Amateur Radio Station ZL4KF


A little history part 3

The move to a small donkey farm near Alexandra in late January 1981 gave me more land and I immediately erected an 80mx sloper aimed south-east, long path to Europe. DX was OK and it was nice to be able to catch up with friends after the practically useless QTH in suburban Gore. I had Rob ZL4AP (SK) build me a tower and it was a great bit of engineering. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos for many years (ex XYL issues) but it was about a 45 feet high, self-supporting, telescopic, tilt over, rotating tubular mast (!) On this I put together a 2 element, fibre-glassed bamboo tri-band quad ex Les ZL4AV (SK). Because of the telescoping tower I was able to properly tune this antenna and it worked very well at full height. No photos of this either, unfortunately.

Willoughby Farm as it is these days - it was a lot different 40 years ago...

In late 1982 I purchased a business and became so busy and preoccupied with that and a growing family the ham radio hobby really was neglected for some time. In 1983 we moved into the Alexandra township and I was immediately confronted by the impossibility of erecting decent antennas. I tried again with the 18AVT I had but that was pretty hopeless and also with some short slopers, however I hardly worked anything, let alone DX in the couple of years or so we were there.

We eventually moved again, in 1986 to another lifestyle block. It was in a bit of a valley, however Rob ZL4AP constructed another tower of about 90 feet and the quad went up again and worked well, despite only just peeking over the surrounding terrain. I had a NZ made multiband vertical for 80 and 40 but it was not much use. An end fed length of wire worked better, strung across the valley floor from the tower to a willow tree and up about 60 feet. Logbooks of the time reveal a lot of DX worked on 20 and the usual long path 80 mx Europe and short path US West Coast.

Another move came in 1989 and I did manage to put up an 80mx full size vertical with a good ground system but we were not far from huge 220KV power transmission lines and towers and serious DX was just not possible. A continuous hissing at S9 filled the bands… an appalling place to pick for ham radio operator who should have known better!

Then in 1990 the Alexandra business closed and we moved back to the Gore area, to a 5 acre block of land on a hill and not far from where this story started. I had two towers, one from Lloyd ZL4BC (SK) and the 90 foot one. Also, still in it’s crate, a Wilson 5 element 20mx Yagi on a 40 foot boom and a Tail Twister. We were back in business!