Christchurch - New Zealand

Time in Christchurch:
Weather Underground PWS ICHRISTC3

I gained my licence in January 2018; it took me “only” 35 years to get around to it. My early interest in radio was Medium Wave DXing using the venerable Yaesu FRG-7.

My specific interest is satellites; all modes. I am amazed as to the durability of AO-7 (launched 1974), and FO-29 (launched 1996); they are always fun to work. In ZL/VK the satellites are usually uncluttered with only a small number of active operators. {UPDATE: From mid July 2019, unfortunately FO-29 has gone silent}

On HF I use WSJTx on FT-8, and FT-4 modes. This software offers fascinating DX propagation opportunities during the current low point of the solar cycle.

I enjoy SSTV, RTTY, and Digital Radio modes on VHF/UHF my preference is Yaesu C4FM Fusion, and WIRESx. I use a SharkOpen Spot2 hotspot, or WIRESx on a Yaesu FTM-400XDR.

I am interested in experimenting with the uploading of SSTV pictures received in real time to this web site; please note the information, and link detailed below.

ZL3GAV SSTV template MMSSTV ver 1.13A

My primary radio is a Yaesu FT-991A together with an AirSpy HF+ SDR, and Ham Radio Deluxe or SatPC32 satellite programs for Doppler control. The satellite antenna is a Arrow Alaskan crossed yagi. For VHF/UHF I use a Yaesu FTM-400XDR. Backup on VHF is a Yaesu FT-2980R which when “tweaked” will deliver 95 watts. The versatile Yaesu FT-70D is my preferred handheld.

On HF the portable Chameleon vertical MPAS antenna "system" or a My Antennas 8010 EFHW are used, and a W6LVP amplified magnetic loop for passive monitoring. A Diamond X300NA antenna is used for VHF/UHF.

I don't actively pursue QSL's, but are happy to provide. QSO's are uploaded in real time to LoTW, eQSL, QRZ.com, ClubLog, and HRDLog.net or QSL cards direct (no bureau please). Return postage, IRC’s or $$ not required. I am also on QRZCQ.com, and HAMQTH.com.


Occasionally I post on Twitter radio related information at https://twitter.com/ZL3GAV.

If you are in ZL, VK or Pacific Islands please email to arrange a contact on the satellites. Hawaii is potentially possible from Christchurch on AO-7, and FO-29, if it should return.

I am a member of the Ashburton Radio Club, RSGB, ARRL, AMSAT, FT8DMC, 30MDG, ERC, and NZRDXL.

Locally I monitor 146.475MHz simplex, Digital Talk-group 530 NZ National, and the Ashburton Yaesu Fusion UHF repeater, ZL3AF on 438.900MHz and WiresX room# 24494, and YSF reflector #51561. This is the first genune Yaesu Fusion repeater in New Zealand, and went live in July 2019. More information is at their QRZ page: https://www.qrz.com/db/ZL3AF

You can email me at gavin@zl3gav.com or mail me at my postal address:

PO Box 37286
Christchurch 8245

SSTV-Pictures uploaded live:

SSTV QSO with VK4GAP 14230Khz June 2019

SSTV image received by Murray ZL3MH 14230Khz

ZL:3TCM received AO-92 Robot 36

The go to SSTV frequency is USB 14.230Mhz; in VK/ZL, and is usually active on a Sunday. When I am using this mode all received pictures are uploaded live.

VK4EM receiving me AO-91 Robot 36

Other recognised frequencies are 28.680, 21.340Mhz USB, and 7.033, and 3.630Mhz LSB. SSTV digital modes tend to be 3Khz above these frequencies.

ZL3MH received on AO-91 Robot 36

I also upload SSTV pictures from the ISS when available. Transmissions are on 145.800 Mhz in PD120 mode, more frequently from the Russian Cosmonauts. Occasionally there are transmissions from the NASA astronauts, and Russian Cosmonauts to commemorate special events. (see later on this page.)

In September 2019, Rob ZL3TCM, Murray ZL3MH, Merv VK4EM, and myself exchanged QSO’s on the AO-91, and AO-92 FM satellites using Robot 24/36 mode. This was interesting having to account for Doppler shift, and the polarisation shifts as the satellite tumbles.

The pictures uploaded are date stamped; the slideshow view is the best viewing perspective, and sorted by “last modified” so they are shown in chronological order. (Please link, download or share.) (URL links here)

Review-Chameleon MPAS vertical portable antenna:

My review of this amazing antenna. - January 8 2019.

Clublog Logbook:

The last 30 QSO’s (times are UTC) are shown here. (I do not log NZ voice contacts, except the occasional QSO where there is interesting propagation involved. I also log the first satellite QSO only.) The logs within Club Log started on 25 July 2018 when I commenced HF activity. Within the Clublog summary the “worked” are the recognised DXCC entities, and the “confirmed” are verified QSL’s via Logbook of the World (LoTW). Converting worked to confirmed is the ongoing challenge!

In September 2019 ClubLog introduced their innovative Live Stream tool. My live stream can be viewed here. https://clublog.org/livestream/ZL3GAV

QSO’s are uploaded in real time to QRZ.com, HRDLog.net, eQSL, Club Log, and LoTW.


FT8 Digital Mode Club:

The FT8 Digital Mode Club https://www.ft8dmc.eu/AWARDS offers attractive certificates.

This site works on a trust basis, based on stations worked, not verified QSLs. (Only the highest level of any award category attainment are published.)


NASA ISS SSTV event February 2019:

During February 2019 over consecutive weekends the International Space Station (ISS) to commemorate the National Aeronautic, and Space Administration (NASA), “Nasa on the Air”, and its association with amateur radio operations from space, broadcast Slow Scan Transmission Television (SSTV) pictures.

The complete sequence is 12 photographs, and were received in Christchurch on a Yaesu FT-991A with MMSSTV software, and Ham Radio Deluxe for Doppler correction. The antenna used was a Diamond X300NA. The photos are as originally received, some are imperfect with noise caused by polarisation shifts. (The signals could vary from 40db over 9, to S1 in a matter of seconds.) The sequence of 12 pictures are shown as received, without software modification or enhancement. The green noise lines are when signals faded, which is a factor with satellite reception. At times the signal would be 40db plus as indicated in the FT-991A photo.

This is a video captured on an iPhone of the SSTV reception. You can see the Doppler shift with the Ham Radio Deluxe software changing the frequency. (The other software on the left on the screen is Black Cat SSTV.)


ARISS - ISS SSTV event August 2019:

ISS at maximum 1.9 degree elevation, still great picture resolution.

ISS at 40db over 9 on Yaesu FT-991A

During early August 2019 Amateur Radio on the the International Space Station (ARISS) celebrated the life, and accomplishments of astronaut, scientist, and amateur radio pioneer Owen Garriott, WSLFL (SK) with a commemorative SSTV event on 145.800 MHz FM with a sequence of 12 pictures.

ARISS SSTV Award - August 2019

The following pictures were received in Christchurch on a Yaesu FT-991A with MMSSTV software, and Ham Radio Deluxe for Doppler correction. The antennas are a Diamond X300NA or Arrow II Alaskan crossed yagi.

The pictures are as received without any software enhancement or modification. Any green lines or noise interfrence are caused from deep fades.

The screenshot shows the signal being received on the Yaesu FT-991A at 40db over 9 signal strength. On the X300N antenna the signal was still audible when the ISS was at minus 0.5 degrees below the visible horizon.

It was possible to receive good quality pictures at very low elevation, as in the photo shown the ISS satellite pass was only at a maximum of 1.9 degrees elevation, barely cresting the horizon, as per the radar plot, but still of good quality.

updated 15 September 2019