Dec: ZL1ZLD on 80m AM for H Night

The H Night team at ZLD (L-R): Maurice ZL1MPU, Ross ZL1DRB and Martyn ZL3CK
L-R: Maurice ZL1MPU, Ross ZL1DRB and Martyn ZL3CK during H Night

It was a great pleasure to be involved in what was probably the best turnout of AM stations heard in ZL for some years. Thanks are due to Rob ZL2WI whose idea it was to run the contest and request the special call, Debby at NZART HQ, and Steve ZL1FS who completed the RSM paperwork. We can plan on an annual ZL6H AM event. Of course one can
assume there were probably lots on CW as well (Eh Gary!), but for our purposes it can remain an AM activity.

At Musick Point (ZL1ZLD) we had a team of Ann ZL1BFB, Rick ZL1WOT, Steve ZL1FS, Maurice ZL1MPU and Ross ZL1DRB on his first visit to the historic radio station.

We were using the RCA transmitter with about 250 watts output. As many of you were aware we had more than enough “gremlins” on the night! Firstly my VHF rig in the car failed on the way, so I couldn’t confirm the pizza order!

Then we had big problems with the receiver, which had been operating well previously. Eventually the problem was tracked down to an intermittent changeover relay on the transmitter – which is located downstairs so not possible to whack with a hammer at the appropriate time! The result was incredibly frustrating as sometimes we heard calls and sometimes not. We did use Ross’ remote receiver via his cellphone in desperation at times.

Despite all this we had 26 contacts from all over New Zealand, and a lot of fun. Thanks to Ann, Rick, and Steve for getting the station up and running for the night.

Apologies to those stations who called us and we did not hear you, we will do better next year.

It was not only us – another station had instability problems giving rise to a 30Khz bandwidth (!), fortunately we were alerted to this quickly and all was put to rights rapidly.

Anyway, it certainly proves that it is not an easy thing to run a good AM station, especially using old equipment that has not been used for long periods. We have learned valuable lessons and I’m sure ZL1ZLD will be ‘up there’ for next year’s H night, December 8, 2016.

Martyn ZL3CK