By Lloyd Clayden
The weekend of the 26/27th January, 1963, was an historic one for the
members of the Auckland Branch of the N.Z. Radio DX League, for on this Anniversary Day weekend Auckland staged its first Radio DX Convention. Visiting DXers in the persons of Ted Manning and Charlie Lilley from New Plymouth, Ray Babbage from Whakatane, Dennis Harrington from Taihape, Evan Davies from Timaru and Tony Ward from Mangakino via Mt. Maunganui, joined with Auckland members in the festivities. Most of the members arrived in the big smoke on the Friday and in the evening met Auckland members at Ray Pritchard’s where a happy time was had cementing new friendships and renewing old ones. Ted and Charlie were accompanied by their good wives, and they met the good ladies of Auckland members.
On the Saturday afternoon, after a free morning, the convention proper
really got under way with lunch at the Hotel Southern Cross at 1p.m. Ray
Babbage from Whakatane arrived by plane just in time to partake of the official luncheon, Afterwards at approximately 2.15 p.m. a cavalcade of cars
assembled and with Auckland members as chauffeurs the visitors were shown
the beauties of the Baghdad on the Waitemata. After crossing the harbour,
via the Harbour Bridge, the motorcade wended its way northwards through Takapuna, Milford, Castor Bay, Campbell’s Bay, Mairangi Bay, Murray’s Bay,
Albany, Silverdale, Orewa, Hadfield’s Bay and over the hill and down into,
Waiwera. Here a few pots of afternoon tea were downed, before leisurely
retracing their steps along the Hibiscus Coast to Whangaparaoa Peninsula
where members arrived at approximately 4.30 p.m. Here afternoon tea was
had and group photographs were taken. A charming touch was added to the
afternoon tea, with the birthday celebrations of Martin Stafford, who on
this day celebrated his 17th birthday.
After suitably toasting Martin both in song and deed, and enjoying his
birthday cake which was judged scrumptious by all, DXers minds turned naturally to DX. Facilities having been made ready in tents for BC listeners
and in a shed from SW listeners, activity got underway. It was very pleasing to your reporter to note that the heart of the BC band adherent beat
very strongly and SW had few DXers. Perhaps a review of the receiver line-up
up may be in order, for it was quite an impressive one. There were 4 Bendixes (B.C. only), 2 Hallicrafters, 2 Eddystones, a National HRO, an A.R.B.
a broadcast ARC-5, an Ultimate and a homebrew job known as Kerr’s Calamity.
Also a ZCl transmitter blasted the airwaves, and a transceiver was also
operational at various times. The aerial line-up was as follows: on broadcast, 800 ft long, 10° east of north, 1800 ft, 40deg east of north, 2100 ft
60deg east of north, 2700 ft, 72° east of north, and on SW, a high wire, 70
ft high, 500 ft long for Africans, a Vee Beam 250 ft long in each leg for
North and Central American reception, Also an 80 metre dipole for amateur
At 8.30 p,m. members heard a short message of greetings from ZCO, Tonga,
and at 10 p.m. a tape was played from 1ZD, Tauranga. This seven minute
broadcast which was well received, and reflected credit on the participants
must be a good boost from the League’s point of view. Incidentally, later
in the evening, Barry, ZL1ACZ, contacted Allan Dennison, ZL1AWP, who was a
former Auckland Branch member, and is now a technician at 1ZD, who heard
the broadcast and wished the Convention well. DXing proceeded apace on the,
Broadcast Band and most members made a few loggings. Undoubtedly the best
logging would be ZBM-1, Hamilton, Bermuda on l235 Kc., made by Tony and Rod.
On Shortwave, conditions were patchy, but for a few hours on the Monday morn
ing, numerous good loggings were made in the African continent, the best being Comores Islands, on 3331, made by Barry and Martin, who opined that it
was the best morning for SW DX in 18 months. No statistics of total stations logged were kept, but Ray Babbage would have the individual honours,
with 50 loggings. Overall, on the two nights, conditions were poor, with
Departures were well spread out from the early leavings of Dennis Harrington on Saturday evening, Ted and Charles had perforce to leave at about
2 a.m. on Sunday morning, as they had to be back in New Plymouth by Sunday
night. Evan Davies left about 10 on Sunday morning, and Ray Babbage at
10 a.m. on Monday morning to catch his 5 o’clock plane back. So by Monday
night, only two were left, and not surprisingly both were native Whangaparaoans, who as a postscript logged 5 and 11 stations respectively on the Monday night, which was by far the best night of the three, And so Auckland’s Convention for 1963 was over, and we can now look forward to next year and what it will bring.
(From the Peter Grenfell DX Times collection)