1960 Leithfield


The 1960 DX Convention is over, but for the 40 or more members of the New Zealand Radio DX League who attended the function it will be remembered for a long time as an occasion in which DXers met to talk about DX, log stations and enjoy a weekend of friendship and social activity.

Members came from Auckland, Taranaki, Wellington, Otago & Southland by plane, boat, railcar,bus, car and motor cycles to the Cathedral City of Christchurch.

It was a well organised convention and high praise must go to the Canterbury Branch who were hosts for this year’s annual event. Many months of planning went ito the convention that has now become an annual event of the New Zealand Radio DX League. This year the Canterbury boys decided to moderate the event slightly in comparison with previous ones which were developing on a more lavish scale every year.

The convention was held on the weekend of February 13-14, was favoured by fine warm weather, and on the Saturday morning members were free to visit Christchurch or inspect the local hotels.. After lunch everyone met at Don Reed’s chicken farm for the roll call and registration. Each member was issued with a printed lapel label with their name on it and a copy of the convention issue of the Canterbury DX Dialog containing useful information about the arrangements for the weekend including a well prepared map of the Leithfield  Beach area. Members were introduced to each other, in some cases for the first time, while old timers renewed acquaintances. By 2 p.m., the convoy of cars were ready for a tour of North Canterbury which would end at Leithfield Beach some 30 miles north of Christchurch City.

At Kaiapoi a stop was made to watch the river boats load for Wellington. From there we headed to Woodend Beach where an advance party had afternoon tea waiting. For some reason no one went in search of local bathing beauty talent – DX was the main topic of conversation. (Wives, please note). A detour was made to visit the Kaiapohia monument erected to those massacred by Te Rauparaha and North Island Maori in 1827. A quick look at Rangiora followed then we headed to Amberley over the Ashley Downs where it was time for tea and a look at the bar.  A speeding police car with siren screaming caused a little excitement, but I am told there is no truth in the report that those in the hotel dived out the back door believing it to be a raid.

Four miles down the road we came to Leithfield, a village with one shop, a hall and a hotel. A short distance away was Leithfield Beach – and the Leithfield Listening Post, headquarters for the 1960 DX Convention in Tony King\s seaside residence.

Arriving at Leithfield Beach Canterbury members immediately swung into action to erect aerials out in the sandhills and establishing listening posts at various spots arou8nd the district. A tent was erected and cars moved into position for listening while in the two cribs or bachs (weekend holiday homes) sets were placed in various bedrooms.

The Taranaki boys, Bill Woller and Robin Chambers brought a radio in a tomato case from the North Island on the back of a motor cycle. They set up the receiver in a tent, but when I called in they were not having much success. Nearby, Don Reed with Peter Auburn and Mike Frost were logging KATZ, CKDA and other Yanks on Don’s radio. A few feet away Des Lynn, John Airey and Neville Ross were finding  that the Yanks were not coming in as good as had been expected but moving the aerial a few feet improved the signals.

“They tell me Ken Mackey is a great DXer,” Keith Robinson said as I entered the caravan and found that with Jack Blacklock and Merv Branks, these four broadcast fans were not getting much in the way of DX. At the other end of the caravan, Ray Pritchard and Sutton Burtenshaw were oblivious to their companions as the tuned the air with an ex-air force receiver which Ray carted from Auckland for the convention. Jack and Keith were reported to be first class barmen! “got nine” was the answer I got from Peter Gaudin when I enquired. Peter was with Arthur Cushen in a crib location and they had more stations lined up.

Arthur Harbrow, president of the Canterbury Branch extended a welcome when a function was held later in the evening. President of the League, Ken Mackey, thanked Canterbury for the work they had put into the convention. “As far as DX is concerned I am astounded, confounded and very much amazed”, Cleve Costello told the gathering when speaking on behalf of the Wellington Branch. Merv Branks, president of the Southland Branch, said that the representatives from his branch were very happy to be at the convention. He paid tribute to the work of headquarters and congratulated them for their help to DXers. Robin Chambers, Ray Pritchard and Jack Blacklock also spoke. Penned by Jack Fox