were working. I maintained a watch until about 2.30 a.m. and as no urgent signals were intercepted, I retired. Intermittently, from 7 a.m. Too 9a.m. I maintained a listening watch on the above bands but no signals were heard. Learning at this time that Wairoa had been badly damaged, I requested 2GQ to contact the Telegraph Engineer and offer our services and if necessary he and 2FQ were to proceed to Wairoa. However, as the P&T Dept had one morse and one phone circuit open to Wairoa and their own emergency radio channel to Gisborne in operation, our services were not required. During this period the writer proceeded to Hastings with the object of supervising any arrangements that might be necessary down there, intending to return to Napier by the time the Wairoa station would be in action. Immediately on arrival in Hastings I contacted both 2KD and 2FY and learned that the equipment was ready for work. Napier was then rung up and it was learned that our services would not be required. As the P&T Dept. were using their emergency radio for urgent traffic, I requested the proprietors of the local broadcasting station to transmit a message asking amateurs to refrain from transmitting on the 80 metre band while the P&T transmitter was in operation. I also sent two similar calls at 6.45 p.m. on the 80 metre band (while the P&T station was off the air). A monitoring watch was kept upon 80 metres until 10 p.m. and no local amateur used a transmitter. Early on the morning of 17th, I rang Perry (2FC) Wairoa, and asked if we could be of any assistance, such as acting as feeder station between isolated districts, and Wairoa, but he informed me that all communications were OK, and that he would have a portable station ready by Monday morning. It will be seen that our services were not necessary but had they been we were ready to jump off the mark. There is one point, however, that I should like to bring up, and that is a matter of hams using their transmitters instead of their receivers. Immediately the shake was over several local transmitters cluttered up the ether in comparing notes while they should have been listening in for any urgent signal. Had one of these been on top of a weak QRP outfit it would not have been heard. I am bringing the matter up at the next meeting, but I think that you should put the matter pretty strongly in “Break In.”
Yours faithfully, G.E. TYLER, Section Leader
From Break-In October 1932 (2)
The local Branch held the usual meeting on the 7th inst., and 16 members presented themselves. Two new members were welcomed to the gang, ZL2LV and ZL2MQ, and understand that there is a prospect of two more enthusiasts about to enter “hamdom.” A most acceptable acquisition to our branch is Mr F.I.R. Hunt, ZL2GQ, from Gisborne, who is now permanently stationed in Napier. To show our great appreciation of this fact, we have elected 2GQ as our vice – president for the remainder of the year on account of the absence of Mr. Ron Scott, 2CR, our president, who has unfortunately gone to Waipawa to live. 2GQ has also been attached to the R.E.C. We have another old timer back on the air now, in the person of Bruce Barclay, ZL2DK, and he has been putting over a pretty spruce bark lately. At the last meeting a motion to split the Napier-Hastings Branch into two Branches was put forward but was well squashed, the boys preferring to remain one big family. The Branch is getting a big affair here and the membership is increasing rapidly, but rather than break up the Branch the boys decided to keep together and hold the meetings alternatively in Hastings and Napier. This is the spirit which will hold the N.Z.A.R.T together, and as long as we have the unity, we shall have the strength to carry on the good work. The Napier Aero Club is to install a transmitter at the aerodrome in the near future, and a couple of the local gang are putting a lot of their time towards this end. The boys are; 2KD all hot under the collar building Hastings R.E.C. transmitter. 2GE has just built a modulated oscillator as big as a house, and has just found 175 KC. FB, OM. 2FY still manufacturing condenser mikes and making peace with BCL’s. Poor Harry! 2CR in Waipawa is not heard now. How come OM? 2FQ working DX on 40 metres and some on 80? 2KI and 2KK (the long and short of it) busting the ether with phone rag chews. 2KJ got the OW hunting for nodal points in his antenna. Can’t you give the junior OP a job too, Mark? 2GY is dead scared to go on phone in case of a session with the R.I. Les, has a very handy shack for Branch meetings. 2JB is welcome back to Hastings again. 2KT -oh where oh where is our KT gone? 2AT, our grid modulation expert, gets R8 from ZL3. 2KM stationed at Pakowhai; still gets into Hastings at R6. 2FW is very busy with service test instruments. 73’s – 2FQ and 2FW
The Central Hawkes Bay Branch NZART
The significance of the inductor on the box in the foreground is unknown but they seem to be quite proud of it!
From Right to left – 2MD, 2HP, 2CZ and 2NM
From Break-In December 1932
The activities in amateur radio in this district during the past twelve months have shown that this hobby is increasing in popularity to a great extent. During the past year many enthusiasts have passed their tickets and joined up with the local Branch here, making a total to date of 16 transmitting members, as well as several listeners. At the annual general meeting, held at the beginning of the year, the responsibility of the chair was entrusted to Mr. R.H.J. Scott (ZL2CR), the secretary being Mr. G.E. Tyler (ZL2GE). The meetings of the Branch are held alternately in Napier and Hastings in the shacks of different members, after which the “boys” adjourn to a nearby restaurant for supper, which makes an excellent way of winding up such a pleasant evening. The meetings are carried on in a quite formal fashion, opening by the secretary reading the previous minutes and correspondence, after which subjects are brought up for discussion, and members discuss different transmitting problems which they have encountered. These meetings are thoroughly enjoyed by all who attend, and also tend to hold the Association together as a body, as well as being a great help in settling minor local matters in connection with station interference etc. During the year a list of Branch rules was drawn up in order to ensure perfect harmony in the future, concerning new members, election of officers and voting, etc. The inauguration of the Radio Emergency Corps was welcomed with great enthusiasm in this district, and it was decided from the outset to form a section here, details of the activities of which will be found in the R.E.C. notes. Many of the amateurs in this district have now obtained higher frequency permits and DX conditions during the past three months have been quite favourable, quite a number of the new members having had QSO’s with other continents on low powered transmitters. Since the earthquake of 1931, conditions here in regard to electric power interference have been far from satisfactory, many of us having been forced to break off QSO’s on account of this trouble, but we do hope and dream that there will be a time when interference and static of any description will be gone, and forgotten, never to return. In reference to transmitter design in this district, there seems to be a tendency to build low powered MOPA’s, some in push-pull, some with buffer stages, and some just the conventional driver and power amplifier. Phone transmissions are heard quite often from this district, and some are as good as those heard on the broadcast band. In conclusion, let us, on behalf of the Napier-Hastings Branch of the N.Z.A.R.T., tender congratulations to the Headquarters staff at Christchurch, who have done their work so wonderfully well during the past year, with special mention of their achievements in the publication of “Break In” and the inauguration of the Radio Emergency Corps. We wish them as well as the other members of N.Z.A.R.T. A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Napier – Hastings Section R.E.C. December 1932
Back Row (Left to Right) M.Pettifer, ZL2KJ (Operator); F.I.R.Hunt, ZL2GQ (Operator). Front Row (Left to Right) C.Simpson, ZL2KD (Asst Equipt Supervisor); I.Baird, (Sec) H.Roberts, ZL2FY (Deputy Secn Ldr); G.E.Tyler, ZL2GE (Secn Ldr); H.E.Etheridge, ZL2FW (Eqpt Supervisor); A.Crabtree, ZL2FQ (Operator).
From Break-In October 1932 (2)
The Hawke’s Bay Branch of the R.E.C. was efficiently organised at a local meeting of the N.Z.A.R.T. early in March of this year, when the following members were elected:- Section Leader G.E. Tyler, 2GE; Deputy Section Leader H.R. Roberts, 2FY; Equip. Supervisor H. Etheridge, 2FW; Asst. Equip. Supervisor C. Simpson, 2KD; Secretary and Treasurer, T.F. Baird; Operators, F. Hunt, 2GQ, A. Crabtree, 2FQ, L. Wass, 2GY, M. Pettifer, 2KJ. On the various field days participated in, the gang acquitted itself admirably in regard to speedy station erection and operating technique. (Ask 2GE; he is an old Navy op and he knows!) We possess two portable combination transmitters and receivers, each approximately 18 inches square, and have a smaller and lower power job under construction. For transport purposes we are very fortunate in possessing two cars, a caravan fitted up with three bunks, and a sea-going motor-launch. A newcomer to our ranks was Frank Hunt, 2GQ (of QRP fame); very acceptable too! We would like to take this opportunity of sending our best wishes for Christmas and New Year to all the R.E.C. Sections and 73’s to members individually.
T.F. Baird, Hon Sec. and Treas.
NAPIER – HASTINGS BRANCH NZART December 1932
Back Row (Left to Right) M.Pettifer, ZL2KJ; S.French, ZL2JB; P.Crook, ZL2MQ; A.Crabtree, ZL2FQ; Mr I.Baird; J.O’Neill, ZL2KT; A.Robertson, ZL2KM; H.Roberts, ZL2FY; E.Beale ZL2AT. Front Row (Left to Right) C.Simpson, ZL2KD; H.Etheridge, ZL2FW; F.I.R.Hunt, ZL2GQ (VicePresident); R.Scott, ZL2CR (President); G.E.Tyler, ZL2GE (Secretary); R.H.King, ZL2KI; L.J.Young, ZL2KK.
From Break-In January 1933
At the annual general meeting of the Napier-Hastings Branch it was decided to appoint a Headquarters Representative Committee, and the following were elected to that position:- F. Hunt, 2GQ C. Simpson, 2QD H. Roberts, 2FY G.E. Tyler, 2GE 2GQ and 2KD are the president and secretary respectively. We ask N.Z. traffic stations to keep in touch with Napier, Hastings gang towards the end of January, for we are having a “Rebuilt Napier” carnival and that means a traffic station for greeting traffic. At the annual general meeting of the Branch the following were elected to office:- President: F. Hunt, ZL2GQ Vice President: H. Etheridge, ZL2FW. Secretary: C. Simpson ZL2KD, 207 Avenue Rd Hastings. Would any amateurs or intending amateurs in this district please communicate with the secretary at the above address. We offer Headquarters 1933, our earnest support. We will back you up in your activities as we have a very soft spot for Headquarters Toilers. 2GE (HISTORY.32J)
From Break-In February 1933
Since the last of our branch notes were published in Break In, we have had what is known as a “Beano” “Binge” or “Hamfest which, (to those who do not understand the above terms) means a gathering of hams where eating and drinking(?) competitions are indulged in. This was a huge success and both competitions were won (hands down) by ZL2KK. Congrats OM! ! ! Some say “Good old Pasty.” At the time of the publication of these notes, this branch will be transmitting rubber stamp messages from the Napier Carnival, and we hope that the show will be a success. Now for a little information about the doings of the local members. 2BN an old timer is back again on 40 mx. 2KK tried phone but his mike gave him trouble so he threw it into the swamp. 2FW spends all day with BC sets so hasn’t much time for SW. 2DK another OT again threatens to stage a come back. This is getting monotonous, Bruce 2MT has given the ham band up through QRM. 2GQ QRO on 40, 2FQ got card from EU. Also pirate using that call with phone. 2FY still seems to be putting out some fb phone, once again tried and deserted Class B mod. Mr.R. Bullivant is a new ham in Napier with the call 2NF. Welcome Ray. As news scarce will QRT. – The “Bing Boys”. (HISTORY.33A)
From Break-In August 1933
Well, here we are again, but it’s a wonder! The local gang held a Hamfest and what a Hamfest! It was held early in the month at the QRA of 2ZL, located at Mr. John Holden’s residence in Hastings. The fellows were all shown the works of 2ZL before the proceedings started, after which the station was fortunately kept behind barred doors! It might be unwise to go into full details, but the evening was voted a great success by all and sundry and some are waiting for the next Hamfest, while some are not, but would hate to admit it. There is not very much dope from individual members this month. 2CR is QRL with BCL sets and is not heard these days. 2FW and 2FQ have been busy on an 80 metre phone outfit and 2FW has been getting some fb reports from VK. 2FY was heard working W’s on 40, but the strain proved too much for his tranny, which lay down and died. 2GE is still QRL and is not heard these days. 2GQ has been on 20 metres when time permits. 2GY was not at the Hamfest as he said he was deer stalking – not spelt with an “a” as far as we know. 2KD has not been heard of since the Hamfest! 2KI and 2KK had a discussion at the beano with 2FW on Class B modulation, and say that they almost convinced him that it is NG. What happened, Harry? 2MT is QRL selling radios. 2OI is still skating and he keeps late hours too – must be getting into training for next DX season, OM? 73 until next month. – ZL2GQ
From Break-In November 1933
Well here we are again and still going strong! To the outsiders it might appear that the Napier-Hastings gang, or at any rate the Napier part of it is lying dormant, judging by the lack of “CQ DX” from that town, but if we get under the surface we find that there is a rebuilding craze going on in Napier at the present time hence the lack of local QRM. ZL2BN as had a M.O.P.A. perking for some time now and was heard the other night making negotiations for a crystal. ZL2BN and ZL2KI are also busy building new receivers, the three tube variety using a 58 and 56 tubes a la QST, so everyone may expect a decent report from these two stations. 2KI finished his the other evening and switched it on to get a VK and got a shock instead. No doubt the receiver got a good report from Dick, at any rate, he did not turn up at the Branch meeting that night! 2KI is also crystal, and it is believed that 2KK intends following suit. ZL2KD has also been rebuilding and now has a brand new receiver in operation and a M.O.P.A. rig. ZL2KJ has completed his new receiver, but is QRX at present as he is QRL swatting. ZL2GE has not had time to get going yet at his new QRA as he is pretty QRL with work. ZL2GQ has made some alterations in his receiver and doesn’t have to listen to ZL2BN every time he starts listening to 40 mx DX! ZL2FQ is not heard much these days, but we might hear him in earnest some day as he is now working down at 2ZH and his eyes roll and his lips smack every time he sees those 1/4 kw tubes light up. Why don’t you take one home and try it out in the M.O.P.A. Aubie? ZL2FW is heard occasionally on phone. ZL2OI managed to work his first VK the other night. Congratulations Len. ZL2FY has been working duplex lately and is anxiously waiting for the 20 mx phone permits to be handed out. The gang has been slightly augmented recently as ZL2PC has been transferred from Southern Hawke’s Bay to Napier and can be heard nearly every night emitting a nice signal on the 80 mx band. We are pleased to welcome you OM to a fine city. The gang! have been honoured for the past week by a visit from ZL1FC from Tauranga. He has been making the lads eyes pop out and their jaws drop, by telling them how he used to load up to four 201A’s with 300 volts and nearly as many mills and work the world. He said the tubes weren’t much use afterwards though!!! We have also had a visit from another Bay of Plenty ham – ZL1CC who stayed for a short time in Hastings. The Napier boys wondered what happened to you OM. There’s nothing much to report on the rest of the gang although they are all pretty active and have been heard on and off during the past month 73 for the present. ZL2GQ
Napier-Hastings Branch Officers for 1934:
President, Harry Roberts, ZL2FY Vice President, G.E.Tyler, ZL2GE. Secretary and Treasurer, S.J. Hislop ZL2BN – Fraternally yours S.J. Hislop, ZL2BN, Hon Sec.
(Copied from Break In of 8th February 1934, page 40.)
From Break-In April 1934
Well, here we are again, still as alive and kicking as ever though the notes from this branch have been missing for some little time. The only excuse that can be raked up is “too QRL” so we will leave it at that. As a matter of fact, the local branch has been far from dead, although not very much has been heard lately from the Hastings end of the business – what’s happened to you fellows? Of course during the summer months there are so many more attractions – ask ZL2CR!! The DX conditions on 7mc. have been quite satisfactory and ZL2BN has now clicked W on 3.5mc. He has changed over from a full wave 7 mc. Zepp to half wave, and has noticed quite an improvement especially with W. This difference, however, might possibly be due to the change in direction of his antenna. ZL2KI rebuilt for the tests and is now using a three stage crystal rig with a 50 watter in the final. ZL2BN and ZL2KI are only about 100 yards apart and have both installed tube keying and can work on 7 mc. with very slight QRM from each other. ZL2PC has now his H.F. permit and has been giving the W’s quite a lot of work. He is using push-pull 10’s in a T.P.T.G. with about 60 watts input. ZL2KK has also rebuilt and is promising to blossom forth on QRO. He has already blistered the base of one 50 watter with R.F. but seems undaunted and has a 1 kw tranny sitting there ready to feed anything that comes along. It is hoped that Les won’t go along himself at the wrong moment!! ZL2GQ has been playing round with phone on 3.5 mc. He also wants to hear from anyone interested in 28mc. work and will be pleased to make arrangements for a sked on that band any Sunday morning or afternoon, so just drop a line so that something might be done about it as there seems a lack of stations on 28mc. at present. Nothing very much has been heard of the rest of the gang lately, except that 2OI seems to be putting out a good hefty sig on 3.5 mc. It is believed to be a new rig. 73 and cheerio for the present. ZL2GQ
There is nothing very much of interest to report this month in connection with the doings in Napier and Hastings except that some very FB DX has been worked by some of the fellows. ZL2BN and ZL2KI have both been working Europe consistently since the international contest, and have been working quite a number of new countries. They have been having a little private contest of their own, as a matter of fact, and seem to be keeping pretty well neck to neck. ZL2KK is on with his QRO and has been having some very consistent results with DX. ZL2KJ was visited a few nights ago and has a very nice looking job, which he is operating on the 3.5 mc. band. Mark seems to be one of the few active Napier hams who has not been bitten by the DX bug. He is coaching a YL for her ticket and we wish her luck. ZL2GY is building an M.O.P.A. and should be on deck with it at an early date. ZL2PC has rebuilt the outfit and is having quite a number of European QSO’s and ZL2BN can report George QSO 5 any time of the day or night anywhere and anyhow. Good work George! It might be of interest to say that if three 82s have an argument with one filter condenser, the three 82s will invariably come off second best. ZL2KI experienced that to his sorrow and there was a weeping and wailing, etc!! ZL2GI is still QRL work but has some great plans for a very FB rig when he gets time to put it together. ZL2OI is QRL too, but not work. YL-it is, I believe! ZL2GQ is still anxious to QSO anybody on 28mc. and is on that band every Sunday morning from 10a.m. to noon. A number of skeds have been kept but ng so far. How about some of the South Island hams giving it a buck. I am sorry to say that there is nothing to report from the Hastings gang, they are either lost, stolen or strayed, and I think it is probably the latter. I am afraid that is QRU for this month. 73 – ZL2GQ
1935 Story Compiled by D.A. Dunn. ZL2AZC in Nov 1990
Hamish Armstrong was the son of Mr and Mrs Frank Armstrong of Akito Station near Dannevirke. He owned his own D.H. Moth aeroplane and was reported at the time as being one of the first and most skilled pilots in the Dominion of New Zealand He had taken a distinguished part in competitive events at aero pageants throughout NZ and also had flying experience in England. At about 10a.m. on Sunday 21st July, 1935, Armstrong took off from Akito Station in his Moth aircraft with the stated intention of flying to Hastings where he expected to land about noon. After a brief stopover he proposed returning to Akito to land there in the late afternoon. He did not arrive back at Akito and it was nightfall before Mrs Armstrong felt any anxiety for her son’s safety. Enquiries then revealed that officials at the Hastings aerodrome had not been aware of Armstrong’s intended flight and therefore felt no concern at his non arrival. Armstrong’s normal route when flying between Akito Station and Hastings was near to the and parallel with the Wakarara and Ruahine Ranges. Additional enquiries revealed that about the time Armstrong took off from Akito a large area near Ongaonga over which Armstrong would normally have flown was covered with heavy fog. Ongaonga is only a few miles east of where the country starts to rise steeply to the Wakarara Range and even at that distance there are peaks rising to about two thousand feet. Two men hunting in the vicinity of Gardiner and Yeoman’s mill at the settlement of Wakarara reported seeing an aeroplane for a few moments before it disappeared into the fog at about 11 a.m. The engine appeared to be functioning properly and sounds heard a little later indicated that the aeroplane was probably circling. The machine appeared to cross a ridge and then turn toward the Ruahine Range. The hunters then heard what they described as “a peculiar sound” and then silence.
The Wakarara settlement is on the banks of the Makororo River and located about twelve miles in a north-westerly direction from Ongaonga. Hills in the area rise to between two thousand and three thousand feet. Air searches for the missing aeroplane started on Monday morning. Those initially involved were Mr. Duthie from Palmerston North, Flight Lieutenant Gerrand and Flying Officer Gordon White of the RNZAF and Mr. Stanley White and Mr. Maurice Field of the Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Aero Club flying four machines. Aeroplanes involved with the search were based at Takapau, with Flt. Lt. Gerrand in overall command. The search was concentrated in the area where the hunters had reported seeing the machine the previous day, but no sightings of a downed aeroplane were made. There was still a great deal of fog in the area and conditions were too dangerous to allow the searchers any chance of crossing the Ruahine Range, or to search the higher parts of the hill country. Flight. Lt. Buckeridge from the Wairarapa Aero Club joined the searchers in the early afternoon and machines from Wellington and RNZAF Base, Hobsonville were expected later in the day. Ground parties were sent out to search likely areas in the vicinity of the Wakarara settlement. The ground searches were later extended further afield with parties entering the ranges at Norsewood. On Tuesday the Hawke’s Bay Tribune reported that nine aeroplanes and ground parties totalling nearly forty men were involved, but no trace of the missing machine or its pilot had been found. Additional aeroplanes to arrive in the search area included a DH Moth from Wellington piloted by Mr. Rawnsley with Mr. K. Smith as observer.
Another machine from the Manawatu Aero Club was piloted by Mr.L. McGaffin and the report mentioned the name of another pilot – Mr. Ian Keith. A DH Dragon from East Coast Airways also joined the search with WG. Cdr. Grant Dalton as observer. The following is a verbatim extract from the same report: “A party consisting of members of the Emergency Radio Corps from Napier and Hastings have now established a base at Takapau and two of the parties in the hills have transmitters with which they can send out messages to the Base receiving station. The Emergency Radio Corps party left for Takapau early this morning and consists of Messrs G.E. Tyler, F.R. Hunt, S. Hislop, R. King and H. Etheridge, all of Napier, and Mr. H.R. Roberts of Hastings. Mr. King and Mr.Hislop travelled to Dannevirke last evening so that they could leave as transmission experts with the search parties this morning. The radio party will remain in the district as long as the search continues. A representative of the “Tribune” is accompanying the radio party. “Weather conditions during the period of the search were extremely poor, the snow and fog making any coordinated searching of the extremely rugged and mountainous high country impossible. Aerial searches were confined to distances of about thirty two miles along each side of the ranges and about ten miles out, mostly centred opposite Wakarara. The ground parties, which entered the lower reaches of the ranges were led by experienced bushmen. On Wednesday it was announced that searches in the Wakarara area for the missing aeroplane had been abandoned in the meantime because of the poor weather conditions. Flying had ceased and all ground parties had been recalled.
Search Control moved to Hastings with nine machines standing by at that aerodrome. The search area was then defined as comprising some 650 square miles bounded roughly by lines drawn from Blackhead to Cape Kidnappers, across to the Kaimanawa Range near Kuripaponga and Ngamatea to the west, then southwards to Ashhurst and across again eastwards to Blackhead. By Wednesday a number of reports were being received of aeroplanes having been seen or heard over more northern parts of the province. Some of these led to four aeroplanes searching an area roughly bounded by Puketitiri, Kuripaponga and Kereru, but without success. On Thursday an East Coast Airways machine piloted by Sqn. Ldr. T.W. White flew towards Wakarara to determine the state of the weather. He found it was hopeless for flying with heavy snowfalls in the hills and an abundance of fog. Ground parties were standing by to resume the search when the weather permitted, but it was feared that deep ravines and swollen streams would make further ground activity very difficult. By Friday additional sighting reports had raised high hopes that Armstrong might be found in an area west-north-west of Puketitiri. Thirteen machines were despatched to the area and each one carried a supply of emergency provisions which it was hoped to drop in the event of Armstrong or his aeroplane being sighted. It was also arranged to have a doctor standing by with the possibility of flying him in to as near a crash site as possible. Puketitiri was by then considered the most likely area and the ground searches which had resumed in the Wakarara area were suspended. An East Coast Airways DH Dragon at that time was the only aeroplane operating in the Ruahine District.
The following is a verbatim report from the Hawke’s Bay Tribune of Friday July 26th, 1935: “The Emergency Radio Corps have now established a receiving station at the Hastings Aerodrome, and a transmitting station has been established at Ngamatea – about 25 miles north-west of Puketitiri. “Mr. Cyril Hunter who assisted search organisers at the Hastings aerodrome commented that those people assisting the searchers by going out in cars to question those who have sent in sighting reports have been of great assistance, and they were continuing to be active in that direction. The name of another person reported as assisting with the search was E. Barker. Searches continued during the weekend over a wider area from Puketitiri. By Monday 29th July, four machines were based at Taupo but poor weather prevented them from flying. By Tuesday no sightings had been made of Armstrong or his aeroplane and it was announced that air searches by Aero Club machines would cease from the following day and that hope of finding Armstrong alive had been abandoned. Air Force machines were expected to continue the search for a few more days. It is a matter of record that pilots, observers and machines from as far north as Auckland and as far south as Christchurch took part in the search. A memorial service for Hamish Armstrong was held at Akito during the afternoon of Wednesday July 31st, 1935. On Sunday morning August 4th 1935, a skiing party of three Napier men while climbing the slopes of the main Ruahine Range behind Wakarara found Armstrong’s aeroplane lying tilted on one wing and extensively damaged, although the cockpit area and seat appeared to be intact. This plus the absence of any sign of Armstrong suggested the possibility that he may have been uninjured and walked off to seek assistance or a way out of the hills.
A second party of trampers arrived on the scene a little later and members of the two parties combined to search the area for any sign of Armstrong, but without success. Discovery of the wreckage was reported to the authorities and on the following day Captain Forde and Constable Moss from the Tikokino area carried out additional searches. The aircraft was prominent with one wing high in the air. It was in open space above the timber line about a hundred yards down a fairly steep slope of the western side of the range which is approximately 4500 feet high at that point. Lower down below the timber line the terrain was extremely rugged with heavy bush and deep gorges. The two parties which discovered the wreckage were following a well known track used by hunters and trampers, and the wreck was only a short distance from this track. Discovery of the wreck was made a fortnight almost to the minute after Armstrong’s machine was heard by several Wakarara residents. Considerable doubt had developed concerning the reported sightings by the two hunters and others in the Wakarara area. They had staunchly maintained that their reports were accurate and discovery of the aircraft wreckage where it was completely exonerated them of uttering any inaccuracies or falsehoods.
Snow around the wreckage was to a depth of about six feet and it had almost turned to ice. The wreck was inspected by FG. Off. C.R. White, ex RAF who forwarded a report to the Director of Air Services. FG. Off. White expressed the opinion that the aircraft had made a pancake landing and agreed with other opinions that Armstrong was probably not injured. Ground parties searched the area extensively, but no trace of Armstrong’s remains has ever been found. There is no record of radio communications having been provided for those searches. Members of the Armstrong family inspected the wreckage with the idea of salvaging the engine and other fittings. Souvenir hunters soon descended on the wreck and one of the official parties searching for Armstrong one day found thirty to forty people gathered around the wreck – some with hacksaws, others tearing pieces away with their bare hands. It seems likely that Messrs King and Hislop travelled to Taihape rather than Dannevirke to join ground parties on the Tuesday morning as stated in HISTORY.35B below. The wreckage was reported to have been found on the western slopes of the Ruahine Range. In the absence of additional information this would appear to be incorrect – the eastern slope would appear to be the most likely. The military ranks mentioned in the reports may have been RNZAF which was at that time a very new Service or else were ex RFC or RAF from the First World War and still active with the Territorial Air Force.
The Armstrong search is said to have led to the formation of the Heretaunga Tramping Club. An article in a comparitively recent issue of the Club’s magazine is said to have described some aspects of the search operation – possibly those concerning the ground search parties. It is also understood that the AREC activity record book of the Napier Branch NZART contains a description of activities during the search by members of the Radio Emergency Corps. A few years ago the Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune newspaper featured a description of the search and something of Armstrong’s background. The date of publication may have been around the time the article appeared in the Heretaunga Tramping Club’s magazine.
By D.A. Dunn, ZL2AZC.
Since compiling the above account the author has been priveleged to view a copy of a report by Flight Lt A.G. Gerrand titled “Search Operations – H. Armstrong”. It is a painstaking and highly detailed document which covers all aspects of the search. The fourteen sections are headed: Maps, Communications, Personnel Engaged, Aircraft Engaged, Transport, Accomodation and Meals, Investigation of Reports, Sequence of operations, Detailed List of Flights, Report By G.R.White, Petrol and Oil Supplies, Flying Statistics, Photographs, Progress Maps. It appears that the report was compiled to support a claim to the central Government of the day for reimbursement of the expenses incurred. Following are a few notes and extracts from the report together with comments which may be of additional interest. AA road maps of the North Island were the ones most used in the search as they were the only ones available in any quantities which were at all suitable. Single copies of Lands and Survey four mile to the inch maps were useful for examining suspect areas in greater detail. A set of maps compiled and privately owned by Mr N.Elder of Havelock North was useful for detailed examination of certain areas of the Ruahine Ranges. Mr. Elder subsequently became well known for his mapping of the mountain ranges to the west of Hawke’s Bay, and his maps were extensively used by members of the Heretaunga Tramping Club and others. The AA maps were conveniently gridded and grid references from these maps are quoted throughout Gerrand’s report.
The section of the report on Communications is quoted thus: “Communications were maintained largely by the use of the telephone, but the Napier Section of the Radio Emergency Corps were utilised to great advantage as a supplementary means. The section was organised as a base W/T and two outposts. The outposts were mobile. Each W/T outpost consisted of one or (usually) two operators and a light receiving and transmitting set which could be transported by aircraft. They were at first used to maintain communication with important land search parties but later placed at Ngamatea (D72) and Taupo. The Base W/T was also able to communicate with the Air Base, Hobsonville, and with amateur W/T operators in various towns.” And in another section of the report: “The Post and Telegraph Department rendered valuable assistance by ensuring that all bureau calls were completed promptly. It was found that bureau connections were made in almost every instance without delay. “The listing of personnel engaged in the search included numerous names which at the time were well known in aviation circles and by members of the public. In subsequent years the people concerned were among those who contributed greatly to the development of aviation. Following is a list of the pilots who participated in the search. Some will be recognised by former airmen who served with the RNZAF during WW II. RNZAF Flight Lt Buckley, Flight Lt Burrell, Fg Off Lester, Fg Off Cohen. (“Nugget” Cohen was particularly well known.) Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Aero Club A.G. Gerrand, R.M. Field, G.R. White, S.G. White, E.A. Barker, R. Armstrong. (“Gerry” Gerrand became chief pilot for Union Airways shortly after the search. Maurice Field together with his brothers Frank and Gus were well known in the Napier/Hastings area and were involved with the HBECAC from its early days. “Doggie” White was well known in the RNZAF.
Stan White flew a single engined aircraft from the UK to NZ during the 1930s.) Wairarapa and Ruahine Aero Club. J. Buckeridge, A. Buchanen, J.V. Reid, G. Cunningham, A. Claridge, B. Armstrong. Wellington Aero Club G.L. Stedman, J. Rawnsley, K. Smith, P. Couchman, K. Brownjohn, E. Lloyd, C. Hart. Auckland Aero Club D.M. Allan, H. Lett. (Harry Lett became examiner for the Civil Aviation Department post war and checked many a budding pilot through his license flight tests.) Manawatu Aero Club C.M. Duthie, L.McGaffin, R. Linklater. Western Federated Aero Club J. Keith, J. Strachan. East Coast Airways T. White, R. Kirkup. No records were kept of the names of the observers who accompanied the pilots during the search operations but because of their specialised knowledge the following were particularly useful: Flight Lt Gibson, Dr Bathgate, N. Elder, P. van Asche, R. Ensor, R. Armstrong. The following ground staff were involved in the maintenance and servicing of aircraft: R.J. Pellow, M. Bateman, H. Mollier, J. Morphy, H. Lett, S. Blackmore. Under the sub-heading “Napier Section. Radio Emergency Corps.”, the following names are listed: G.E. Tyler, Section Leader, F.I.R. Hunt, Deputy Section Leader, R.H. King, H. Roberts, H.E. Etheridge, S.J. Hislop. A complete listing of personnel who took part in the ground searches was not possible, but J. Hartgill of Akitio and Mr Cato of Takapau supervised certain of the parties. Captain L. Forde of Takapau supervised a ground party which proceeded to the crash site later. Credit is given to the Public Works Department who supplied maps for certain localitie. The Napier and Rotorua offices supplied their own key maps when they were needed.
Sixteen D.H. Moth aircraft were used in the search, twelve with D.H. Gipsy I engines, three with D.H. Gipsy Major engines and one with a D.H. Gipsy III engine. There was also a Dessoutter with a Hermes II engine, a Waco with a Continental engine and two D.H. Dragons each with two D.H. Gipsy Major engines. Twenty one aircraft in all. The search involved a total of 394 hours 20 minutes flying time. Media coverage concerning the missing aircraft resulted in the receipt of many reports suggesting its whereabouts. Many of these reports conflicted with each other and careful investigation of them all was necessary. The following rendered considerable assistance in various districts in investigating the truth of the reports: C. Hunter and J. Hartgill of Akitio, M. Smith of Dannevirke, H. Bailey of Wairoa, S.A. Robertson of Hatuma. In the “Sequence of Operations” section, Gerrand describes how five machines line abreast and at wide intervals from each other initially searched areas in the lower ranges. This arrangement was found to be too cumbersome and the formation was subsequently reduced to three aircraft. This was also found to be unweildy and thereafter the aircraft searched in pairs wherever possible. During the fifth day of the search, (Friday) a report was received of a machine having been heard from the Taupo Road at or near Rangitaiki the previous Sunday morning. The decision was then made to base two pairs of machines at Taupo from the following day and a ground party with a wireless outpost, oil and other stores was sent to Taupo during the night. On the Saturday with four aircraft operating from Taupo, reports of operations from Taupo airfield and instructions from Hastings for future flights were exchanged by W/T and telephone. As already described, the wreckage of Armstrong’s Moth aeroplane, ZK-ABM was subsequently located behind Wakarara. Gerrand’s report places it more precisely near Maropea Peak in the Ruahines. Gerrand Comments: “In view of past experience in similar circumstances, it was felt that little reliance, without complete investigation, could be placed on reports from people having seen or heard a machine on the day in question – once the news that a machine was missing and that reports were wanted became widespread.
Many reports were received that were subsequently proved to be irrelevant, but each one had to be investigated and this usually took some time. It was usually arranged that machines should search the areas indicated by these reports, but that no concentration should be made until the reports were proved reliable. “The air search covered some areas more than once. This was deliberate as it was recognised that pilots and observers can overfly an object as large as a Moth aeroplane without sighting it. This was demonstrated after the wreckage was discovered when two pilots were led over the scene. Both pilots knew the location of the wreckage but neither was able to spot it even though another aircraft was circling the site. Some pilots were inexperienced in map reading and it was recognised that search areas allocated to them were probably not completely covered. The broken nature of the country necessitated pilots flying up and down gulleys at low altitudes. While doing this it is particularly difficult for pilots to ensure that they have completely covered a given area. In any event the very poor weather conditions in almost every instance prevented searching an area as completely as was desirable. G.R. White’s official report details damage to the wrecked aircraft and notes that the cockpit instruments were undamaged except for the watch which had stopped at 1202 hours. The switches were in the contact position, the petrol cock was turned on and the throttle was in the closed position. The engine appeared to be undamaged. White concluded that the pilot had made a stalled landing nose first some distance up the hillside and rolled down to where it then lay.
From Break-In September 1935
The biggest task yet attempted by the R.E.C. was carried out by the Napier-Hastings Section of the Corps, when many land parties and aeroplanes were engaged in the search for the missing Dannevirke airman, Mr Hamish Armstrong. The Emergency Corps operators responded immediately the call was sent to them to assist in the search, and during a period of almost ten days’ continuous work rendered a service that was of vital importance to the aeroplanes and land parties alike. The nature of the R.E.C. communications in the search demanded the best that the Corps could give, both in organisation and operating ability, and it is with pride that we extend to our brother hams at Napier and Hastings our appreciation and congratulations for the splendid manner in which their work was carried out. Under the able leadership of Mr. G. Tyler, the Section went into action on the 22nd of July, when at 11.30 p.m. Mr. S.J. Hislop and Mr. R.H. King left Napier with a portable transmitter and receiver to join a search party setting out from Taihape early the following morning. At 7 a.m. on the 23rd Mr. F. I. Hunt and Mr. H.R. Roberts proceeded to join a search party at Ashley Clinton, and a few minutes later the Section Leader, Mr. Tyler and Mr. H. Etheridge left to establish a base station at Takapau, which was later moved to the Hastings aerodrome. Before noon all the three R.E.C. stations had contacted each other and were ready to handle traffic. Mr. Hunt reported that his station, 2EO, was located at Thompson’s Mill at the foot of the Ruahines, and Messrs Hislop and King reported that 2EP was at Taihape. From this time onward 2EP was continually being moved from place to place, being operated at Taihape, Utiku, Otupae, Whanawhana station etc. Good contact was being maintained between both 2EP and 2EO and the base station, 2EN, and the activities of the search parties were regularly supplied to the officers in charge of the search. In order that there should be no breakdown in the R.E.C. contacts, Mr. J.R. Shirley, of ZL2JQ, covered the whole of the operations of the Corps, and filled the breach on many occasions when difficulty was being experienced with skip, etc. By staying at his key from early morning till late at night throughout the period of the search, 2JQ provided a vital link in the communications. In his report, Mr. Tyler stresses the important part played by Mr. Shirley, and says: “His cooperation and energy was whole hearted, and there is no doubt that a good share of the success of the operations, from a radio point of view, was due to him. “The location of the two portable stations, 2EO and 2EP, operated by messrs Hunt, King, Hislop and Roberts, changed almost daily. Sometimes the transport would be by ‘plane and sometimes by car, but at the appointed time each day these operators would report themselves, and important traffic would pass through their hands with the reliability of permanent stations.
During the last few days 2EO was located at Taupo aerodrome, and with only two watts of power the assistance of Mr. J. Dodds, 1HZ, of Huntley, was very valuable. During the operations the Corps handled dozens of official messages, and many of these contained over 100 words, and besides, there was a large number of private notes between pilots, and consultations between the various centres of the search. The thanks of the Corps are due to 2GL, of Palmerston North, for his assistance in the early stages, and also FP16, of the Hobsonville Air Base, for traffic delivery and relay work. Mr. R.G. White, of ZL1AO, operated the Auckland base station 1ET, and kept a daily schedule with 2JQ at Napier. Much important traffic was handled by this link, and the headquarters of the Corps in Auckland was kept fully informed of the progress of the search. The willing and untiring efforts of the R.E.C. men, the efficient and capable manner in which they handled a difficult and trying job under severe weather conditions, make the search for the unfortunate aviator a memorable chapter in the history of the R.E.C. A chapter that in itself has more than justified the existance of the Corps, and especially the Napier-Hastings Section. It has also emphasized the national asset of the transmitting amateur. H.B. Arthur, ZL1AN. O.C. R.E.C.
From Break-In September 1939 – WW2 Begins – Amateurs off the Air!
As members are aware all Amateur Transmission in this country have been banned until such time as the International situation clears. It is still too early for the Executive to decide what the future of the Association will be, and in the meantime, all activities will be continued as far as possible. Branches are asked to continue their meetings as far as they are able and to advise Headquarters of their activities. An effort will be made to issue next month’s “Break-In” as usual but probably in a reduced size. This present issue was practically all printed before the ban was declared. Members may rest assured that the Executive is carefully watching the future welfare of the Association and everything possible will be done. In the meantime 73 to all from Headquarters Executive.
J.F. FREEMAN, ZL3FB General Secretary.
From Break-In September 1945 – WW2 Ends and Amateurs back on the Air
The first great day we have been awaiting has arrived – VJ Day and the defeat of the Japanese. This great event has come far more quickly than most of us ever dreamed, but we have no regrets because for us as amateurs it means one thing – we will be back on the air sooner than we ever anticipated. The second great day “H DAY” (Hams Day) we eagerly await – we hope that it too will come more quickly than we anticipated. The natural question every amateur is asking today is “How soon are we going to be able to get back on the air? “The war is over, but there is work to be done. People have to be fed and housed. Troops have to be returned and rehabilitated. All these things we realise are very true and we urge all amateurs to do their utmost to assist in any capacity with the great task. Man can work efficiently for only a certain number of hours per week and he must have some recreation, otherwise he becomes stale and his pace weakens. This is where Amateur Radio enters the picture. Amateur Radio is a constructive and fraternal hobby which gives men who are tired of their daily toils an opportunity to relax- a chance to discuss their favourite problem of radio with some fellow amateurs. Our hobby therefore is a very important part of our daily life.
The war years have proved the value of Amateur Radio, not merely as a hobby, but as a valuable contribution to the nation’s security in that we have a body of men who have a more than average knowledge of the science and art of radio. This fact has been proved beyond doubt. We must see that this heritage we have built up is kept alive. That is up to us – the Amateurs who are going to carry on the hobby in post-war years. We must keep ourselves abreast of developements. We must improve our theoretical and practical knowledge and we must not forget our operating. We have asked the Director-General of the Post and Telegraph Department if he will allow us to operate on the 3.5 and 56 megacycle bands as soon as possible, and also to return our impounded equipment. The Post and Telegraph Department are very sympathetic towards Amateurs as they always have been, and in view of our service to the nation during the war, we are confident they will continue to be so in the future years of our hobby. WE MUST REALISE THAT AS SOON AS IT IS POSSIBLE THE DEPARTMENT WILL ALLOW US OUR PRIVILEGES BACK, AND NOT BEFORE!!
The authority for the restoration of our privileges lies in the hands not only of the Post and Telegraph but of other powers of control also. We are confident that we will see the return of our impounded equipment at a very early date. Amateurs are reminded that at present we are NOT LICENSED, and any amateur who is silly enough to put a signal on the air will be liable to a fine. We are sure no amateur will stain the good name of our fraternity. We hope to give you Some good news before Christmas about full return of our privileges. W.D.GORMAN.
Back on the Air – Official Letter from the Post Office
Letter received by the Secretary, New Zealand Association of Transmitters, from the POST AND TELEGRAPH DEPARTMENT. 7th September 1945. Dear Sir, I have to inform you that “The Radio Emergency Regulations, 1940”, have been revoked and as a consequence, amateur transmitting equipment taken into custody early in the war will now be released to the owner. Forms of application for the return of the equipment can be obtained at the undermentioned Post Offices. Chief Post Office – Post and Telegraph Engineer’s Office- Blenheim, New Plymouth, Auckland, Napier, Greymouth, Oamaru, Christchurch, Nelson, Invercargill, Thames, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Masterton, Timaru, Gisborne, Wanganui, Westport, Hamilton and Whangarei. So far as Wellington is concerned, the forms are available at the Chief Engineer’s Office (Radio Section), fifth floor, Wellington East Post Office. It is not proposed meantime to issue operating licences to amateurs but as soon as the international position is clarified, the necessary action will be taken. Your members should note, however, that the operation of unlicensed wireless transmitting apparatus is a serious offence for which the Post and Telegraph Act, 1928, provides a heavy penalty. Although licences will not be issued meantime amateurs may now notify their intention to make formal application for them, and a specimen form in this regard is enclosed for your information. These forms will be available at the places mentioned above within a week or so. Upon receipt of the applications in the General Post Office they will be recorded and as soon as it is decided to issue licences a statement will be made regarding the action to be taken by amateurs in respect of the payment of the licence fee of thirty shillings. This department would be pleased to receive from your Association for record purposes any information available regarding the names and call signs of amateurs who lost their lives as the result of war service.
From Break In of August 1946
A well attended meeting, to inaugurate the Hastings Branch, NZART, was held at the residence of Mr. Bill Lester, ZL2GB, on July 7th. Mr. N. Padman, ZL2QS presided. Those present were Messrs. Eric Beale, ZL2AT; Bill Lester, ZL2GB; Phil Crook, ZL2MQ; Stan French, ZL2JB; Jack O’Neill, ZL2KT; Noel Padman, ZL2QS; Harry Roberts, ZL2FY; Les Wass, ZL2GY; Pont Wiffen, ZL2DO and three listener members, Smithy King, Pat Thompson and Russ Thompson. ZL2QS was elected President, ZL2FY Vice President, ZL2GB and ZL2MQ as Committee and Russ Thompson as Secretary-Treasurer. Meetings are to be held on the first Sunday of each month at members homes until suitable premises are found. The next place of meeting will be at Mr Eric Beale’s, ZL2AT, 405 Greys Rd., on August 4th at 7.30 p.m. A membership fee of 10/- was agreed upon, 7/6 of which goes to HQ. Lectures are being arranged and it is hoped that the listener members, especially, will appreciate them. Morse is also being put on for their benefit. The meeting desires to place on record its appreciation of the efforts of the General Secretary, Mr. Doug. Gorman, ZL2IY in his gaining so much cooperation from the P&T Department for all amateur operators. At the conclusion a hearty vote of thanks was extended to Mr. Bill Lester for the use of his home and for providing supper. The meeting was also pleased to hear that he has his ham license. Anyone desiring information from this branch please communicate with the President, Mr. N. Padman, ZL2QS, Lockyers Ltd., Heretaunga St., Hastings, ‘Phone 2091 or the Secretary, R.N. Thompson, Box 281, Hastings, ‘Phone 6083 after 6 p.m ZL2FY is running watts a 809’s and is very active on 10.
Harry is pleased with his new receiver. Just perking! John, ZL2BN is on various spots of the 10 metre band. Plenty of crystals, John? He is working his fair share of DX and occasionally drops in on 80 to see what’s doing. Bill, ZL2GB, our newcomer is putting out very nice phone on 80 and is running 40 watts to a pair of T.20’s. Eric, ZL2AT; Jack, ZL2KT; Les, ZL2GY; some of the old timers, have the bug biting again. Hope to see them on again soon. Pont, ZL2DO is active on 80. He has a four element close spaced beam ready for 10 so we are expecting plenty of DX reports from Opapa. Phil ZL2MQ is busy with relays, transformers, receivers, finals, etc., etc. How about putting them all together and letting us hear you? Jim, ZL2BE is not so active at present. Occasionally we hear him on 10. We believe Paul, ZL2AN has VFO on the way. Stan, ZL2JB is quite active on 80 with 85 watts into a pair of 809’s. How about a go at 10 Stan? Noel, ZL2QS is active on 10 with 60 watts into a pair of T.20’s. He is finding the old 80 metre zepp not so hot on this band but has hopes of a rotating beam in the future. Pat, Smithy and Russ are three listener members, all busy with receivers. In due course they will have cw pounded at them in preparation of facing the R.I. We want to see you, Laurie, ZL2FZ at our next meeting. Believe you have been pounding brass on 40.
73 Russ Thompson
From Break In of September 1946
The second of our monthly meetings was held at the residence of Mr. E. W. Beale, ZL2AT on August 4th. The meeting was well attended, those present being ZL’s 2AT, 2FY, 2GB, 2GY, 2JB, 2MQ, 2QS, 2SS, Pat, Smithy and Russ. We were pleased to welcome a new member, Mr. Charles Weaver, ZL2SS. As no permanent meeting place has yet been found, Mr. Phil Crook, ZL2MQ, 915 Victoria Street kindly offered his residence for the next meeting on 1st September at 7.30 p.m. We were informed that Mr. Ken Maloney, VK2UC was leaving Australia and, it was understood, intended to take up permanent residence in Hastings. A lively discussion on the merits and demerits of qualification for ten metre permits ensued, the proceedings which would be very unwise to have published even here. At the end of the general business, ZL2QS gave us the first of the pre arranged lectures in which great interest was taken. At the conclusion of the meeting Mr. Beale was extended a very hearty thanks and also Mrs Beale for preparing supper.
Harry, ZL2FY and Phil, ZL2MQ were seen swinging up 2MQ’s lattice tower with blow-lamp, solder, soldering iron, etc., etc., putting up a bi-square antenna (per TG9PB) and so far the results have exceeded all expectations? Bill, in love with two gorgeous blondes (I was forgetting the YF) ZL2GB is active on 80 but finds his activities limited by BCL QRM, hence the late hours. He is playing around with receivers on 10. Laurie, ZL2FZ and Pont, ZL2DO are heard occasionally on 80. Stan, ZL2JB is going to try running a pair of 809’s as high MU triodes. Eric, ZL2AT; Les, ZL2GY; Jack, ZL2KT have been heard on the air as yet. Noel, ZL2QS is rewiring his power supply in preparation for a new 10 metre rig. Charlie, ZL2SS is busy playing with receivers. We hope that he’ll get cracking with xmitters in the near future. ZL2MF has renewed his license but is too busy to think about ham radio. John, ZL2BN is maintaining daily transmissions on ten metres. ZL2UD has been heard on 80 now and then. Paul, ZL2AN is getting very little time to develop his rig. Smithy is busily experimenting with 6 and 10 metre converter etc. Pat has a seven tube super in operation but finds CW a bit of a problem. Russ intends to build a nine tube job just for a start. Until next month this is Russ Thompson signing off and wishing all the very best and 73
From Break In of October 1946
It is very pleasing to report that our September meeting was a record, eighteen being present. We were pleased to welcome from Napier ZL2BJ, Bill Hamer; ZL2IG, W.L. Jackson; ZL2NQ, Peter Fairbrother; ZL2PD, Bill Vinten, and Mr. V.C. Townshend. Ken Maloney, VK2UC and Ted Hinder were also welcomed. Others present were ZL2AT, ZL2GB, ZL2GY, ZL2FY, ZL2JB, ZL2MQ, ZL2QS, ZL2SS, Pat,Smithy and Russ. Apologies for absence were received from ZL2MT and ZL2SC. Mr. S.French, ZL2JB kindly offered his residence for the next meeting on October 6th. We were informed that VK3KU would be in New Zealand in December or early January. We are indebted to Mr. Les Wass for so ably conducting our Morse lessons and for giving us a greatly appreciated lecture on D.F., which he was doing during the war. Ken Maloney, ex VK2UC, has recently arrived here. He has applied for his ZL call and can be seen most afternoons with hammer and nails on a Hotel St George shack in the backyard. He’s a ten metre hound. You bet! Charlie, ZL2SS is busy putting in a good garden at present. Sounds as though the famine is not going to worry him.
Phil, ZL2MQ, is hard at work on a new rig. I hope it is for 80. Bill, ZL2GB, has a new three element rotary beam under construction, and it will soon be disfiguring the skyline. It should stop that BCL QRM. Harry, ZL2FY, like many other Hastings hams has a rotary beam in his backyard. His is a four element outfit. Eric, ZL2AT, is busy with a 13 tube receiver identical with that of ZL2QS. Noel, ZL2QS, is flat out on a class B modulator, with tins of paint and chasses galore. I don’t think we have heard you on 80 since you went down to 10, Noel, but there is still a chance for you to make a come-back. Stan, ZL2JB, has had a crack at a ten metre permit, and is building a new receiver in the hope of obtaining it. Jim, ZL2BE, still works on 10, and finds that his new QRA at Fernhill is good for both transmission and reception. Les ZL2GY, hopes to be operating by the end of the month, so when you hear C.W. from Hastings on 80 or 10 you’ll know who it is. Our listening members are still encountering difficulties with their receivers. Now for a word or two about the Napier boys. The staff of 2YH do not seem content with their 5000 watt transmitter, so they have erected stations of their own. The 2YH network comprises 2DQ, 2FZ, 2TM, 2SC, 2BJ and ex 1KF, who is awaiting his new call. They all work on 80 metres. Bill, ZL2BJ, now is 100 per cent crystal controlled, using a 6V6 crystal oscillator to an 807 at 50 watts. Bill, ZL2PD, is enjoying himself on six metres and hopes to get some distant contacts. Peter, ZL2NQ, is using a pair of 807’s in the final and at present is building up a 12 tube receiver. Mr. Jackson, ZL2IG, has finally got the 807’s to sit down on 40 watts. We understand that Bill, ZL2PD, is going to form a branch in Napier, so we wish him success. 73, RUSS
From Break In of December 1946
Of a membership of seventeen, twelve were present at our November meeting held at the residence of Mr P. G. Crook, ZL2MQ, on Sunday, November 3rd. Those present were ZL2’s AT, FY, GB, JB, KT, LV, MQ, QS, Pat, Smithy and the scribe. Negotiations are at present in progress for clubrooms, and hope that suitable rooms will be found for our next meeting on December 1st. ZL2QS proposed to have a “junk exchange,” whereby parts would be exchanged irrespective of their true value. The idea was accepted, and it is hoped that some useful material will be made available. To help fill in the evening a quiz was conducted so that doubtful points could be cleaned up by those who knew the answers. Some helpful ideas were given and all were appreciated. Now for some news about the boys. Phil, 2MQ seems to be having some headaches over his 10 metre rig, but it is hoped the 2LV helped him out of the jam. Noel, 2QS, is doing the finishing touches to his new rig for 10 and 20. Les, 2GY, hopes to put out C.W. QRM on 10 in the near future. Jim, 2BE, has been working W’s and Europeans hand over fist lately on metres and was rather fortunate in working a VE on 75 the other night. Bill, 2GB, has been trying to overcome the BCL QRM by using a ZC1, but has not with much success. Stan, 2JB, is scraping a few parts together to get down on 10, so keep a lookout for this seldom heard call. 73 Russ
From Break-In February 1947
Our December meeting was held at the residence of Mr E.W. Beale, ZL2AT. Those present being Mr. K. Mowat, ZL2AT, ZL2GY, ZL2JB, ZL2LV, ZL2MQ, ZL2QS, ZL2SS, Pat, Smithy and the scribe. At last we have a permanent meeting place and our first meeting in the Hastings Band Rooms will be on February 2, at 7.30 p.m. Ken, ZL2LV is using a Sturba Curtain on ten and those twelve watts are certainly doing their stuff to rope in European DX. Les, ZL2GY is on the air using CW on both the 80 and 40 metre bands with plenty of W contacts on 40. Jim, ZL2BE has been heard on 20 metre phone and it is reported that his outfit was disturbing the ether at 0001 hours on November 30. Since March he has had over 2000 contacts on ten. Phil, ZL2MQ worked his first Brazilian the other day on ten. Stan, ZL2JB has at last got that ten metre rig causing some envious glances were cast at many —-plenty of QRM. We understand that Noel, ZL2QS is shifting his QTH to Havelock North and we wish him every success. So long for now, RUSS
From Break In of May 1947
Our May Meeting was held in the usual rooms and there was a good attendance. The record attendance is for 18 present but this figure includes a car load from Napier before their own branch was formed. This month’s attendance was 17 but could still be improved if members came along to all meetings. Those present were ZL’s 2AT, 2GB, 2JB, 2KT, 2LV, 2MQ, 2QD, 2QS, Ivan, Irwin, Pat, Smithy, Rex, Vince, Russ and two new members, Mr. G. Bayley and Mr. E. Dew. The branch was pleased to see Mr. C. de la Coeur, ZL2QD of Wellington who has been in Hastings for a short period. Noel, ZL2QS has his new 45 foot lattice tower in place with a three element rotary beam atop. He recently worked his first PY. He has also applied for a twenty metre phone permit. Phil, 2MQ has an internal short in one of his HK54’s filament. A dropping resistor is saving the burnout. John, 2BN has a three element rotary under way; its present height being twenty five feet. Ken, 2LV has a new rig in operation using multi crystal switching and also a rubber crystal. The twelve watts has been stepped up to forty. Harry, 2FY is planning a receiver which he hopes will outclass any of those at present in operation in Hastings. Eric, 2AT is trying all sorts of things to eliminate receiver hiss. You bet! Pat, Smithy, Rex, Vince and Russ are all eagerly awaiting exam results; some are hopeful and others doubtful. 73 to all, Russ
From Break-In June 1947
Since my last report a picnic has been held with great success. The weather could not have been better and a very enjoyable day was spent. The usual meeting for March was cancelled on account of the picnic. The April meeting was postponed seven days so that members might enjoy ten metre DX over Easter. At the last meeting following resolution was passed unanimously:- “That a levy will be made of sixpence (6d) per month on all members for overhead expenses incurred in renting Band Rooms, etc.; also that all members attend at least three (3) meetings within any current financial year of the local Branch (Hastings Branch). Failure in this automatically disqualifies the defaulter from membership. “It was decided to obtain a Post Office Box to simplify the QSL address problem when working DX. Bill, ZL2GB is now on ten and enjoying much DX. Les, ZL2GY who has been working ten metre CW has at last decided to add a modulator stage but the tranny is his present problem. Phil, ZL2MQ has recently W.A.C. and Philip Michael, the junior op. is his fourth harmonic. Noel, ZL2QS has changed the 6L6 modulators for a pair of TZ 20’s and operates class B. The input is 90 watts. His new countries include OZ, SM and SW. A new 45ft lattice tower is under construction for ten. Ken, ZL2LV is rebuilding and is looking forward to many more Sydney contacts. Stan, ZL2JB recently came on ten and has worked several ZS stations, 73’s Russ
From Break-In February 1948
With the increase in towers and 6 metre activity, Hastings members are an industrious lot these days (but pocket books are not quite the size they used to be), and generally things are happening all round. Personalities:- A widespread rumour has it that Ken, “Two elve,” is getting 6 metre happy, along with Pat, 2JI. Well, boys keep at it. Eric 2AT, is proud father of a fifty foot steel tower all ready for the rotary beam. Nice work, Eric. Stan, 2JB, has also erected a similar structure. Judging by the bent S meter needles around here it would seem that Stan has raised his power a watt or two into the bargain. With the addition of these two towers, Hastings can now boast to eight of these monstrosities. The boys around here are wondering if other towns the size of Hastings can equal this. Hastings is rapidly becoming a ten metre town these days. Les Wass, 2GY, ” morse code” expert, been busy installing himself into a new home (lucky man), has also built himself a new tower of exceeding height, which was last seen in a gap in the clouds a few weeks ago. Incidentally, Les has proved himself quite a raconteur and his descriptive effort of two weeks in an iron foundry was such a howling success that the boys want to hear more. We welcome to our circle Mark Elder, who has just received his license. Fine business, Mark. Incidentally Mark is our youngest member. It is reported that Russell, 2AAN, has a fine communications receiver coming along. Among our general activities of late was a successful social evening in honour of Bob Bennett, W6ZOX, a visitor from USA. Altogether a really fine show. 73 all round. Smuts, 2AAL (HISTORY.48A)
From Break-In May 1948
The usual monthly meeting of the Hastings branch was held on the first Sunday of the month as per usual. The number present was approaching a record – very fine business indeed. Another auction sale was held most successfully, ZL2QS doing the auctioneering. Phil, who guides the destinies of the club as chairman, is the prime mover in arranging another picnic. Here’s hoping it’s the success our last show was. 2MQ advises that he is now in the home brew industry. 2LV is happy in his work building another 10 metre rig. Wonder who it’s for, Ken? 2QS has his time cut out tuning up BC 459 A’s to miss the QRM. And so it goes on. For quite a few of the chaps up this way, however, these immediate months represent their busy season. ZL’s 2ABA, 2JB, 2KT most certainly and emphatically would admit that such is the case. As for the 80 metre boys, let it suffice to say that any suggestions re hooking W’s would be appreciated (with not more than 100 watts input, that is.) Quite frequently your Scribe is asked on 80 metres, “How’s old so-and-so doing these days? It’s ages since I heard him.” For that reason, I think that the following “activities” list may prove of interest to those who wonder just exactly what goes on in this neck of the woods. Eric, 2AT, 10 MX. Phone; John, 2BN, 10,20,80; Harry, 2FY, 10; Bill, 2GB, 10; Les, 2GY, 10 phone and CW; Pat, 1JI, 80; Jack, 2KI, 80 cw; Ken, (exVK2US), 2LV, 10, 20,6; Rex, 2UR, 80 phone and CW; Dick, 2UN, 80 and 6; Noel, 2QS, 10; Phil, 2MQ, 10; Smithy, 2AAL, 10 and 80; Russ, 2AAN, 80; Vincent, 2ABA, 80; Jim, 2ABR, 80. Just one thing before we QRT- ZL2LV would be only too happy to arrange odd skeds with any of the gang who are interested in establishing 6 metre contacts – CUL. 73 all round, Southpaw
From Break-In May 1949
Much ink has flown over the Editor’s desk since the last notes from this branch appeared and the new scribe makes his bow with the following gleanings;- Monthly meetings are fairly well attended but a little more enthusiasm would not go amiss. It is with pleasure that we welcome two new overseas hams to our midst in the persons of Sid, 2AIQ (late G4KY) and Jim (ex VK2ANW) who is at present eagerly awaiting his ZL call- welcome fellahs! Jim hopes to be adding to the QRM on 10 and 20 soon with about 50 watts and Sid is already knocking them over on 10 with his new 3 element beam – by the way, can anyone oblige Sid with a compass? Personalities: Ken 2LV (Pedro the Fisherman), Hi! Is busy building a new rig for 10 and reports good progress except for annoying interruptions due to the elusive DX. DO ask him about that fish, chaps! Stan 2JB building rig for 20 metres. Russ, 2AAN active on 80 and keeping a weather eye on 6 metres. Pat 2JI rebuilding power supplies. Phil 2MQ very busy winding trannys for the fraternity and building new speech amp, with time out to look at the “home brew” and work his usual skeds and keep up on the Espanole! Noel, 2QS still hitting on 10 and toying with the idea of a few extra elements on that sig squirter. Smithy. 2AAL inactive at present but wrestling with a rig for 80, 20, 10 and 6. Eric ,2AT, doing nicely on 10 as usual thank you. Bill, 2GB, still in business on 10 at grips with a T match and trying to scare up ideas for putting an 832 on 6. Vin, 2ABA, not too active on 80. Reason? Building a 10 metre outfit. John, 2BN, still burning up the grass per medium of the Collins and the Sturba. How’s that DXCC John? Jim, 2ABR raising the dust on 80 and waiting to get onto 10. Jack, 2KT, building for 10 and waiting to hot up those 24G’s. Jack, 2AHW adding to the QRM on 80 and weighing up the possibilities of getting on 10 very soon. Local rumour: Reported locally that OQ5AI lost his Galena. 64 Dollar Question: On working 100 countries how does one secure 100 verifications?
From Break-In July 1949
Fifteen members attended the monthly meeting of the Hastings Branch and as it was also the meeting. Election of officers resulted in Eric (2AT) being duly elected to the position of President with all the pomp and circumstances befitting such an occasion. The burdens of this exalted office are already apparent in the pronounced stoop and furrowed brow of the new President, but whether this is due to hastening old age or the weight of the seals of office plus the presidential chain is at the moment rather obscure. Anyhow, congratulations, Eric, and all good wishes for the ensuing term. Grove, (2AAZ), has assumed the doubtful honours of the position of Hon. Secretary and although devoid of all the trimmings bestowed upon the successful presidential candidate this office has undoubtedly much to commend itself as a means of dissipating surplus energy and filling in the periods when the bands are flat- altogether a most important office and our good wishes are yours, Grove! To Russ, (2AAN) the outgoing president and to Irwin (Secretary for two successive terms) we say thank you for jobs well and faithfully done. 2ABR, 2KI, and 2MQ toiled to good purpose as committee members during the past year and the new committee is 2LV, 2QS and 2GB. Your scribe apologizes to the non-transmitting members for overlooking them in thelast notes to this column and as amends makes mention of them first this time: Irwin is still (I quote): “struggling with theory and CW and hopes to face the barrier soon. “(unquote) Ray is also deep in thought – likewise Ev and Peter and Ian are breaking into the mysteries of Ham Radio. Vin, 2ABA has now hit 10 with a swell signal and FB phone and is now wrestling with antenna problems- Congrats, Vin. Stan 2JB still working on 20 metre rig with time out to pack apples and change matching stub on beam. Phil 2MQ, has new speech amp going fine biz and really sounds swell. Ken, sometimes heard on 20 as well as 10 and hopes to be in new QTH before these notes appear hence is in profound contemplation of antenna possibilities. Smithy, 2AAL, not too active but (I quote): “Not messing around with two half waves on 20 for nothing.” (unquote) Pat, 2JI, working on power supplies and winding new modulation transformer. Eric, 2AT, as but (and again I quote): “Cleaned up the shack. “Grove, 2AAZ, our recent addition is active on 80 QRP, but hopes to be in new and larger QTH by the time these notes appear with more power. Bill, 2GB, wrestling with a tape recorder with time out for skeds when conditions are OK. Russ, 2AAN, puzzling out 6 metre beams so watch out fellahs! Noel, 2QS, installed new matching stub and planning new rig with 24G’s. John, 2BN, and Sid, 2AIQ, in business as usual at the old stands but your scribe has nothing off the record. Notes from Branches are of great interest to members everywhere and particularly to XYL’s- give them a break by keeping your local scribe posted. After all, he is not clairvoyant! If your call does not appear in these notes the reason will be obvious. That’s all folks! (Scribe ZL2GB)
From Break-In October 1949
In order that the local scribe may have the Branch Notes in time for publication each month, the branch has advanced the meeting date one week and we now meet the last Sunday of each month instead of the first Sunday as previously -intending visitors please note. Fair attendances have been evident at the last two meetings but better musters would be appreciated and would be all to the good so how about it fellows? At the last two meetings two call-books kindly donated by well known Los Angeles boys were raffled with good financial gains to the club’s funds. Quite a number of the local boys are cracking on 6 metres now and most nights the 50 Megacycle spectrum is taking a beating from the Hawke’s Bay 6 metre gang comprising of both Hastings and Napier enthusiasts. Speculation is rife as to the probable first real DX opening on this band and no doubt this may account for the preoccupied minds locally and the vague and somewhat irrelevant replies one receives to questions concerning the weather and the state of health of brother hams generally. By dint of threatening, wheedling and generally making a nuisance of himself the writer has managed to wring the following news from the local fraternity: Russ, 2AAN: Doing a bang up job on 6 metres with about 7 watts to a 7C5 and has a new 6 metre converter which is going fine biz – also making himself heard on 80 with 3/4 of a watt to a 1Q5 – nice going Russ. Stan, 2JB heard often on 10 and 20 and going like a train on both bands. Ken, 2LV (“Starve the Blooming Lizards”) not active just now due to change of QTH – did put up his 6 metre beam on a 15 foot section of his tower but stiff luck in the shape of a gust of wind struck it down with disastrous results to the elements. However Ken still keeps in contact with Marsh (W7PBD) via 2MQ’s rig and we hope to hear his new outfit going in the near future. Noel, 2QS at present enjoying his annual vacation, but has a new 3 element 6 metre beam going well and is building a new rig for 20 metres. Pat, 2JI reports his 6 metre – 80 metre rig is nearing completion so look out fellahs! Ray, Peter and Ian also Irwin, all coining knowledge and hope to face the barrier this month – the very best of luck boys! Vin, 2ABA on 10 with nice phone and running an 813 to a Lazy H at the moment but has a real skyscraper under construction – say Vin, that’s not a tower, that’s a menace!
Quite a few of the local boys are knocking at the DXCC door and at the last checkup Phil, 2MQ had worked 99 countries on 10 phone and was looking under the carpet for that elusive 100 – won’t be long soon Phil, and by the way, the last we heard was that Phil had passed the 900 contacts with friend Marsh – nice going O.M. Jack, 2KT is making steady progress and will soon have his rig on the air – Jack is a real Old Timer and after so many years inactive it will be grand to hear him on the bands again. Smithy 2AAL is very pleased with his QRP rig and his half wave doublet informs your scribe that the strain of maintaining his social position somewhat cramps his style hence he is not too active. Jim, 2ABR still knocking them back on 80 and doing a nice job and hoping to be on 10 very soon now. Eric, 2AT our worthy President, celebrated his 25th year as a ham last July having first been bitten with the virus way back in 1924 when he received the callsign Z2BC.
Later he was allocated OZ2BC and in due course his present call, so Eric is one of our Old Timers for sure and can tell many a hair-raising tale of the days of Leyden Jars, coherers etc. Congrats Eric and may we hear you on the bands 25 years hence. Frankly, Eric yearns for the good old 80 metre rag chews he knew of yore and was heard to remark he was brassed off with 10 so look out for squalls on 80 metres any time soon. Bill, 2GB has been busy overhauling the family chariot and has not been very active of late but still manages to contact W6VCA week-ends, when conditions are OK but sure would like the band to pick up so the usual W skeds can be resumed. Did manage to find time to build a new over-modulation meter however. That’s the issue for this month Fellahs – see you next time and in the interim don’t forget that 2AAN, 2QS and 2GB are looking for contacts on 6 metres – European or Stateside contacts not objected to. de ZL2GB
From Break-In December 1949
The highlights of this month’s news from the Hastings Branch of NZART is the very worthy effort of 2QS (Noel) and 2MQ (Phil), the former for being the first of the local boys to contact KH6PP (Gene) on six metres, and the latter for bagging his elusive new country to bring his score to 100 countries on 10 phone. Speculation has been rife as to the possibilities of DX openings on six and at long last hopes have been fulfilled and the very sincere congratulations are extended to Noel for being “Johnny on the spot” and for putting Hastings on the honours list for KH6. Nice going Noel and we will pardon you if an extra size in Stetsons is required. Hi! Congrats are also due to you Phil for the honour of being the first of the locals to reach the coveted 100 countries and our sincere wish is that verifications may come to hand quickly. A good muster attended the October meeting and as the annual picnic again approaches and arrangements must be made a full attendance is requested for next meeting night in order that suggestions may be heard and final details attended to. Grove, 2AAZ is in the throes of erecting a new 80 metre ant and can be heard regularly on this band between 6 and 7 a.m. Stan, 2JB active on 10 and 20 and building a 20 metre beam. Ray, Ian and Peter are still absorbing grata and pounding brass mightily. Smithy, 2AAL has little to report but has bought a chariot – a super Deluxe Model T which is a nightmare to the local traffic department and the kids but yet a joy to behold! Rumour has it that Smithy is about to supercharge the vehicle and may operate mobile AREO. Hi! Russ, 2AAN building a new Freq. Meter and a new beam for six and is active on both six and 80. Pat, 2JI also constructing a 6 metre beam and will be on this band again soon. Phil, 2MQ as usual on 10 and from comment overheard re ruddy hued cars must be troubled with auto QRM. Sid, 2AIQ still knocking them off on 10 as is John, 2BN. Noel, 2QS still walking on air after his conquest of KH6 but very busy with house and garden chores. Eric, 2AT very kindly offered to build a locker for the Club rooms and can be seen nightly involved in intricate calculations with a slide rule, hammer and saw…in fact is so involved on the project that he could only manage two contacts last month. Vin, 2ABA was last seen climbing out of sight among the clouds obscuring the top of that new tower and reports he can see most of W6 on a clear day! Ken, 2LV flat out building a new shack but active on six. Bill, 2GB nothing to report – busy on other chores. That’s all folks, see you next month.
Scribe – ZL2GB (HISTORY.49D)
From Break-In July 1957
The annual Conference of the NZART was held this year at Hawke’s Bay, the Branches of Hastings and Napier combining to arrange hospitality and entertainment which will long be remembered by those who attended. There was a friendly welcome on the Friday evening for the visitors at the two reception centres, the NZART Caravan, Civic Square, Hastings and at the Sound Shell on the Marine Parade, Napier. On Saturday morning, the Mayor of Napier, Mr. Peter Tait, officially opened the Conference which was held at the Municipal Theatre, Napier, and gave a warm welcome to the delegates and visitors. He made mention of the earthquake and the part played by amateur radio in bringing the news of this disaster to the outside world. Out of this tragedy had emerged the Radio Emergency Corps, now the AREC, in which our hobby is turned to the service of the community. Present at the theatre was Mr. G. Tyler, ZL2GE, who was first to make contact out of Napier to give advice of the earthquake and so arrange relief for the stricken area. Mr. Tait likened Mr. Tyler as the founder of the AREC and congratulated the Association on the fine work done by this organization over the years.
Conference thus opened, we proceeded with the items on the agenda. Minutes of Conference will appear elsewhere, but it was a good business meeting and I would like to thank the delegates and speakers for the assistance they gave me as Chairman of this meeting. While we were discussing the affairs of the Association the ladies were being entertained at morning tea, with a floral demonstration, and in the afternoon with visits to Anderson’s Nurseries, Te Mata Potteries, Te Mata Vineyards and Ashcroft’s Apiaries. These visits were very much enjoyed by the ladies, while their OM’s discussed remits in a theatre which seemed to get steadily colder despite all the “hot air”! The Annual Dinner and Dance was held in the Assembly Hall, Hastings and was attended by nearly 250 guests. The hall was beautifully decorated with greenery and pot plants from Anderson’s Nurseries, while each lady guest received a lovely spray upon entering the hall. The catering was excellent and the speeches and toasts, ably handled by Toastmaster, Noel Padman, ZL2QS, were of a very high order and enjoyed by the happy gathering.
The formal part of the evening dispensed with, tables were cleared away and there was dancing and entertainment till midnight when the singing of Auld Lang Syne brought to a fitting close a really excellent evening. At the AREC meeting held on the Sunday, considerable interest was shown in the two prototypes produced by George Hedge, ZL4FD, and Herb Chapman, ZL4JW, of Dunedin. One was a valve transceiver while the other uses transistors in the receiver and miniature tubes in the transmitter. It was agreed to test the two sets in the field and compare them in performance with the prototype produced by Roy Needham, ZL1KG. ZL2PX and ZL2AI agreed to carry out these tests. The method of financing this project was discussed at the AREC meeting and later by Council. Council has agreed to transfer 500 pounds from the Contingencies Reserve to the AREC account as a basis for the financing of this prototype project. Members of the VHF and SSB groups and the Old Timer’s Club also met on the Sunday morning, while Council met in the afternoon and early evening to discuss and plan the policy for the coming year. A Mobile Hunt was organised for the Sunday afternoon with different competitions for those taking part. Prizes, and a new trophy were presented in the evening. A scenic drive was also arranged for the afternoon, buses leaving Napier and Hastings to make a tour of the district to show the visitors points of interest along the way. There was a social held in the Red Cross Hall, Napier, on the Sunday evening. The hall was packed and we were entertained with competitions and items and the showing of many coloured slides. An excellent supper, good entertainment and plenty of fun made this another evening to be remembered. Monday morning was spent in shack visiting, and then homeward bound.
Conference this year was a great success, both from a business and a social point of view. The organisation of this annual event in the life of our Association is no small one, and great credit must be given to the committee, ably led by Warren Strong, ZL2ATE, and assisted by members of the Hastings and Napier Branches, who planned and carried it through so successfully. For my part, I was delighted to come to Napier as a visitor for the first time, and I am looking forward to a return visit, when it might be possible to see this fine city again in warmer weather, more suitable for such a holiday. My report on Conference this year would not be complete without reference to the visit I paid in Wellington on my way home, to the GPO, to see Mr. T.R. Clarkson, ZL2AZ, a former President of the Association and one of our Life Members. We had an interesting discussion on the affairs of the Association, the Conference, which Tom regretted he was unable to attend, and Ham Radio in general. The problems facing those responsible for the administration of radio communication, both National and International, were explained to me, making me realize more fully the privileges the hams in New Zealand enjoy in the frequencies allocated for our hobby. It is good to realize that in Tom we have one who is so vitally interested in our hobby, and, both at home and abroad, is an ambassador for the cause of Amateur Radio. Another Conference has come and gone, leaving with it happy memories of a most enjoyable time spent at Napier and Hastings in the lovely province of Hawke’s Bay.
HARRY F. ARNOLD, President.
From Break-In August 1959
Two big events have recently occurred in the life of Hastings’ amateur, Jim Parkinson, ZL2ABR. Jim, who lost his arms in a tractor accident at the age of 18, has been promised the latest in artificial arms by a New York specialist. To make the trip possible, a fund for 1200 pounds was opened in Hastings and was fully subscribed in four days. On hearing the news that he and an escort would be able to make the trip, Jim announced his intention of marrying an old friend, Miss Audrey O’Meara. The marriage is on August 11, the day before they leave for New York. Audrey has been helping Jim for over 16 years. Jim received his licence shortly after the war and has been very active on 80, 20, 15 and 10 metres, using equipment built for him by Hastings amateurs. He is also a talented artist, holding the brush between his teeth, and over the past two years his painting has taken precedence. In a recent Centennial display of oil paintings by Hawkes Bay artists, one of Jim’s was judged by public vote to be the most popular. Jim goes tramping; last summer he took swimming lessons, and recently he tried his skill at gliding. Jim’s new arms will enable him to obtain a permanent job. The best wishes of all New Zealand amateurs go with Jim as he sets out on this new venture.
From Break-In July 1949
After the months of preparation the committee held their final meeting on the Thursday evening in the Napier clubrooms for a final report and briefing. As ZL2APC, President of NZART and Arthur, ZL1HV were in town, they were invited along too, and assisted the committee with advice and physical help to sort out “swingers”, envelopes, etc. When the meeting closed nothing was left to be done but a few hundred odd things that were bound to crop up anyway! However, the invasion came smoothly enough with only two phone calls in the wee small hours by late arrivals (their motels were so new that even the Police didn’t know where they were located!) One visitor from W——–n was unlucky however, but he was too much of a gentleman to waken his host at 4 a.m. when he arrived with a “sick” car, although a prominent note in a lighted room said “R-n help yourself”. The host had quite forgotten the large black dog “living in” which presented such a menacing set of teeth that the visitor retired to his vehicle for another uncomfortable few hours. By Friday afternoon the reception centre in Napier and Hastings were comfortably handling the intake of visitors including late registrations. The weather was fine although cool and with a large Chinese wedding party in town as well as the 19th Battalion reunion, our visitors found quite a busy atmosphere. Next morning (another nice sunny day) the business meeting venue was thronged to the extent of a full house and things went off to a flying start.
When the ladies separated from the transmitting fraternity they only had to go next door in the same building which made things quite cosy. A buffet lunch kept the caterers on their toes, to handle the large numbers present, but there was no audible complaint of enforced malnutrition either here or at the succeeding meals of the conference. The business dealings of Conference are elsewhere reported by a far more adequate pen, but I will mention the absence of ZL2GX (through illness of course) and the fact that he is at date of writing much improved (in health!) We all missed him. Harry ZL3HA had his report coinciding with a musical entertainment for the ladies and at times seemed tempted to burst into song as faint melody pervaded the conference hall; however, he manfully carried on. Business was concluded about 5.45 p.m. and everyone dispersed to get organised for the dinner in Hastings. The dinner in Hastings was timed for 8 p.m. and the assembly room was quite a colourful spectacle with about 275 people sitting down to dine with some of the local champagne to lighten the proceedings. It was unfortunate that the toastmaster had a microphone with a Scots accent; however, the contingent from ZL4 successfully translated (although somewhat freely!) All the toasts were competently dealt with and the reply on behalf of the ladies by ZL3CB elucidated the information that looking at etchings was “old hat” nowadays, and that an oscilloscope was much more successful. (Has anyone a spare CR tube?) The dance that followed was quite an enthusiastic affair and the merits of large numbers of TU1’s discussed at length among other things.
Sunday morning was NOT fine and sunny but cold and wet; however the WARO, OTC, AREC and VHF sections turned up in full force in comfortable surroundings in Napier for their annual meetings, although it was a somewhat cruel remark that the WARO had the most appropriate place for their meeting – the local Gas Offices! However, the girls were comfortable and were not displaced by the Mobile Committee who had a final last minute check on their arrangements for the afternoon. About 26 starters and six VHF Mobileers were dispatched over a 54 mile course and then the rains came! Despite the weather the new General Secretary volunteered his services and was taken for a ride by one contestant who had a spare seat; he returned too! A special point of interest for the Mobileers was an aero-mobile station as well as two marine mobiles taking part to add bonus points. ZL2MN was pilot of the plane. The place winners were;- 80 metres 1st ZL1CS 2nd ZL2AMK 3rd ZL2AYF also Low Power Section winner 2 metres 1st ZL1TAT 2nd ZL1BQ 3rd ZL1ACL Best Home-built Station ZL3MG. Two buses took visitors for a touring trip around Napier and Hastings and some ladies visited a local nursery (plant variety!) and as the rain was patchy had quite a reasonable afternoon. Sunday was rounded off by a social evening in Napier Memorial Hall where a large gathering was entertained by Hastings Orphan Club members with sketches, music and magic. The free registration raffle was won by a young lady, amid applause. Some entertainment was caused by an unusual resistor deal which made the colour code experts very popular indeed, gave everyone something for their money and gave the adjudicator no headaches whatever, as the losers judged the winners! By the way, the two contestants for the lowest value could have won a prize had they used three of their resistors and then shortened the ends, technically that would have been four resistors. Good clean (?) fun! A buffet supper towards the end of the evening preceded a line up of Councillors as a sort of identification parade and a vote of thanks to visitors and hosts. Monday had clearing weather and quite a number of shack crawls before the visitors went their separate ways. Haste ye back.
From Bill, ZL2ALO
Early Hastings Branch History from Pete Stevens – January 1991
About 1970, during a shift of QTH, the secretary of the Hastings Branch NZART lost the archive minutes and other historical papers of the branch. Although this loss has not affected the day to day running of the club any research into historical matters is frustrated without that vital base information. It was because of this and the general interest in the doings of our predecessors in the club that Graham Goodger, ZL2RP started researching this subject shortly before his death. Although Graham found out a good deal about early happenings in the club, he does not appear to have done very much about tying it together, and at the moment all his records are missing, although I understand that they may have been among the papers left in the Napier museum. The oldest ham in the Hastings area is Eric Beale who was first licensed in 1924 but although very helpful about general goings on is rather vague when dates are required. It is hoped that you may be able to add to the “bare bones” that I am presenting here.
In particular, I would like to know whether the radio club which Tom Clarkson mentions being formed in 1922, finally became the Hastings/Napier radio club which was obviously in existance by 1932. This latter club seemed to keep going until at least 1935 but from then on all reports of activity in Break In ceased until a new club was formed in 1946. Did the old club just “fizzle out” or did it go into recess formally, say at the outbreak of WW II? Another area of uncertainty is that of listings of licensed amateurs in Hastings/Napier during that period. I have callbooks for 1946 and most subsequent years so that the post war period is not in question but prewar is another matter altogether! I have seen a callbook for 1938 and this along with Break In amendments make a 1939 listing fairly accurate but earlier listings than 1938 have been made up from attendances at Branch meetings and Break In callbook amendments only and are very tentative indeed. A perusal of old callbooks would help a lot if any can be located. A minor point in doubt is that of determining when the Z prefix of 1924 gave way to OZ and then later to ZL? I believe that this may have been discussed in Break In recent years but would like a reference. Officers of the club are known for some years but many years are completely “in the air”. Any clues would be appreciated greatly. The data is being put into a computer for ease of recall and printing so do not be afraid of marking errors or amendments on the pages of this history as they can be easily corrected and replaced if necessary.
The Cornflakes Net from a 1987 Break-In Article by Marilyn ZL2BOA
The cornflakes net is now into its 23rd year. It was started in the first half of 1978 (no one is exactly sure of the actual date) and has been going each weekday ever since.
The net started with Jack ZL2AWZ and Dave ZL2AZC, they were joined a little while later by Harold ZL2AAS. Jack was home recovering from a heart attack. Dave was, at this time, doing an early morning bread delivery and the two would have a chat each morning on the local repeater, channel F, now known as Hawkes Bay 670. Gradually more people joined the net, some as regular members, and others who just passed through. On occasion Marilyn ZL2BOA can recall there being nine or ten regulars. The members drop off from time to time, as off 2001 we have eleven members on a regular bases and sometimes more. ZL2AAS was controller for many years; he then shared the job with Marilyn ZL2BOA on a monthly basis. The net controller now is Phil ZL2TZV.
The net starts each weekday morning at 0730 hours and goes until approximately 0800 hours or when ever we have had two overs each. The topics of conversation are many and varied, certainly not of a technical nature. We exchange weather reports; this is helpful to those traveling. Also Gordon ZL2NF gives us the solar indicies for those of us that are into DX. There has been a number of barbecue lunches at Tony ZL2UBN and Glen ZL2UIH’s place and will be another soon.
The net reaches quite a distance, with members over the years coming from Palmerston North and Dannevirke in the south and Wairoa and Gisborne in the north. We have had contributions through from Christchurch when conditions have been excellent, also Nelson, Blenheim and Tauranga.
Visitors to the Bay and anyone else who wishes to join us for a friendly chat, don’t forget to check in to the Cornflakes Net, 0730 hours each weekday, except for public holidays. We look forward to making your acquaintance.
Extracts from article in the 1987 Break-in by Marilyn ZL2BOA.
The Sunday Net – Written in 2001
Sundays 9am, 3.615Mhz/147.25Mhz
The Sunday Net was started on the 8th December 1968 at 10am on 3.610Mhz, after a meeting held in the grandstand at Nelson Park on the 26 November 1968. There were five operators present then, plus the net controller Jack ZL2AWZ, they were Bob ZL2ASJ, (now ZL2AN) Allen ZL2ALE, John ZL2ACC, Alan ZL2AGH and Brian ZL2BCS. The net at this time was in AM; (I have no date as to when it changed to SSB). The next Sunday the time was changed to 9.30am.
The general rule of thumb was that the President of the club became the net controller. That has been the case up until the 20 December 1998 when Dave ZL3DK (now ZL2DW) retired as net controller and was replaced by four hams acting on successive Sundays. These are Gordon ZL2NF, Barry ZL2BWL, Chris ZL2VC and Brian ZL2BCS; these four operators are still Net controllers as of 2001.
Because of interaction with another Branch Net the frequency was altered from 3.610Mhz to 3.615Mhz. Nobody is sure when this came about. 12th June 1977 saw the introduction to the net of Branch 13 callsign ZL2BEI, prior to this net controllers used there own callsign.
On the 30 January 1994 Hastings Branch 13 and Napier Branch 25 combined their Nets using the call signs ZL2ABJ and ZL2BEI. The Net now takes place simultaneously on the frequencies of 3.615Mhz and 147.250Mhz. The time was changed then to its present time of 9am. On the 3 April 1994 the call sign ZL2BEI was altered to ZL2AS, and on the 14th January 2001 the call sign ZL2ABJ was altered to ZL2GT.
Here is a list of net controllers from the start to the present day (2001-03-02)
1968 Jack ZL2AWZ, 1971 Phil ZL2AOM, 1972 Brian ZL2BCS, 1974 Pete ZL2AS, 1977 Frank ZL2AGI, 1979 Pete ZL2AS, 1980 Dick ZL2AQR, 1981 Alan ZL4PZ, 1982 Ray ZL2KT, 1983 Gwyn ZL2BIW, 1985 Frank ZL2AUI, 1987 Dave ZL3DK, (now ZL2DW).
When the Net controller was absent the first ham to arrive took control, giving continuity to the Net. This worked well until the combined net was held on two frequencies. On the few occasions when Dave ZL3DK (now ZL2DW) was away Colin ZL2WCL and Gordon ZL2NF presided. Then the group of four Net controllers, Gordon ZL2NF, Barry ZL2BWL, Chris ZL2VC and Brian ZL2BCS took over.
The present day Net controllers are, Gordon ZL2NF, Chris ZL2VC and Brian ZL2BCS.
The Net controllers invite any amateur operators to join in with us.
The History of the 670 Repeater (In 1996)
On 25/05/1996 ZL1BYV, (now ZL2AM) ZL2WCL and ZL2DW (who held the call ZL3DK at the time) worked to replace the Branch 13 ‘670’ Kahuranaki 2m repeater with new commercial equipment. Some points of interest are as follows:
The original repeater was installed at this site in May 1977 as channel F (with a 700KHz split). Through the years three outages occurred for various reasons. (Change to 600KHz split. Failed muting, and spurious responses). Temporary gear was used during an extended revamp period (Late1990 until April 1992). (This 1990/1992 temporary gear became the current ‘725’ 2m repeater equipment). In February 1993 the original aerials and feeders were replaced with new folded dipoles and RG213 coax feeders.
The repeater gates open at –116dbm (0.35 micovolts). These measurements are via the filter system. (Gating with signal Generator connected directly to the receiver occurs at –119dbm).
The power into the aerial feeder is 10 watts. 13.5 watts, leaving the transmitter. i.e. 3.5 watts lost through the transmitter aerial filters. The receiver dipole aerial (which is about 100ft up the top of a microwave tower) is fed to two transmitter frequency notch filters and one receiver frequency band pass filter, then to the receiver. The transmitter dipole aerial (which is about 20ft below the receiver aerial) is fed to two receiver frequency notch filters and one transmitter frequency band pass filter, then to the transmitter. The commercial gear is made by Tait Electronics, Christchurch, is a T835 receiver and T836 transmitter.