Website Updates

We’ve made a few tweaks to the website. Some links to NZART were broken and those have been fixed. A link to our ‘Ham Cram’ signup form has been adjusted. We’ve also added a link to the PDF version of the membership form. The latest info for upcoming meetings has also been posted.

The website has had it’s back-end software updated as well.

Cheers ZL4PH

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This is DN Calling

NZART historian Craig Crawford ZL3TLB contacted me regarding the centenary of Radio Broadcasting in New Zealand and asked how we were going to celebrate. This prompted some interesting research.

Otago has had a fair share of early wireless pioneers. In 1902 sixteen year old James Passmore built a spark transmitter and coherer receiver to communicate over 100-200 metres. By the following year he had increased this distance to 10km, communicating between Flagstaff Dunedin and Outram.

In 1908 a trio of teenagers; Rawson Stark, Cyril Brandon and Stanton Hicks, successfully transmitted messages across the Otago Harbour from Andersons Bay to Ravensbourne. While this was only a few kms they received great publicity by transmitting messages between the Mayor of Dunedin and the Mayor of West Harbour. They also transmitted a message from the Dunedin Mayor which was forwarded by telegraph to Prime Minister Joseph Ward.

However, Radio Broadcasting was to come much later. In 1921 University of Otago Physics Professor Robert Jack sought permission from the government to begin experimental Radio Broadcast transmissions. Professor Jack was convinced that Radio Broadcasting of information and entertainment had the potential to “End the isolation of New Zealand and rural New Zealanders”.

Professor Jack’s initial requests were turned down but finally he received permission. On 17th November 1921 he began transmitting. Broadcasts consisted of announcements, gramophone recordings and live music (some of which was performed by Professor Jack’s wife, Isabella).

Professor Jack’s broadcasts continued two nights a week. Reception reports were received from all over New Zealand. The broadcasts ended in May 1922 by which time they had inspired many. From this the “Otago Radio Association” was formed and began its own broadcasting in October 1922.

The Otago Radio Association has changed callsigns over the years but remains on air now broadcasting as “Radio Dunedin”. It is regarded as the 5th oldest radio station in the world, and the oldest outside of USA.

It appears that Professor Jack’s station was never issued with a callsign. The idea of callsigns for broadcasting stations was not something thought of at the time. When the initial broadcasts of the Otago Radio Association began, announcers used the phrase “This is DN calling” to identify the station, although it seems unlikely that DN was ever an official callsign. Eventually the Otago Association was issued with the callsign 4AB. This was replaced with 4ZB (not the later government station) and then to 4XD in 1948.

It is interesting reading old Radio Callbooks of the late 20s and early 30s. There were a surprising number of Broadcast Stations. Many running 10‑20 Watts into wire antennas strung between buildings.   They usually ran for only one or two nights per week. Most ran from stores selling radios and/or gramophone records. A single frequency was shared by stations transmitting on different nights of the week. The Otago Radio Association was a non‑commercial voluntarily run station and was allowed to continue when other non-government stations were closed down. It ran this way until 1990 before finally becoming a commercial station.

In order to celebrate the centenary of Professor Jack’s original broadcasts, Otago Branch 30 has obtained the special callsign ZL100DN and will run a “DN Calling Award” over the month of November. Listen out for ZL100DN and other Branch 30 stations during the month of November on 3610 kilocycles +/- QRM.

David Mulder ZL4DK

[more details of the Award will be released as they are finalised]

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Website updates

The names of our 2021/22 committee members have been published along with updates to the meetings and club net pages.

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AGM 2021

The 2021 AGM of the NZART Branch 30, Otago branch is next Wednesday starting at 8pm at the clubrooms. There are no “notices of motion” and the committee has recommended no change to subscriptions.  Written nominations have been received for all committee positions

The agenda is as follows:

The Otago Branch of the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters Inc.
(Inaugural meeting 9 August 1928)
P.O. Box 5485, Dunedin, 9054.
Clubrooms: 109 Macandrew Road, South Dunedin.
Charities Commission Reg No. CC 40410

The Annual General Meeting of Branch 30 will be held on Wednesday 16th June, 2021 starting at 8pm at the club headquarters, 109 Macandrew Road with supper to follow.


• Opening welcome
• Apologies
• Silent Keys
• Minutes of the previous AGM.
• Reports (Verbal – Brief!!)
o Presidents (ZL4DK)
o Financial (ZL4JH)
o Repeater (ZL4JH)
o Contesting (ZL4QD)
o Examination (ZL4DK)
Other reports will be available in writing.

• Election of Office bearers Written Nominations have been received for all positions as below.

o President ZL4DK
o Vice President ZL4TAE
o Secretary ZL4JH
o Treasurer ZL4JH
o Committee – not less than 3 nor more than 5. ZL4MD, CB, UC, KT, ERU

• Appointments to key positions.

o AREC ( Note only – Outside appointment)
o Awards
o Archivist
o Charities Liaison
o IT Managers
o Club Contact
o Contest Manager
o EMC Manager
o Examiners
o Jota Liaison
o Librarian
o QSL Manager
o Repeater Trustees
▪ Mt Cargill
▪ 665
▪ Mosgiel Link
▪ DMR/EE122
▪ Rudd Road/HWB
o Webmaster

For list of incumbents, see our website

• General Business
• Supper

R.M. Balch ZL4JH
Hon Secretary

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Latest News – 30 March 2021

We are planning a BBQ at the clubhouse on Sat 27th Mar at 1200 Hrs. The club will supply salads, juices, breads. BYO cookables. Check on 690 in case the weather is truly awful. We have no Plan B. A gold coin donation please.

Due to unavoidable circumstances…. Kays Wanda Track presentation is delayed a week till 31 March and the Yagi Fabrication Night project is now delayed to 19th May. Those intending to participate have been sent an email. Materials will be supplied at very attractive $$$ and all payments are to be made to BR30. We have 17 Yagis planned with others interested in a Vert polarised model or a 10 element model later in the year.

The AF8 Team are planning to resume their Roadshows across the South while Level 1 persists. See Meetings Calendar for more info or

Solar cycle 25 has sprouted wings with improving HF propagation. A recent report in PW magazine indicates research showing SC 25 to be a biggie but another researcher has a different view HERE. Read this!  And I found a 2016 issue of Echo Ireland which expressed the view that SC 25 was likely a flopper. We’ll see.  And MS News reports on 15 historic very bad snowstorms in the USA. 13 occurred around a Solar minimum. The two in 1967 & 69 were around a solar max so may have been random outliers.

EE122 is operational in FM Mode only. Adam pressed our donated Icom FR3000 into service. This machine will handle tracking data from the AREC and LandSAR radios. The DMR repeater continues to be examined. EE122 and a set of fans mounted on the door were switched to the Solar 12v last week. Total standby load is now near 2 Amps.

Solar components for our HWB Cross-bander are on the way and work may start next week. We plan to use the cabinet from the Linear Repeater (after mice-proofing) to house equipment.

Our AREC team have been very busy with numerous alerts this summer. Only some turned into events we needed to attend. The biggest was the search in and above Gabriels Gully (good outcome) and we also had crew at the unsuccessful search in Invercargill. Both events used and SARTrack with GPS equipped radios and again proved very valuable to the Incident Management Team. 

The ‘Dreams are Free’ Team once again cleaned up the Feb VHF Contest on top of the December event. Our biggest catch was working Greg ZL1GSG at Turoa Skifield pretty much every Hour on 2m. Greg heard us on 70cm but we didn’t make contact. Next contest, look out for ZL4AA.

David Karrasch ZL1DK is planning Morse Practice transmissions over the National System. Soon.

Finally, our AGM is planned for 16th June and Ross is investigating a venue for a Dinner Out on 23 June.

73, TT, ZL4TAE


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