Gerard van Antwerpen, ZL2GVA

CWops# 3028, from Blenheim , Marlborough , New Zealand.---->View on Google maps

Always having had an interest in electronics led me to the local amateur club around 1992 and after some study I passed the exam to get my first radio license in 1992, it came with the call sign PE1ONB. As this was a technical license VHF and up only, I started to learn Morse code to be able to get my general license and get on HF. With help from Richard PA3GCU I managed to fulfil that requirement and got issued the call PA3GMJ in 1994. I made a few CW contacts after that, but never got to a level where I was comfortable to make many QSOs. Things got busy otherwise and while I maintained an interest in CW, I never progressed much from that.

Then a move to New Zealand in 1997 got me my current call ZL2GVA, and I did not do much radio apart from some local VHF things. As the kids got older, a bit more time became available and I tried to lift my CW proficiency by doing the odd stint of computer based training (the internet had grown to a useful tool by then). This allowed helping out a bit during HF Field day on some easy CW contacts, but still feeling overwhelmed by general contacts. While I did not make many CW contacts, each one of them was very satisfying and kept the desire to get better going.

I saw the CWops Academy program about 4 to 5 years ago, but didn’t really think about applying for a spot at the time. Early 2020 I decided that the plodding along had to stop and I thought I’d better do something about it now rather than regret it later on. So I put my name forward for the Academy. However being in an awkward time zone (UTC +12 or 13) made it hard to fit in a class. So I started to do a few of the exercises from the freely available syllabus to at least progress while waiting for a suitable class option. This didn’t happen, however I did get lucky with Joe AA8TA offering e-mail support while I followed the Intermediate syllabus on my own. We had a nice Zoom meeting at the end and I was very pleasantly surprised with a certificate from Joe.

So after that the Advanced class was the way to go, but again times didn’t work out. Then in August a message arrived to say I was placed in a class. Timing wasn’t perfect (0600 local time start), but I was in no position to refuse, and I’m very happy that I didn’t. Keith G0HKC and Kit G0JPS have proven to be excellent advisors, even putting me forward for membership, which was something I hadn’t considered at all possible when starting the course.

Since last year I’ve been checking into the NZ CW Traffic Net to allow consistent CW operation in a friendly environment. In the mean time I’ve even become one of the net controllers, a challenge early on, but getting better at it all the time.

My main hobby is road-cycling, to keep fit and I enjoy doing the local races. At times I play delivery boy if any telegrams from the traffic net need delivering! My radio equipment is fairly simple with my best radio an FT-897 and at the moment a horizontal loop as an all band antenna. I do have an interest in simple QRP equipment and building gear including some CW paddles and keys. I’m not a big contester but do enjoy the smaller local ones here in ZL/VK.

Many thanks to Keith G0HKC for my nomination, and Kit G0JPS, Joe AA8TA and Randy N1SP for sponsoring my membership.

This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.