Otago Branch in the 1950s

When I joined the League in 1950 as a member of the Otago Branch it was very strong in Otago, Southland and North Otago. Prominent among the members then that are still DXing were George Beardsmore and Ross Gibson, Also very active at that time were Jack Fox, Ken Mackey, Des Lynn, Jack Blacklock, Murray Lamont, Frank Wilson and Jim Martin. These are the names that come to mind at present.

At that time Albert Stanton was still active in the DX world but not as a member of the Otago Branch. Over the next few years a few dxer’s established Cribs or Baches in prime locations. Ken Mackey was joined at Long Beach by George Beardsmore, Laurie Boyer put up an 8 foot by 12 foot hut at Aramoana to join Murray Lamont at that location.

After electricity was laid on at Aramoana Laurie Boyer was surrounded by power lines and shifted his hut to Long Beach next to Ken Mackey and bought a Motorbike thus saving himself a 26 mile pushbike ride with a 12 volt battery on the carrier and a pack with dx books plus provisions for the weekend on his back.

DX gatherings by members were fairly common then and Monday night in the summer was the time for N.R.C. and N.N.R.C. DX tests or specials with many 250 watt stations heard. One night in particular six N.R.C. specials were heard and all verified promptly.

Long Beach had the edge on Aramoana for North American DX but Aramoana was terrific for African and European listening. Apart from these locations many good catches were heard at various members homes . Arthur Cushen was a regular visitor to Ken Mackeys at Christmas Holiday time.

New DXers were given every help and encouragement possible at that time. That plus great reception conditions and the fact that there were only 26 New Zealand stations on the air and they closed down at 10-30 p.m. made the hobby very strong. Also there was no where near as much alternative entertainment to do at nights.

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