Some of us brought out our construction projects

The October meeting featured the annual Blackwood Cup.   Three entries were received – one each from Bernard ZL2BD, Ted ZL2TB and Mike ZL1AXG.   The trophy went to Mike ZL1AXG for his adaptations of the BITX40 transceiver.  But voting was very close.   Mike will be writing up his BITX40 mods on the Arduino section of this website as time allows.

Blackwood Cup 2017

The other projects included:

  • a 4 way antenna switch (from Bernard ZL2TB) which was beautifully presented (the case was made with 2 aluminium channels and a ).  Channel isolation was found to be around 70dB (i.e. excellent) with insertion loss in the fractions of 1dB;
  • a collection of home brew single lever paddle (from Ted ZL2TB) that use magnetic latching to provide a nice key “feel”.  Ted has a few for sale as well if anybody is looking for a nice non-iambic paddle.

Annual Blackwood Cup Competion

At our October 2016 meeting (held on 16 October at the Lutheran Church Hall, King St, Mt Cook in Wellington) we held the annual Blackwood Cup contest for the best homebrew project over the last 12 months

With only one contestant, Doug ZL2AOV, the outcome was pre-determined and Doug was awarded the Cup for his QRP SSB project.  It’s interesting that Doug’s late father Frank (then Z2CD) won the Blackwood Cup back in 1931 with an Emergency Transmitter.

What do other branches do on Field Day?

Field day operations

At our May WARC meeting on Wednesday 18 May we were given a presentation on how the Patea/South Taranaki branch has approached NZART Jock White Field Day over the last 53 years. Glenn Kingston ZL2KZ, one of our own WARC members, has travelled north each year (with just one or two exceptions, such as when his XYL came down with a high fever) to assist with Field Day operations in South Taranaki.  Glenn showed photos of two Field Day sites used over the last 50 years.

For some time now, the South Taranaki branch has based their Field Day activities at a primary school located along the sea coast north of Patea.  A 60′ aluminium tower (sourced by a member who worked at the Motonui synthfuel plant) is stored on site.   This is erected each year using a local farm tractor or RV as available.   This skyhook allows for an 80m folded dipole antenna to be mounted at near a quarter wavelength above ground.  A 40m antenna is mounted lower down the mast. More recently a secret weapon in the form of a vertical incidence 3 element 40 metre yagi pointed skyward has been added to the line up of antennas.  The yagi has deployed knowledge provided by another WARC member (John Gabites ZL2AQ SK) about the incidence angle for working ZL in Field Day events.

Can WARC get back to its form in the 90’s and 00’s and win the ZL2 Patea Trophy back again from the South Taranaki and Napier branches?   Can we find a low noise sight that will perform as well as South Taranaki’s coastal location?  Can we find another 60′ skyhook like we had access to at Quartz Hill and Athletic Park?  Can we get an enthusiastic team together to operate in the 2017 contest?