Retiring National President DAVID NORRIE opened the NZ Radio DX League’s 60 th Annual General Meeting at Waianakarua near Oamaru on Saturday 4 October by thanking the North Otago Branch for organising the venue and excellent weather, and acknowledging the excellent keynote address from FRANK GLEN. 28 members took part, from as far afield as Queensland, Melbourne, Northland, Auckland, Levin, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Timaru, North Otago, Dunedin and Southland.
Those present stood for a minute’s silence in memory of our patron and life member JACK FOX, along with other members who had died earlier in the year – life member ERIC McINTOSH, ITO TSUKIGAWA, TOM RUSHBROOKE and PETER SMITH.
Congratulatory messages from the Australian Radio DX Club and Ontario DX Association for the club’s 60th birthday were read out. Announcing his retirement from the president’s role after 5 years, David noted the ongoing decline in membership, but on the positive side he said it was incredible that the DX League is still going strong 60 years after the club’s inception, and we have an excellent monthly magazine, the lifeblood of our hobby interest. He thanked his fellow Administration Committee (Adcom) members and DX Times Chief Editor MARK NICHOLLS in particular, without whose skills we would not have a magazine.
Secretary/Treasurer PHIL VAN DE PAVERD presented the Annual Accounts for 2007/08 – these showed a slight excess of income over expenditure – a turnaround from the previous year which had a deficit as a result of extending the subscription year from 31 August to 31 December – and a significant overall bank balance. David said that the latter was of concern to Adcom and would be addressed later in the meeting.
In his Chief Editor’s Annual Report MARK NICHOLLS thanked sub-editors for the time and effort they put into producing their columns each month, and to all
members who contributed during the year. New software purchased by the League had enabled Mark to reduce the time taken to produce the magazine each month. Back copies of the DX Times would be available in digital form to members through the upgraded website.
Webmaster CHRIS MACKERELL reported on his upgrading of the DX League’s
radiodx.com website, from a collection of static html pages to one that uses a content management system (CMS). The conversion took much longer than expected so there may still be links between pages that need updating, and feedback on these are needed. The new website contains all existing material plus Forums, a trial chatroom, ‘gadgets’ such as Space Weather Data, and log-in controlled ‘premium content’ (currently unused). The new approach will enable more people to author and edit their own pages and sections on the site. Chris is keen to see some new content on the site and TONY KING has got the ball rolling with a new article. He is also keen to receive any suggestions or corrections for the website. David Norrie reminded members that it was up to them to make radiodx.com a success. Former webmaster PAUL ORMANDY complimented Chris on delivering a great website with a fresh look, and reiterated that the CMS would mean that any member with a log-in, could create and post an article from their home computer. It was as simple as creating a Word document.
Regarding the League’s Archives held at the Hocken Library in Dunedin, Paul confirmed that due to lack of space for further material, the Hocken will now only consider accepting QSL collections that the DX League could show were of
significant interest to the Otago/Southland Region. Life member BARRY WILLIAMS said that members should vet their own collections and remove duplications to ensure only the best material was donated. DAVID RICQUISH noted the restrictive access to DX material held at the Hocken was a factor in establishment of the Radio Heritage Foundation (RHF). The QSL collections of KEITH ROBINSON and ERIC McINTOSH are recent additions to the RHF collection. RHF planned to solve the issue of storage space by digitising material and placing it in large computer databases. A new Open Source software program would be introduced in 2009 to allow members to scan, upload and catalogue their own prized QSLs and related ephemera through the DX League and RHF websites. There had also been discussions with the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington regarding physical storage of the most valuable items.
Life member PETER GRENFELL acknowledged North Otago Branch’s initiative in the 1970s to get prized collections including those of ARTHUR CUSHEN and MERV BRANKS deposited with the Hocken.
In his Competitions Secretary’s Report ARTHUR DE MAINE said that only a few Best of the Month Certificates had been awarded in the past year. He complimented all members competing for the individual awards and announced the Annual Awards as follows: Founders Award to PAUL ARONSEN for his work in keeping the Tiwai Listening Post open and available to visiting DXers from throughout NZ and overseas. The Best of Year QSL awards went to BRYAN CLARK with Radio Peace Sudan 4750kHz 1kw and CHWO Toronto 740kHz 50kw. Best Loggings of the Year were Voice of the People, Madagascar 9895kHz, heard by IAN CATTERMOLE and Bryan, and Voice of Independent Africa 7125kHz, heard by DES DAVEY. Arthur then introduced a lively discussion on the future of DX League competitions. He had received minimal feedback from members to date and proposed that all competitions cease at the end of the 2008/09 competition year, with the exception of Best of Month awards which would cease when certificate stocks were exhausted, expected to be late 2009. David Ricquish suggested that Ladders and Continent Listings be moved to the radiodx.com website. SUTTON BURTENSHAW said that Ladders could be dispensed with because the Continents Listing contained the same total information, plus a breakdown of QSLs by continental grouping. He had consulted with Ladders Editor STUART FORSYTH who was supportive of moving to the Continents Listing style of Ladders and remaining as sub-editor.
BRYAN CLARK was concerned that the majority of current members did not have internet access so would be deprived by an internet-only approach. The meeting agreed that the current Ladders be replaced by the Continents Listing, and that publication in the DX Times twice a year would suffice, but with the website listing being available for update at any time. It was also agreed that League Best QSL of the Month competitions be terminated forthwith, but that Annual Awards for best QSLs and best loggings on Medium Wave, Shortwave under 9mHz and Shortwave over 9mHz be retained. A new Best of Year FM category was also added.
Branch annual reports were received and read from Wellington, Auckland, North Otago and Southland. Informal meetings were also being held in Christchurch. DAVID MILLER advised that 6 DXers had recently met at his place in Dunedin, and with encouragement from the late Jack Fox, now planned to meet informally every 2 months.
Election of Officers for 2008/09 – Patron FRANK GLEN, President BRYAN CLARK, Vice President MIKE BUTLER, Secretary & Treasurer PHIL VAN DE PAVERD, Chief Editor MARK NICHOLLS, Competitions Secretary ARTHUR DE MAINE and Auditor BRIAN BEYNON. Other formal positions prescribed under the 1994 Constitution were not filled, but Bryan indicated that BARRY WILLIAMS and DAVID NORRIE would be co-opted for the incoming Administration Committee. Bryan said that Mark’s editorial position was the most critical role in the club, and the meeting recorded its thanks to Mark as he entered his 9 th year in the Chief Editor role.
Two remits proposing a review of the League’s constitution, last updated in 1994, were discussed. DAVID RICQUISH felt that a review was an important part of mapping out the future for the organisation. PHIL VAN DE PAVERD’s remit differed only in the number of participants in the working group, and the method of their selection. The outcome of discussion and voting was that the following participants were appointed for the review working group – DAVID RICQUISH (Chairman, Wellington), DAVID CROZIER and PHIL VAN DE PAVERD (Auckland), BRYAN CLARK (Northland), ARTHUR DE MAINE and PAUL ORMANDY (North Otago), STEVEN GREENYER (South Canterbury) and PAUL ARONSEN (Southland). Bryan emphasised the tight schedule for the group to work to in bringing recommendations back to the 2009 AGM, and said that those appointed would need to bear this in mind in committing time to the review. It was also critical that the membership at large gave feedback on proposals when they were published in the DX Times.
Subscription Rates – it was agreed that these remain unchanged. Adcom, in considering the current financial status of the League, and the significance of the club’s 60th anniversary milestone, sought to mark the occasion with a subscription amnesty for 2008/09, for all who had been a member for at least 12 months. The cost to forgo subscriptions for the coming year was estimated at $4000. This was agreed.
CHRIS MCGLINCHY • asked that the location of the AGM be varied more frequently so that members outside of Auckland had a greater chance to participate and meet with Adcom members. The meeting discussed the request from • DES DAVY that the DX Times make provision for an Amateur Radio column. It was agreed that, subject to the Chief Editor being able to provide space, and sufficient contributions being received, a column of no more than 1 page be trialed under the sub-editorship of PAUL ORMANDY. The column would generally be limited to listing ham QSLs received by members listening to the amateur bands.
The meeting noted • DAVID RICQUISH’s excellent documentary marking the 60 th Anniversary of Radio NZ International and agreed to communicate the League’s congratulations to RNZI.
MIKE BUTLER • ’s annual Propagation Report was circulated to members.
A Marsh Special receiver was displayed by PAUL ARONSEN. This unique radio, designed for medium wave DX was designed by the late Bill Marsh and constructed by Southland Branch members. Bill was one of the few DXers to have logged South African MW stations from NZ. Paul also tabled records of Southland Branch’s “DX Digest” newsletter, now over 70 years old and thus one of the world’s longest running DX hobby publications.Whilst Paul has a new 9 year lease on the Tiwai Listening House, the lack of support from Southland Branch members may mean that this valuable asset for DXing will be lost to members sooner. Financial assistance from the DX League was suggested by Chris McGlinchy but it was agreed that practical local support for Paul was the critical factor in Tiwai’s survival.
Following submissions from members, and on the recommendation of Adcom, 3 new life members were elected – PAUL ARONSEN, DON REED and ROSS GIBSON (we will give more coverage to these members, as well as our new patron, in this column next month).
CHRIS MCGLINCHY • suggested promoting the radio DX hobby to young people in schools and those participating in the radio amateur Boy Scout Jamboree of the Air. The magazine ‘Older and Bolder’ was recommended to bring the hobby to the attention of older people. Bryan said that costs for publication in similar magazines had proved prohibitive. Barry said that Auckland Branch had participated in hobbies exhibitions for 2 years to try and attract newcomers to the hobby, but with no response. This was most discouraging given the effort put in. David Ricquish felt that young people were interested in radio as demonstrated by their involvement in community radio stations. Bryan said that while the League had funds to publicise the hobby, the challenge with an ageing membership was finding enthusiastic people with the time and energy to make the effort.
Chris also felt that senior members of the club should do more to explain how they went about DXing, as he was unable to hear many of the stations being
reported in the DX Times. He asked that more experienced members share their knowledge through articles in the magazine and one-on-one contact with newcomers. Bryan said the EWE antenna provided a means for improving one’s DX success rate in urban areas, but listening location is very important to DX success nowadays, hence the value of DXpeditions to isolated, noise-free locations like Tiwai. He recognised the frustration for members in urban
locations with limited space and interference issues.
60th Anniversary Greetings
From the NZ Radio DX League President, Bryan Clark
As we celebrate the 60 years since our club was formed, we pay tribute to the many DX and SWL colleagues, past and present, who have enthusiastically given their time and talents to share their hobby with us, through the NZ Radio DX League and our magazine, the NZ DX Times.
In what is essentially a solo hobby, it has been the encouragement of DXers like the late Jack Fox, Arthur Cushen, Merv Branks and Eric McIntosh, and many still living, that has brought each of us to where we are today in our understanding and enjoyment of the DX/SWL hobby. At the 60th Anniversary Celebrations and AGM hosted by North Otago Branch, it was a particular privilege to be able to bestow Life Membership on founding members Don Reed and Ross Gibson. Ross was one of the senior shortwave DXers I looked up to when I began DXing in 1961, and some of my early enthusiasm for medium wave DXing came from listening with Don at his crib north of Christchurch during my first DX League convention in 1964.
We honour all those who have mentored today’s hobbyists, and ensured that the NZ Radio DX League has a solid and reputable foundation today. And I also salute those of you still involved in national and branch DX administration, our Chief Editor and Sub-Editors, and to everyone who’s contributions to the magazine every month ensure a newsworthy read.
New Zealand Radio DX League
From the ARDXC (Australian Radio DX Club)
60 years – well that’s a magnificent effort for a volunteer organisation, a mighty effort. The Australian Radio DX Club congratulates the New Zealand Radio DX League on this achievement.
The era of radio listening and reporting has seen many eras, decades, wars and of course other historic modern events pass. To this end, one must remember the thousands of people that have enjoyed being members of the League. In fact on the Aussie side of the Tasman we remember many names, including Merv Branks, Arthur and his wife Ralda Cushen, and many, many others, that have formed friendships not only within the League, but with other clubs and organisations around the World.
For instance we are represented by Ray and Raewyn Crawford, who are wonderful ambassador’s of this great hobby of radio listening, We also have a number of other New Zealanders currently on our members list. The recent co-operation, between our two clubs is unprecedented, with the magazine exchange on email.
The hobby has become a team effort, as communication can take the form of the internet, or mobile phone coverage, to find out if in fact they are hearing a particular station, via their radio set. Modern techniques are now being used in radio sets – for example the Degen 1121 a small light weight, portable with detachable mp3 player or recorder, external antennae, whip antennae, AM/FM/SW 3 to 30 MHZ, SSB etc. This set is no bigger than a man’s hand and weighs 380grams – it also features a clock, runs off rechargeable batteries or AC. How times have changed since valve radios.
It is a credit that the League members still lead the way in the world of clubs and
organisations for radio listening. Your Australian friends salute the New Zealand Radio DX League.
The committee and members of the Australian Radio DX Club
From the ODXA (Ontario DX Association, Canada). On behalf of the Ontario DX Association in Canada, we wish to congratulate the New Zealand Radio DX League on their 60th anniversary. It’s always very satisfying to see shortwave clubs that continue to provide both information and fun for a hobby that seems to be constantly under assault by technological changes. We at the ODXA are privileged to receiver your magazine ‘DX Times’ each month and see another perspective on this hobby that we love so much.
This coupled with the anniversary of the first shortwave broadcasts from the NZ Broadcasting Service in 1948 show that New Zealand has a long and proud history of radio heard around the world with eager hobbyists promoting such ventures as shortwave and DXing. You should be be most proud of your accomplishments.
Again, congratulations to all of your members both past and present and we all
wish many more years of continued success.
Ontario DX Association