ZL2CC Mike Mather – Gisborne

Mike, ZL2CC at the ZM4T Contest Site

I was born back in 1945 in Nottingham England, my interest in radio started when I was about 5 years old. My father bought me a crystal set kit for my birthday. It didn’t work so was sent back. (lots of my experimental/home brewing has ended up like this) HI. My next brush with radio was when I was about 14. I joined the Army Cadet Force. Our regiment was the Royal Gloucester Hussars, and besides shooting for the regiment at Bisley, I also trained as a radio operator. I loved it and became quite efficient at ‘netting’ (zero beating) the No19 set well before the ‘net now’ was given. I wasn’t so keen on operating the No9 set. This was a portable???? backpack set that with batteries weighed a ton. Then as always with young lads other things came along, like girls and cars. Emigration, marriage and family then meant that until the 1980’s radio never came back into my life. That was when the family went to the UK for a working holiday.

CB radio came to the UK in the 80’s and after a dabble with this very restricted (in those days) form of communication and experimenting with antennas for CB, I looked at becoming a Ham. I took the City and Guilds Radio Examination in 1983 and took out a licence in 1984, when I could afford a rig. I was licenced as G1NFD and restricted to above 30 MHz. No problem. I had fun with RTTY and SSTV on vhf mainly mobile, along with DFing until I took the CW test and obtained full privileges in 1989. I then became G0LBP and had all bands covered from home, until I met Phil, now ZL2RVW. Phil was by then a DXer and contester and persuaded me to give it a try and after a visit by members of the local club to Germany, we formed a contest club with a few others. Phil has emigrated to ZL and we are now back in friendly competition. With the skills Phil taught me and from reading books on DXing, I find I can crack most pileups if they are running split. An efficient station now became the priority. Most antennas came down and I concentrated on the 15M band from home and the contest club tried most contests but concentrated on 160M and VHF contests. By choosing the contests we stood a chance in, we did win or become highly placed in a lot of contests and formed relationships with several good contesters.

Upon returning to New Zealand in 1996, I was given the call of ZL2CC and when my ex-wife (a Gisborne girl) returned to the UK, I took up radio a bit more seriously. After meeting and marrying an amateur friendly woman, things started to move. I found that a mono band antenna is 10db better than a tri-bander and there is no substitute for height. I now run a 3 ele mono for 20m, a 2 ele mono for 17m and a 160m Carolina Windom for 40 thru’ 160m.
Radio interests are DXing, Contesting and antennas. Station is capable of HF psk31, rtty, SSTV, JT65as well as ssb and a little cw. Also UHF, VHF packet and APRS. You may see me on PSK31 on 30m, or JT65 any band including 160m.

Mike Looking for Multipliers at ZM4T

My antennas consist of three element mono band beams for 20m and 17m at approx 50ft, a Carolina Windom for 160m thru’ 10m at 50ft plus 80m single loop quad SW/NE and 40m single loop quad SW/NE. Rigs are FT757GX for data and FT1000d for main HF with an Ameritron AL811 amp. IC725 for portable/back up use. I am a member of ARRL, NZART, CDXC and the Pacific DXers. Ex-writer of the DX section of the NZART magazine ‘Break-In’ and a proud member of the East Coast Contesters ZM4T. I was honoured to be a member of the ZL7T DXpedition to Chatham Island 2009. I also run a local LPFM radio station. “Radio Waihora” on 88.3 MHz.
While I still tell newcomers to concentrate on a good antenna and forget the linear, I do run a small 811 linear sometimes.

I have been Chairman of the Loughborough Radio club in the UK and President of the Gisborne club. I was an exam tutor and registered novice tutor in the UK, and have strong views on the old novice system and the new UK and VK foundation licence. I believe that when we dropped CW as the gateway to HF, we should have replaced it with a staged examination.

As I said at the start, I am a part time DXer. Radio is just one of my hobbies. I am also a member of the local pistol club and American Car club. My skills are also varied being an A grade motor mechanic, heavy truck driver, building services design engineer and alarm technician. I am always willing to learn something new or different, and run PSK, RTTY and pactor However, I very rarely work local stations other than the local repeater, but who knows? Maybe I’ll hear you on top band one Sunday night as I chat to ZL2RS, a local ham on 1855.

DXCC count still climbing.
Te Karaka, nr Gisborne.