New Zealand Net News Nr 34, 25 July 2020

This is a fortnightly newsletter about the New Zealand Net.
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Featured operator

VK3DRQ and shack
VK3DRQ and his gear. From bottom left: TS-440S, IC-718, Ant Controller, Temp Sensor, LogiKit filter. At right: TS520-S, R1000, SWR, ATU. (The antenna controller, temp sensor and ATU are homebrew.)

One of the most reliable check-ins on the NZ Net is our friend Manny VK3DRQ from Melbourne. He’s also a stalwart of the daily CWB net on 14349.0 at 0600Z. I asked Manny (or Manolo) to tell us a bit about himself.

After being in the Spanish Navy and then in the Merchant Navy, I came to Australia in 1975.
For many years I had an itching to become a radio amateur. I finally took the test in 1982 and got the callsign VK3DRQ.
Having no equipment, no room, and no money, I started building a small 12V PS and a 3-transistor 1 Watt transmitter. Later I bought a real receiver, the brilliant Kenwood R-1000 and started to build my second transmitter with much more power (2 watts). The first decent transceiver I owned was a second-hand TS520S; then in a Radio Club Auction, I won a TS440S and soon after that I got my IC-718.

(Editor’s note: In 1966 Manny survived the sinking of a Spanish freighter during a North Atlantic storm. You can read his vivid memories of the Monte Palomares tragedy on maritimeradio.org)


Quick notes

Morse key
Morse key at Musick Point Radio Group Museum

Please welcome Gerard ZL2GVA of Blenheim, who recently checked into the Net for the first time. Like many of us, Gerard is contending with heavy noise on 80m so may have trouble hearing some stations.

Dave ZL4LDY and his XYL have been taking a holiday to Hamilton, delayed due to the COVID lockdown, so we’re missing that strong signal from ZL4LDY, especially on Thursday and Friday nights!


NZ Netters score big on Field Day

80m aerial at ZL1XH, Field Day 2020

The results of February’s Jock White Field Day have just been released, and some NZ Net regulars placed well in the results (and sorry if I’ve missed anyone):

Bruce ZL1BWG had the top CW score for home stations, with 92 contacts on 80m and 73 contacts on 40m.

Richard ZL4FZ was one of two 40m CW ops at ZL3AC (Branch 05), which posted the highest 40m CW score nationally, and finished second overall in the Midland Region.

Paul ZL1AJY and Neil ZL1NZ handled CW on 40m and 80m respectively at ZL1XH (Branch 77), which was the top station nationally.


Morse by mouth

Here’s something that could be helpful to operators who cannot use their hands.

A radio amateur has worked out how to convert spoken language into Morse, using a Raspberry PI computer, Google voice-to-text translation, and something called an AIY Voice Bonnet.

Here are some technical details and a video demonstration.

Or, for those who want a cheaper solution, with no programming or soldering required, there’s always this approach, demonstrated by Mauri IZ5OVP.


Electronic logging for old men

David ZL2WT was telling me recently that he has made the leap into electronic logging, using a free program called LOG4OM (Version 2). Even better, David says it’s really good for logging the NZ Net, and it interfaces well with his Icom transceiver.

» Learn more


Bug box from Russia

Russian bug boxI saw a link to this company on Instagram. Although the text is Russian, this seems to be a woodworking company that includes in their products a nice little box for your bug. All it needs is a carrying handle, I reckon. I have no idea how one orders it (the website doesn’t seem to exist yet) or whether they make them in different sizes to suit different keys. But it’s nice to know that, just as Vibroplex still makes bugs, someone is making boxes to put them in.

instagram.com/faximile.ru


Dashes and dots for tiny tots

LU9CYV used some of his son’s toys to make these CW paddles during COVID lockdown in Argentina. It looks like a Duplo block and some pieces from a Meccano set.

Maybe it will inspire the youngster to start slinging Morse.

Duplo and meccano paddles


Net tip: How to QNG

A Net member asked me recently if I could provide some pre-written text to use in a situation such as if Net Control asks you to QNG1 (take over as temporary net control). So here’s what I would suggest, but it doesn’t have to be exactly like this.

There is no need to acknowledge the request with something like ‘R’. Just get right into it:

CQ CQ NZ NET NZ NET DE [YOUR CALLSIGN TWICE]
QNN [CALLSIGN OF NCS ONCE] QNI PSE K

If no response, then simply send ‘NIL’ and NCS will resume control.

But suppose ZL1ABC checks in with you. Acknowledge them with:

ZL1ABC GE [SIGNAL REPORT] HW?

After they indicate QRU or QTC, acknowledge with:

R <AS>

If another station checks in, repeat the process, until you get no more calls. Then send a summary to NCS, like this:

NZ NET = ZL1ABC QNI QRU = ZL2DEF QNI QTC1 ZL3HIJ <AR> BTN

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