Rodney (Rod) Peter Greene, ZL2ACE



Rod, born and raised in Napier, firstly undertook an electrical apprenticeship but, 15 months into this five year contract, his employer got ’tardy’ with the hourly rate and the Labour Department became involved. “Pay up or find another employer to take over Rod’s apprenticeship” was the word from this august body.

During this time in Napier, Rod sat and passed the Amateur Radio Theory paper but did not complete the package of passing the CW section within the required 12 month period (No ‘T’ calls back in those days!) Part of the reason for this was that Columbus transferred Rod to Wellington where, in 1952, he completed his apprenticeship. During 1950 he undertook his CMT. (For the younger reader, this was in the days when the male youth of the country had to serve a period undertaking ‘Compulsory Military Training.’) Rod himself overcame this impasse by approaching Columbus Radio, located a couple of storefronts further down the street, and got himself signed up for an apprenticeship with this well-known firm.

Rod married in 1951 and in September of that year resat the ‘Ham’ exam, undertook the 1st class CRT examination and in the November wrapped up his Ham Ticket by passing the CW test. George ZL2AFZ, the CW guru for many of the early years in ZL gets credit for this CW effort from ‘our man of the moment.’ September 10 1956 saw Rod semi-complete with his HF permit after passing his ‘on air’ 15 WPM CW and frequency measuring tests.

These on-air tests were carried out by the late Dan Wilkinson ZL2AB and were some of the last to be so done. After the successful completion of this phase, a further twelve months of operating had to take place before the local Radio Inspector called and carried out a shack inspection. With the RI satisfied, Rod was then issued with a 20 metre phone permit on 10 September 1957. ((Not too much later after Rod obtained these HF permits, this system of qualifying for such privilege permits was done away with.)

Rod’s first on air QSO was at 2304 on Thursday 9 November 1951 with ZL2AOC, Alex Hamilton, who worked behind the counter at Turnbull Jones. Overtime on the 8th precluded him from getting on air when his certificate was issued. ZL2ACE’s rig was a two-time converted ZC1 Mk2. This rig had had a marine conversion and was off his ex-father-in-law’s boat. Rod rebuilt the rig and incorporated a mains supply. A mixture of CW and AM phone QSOs only are listed in the old logs until an entry made on the 27th June 1958 when he had an SSB QSO with Cliff Reed, ZL2AHV—now ZL1BR & K6DO. Rod was involved with Cliff Reed, Lester Earnshaw, ZL1AAX, Dennis Cobbe, ZL1ND and Les Himing ZL3BG; and this group drove the development of phasing SSB in this country. (Des Wright also produced phasing rigs around this period.)

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