Dec 2019: Neil Barnett ZL1ANM SK

Neil Barnett ZL1ANMBARNETT, Neil Malcolm. On 2 December 2019 at Northshore Hospital. Father of Steven and the late Todd. Beloved son of the late Beris and Doug. Loved brother and brother in law of Rod and Judy, Jan and Kevin. A service will be held at The North Harbour Chapel of Dil’s Funeral Services 185 Schnapper Rock Road Albany, on Monday 9 December at 12.30pm followed by private cremation.

Several members of MPRG attended Neil’s funeral, and Martyn ZL3CK spoke:

Hello everybody. I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Musick Point Radio Group.

We are a volunteer group of radio amateurs who enjoy ‘playing with radio” (in our case mostly old ones) and help maintain, preserve and protect the historic Musick Memorial Radio Station at Buckland’s Beach.

I first met Neil at one of our radio equipment sales at Avondale about two years ago.

We discovered a common interest in the restoration of a particular variety of World War 2 radios called the ARC-5 series. This stands for the Aircraft Radio Corporation, of the USA. These were state-of-the-art in 1940 and are prized by collectors today. Neil had become quite expert in the restoration and repair of these lovely old radios.

Neil soon visited my home to help advise me on how to restore a number of these sets I’d collected over the years. I discovered he did not own a car, and used public transport extensively. Much later, when I once asked if he used his gold card for free transport, he said “No, of course not. I think you should pay”.

We began a pleasant routine of meeting up at a café on Wednesdays. We would have coffee, buy a sandwich and have a chat before going to the Radio Station for the meeting and working bee. After Neil moved to Belmont, he caught the ferry to Half Moon Bay and the same routine followed. Neil by then had purchased the scooter and would regularly beat me in the car to the station from the café. He knew quite a few shortcuts!

At Musick Point, Neil threw himself into several projects. Latterly, he was working on a 1950s transmitter we hope to convert to amateur radio use. I guess we will have to finish it for him now.

He was a little unusual – as most of us radio hams are. He told me he spent many hours on public transport, travelling to shopping malls all over the city where he’d have his main meal of the day, thus saving the trouble of cooking.

Last night, we had our annual vintage radio contest called “H night”. This commemorates the return of amateur radio to the air after World War 2. It was somewhat quieter this year, as Neil had been a very enthusiastic competitor and won it last year.

We will miss his expertise too. Neil was a properly trained Telecom technician in the days when they were properly trained. He made some beautifully constructed equipment for radio projects; we have seen some of these when he would bring something he’d made in to the station to show us, or to test.

We will all miss Neil’s gentlemanly nature, and that wonderful beard! I miss our coffees and chats on Wednesdays; we talked about a lot of things, but mostly about the projects at the station.

So, on behalf of all of us at Musick Point and the many radio amateurs all over New Zealand who knew him, our sincerest condolences go out to his family on his passing. He was a good man, now sadly, and too soon, he’s gone.

Neil Barnett, Z-L-1-Alpha-November-Mike, farewell.


From Neil’s page on QRZ.com

Licensed in 1967 whilst a teenager at high school. Call ZL1ANM held continuously since 1967. First rig: ARC-5 Tx and Rx on 80m. Longtime CW enthusiast.

Currently active on the New Zealand AM net on Friday evenings at 8.00 pm. Using a 3-4 MHz ARC-5 transmitter, modulated by 2 x 2E26 tubes in AB2 push-pull. Transmitter and modulator powered by ARC-5 dynamotor (550V DC) with final PA power kept down to 50W input to keep within dynamotor current limits, just like the transmitters were set up in the planes.

80m station
80m ARC-5 transmitter and receiver with BC-442-A antenna relay at left

I listen to the net on the Musick Point SDR receiver, which is set on the net frequency by default. My 3-6 MHz ARC-5 receiver is working fine on its dynamotor but the muting when transmitting needs work that involves reconfiguring the relay switching.

Antenna is a 40m dipole from the house out to the top of my 1.8 m high fence. The 3m nearest the house bends away from the insulator towards the bathroom window where a string and counterweight keep tension on it. For 80m, this 3m length is swung over to the shack window and becomes the feedpoint. The coax feedline at the centre insulator is dropped to the ground and the centre insulator is shorted. The antenna then becomes an end-fed quarter-wave with the coax lying on the ground becoming a counterpoise (only the braid used). I have plans to double the antenna’s height to 4 metres, which will involve a pole set in a concrete block at the far end.

40m station
SCR-183 transmitter with 6-9.1 MHz ARC-5 receiver. Transmitter dynamotor on bottom shelf at left
My 6-9.1 MHz ARC-5 receiver and its dynamotor are working well, and are used in conjunction with my SCR-183 transmitter (the BC-AO-230 model) on 40m AM. Tubes for this transmitter are unobtainable and have been replaced with four 6AQ5s with adapter sockets. The dynamotor for this transmitter now works well with it.