The original Branch 68 (Rangiora) Club members, HW Mitchell ZL3FW, HV Firman ZL3DY, Mrs MH Blake ZL3DW, GC Beattie ZL3AL,
JT Thompson ZL3DT, RGF Blake ZL3AJ, JE Strachan ZL3AI
James (Jock) Ernest Strachan ZL3AI. Founder of the original Branch 68, Rangiora, and Principal of Rangiora High School where the Radio Club was based.
North Canterbury Amateur Radio Club Inc.
(Branch 68 NZART)
feasibility of forming a local amateur radio club. There were a number of “radio hams” in the area north of the
Geoff Gillman ZL3QR (Convenor)
Trevor Whitlow ZL3TGC
Reg Horne ZL3OC
Reg Lander ZL3ACY
John Irving ZL3FA
Frank Silcock ZL3TFX
Neil Lintott ZL3TGI
Gary Watson ZL3SV
John Abernethy ZL3PC
Kevin Ching ZL3TCR
Gavin Pearson ZL376
There were 7 apologies received, many of who also expressed a strong desire to see a club get under way.
This it certainly did, and by its very next meeting had taken part in its first National Field Day, an annual event participated in, with few exceptions, for the next 30 years. Sadly, in more recent times, circumstances and lack of interest, has curtailed further participation.
Within the first three months the Club had applied for and been granted Branch status by NZART as
With the Club membership beginning to grow, the need for more room became necessary, and so a move to the old Drill Hall in
By early 1983 it became common knowledge that the “old MED building” was due to be demolished so an approach was made to the Council to see what else might be available. After all, the Club had enjoyed 10 years of Council “sponsorship” and would have liked to see that continue. As it happened, in the same Council yard and right behind the then Police Station (where the new Library is now) was a small, one room concrete block building which had originally been built for the Rangiora Search & Rescue group but was no longer used (except for some Council storage). With sponsorship of materials and voluntary work a proper floor and ceiling were soon installed, as was a kitchen bench etc for suppers, and an old double door entrance blocked in. Permission was granted to erect an antenna pole for HF and VHF and to which the Council fitted a yard light (possibly the reason why permission was so easily granted). By now the Club its own radios and these were suitably housed in operating consoles. The Club membership was growing well, with both Training Classes and a Youth Electronics Group being accommodated in these Clubrooms. During the thirteen years of occupation of this building, especially with the increasing membership, on two separated occasions, investigations were made into the pros and cons of actually owning our own Clubrooms and its possible location at the Northbrook Studios site (which had been specifically created for “Club-owned” property). In both instances the finance required appeared way beyond the Club’s means, decisions which, in later years, proved to have been wise. By mid-1995, membership had grown to such that the Clubrooms were no longer able to accommodate General Meetings, so, by courtesy of a member also being a teacher at the
It was during the period of the occupation of these premises that, on a nation-wide scale, came the huge changes in the Local Bodies scene, and which was to signal the coming end to the “Council sponsorship” which the Club had been enjoying for many years. It began, in the mid-1980’s with the Rangiora Borough Council becoming the Rangiora District Council and the building of the new
In mid-1999 it became known that the Woodend Scout Den was to be offered to the Waimakariri District Council by Scouting NZ because the Woodend Scouts had gone into recess and SNZ did not want to be responsible for the property. A Public Meeting supported this move, to ensure the building was not lost from the community. The Council, however, did not want the worry of managing it so the Woodend Lions Club offered to take over this responsibility. The building, located by the Woodend Domain on
Like all Clubs, its membership has varied over the years, reaching its peak of 80+ in the mid-1990’s but is currently around the 55 mark. Probably the most outstanding feature of the membership is the number of YL’s (approx 20%) in comparison with most other Radio Clubs. This is perhaps because of the family orientated values to which the Club has always subscribed, and has at times over the years seen family membership of two and even three generations, all at the same time.
Researched and prepared for the website, and 40th Anniversary of the
North Canterbury Amateur Radio Club Inc.
(Br.68, NZART) by
Geoff Gillman ZL3QR
Back row, left to right:- Geoff Gillman ZL3QR AREC Section Leader, Don McDonald ZL3DMC, Denise Hider ZL3HI Treasurer, Colin Rowe ZL3COL Secretary, Tony Buckland President ZL3HAM, David Fraser ZL3AI Repeater Trustee, Owen Pimm ZL3GM.
Seated at front, Left to right:- Bev Gillman ZL3OV, Ann Fraser ZL3TNT Vice President.