Mark Nicholls – A Tribute

mn8The following tributes appear in the September 2014 edition of the DX Times, which is dedicated to the life of Mark Nicholls.

From fellow Life Member, Paul Ormandy, comes this: I first met Mark at the 1976 Tatum Park convention, we hit it off straight away and with Paul Edwards, spent every night at the dials getting very little sleep. We had joined the NZRDXL within months of each other, we were the same age and more importantly, we both preferred MW to SW! Mark was a regular attendee of League events in both islands and in 1983, spent the first or his many annual weekly DX pilgrimages with me at Waianakarua. It became the DX-highlight of the year for each of us and we both got on very well together.Mark’s first serious DX-receiver was a Sony ICF-6800W and later a Drake R8B.


Mark and I traveled to Te Araroa for a week of DX in April 1988 and had a wonderful time, staying with his parents in Taupo on the return journey. Linda and I often visited him when he lived at Queenstown and he was always very welcome when he stayed with us in Oamaru. Such was our respect and admiration for him, we named our first son after him. Our boys loved his visits as they knew “Uncle Mark:” would have a treat for them!

He was an extremely tidy and well-organized person and loved the company of friends. Mark had a great collection of books, mostly on radio and also aircraft, especially of a historical nature and was a keen gardener.


Mark had a great sense of humour and showed remarkable courage through his long-term health issues. Few people would have the devotion he showed to the editorship of the magazine. I shall miss my mate very much and treasure the
many great times we shared.

From Stu Forsyth: My earliest memory of Mark is when I was at university in Auckland. I can’t remember how it all came about, but we went up to Whangaparoa, along with Barry Williams, to try out the Peter Snell Youth Village site as a possible convention location. It was a flop – lots of noise and not a lot of signals. We did both manage to log XEMO on 860 though. When I lived in Wellington, after returning from the UK I had a lot more to do with Mark and
we regularly got together. Our trip to Tony King’s, referred to in last month’s magazine as a footnote to Tony’s X Band list, was but one occasion.After I moved south Mark came down and we went with Frank Glen and sundry others to Tiwai for a last hurrah. Mark loved it. I don’t know that we heard a lot but he filled the void – he did love to chat. I have lost a good friend, and so have many others. The hole he leaves in our DXing lives is as large as the man himself. RIP my friend.


Paul Ormandy, Mark Nicholls and Bryan Clark at Waianakarua about 1986

From David Ricquish: I’ve known Mark for about 40 years. I have many good memories of his company. In the 1980’s he worked as an air traffic controller (or similar) at Queenstown airport. I used to visit there as part of my job with the then NZ Tourist & Publicity. One flight I was escorting a media crew from Singapore. The pilot came on the intercom and asked if I would please come to the flight deck [it was a Mt Cook turbo]. There Mark was on the radio. He was concerned that Queenstown was about to close because of bad weather. We were due to have dinner in town. The pilot said he would see what he could do. I returned to my seat.

The plane suddenly went into a deep dive and came out really low to the ground. The pilot then came on and said that I was a VIP and just had to land today. The Singapore TV crew was suitably impressed. When we taxied up to the airport, Mark was waving from the control tower. He told me afterwards that he had seen a gap in the low clouds and told the pilot to go for it. He did, we had dinner.


He was a gentle, methodical, and patient fellow with a good sense of humour. He had QSL’s from some stations on MW I had never heard of, and he insisted on waving around Wallis et Futuna 1188 whenever I visited because he knew even a phone call to the station had failed to get me a response.

Thanks Mark for letting us be friends, and part of your life. We had some good times. Travel well our friend. We’ll always remember you. David Ricquish, former Chief Editor, NZ DX Times (edited for length)

From Andy Gardner: Very sad news indeed. I’m lost for words. – Andy Gardner, former chief Editor

From Edward Hopgood: Mark you did us proud. RIP my friend!

From League Patron Frank Glen: My thoughts are will you all as we move through this time of real sadness, but also thanksgiving for a ‘good keen man.’ (Amen to that – Ed.)


Mark DXing at Tiwai

Another Life Member, Paul Aronsen from Wallacetown, Invercargill has this to say: Have just heard about Mark from Arthur De Maine. I am sad to hear the news. Mark was always a nice person to know and we in the south had a lot of great times at Tiwai, and also when he stayed at our house.

He will be missed by us all as friend and as an excellent editor of the DX Times.


Mark at the Tiwai Convention 1982. The front row has 5 life members – Paul Aronsen (left), Bryan Clark (3rd left), Arthur Cushen (centre), Eric McIntosh (2nd right) and Mark Nicholls (right)

From Peter Grenfell: My memories of Mark go back to the years of trips to Invercargill, Tiwai and Annual General Meetings. Mark was a regular attender to all the A.G.M.’s and conventions held in and around Oamaru. Many times he visited Waianakarua and was always a willing helper with Paul Ormandy in erecting aerials and many other tasks relating to our visits there. His memory of Radio stations, and D.X.ers was phenomenal. He was of a quiet disposition and set a very high standard as Chief Editor/Publisher of the N.Z. Radio D.X. Times. The magazine is recognised as one of the best of its type throughout the Radio D.X. world. There is no doubt he will be sadly missed by his family, friends and all those who knew him.Peter J. Grenfell, Life Member

Steven Greenyer in Timaru writes: I think I first met Mark when he started attending Southland Branch Meetings probably in the mid to late 80’s. He usually came down the day of the meeting and stayed at our house the night of the meeting and we often then went on to Tiwai for a night or two. Mark did quite a bit of work at Tiwai while he stayed there often helping me with aerials and fire wood and he set about repainting the inside of the house. He was a keen DXer and one of the highlights was him alerting me to hearing a Florida station sign on one night at booming strength.In return we stayed with Mark a few times in Frankton where he arranged a free helicopter ride for the family and Christchurch on one of these stays we all went on the train toGreymouth.

He was a good friend and I regret that our friendship faded over time and distance.


A frightening picture – Stu Forsyth (left) and Mark Nicholls (centre) running the auction at the Auckland Convention with Bryan Clark doing the accounting.


An attempt at a beverage antenna. Mark Nicholls (left) with Steven Greenyer, Ray Crawford, John Durham and Paul Aronsen in front. Apart from Mark, the other four were all Southland Tech Old Boys.


Working their way towards another Beverage antenna! This was the scene at Te Araroa (East Cape) c. 1980. Life Members Barry Williams and Bryan Clark, Jack Searle, Mark Nicholls, Jim Gorman and David Ricquish.

From Bryan Clark: I wish to acknowledge Mark as a personal friend for 38 years and, on behalf of members of the DX League, his contribution to our organisation over the last 40 years. Mark joined our club in 1974. DX League members listen to distant radio stations as a hobby, usually a solo activity but in sharing our interest with like-minded people, life-long friendships are formed. That is what happened when I first met Mark in 1976 at a listener convention. We subsequently met up regularly at listener gatherings around the country and remained in regular contact by email, telephone and Skype until early this month before we left for a holiday in Asia.

In 2012 Mark was unanimously awarded Life Membership of our organisation in
recognition of his valuable contribution over those 40 years including the last 14 years as chief editor and publisher of our monthly magazine. I admired the way that Mark didn’t let his growing health issues divert him from the creative
effort of producing the magazine every month. He never complained about, or sought pity for, his situation. He once proudly explained how, to overcome his eyesight issues with the computer he was using white text on a black background. His computer skills were certainly far superior to mine.

Mark was an optimist to the end. In early August he was talking about getting dialysis in Auckland on his way to visit Sandra and me in Mangawhai, as soon as his latest hospitalisation was over. Sadly that was not to happen.

I know Mark valued the friendship and support of his church community in Trentham. On behalf of his friends scattered through the country, thank you. Farewell Mark – you are now at peace with your God – no more pain or suffering, from Bryan, Sandra, Matthew & Daniel Clark From the National President and Life Member, Bryan Clark

From Dave Onley: RIP Mark. To be so ill and to work so hard at putting the clubs magazine together each month is just unbelievable. Huge respect. To all his family, friends and dx colleagues, my condolences. You are a huge loss to the dx community and in particular the NZDXL. Be at peace. Dave Onley, The Hague, Netherlands

From Richard Jary: I am very sorry to hear of Mark’s passing. As the editor for the Australian Radio DX Club (which has an exchange agreement with NZDXRL) I used to regularly receive the magazines from him, and a friendly follow up if I hadn’t reposted it to our mailing list within a day or so which occasionally happened if I was travelling. He was a great person to deal with as a fellow unpaid professional on that basis. We have posted the announcement on our mailling list as well and will include a tribute in next month’s magazine which I will be putting together this weekend.

From Costa Constantinides: My condolences from himself always had good memories of radio from the pacific and the true spirit of dxing from this area of the world. RIP Mark Nichols. Signed Costa Constantinides, South Africa and Cyprus.

From Arthur de Maine:  I first met Mark at the 1982 Tiwai convention and then later at several AGM’s and conventions at Oamaru. Most times He would have that Mark grin that went with beard. In later years I would catch up with Mark when visiting Wellington and we would talk about the magazine, Mac computers, software and of course the radio hobby. His devotion to publishing the magazine each month even thou his health was not good was over and above the call.

Mark was certainly worthy of the League’s Life Membership Award and has certainly set the standard for the magazine, a standard that will certainly be hard to better. You will be missed by all DX League members.

Rest in peace Mark, the battle is over. Arthur De Maine, Utility Section Editor

From Ken Baird: Just a short comment about Mark. We worked together on the DX Times for over 20 years and I formed a good relationship with him. He knew his stuff and spent many hours sorting out the info for the magazine. He will be greatly missed.

RIP Mark. Ken Baird