New Zealand Net News Nr 26, 4 April 2020

This is a fortnightly newsletter about the New Zealand Net.
If you would like to be notified by email message when a new edition is published, please contact ZL1NZ.
You are also welcome to browse our newsletter archive.

Highlights

Isn’t it great to have the nightly ritual of NZ Net during these very strange times that require most of us to stay at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus. I certainly feel for the essential workers who are carrying on with their duties, and putting themselves at higher risk by doing so. We all owe them our thanks. I hope you and your family are all in good health.

The NZ Net has been getting busier these past few weeks, with 128 check-ins during March, and 17 pieces of traffic handled. We can handle many more check-ins, so please tell your friends about the Net and let’s keep our Net Controllers jumping!

NZ Net stats graph

Here’s our monthly net report for March:

NR25 R ZL1NZ 39/36 AUCKLAND 0800Z 2APR20
=
NZ NET
=
MARCH QNI ZL1AJY 4 ZL1AYN 4 ZL1NZ 20 ZL2GD 17
ZL2LN 6 ZL2WT 14 ZL3DMC 3 ZL3RIK 1 ZL4CU 6
ZL4FZ 11 ZL4KX 5 ZL4LDY 17 VK2MZ 1 VK3DRQ 17
VK4PN 2 TOTAL 128 QTC 17
=
ZL1NZ

Shack projects during COVID-19

A while back I asked net stations what projects they planned to undertake while staying at home during the COVID-19 lockdown. Here are the replies:

  • Grant ZL2GD will be adding AGC to his UBitX transceiver
  • David ZL2WT, a long-time straight key man, is determined to master paddle keying
  • Neil ZL1NZ planned to fix several of his boat anchor rigs, but his soldering iron died after the first one, so he’s looking for another project.



NZ Net video stream

David ZL2WT
David ZL2WT on the video stream during the 1 April 2020 NZ Net

Some of us have been playing with Zoom to share video of each other and our shacks during the Net. If you’d like to join us, please refer to the email I sent a few days ago, or contact me for the login information.

We’ve had Will ZL1RED joining us on Zoom. Will currently doesn’t have much of an antenna, but can follow along using an SDR.

David ZL2WT was on the video stream a few days ago while checking into the Net from his Marconi radio room. Watching the video stream, and listening to the Net via an SDR, was Roy VK6RR, manager of the 20m VKCW net. Roy and David are both former ship’s radio officers from the UK, so after the Net they swapped a few sea stories via the Zoom video link.

Note: Zoom is a free and very popular video conferencing service. It is not fully encrypted end-to-end, and there have been some security issues reported. It should not be used to share personal or private information. Here’s a very useful article on how to use Zoom as securely as possible.


ZL75BRL

You might have noticed a new callsign on the Net recently: ZL75BRL (or perhaps ZM75BRL), but with a familiar fist. Here’s Dave ZL4LDY to explain:

Blind Citizens NZ logoOn 8 October 1945, a small group assembled in Auckland. Most were blind. Some had small amounts of useful vision. But what all of them shared was the basic belief that they were best positioned to determine their own destiny in life.

They didn’t believe that destiny belonged to others who were then practising authority over them.

The story of their first fifty years is told in the 1995 book Quest for Equity written by criminal psychologist Greg Newbold.

So ZL75BRL (as in Braille) marks the 75th anniversary of the group now known as the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Inc or Blind Citizens NZ.

I hope more from the Association will join us as hams. I also hope that some hams may join Blind Citizens NZ as Associates.

 

These callsigns don’t appear in the monthly net report. I opted to report them as ZL4LDY/2 so that Dave earns all his frequent check-in points. 🙂


NZ Net antenna guessing game

It’s time to play “guess that antenna” (or aerial, if you prefer).

How to participate:

Antennas1. Take a photo of your 80m antenna. Wire antennas can be hard to photograph, so feel free to just capture part of it, if that’s easiest.

2. Write a 1-2 sentence description of your antenna, such as: “My antenna is a coax-fed fan dipole that I use on 80, 40 and 20 metres. It is about 7m above ground.”

3. Email your photo and description to me.

In each newsletter, I will post one photo and its description. See if you can guess whose antenna it is. Then click to check your answer – which will be revealed in Morse Code (naturally)!


Clock at 2100 hoursTime change

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour this weekend.

NZ Net is always at 21:00 NZ time, which will be 0900 UTC after we switch back to standard time.


Maritime Radio Day

This annual event will be held 14 April 12.00 GMT to 15 April 22.00 GMT on HF CW.

All amateur radio operators are invited to participate. There are some special provisions for former professional operators.

See all the details.


Net tip: how to respond to a broadcast message

I have not come across an official way to respond to broadcast messages (I even consulted a veteran coast station operator who said it wasn’t a situation he’d had to deal with). So perhaps it will help if I outline the approach that I try to follow.

If I send a message to one or more specific stations, I will ask each of them in turn “QSL?”. As I go down the list I will get more and more abbreviated to save time, something like this:

<AR> ZL1AYN QSL?
   Bob replies: QSL NR15 TU
ZL2GD?
   Grant replies: QSL NR15 TU
WT?
   David replies: QSL NR15 TU

But with a broadcast message (such as our NZ Net Trivia) I often won’t know who is copying, so I cannot ask each station to QSL. Instead, I usually just listen to see if anyone needs a fill, something like this hypothetical situation:

<AR> ANY FILLS? (listen for 10 seconds)
   Perhaps Don replies: DMC
DMC
   Don requests: BN HAPPY YEAR
HAPPY NEW YEAR
   Don replies: QSL NR28 TU
TU FILLS? (listen for another 10 seconds)
  • If nothing heard after 10 seconds, then I will assume all fills have been requested.
  • If you need more time to check your copy, just send <AS> and I will wait until you’re ready.
  • The only stations that need to send “QSL” are the ones who have requested fills.

I hope this helps make it clearer. But it you have any comments or questions, please get in touch.


Suggestions?

If you have suggestions on how to make the NZ Net better, or things you’d like to see covered in these updates, please contact ZL1NZ. You might even like to write something for the newsletter.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon on the NZ Net!

Neil Sanderson ZL1NZ, Net Manager
New Zealand Net (NZ NET)
3535.0 kHz at 9pm NZT Mon-Fri