National System Award 2002

National System Award 2002 a Success

The inaugural National System Award was run during the months of August, September and October 2002.

The NS Award was devised as a response to the Branch Committee's concerns that the National System wasn't being fully utilised. The aims were; to foster on-air contact via the National System; to emphasise the coverage provided; promote contacts with the NZART branches; and provide opportunity for Limited grade calls to participate in a major award.

The award certainly stimulated activity on the system. One wit commented that at times it sounded a bit like a 20 metre pileup. A lot of new on-air friendships were established and old acquaintanceships were re-forged. Some enthusiastic Amateurs made special effort to travel to the "hard to get" branch areas to ensure those were available to award hunters. Others, equally enthusiastic, coordinated the availability and timing of their fellows to ensure optimum opportunity was provided for award hunters to log yet another branch. Kevin ZL1TEA reports he made 1340 contacts on the system during the award period.

Image courtesy Dick Greenbank ZL2TGQ
As anticipated, several branch areas featured on the "hard-to-get" list. Members from Southland Branch 37 travelled north to Clinton several times to access the system via Dunedin 905. (There was a plea from them to have the system extended south to Invercargill). Similar excursions by members of Central Otago Branch 61, and Westland Branch 49 assisted award hunters achieve contact with those branches. Early success for Mercury Bay Branch 85 was achieved by aeronautical mobile, but later it was found that contacts could be made from several high points on roads within that branch area. Contact from Gisborne Branch 11 could only be achieved from a point just north of Wairoa, via Mt Erin 4175 in Hawkes Bay, and several Amateurs parked on this hill site from time to time to ensure the branch was made available. Rahotu Branch 32 proved to be a difficult nut to crack. On several occasions Amateurs travelled from Opunake to near Kaponga to put Branch 32 into the system via Egmont 4025. It was only 3 days before the close of the award on 31 October that a contact was made from within the branch area. Ian ZL1AOX took the honour with a mobile contact from near the top of the Kiri Road into Belmont 900, the Wellington port. He was running 75 watts to a colinear, pretty much the conditions and location predicted previously as the most likely for success by Doug ZL2TAR.

Sadly one award hunter didn't have the opportunity to collect his "75" certificate. Before he had time to submit his log, Patrick ZL2WPR of Wanganui became a silent key. Subsequently the committee of his branch, Wanganui Branch 48, sent in Patrick's log and they will present the certificate to Patrick's family at a future branch meeting. Vale Patrick, lets hope there are radio awards to chase where you are now.

In total 96 certificates have been awarded. Thanks to all who participated in the award, and thanks also to the many who sent complimentary comments with applications, you all obviously enjoyed yourselves.

Dick Greenbank ZL2TGQ, Award Custodian, 2002