By Neil Sanderson ZL1NZ, SKN manager
New Zealand Straight Key Night was held on Sunday 2 December 2018.
This was a second attempt at SKN 2018, following very low turnout on the usual first Sunday in November.
Turnout for the re-run was excellent, however, with at least 23 stations participating and 16 operators submitting logs. Signals were generally very good, as were all the fists that I heard (in fact, there were several nominees for “Best Fist Award” – see below).
For this “re-run”, SKN was conducted in association with maritimeradio.org, and there were two significant changes from recent SKNs:
- The event was held for one hour, instead of two, with no repeat contacts permitted. Because SKN was being held a month later than usual, with later sunsets, the operating time was 9-10pm NZDT.
- There was only one class of entry, with a power limit of 100W. In light of very low turnout in recent years, there seemed little reason to have multiple entry classes.
Thank you to all the ops who took part. Please scroll down the page for a selection of comments from participating operators.
A special commendation goes to Les ZL2JU who took sick just before SKN but still managed to get a couple of contacts before closing down.
And thank you to Ken ZL1AIH, our previous SKN manager, who has had to retire from this activity after many years of faithful service.
18 points: ZL1PC / Oakleigh / Paul / PO / IC746 / 70W / Loop
17 points: ZL2BR / New Plymouth / Frank / PO / IC7600 / 100W / Dipole
15 points: ZL2AIM / Tairua / Ian / Nato / IC7300 / 100W / Random Wire
14 points: ZL4OL / Waitati / Mike / PO / TS2000 / 100W / Dipole
14 points: ZL2AGY / Patea / Tony / Air Ministry / K3 / 100W / Inverted Vee
14 points: ZL2GD / Rangiora / Grant / AM / IC7610 / 100W / Inverted Vee
14 points: ZL1BBW / Whangarei / Gavin / 1056A / IC7410 / 100W / Dipole
13 points: ZL1BWG> / Whangarei / Bruce / Marconi / IC7200 / 100W / G5RV
12 points: ZL1NZ / Auckland / Neil / WT 8Amp No2 / FT902 / 100W / Doublet
12 points: ZL2RX / Nelson / Roger / Elliot Bros / FT757 / 90W / Vertical
11 points: ZL4FZ / Chch / Richard / Supreme / K3 / 100W / Dipole
9 points: ZL1DCO / Auckland / David / Czech / IC730 / 100W / Dipole
9 points: ZL2CLX / Tawa / Max / Begali / IC7300 / 70W / G5RV
8 points: ZL2WT / Hawkes Bay / David / Marconi / Kitset / 8W / OCF Dipole
3 points: VK2KJJ / Wagga / Joe / Amplidan / TS480 / 100W / Dipole
2 points: ZL2JU / Levin / Les / J37 / K3 / 75W / Dipole
Best Fist Award
Six operators were nominated for the Best Fist Award, but the clear favourite was Ian ZL2AIM, pictured above with his faithful NATO Marconi key. Congratulations Ian!
The other nominees for Best Fist were ZL1BWG, ZL1DCO, ZL1PC, ZL2LN and ZL2OWL.
Thanks for running the activity. There were more stations active than I was expecting – missed at least one station maybe more. One hour was just enough and glad there was no repeat hourly periods where I have to work everyone again, and also just one power category is sufficient.
– Frank ZL2BR
Great format, excellent operators, heavy QRN. (If you make the forms Word documents we could type straight in. Thanks.)
– Mike ZL4OL
Well done for spurring us on!! A very enjoyable hour.
– Max ZL2CLX
Only two QSOs, I was feeling quite ill. Appologies for my lack of participation. Some virus I must have picked up along the way, not nice.
– Les ZL2JU
What a pleasure to hear the SKN back again. I really did enjoy it. Due to having moved into a much smaller property, I don’t have space for my 80m Carolina Windom so have to make do with a random wire. One hour is perfect – 2 hours is too long for this old timer! All stations were 599 to me except ZL1GWE who was QRP.
– Ian ZL2AIM
Good night, pity some QRN on band, but overall OK. Not a bad turnout.
– Bruce ZL1BWG
Many thanks for organising Straight Key Night. Very good fists by all stations. Great fun indeed.
– David ZL1DCO
I enjoyed it. Manual logging again was a shock!
– Roger ZL2RX
Enjoyable hour of CW and good to hear a good turnout of stations.
– Paul ZL1PC
Many thanks indeed for making this happen – great to take part again. It was great having just one period – I’d vote for next time to be identical.
– Tony ZL2AGY
It is probably 33 years since i used a straight key in any anger, at Portishead Radio. Found it a real slog to get into the hang of logging on paper and sending/rxing the exchange. Got into it a bit after a few. Great fun and will aim to be better prepared next year. Thanks.
– Gavin ZL1BBW
What a great night! Sigs were very good but QRN (lightning crashes) were a problem at times. Great to see a good number of CW ops on. Thanks for running this again for us – much appreciated.
– Grant ZL2GD
Definitely good fun, several very good fists and hard to nominate a “best” fist.
– Richard ZL4FZ
Nice contest, but a bit early in the evening for VK stations.
– Joe VK2KJJ
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(You do not need to have been a participant in the 2018 event.)