In early March, a small group of members came together in Mangawhai Northland to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the NZ Radio DX League.
Initially a 3 day/ 2 night event, such was the enthusiasm of those attending, the
convention was extended to 4 days/3 nights. A welcome late addition was Mailbag Editor Theo Donnelly who flew in from Vancouver on the morning of the convention and showed no signs of jetlag through the weekend. Also from overseas we had Brian & Debra Dodgson from Mansfield Victoria. Brian was working at Radio Australia’s Darwin transmitting station when Cyclone Tracey hit on Christmas Eve in 1974. He was a member of DX Australia and the Southern Cross DX Club. Other participants came from Southland, Otago, North Otago, South Canterbury, Waikato and Auckland. In total, the 12 long-time League members participating (including 5 Life Members) had a total of 577 years of DXing and SWL experience between them, led by Frank Glen
with 63 years and Barry Williams, 61 years at the radio dial! So, there was plenty of reminiscing and many DX memories to be shared.
Mangawhai lived up to its ‘winterless north’ image with the weekend weather fine and warm throughout. On the Saturday morning most conventioneers went for a long bush and coastal walk, with 4 intrepid climbers successfully reaching the top of the Giant Dune. Linguistic differences between North and South Islanders were evident when 2 walkers misunderstood their directions!
A major part of the weekend was discussion on future options for the NZ Radio DX League. Several written submissions were reviewed, including one proposing an orderly closure of the club in 2018, when we will celebrate the 70th anniversary. However those present were keen that the club try and survive in some form as long as possible. But members have been insulated from the increasing cost of producing the NZ DX Times for some years, as a result of subsidy from accumulated funds. Continuing this approach would mean the club would be insolvent in about 5 years unless a significant increase in subscription for the paper magazine was introduced. There was general agreement
that the DX League should phase out production of a paper-based publication within that period, with the option of printing out the electronically-distributed magazine for those without Internet or Email access. But this option would have to be on a full cost recovery basis and be subject to a member volunteering to printing out the magazine, photocopying and posting out. The sooner the switch occurs, the more funding that will be available to upgrade and maintain our Internet presence. It was suggested that the electronic subscription be reduced to encourage members to make the change. The Administration Committee will consider the outcome of the discussions and make proposals to the membership for decision at this year’s AGM in October.
Former Radio Hauraki DJ Mark Perry (nowadays best known for his voice-overs and TV appearances promoting pharmaceutical products) joined us Saturday afternoon to talk about his radio career and the technical challenges of operating 2 LPFM stations in Mangawhai using an Apple Mac computer in a cupboard! He started as a radio listener tuning in to the Australian commercial stations in the 1960’s and went on to become an NZBC radio technician. His big break came when he had to voice some commercials because the designated announcer failed to show up.
Saturday evening included ‘Down Memory Lane’ with a sharing of photo albums and onscreen presentations covering over 60 years of DXers, DXpeditions and Conventions. A sightseeing excursion to Mangawhai Heads on Sunday included morning tea at Sharyn & Don McLean’s cliff-top home overlooking the Mangawhai Estuary and islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Sharyn has a very unusual hobby (perhaps more unusual than DXing?) – collecting electrical insulators from around the world. Some antenna-related items were identified and contacts made to increase her collection.
Several items were auctioned over the weekend to defray convention costs, including a Barlow Wadley XCR30 donated by former Otago member Ash Nallawalla. Thanks to the electronic gurus present, this was made operational. Steven Greenyer demonstrated a compact portable EWE antenna and a tuned vertical antenna mounted on a collapsible squid pole.
While talking and reminiscing, as well as fine cuisine from Sandra’s kitchen, dominated the weekend, most were able to sample DXing at the quiet coastal location. Shortwave listening highlights included reactivated Radio Mil Mexico 6010 and Radio Uganda 4976. As is usual, DX conditions on medium wave improved markedly after convention, with Brazil and Argentina being heard on MW 2 days later.
The convention closed with hopeful talk of another gathering in the next few years. For additional photos taken at Convention 2013, go to the DX Dialog Yahoo Group website .
CONVENTION SHORTWAVE TRAIL
8 to 11 March 2013. Thanks to Phil van de Paverd, Frank Glen, Brian Dodgson and Bryan Clark
4780 1937 DJIBOUTI Radio Djibouti very good strength with Horn of Africa (HOA) vocals.
4800 1937 INDIA? Presumed origin of live broadcast of a religious or cultural event, with host regularly breaking into song.
4930 1935 BOTSWANA Voice of America fair w/EE commentary on Hugo Chavez.
4976 1932 UGANDA Radio Uganda w/African drumming then spoken prgm,
weak. Other African signals at carrier level on 4940 (Sao Tome) and
6010 0714 MEXICO Radio Mil reactivated on 6009.95, w/jingle “Radio Mil de
Mexico”, het QRM from Brazil on high side. By 0840 Brazil was
7120 1857 SOMALIA Radio Hargeisa exc with news in AA, short anthem at 1900 and off.
7295 1928 MALAYSIA Traxx FM with pop music format, mixed or under China
Radio International in EE.
9395 2120 ALGERIA/FRANCE Radio Algerienne good in AA via French relay site.
9505 0450 SUDAN Omdurman signing off with brief EE announcement.
9645 0442 BRAZIL Radio Bandierantes Sao Paulo good in PP. (Freq 9645.4)
9665 0323 BRAZIL Voz Misionaria, Florianopolis fair w/religious talk in PP on
9664.84. Best reception on USB.
9745 1928 BAHRAIN Radio Bahrain w/popular songs in AA. Good reception until totally blocked by CRI Esperanto Service to Europe opening at 1930.
Bahrain id’ed by its unusual transmission mode – no LSB. Also hrd at 0322.
9819 0252 BRAZIL Radio 9 de Julio fair w/religious talkback in PP on measured
9819.22. At 0259 gave ident & website for Radio Aparecida, then
own ident with time signals at 0301:30.
10000 0318 BRAZIL Observatorio Nacional with PP time check every 10 seconds for UTC-3. USB mode only. Audio distorted, under WWV..
11510 0525 MOLDOVA Voice of Kurdistan via Grigoriopol w/ folk songs.
11625 0532 VATICAN Vatican Radio reporting in Italian on conclave to elect
11700 0540 FRANCE Radio France International with sports report in FF.
11740 2208 INDIA All India Radio excellent with news in EE.
11765 2128 BRAZIL Super Deus e Amor good in PP with religious prgm.
11780 0238 BRAZIL Radio Nacional da Amazonia good with jazz prgm, PP ident.
11820 2224 SAUDI ARABIA BSKSA good in Arabic, parallel with 11915.
11840 2220 CUBA Radio Havana good in SS, parallel 17705 was better reception.
11880 2218 CUBA Radio Havana good with EE prgm.
11925 0527 BRAZIL Radio Bandierantes fair w/lively PP format, parallel 9645.39 very good. Both freqs also noted at fair level at 0248.
12050 2237 USA WEWN Alabama exc in SS. Gave identification at 2257.
15345 1902 ARGENTINA LRA Radio Nacional, Buenos Aires with SS news (Sat/Sun only). Wanders a bit – frequency this day was 15344.65
15540 2100 KUWAIT Radio Kuwait excellent signing off in EE.