1984 Convention report
A FIRST – TIMER’S IMPRESSIONS by Deborah Fitzpatrick
Thinking back after a couple of days, to recoup from the high of being out of the city and among new friends, and before forgetting some of the little details, I can write that CONVENTION 84 will definitely go down in my scrapbook of lifetime memories. Mind you, some of those scrapbook memories include a seven-day bush walk in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula in the American state of Washington which I still shudder about, but I’m digressing . . . .
DAY ONE (20 April 1984) As conventioneers arrived they were greeting by Barry Williams or Tom Rushbrooke, with a ‘kit’ which included a special issue of “Queen City DX” (courtesy of Bryan Clark), a VOA ballpoint pen (to write down all those logs which will hopefully occur during the marathon DX sessions), a
VOA Fan Club name tag (to aid in identifying members, not stations), and oodles of other goodies to remember Parau by.
After the barbeque (thank you Alice Williams for looking after us so well), the human convention goers started hearing the first of many special broadcasts and CONVENTION 84 greetings (K.I.W .I . Radio came in well at Parau on 5825kHz). Later that evening the non-human DXers enjoyed their barbeque – a friendly (‘?) possum took up residence around the picnic table.
Ron Johannson had thought to bring along a portable TV so some of the non-marathon DXers could catch the Torvill-Dean ice-skating TV Special. One prominent but nameless DXer gave us a comic impression of a beginning skater. The ‘TV Lounge‘ emptied fairly quickly when the giant weta dropped in for a social call . . . .our resident policeman took care of the gatecrasher. ‘
DAY TWO (21 April 1984) At the Question 8. Answer Panel, at 10am in the warm sun, Bryan Clark gave an inspired answer as to why DXing is better in the dark: THERE IS THIS GIANT LAYERED CHOCOLATE CAKE IN THE SKY which we feed off in the dark. The Sun believes in ‘Skinny is, Beautiful‘, comes out to
help us diet, and MELTS IT ALL AWAY‘. Take a bow, Bryan’.
After lunch, those interested in sightseeing or a break from the receivers (the sun was out) had a tour of the Huia Domain and Whatipu Beach at the entrance to the Manukau Harbour. Whatipu must be the best black sand beach I’ve been on .
Day Two also saw my DXing highlights . . .hearing American Forces Antarctic Network McMurdo 6012 for the first time, the Domestic Service of South Africa on 4835. . .Radio Purple Death 27570 (a special for conventioneers) . After hearing what’s possible with long wire antennas outside of urbania, I plan a lot of weekend trips out to Piha Beach with the receivers.
Day Two also saw me trying out many different DX receivers for the first time, a learning opportunity for novices to the hobby. One tip I picked up: there is a booklet called INTERNATIONAL LISTENING GUIDE available from Bernd Friedewalde, Merianstr. Z, D-3588 Homberg, West Germany, which provides a complete directory of External Services in English . You can send NZ$10
directly (Bernd evidently lives close to a large international railway station where he can exchange notes.)
DAY THREE (Easter Day) On Easter morning we paid a visit to the BCNZ Television Transmitting Station at Waiatarua atop the Waitakere Ranges, with Warren Tatten kindly showing us around . Wonder if we could set up a Listening Post there . . .it’s up high, pity about those transmitters . . .wonder what it would do to the radio signals . . .hmmmm . . .
Then, the AUCTION‘. There was quite a jump in the number of day visitors, which helped swell the number of bidders as ‘auctioneer’ Stuart Forsyth got down to the business of getting us to part with our silver (Ron J . bought a bagful) . Many thanks to Douglas Doull for cajolling the shortwave broadcasters into donating all that great stuff. . .now where am I going to put that big, big map?.?
Then it was home to Simon and Mu for me. Best of all was meeting other DXers for the first time (from as far afield as Invercargill, Queenstown, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Hamilton), trying out all those lovely radios (FRG7, FRG7000 and FRG7700 by Yaesu, 3 Drake R4B and SPR4, National DR28, DR31 R1400 and RF5000 Kenwood R1000, Icom ICR70, Sony ICF2001and 6800W- I’ll be a dedicated CONVEINTIONEER from now on out. . .See you at the next one, everybody‘.