The following is an extract from August 1956 Break-In which in turn is an extract from N.Z. Radio, an early radio magazine.
THE FOURTH DISTRICT HISTORY
These notes were made in collaboration with a well-known fourth district amateur now resident in the second district.
The report of the formation of the Otago Branch NZART was supplied by Tom Edgar ZL4AQ.
The early transmissions of Dr. Robert Jack of Otago University and the first DX of Frank D. Bell 4AA, are still remembered.
During 1924 Frank contacted Australia (A2CM), North and South American amateurs and was first to contact England (G2SZ). In 1927 South Africa (A5Z) was worked for the first time, this being Miss Brenda Bell’s private effort from her brother’s station 4AA. One of the first low-power (.0037 watt) contacts was between 4AA and Australian A2CM.
Further world-wide contacts were made by Ralph Slade 4AG and others. Active amateurs of this time, to mention but a few, were Lawlor Shiel 4AK, R.E. Robinson 4AC, W.M. Crockett 4AM, Jack Milnes 4AV, W. G. Wilkinson 4AR, J. S. MacDonald 4AH, P. M. Mason 4AS, J. Stone 4AT, George Brown 4AE and Arnold Grubb 4AL.
The last two are claimed to have originated the first crystal controlled transmitter in N.Z.
During 1924 Jack Orbell (1AX, 3AA, etc.) left for England, taking a short-wave equipment, in the S.S. Port Curtis via Cape Horn.
His two-way contacts with the fourth district amateurs did much to increase local activities. He carried their signals as far as Montevideo.
There were many other active transmitting enthusiasts and the fourth district has a record number of “firsts” in endeavour.
It was the habit of Dunedin amateurs to have cross-town QRP phone discussions among themselves on 200 metres and in later years held meetings in their own homes, swapping notes and discussing policies with other branches of NZART.
Otago Branch of NZART was formed on 9th August 1928.
Here are the minutes from the inaugural meeting held on that day:
President, Mr G.T. Edgar; Secretary and Treasurer, Mr H.N. Shrimpton; Committee, Mr J.L. Milnes, Mr F.J. O’Grady, Mr J. McEwan (Deputy Secretary), Mr L.R.Stroud, Mr J. Smith.
Nominated and elected at formation meeting of the Otago Branch on the 9th day of August nineteen hundred and twenty-eight (1928).
Apologies for non-attendance: Miss Brenda Bell of Waihemo, and Mr J .M. Strachan, Kaitangata.
Mr F. J. O’Grady presided. Mr J. L. Milnes moved: “That we form a Branch of the Association to be known as the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters”. Seconded by Mr McEwan and carried unanimously.
Election of Officers. Nominations: President, Mr G. T. Edgar. Proposed by Mr O’Grady; seconded by Mr Shrimpton. Secretary and Treasurer, Mr N. H. Shrimpton. Proposed by Mr Milnes; seconded by Mr Bates. Committee – Mr F. J. O’Grady, proposed by Mr Myers; seconded by Mr Swann. Mr J. L. Milnes, proposed by Mr McDonald; seconded by Mr Grubb. Mr J. Smith, proposed by Mr Swann; seconded by Mr Myers. Mr J. McEwan (Deputy Secretary), proposed by Mr Swann; seconded by Mr Bates. Mr L. Stroud, proposed by Mr Shrimpton; seconded by Mr Bates. Mr McEwan moved that a sub-committee be appointed for Southland and nominated Mr Grubb as vice-president. Seconded by Mr Milnes and carried unanimously.
Mr Myers moved that a patron be appointed to the Branch, and nominated Dr. R. Jack of the University of Otago; seconded by Mr Stevenson. A letter to be written to Dr. Jack for his approval. Annual Subscriptions and fees for membership of the Association received from Messrs Barnett, Myers, Swann, Bates, O’Grady and Edgar.
Badges: Messrs Barnett, Myers, McEwan, Brown, Bates, Smith, O’Grady, McDonald.
Morse Practice: Code classes arranged for two nights per week at the stations of active members. Transmission Practice for beginners. Referred to committee.
Finance: A letter to be written to the General Secretary asking for particulars as to the financial standing of the local Branch.
Branch Meetings: Referred to committee pending acquisition of suitable meeting place.
Social: Mr G. T. Edgar gave an interesting and instructive talk on his travels in the United States, Canada and Britain.
The meeting ended at 10 p.m.