Membership at the time of the Napier AGM in 1982 was 134, and a 21st Birthday cake was cut by ZL2LS assisted by ZL1OC, ZL1ALK and ZL1AXP - all foundation members. (It had earlier been decided to have one cake in the North Island and one in the South Island in Dunedin 1983.)
Jocelyn ZL2BAO was appointed the new editor of the Bulletin after many thanks had been given to Biny ZL2AZY, who had continued the excellent standard set by ZL1BOR. As the secretary's workload had increased, it was decided to appoint a Break-In reporter, the first of these being Jeanne Gilchrist ZL2UEI (now ZL2BOD). Cathy ZL2ADK was elected secretary.
Visitors during 1982 - 84 included DX members Bobby Kelly VE7CBK, well known for her Scots voice, and Flo KU7F a keen County Hunter. A number of WARO members have been County Hunters over the years and have ventured out into rare NZ counties to help others with the Award. Pearl ZL2QY has been mobile around the Levin area, Vicki ZL1OC has activated most of the South Island counties on several trips, and Anne Griffiths ZL2BOV has acted as net control for the Net (now called Awards Net).
It was World Communications Year in 1983 and president Elva ZL1BIZ reminded members of the part amateur radio operators could take in this. An Information Sheet on WARO and it's activities was drawn up and given to all interested people.
New permanent Membership Cards were introduced to replace the previous renewable ones. and this proved more acceptable. Stickers for use on envelopes, QSL cards, etc were designed and made available for sale to members. Two choices are offered; "Pania" or the "buttercup" design. Break-In page heading was given a face-lift with the use of the Buttercup and the Pania emblems; and the CW net, in spite of valiant effort by ZL2AGS was discontinued.
Thanks to Jeanne ZL2BOD, an interesting and informative three pages in Break-In March 1983 celebrated WARO's 21st Anniversary. The cover featured five YLs who met in Hamilton in 1961 and started the ball rolling towards the formation of WARO.
Allocation of ZL2YL:
The highlight of the year was the allocation to WARO of the distinctive callsign ZL2YL. WARO is grateful to all conerned who helped to make this possible. The callsign is used during the Thelma Souper Memorial Contest, on all official nets and whenever appropriate. There is a QSL card for those who want confirmation of contacts made with ZL2YL.
A 2 metre net began in Auckland under the control of Shirley ZL1MY using the Auckland YL callsign ZL1ATC. This has been well patronised and introduces newly licensed Grade 3 YLs to more experienced operators. Several meetings and 2 metre contests have been held in the Auckland area as numbers have grown and these have been very enjoyable. In 1986 other areas have begun 2 metre nets (notably Kapiti and Kaiapoi districts) and WARO supports all these. Nets keep the YLs in contact with each other and members are grateful to all those operators, too many to list, who have been Net Controllers over the years. A call-in frequency of 3.588MHz was tried once a week, but did not really become established.
February 1984 saw the ZL2 girls put ZL2YL on the "radio map" when they operated under that callsign for the National Field Day Contest. Operators were ZL2VQ Carol Gaudin, ZL2BOD Jeanne, Anne ZL2BOV, Cathy ZL2ADK and ZL2QW Pauline, and a good time was had by all.
WARO members have taken part in overseas contests, especially those held by ALARA and YLRL, and a number of certificates are proudly kept by their recipients. Chatting to other YLs seems to be more popular than "heads down" contest operating; to be a certificate winner requires considerable organisation and co-operation from the family. WARO does have some very competent contest operators in it's ranks.
With the visit of Flo KU7F, YLs featured on the cover of Break-In again, and South Island members welcomed a Japanese YL visitor, Kyoko JR0GYF. Laureen Tubby ZL1BTP and Aola ZL1ALE were royally treated by JLRS members when they visited Japan, but there have been few chances to reciprocate.
When Pearl ZL2QY and Bert ZL2ANA celebrated their Golden Wedding in September 1985, WARO presented them with a Commemorative wall hanging. Rachel and Marian Rait twin daughters of Janet ZL4JR and Barry ZL4HP were welcomed to WARO with the callsigns ZL4JX and ZL4SC in 1986.
Sadly, members learned of the death on 31 January 1986, of Myrtle Earland ZL4GR. Myrtle had been able to make a special appearance at the WARO meeting in June 1983, but had become increasingly confined to her home. Her activities have been outlined earlier, and her passing was a loss to the whole of amateur radio, not just the YLs. "she will be remembered for her distinctive personality, her vitality and enthusiasm and above all for her wit and humour". (Brenda ZL4OQ, March 1986.)
It is appropriate to mention the present day contribution that WARO members are making to the AREC Sections of NZART. Sometimes a housewife can be more readily available to help with communications than someone who works outside the home and from the early days YLs have helped as mentioned previously. YLs are taking a more prominent role and WARO operators have been on exercises and handled communications for car-rallies and civil emergencies. The 1986 Call-Book names 3 YLs, Anne McMaster ZL3VR as Section Leader, Pauline ZL2QW and Cathy ZL2ADK as Deputy Section Leaders in AREC Sections. Many more are members, too many to list here. 1986 saw Carol Gaudin ZL2VQ appointed Deputy Communications Officer of the North Taranaki District Joint Civil Defence Organisation.
The Novice licence has been held by a few of our members and could become more common with the current change in the regulations. It was used very effectively during the Thelma Souper Memorial Contest in 1980 by Cathy ZL2ADK, then ZL2NAT and 1984 by Yvonne Marr ZL2ALF, then ZL2NCI.
Under the present presidency of Jeanne ZL2BOD, there are regular monthly Executive meetings on air which deal with day to day problems and decisions. Alison Talbot ZL1TNQ has taken over the editorship of the Bulletin from Carol ZL2VQ, who did an excellent job for two years. Marilyn Thorp ZL2BOA collates and organises the Break-In pages, Anne ZL3VR is secretary and Anne ZL2BOV is treasurer.
The membership (January 1987) stands at:
Transmitting members ...121Nets are now held regularly on every Monday night at 0800z on 3.700MHz. We no longer use distinctions such as National, North and South nets and this has resulted in a wider cross-section of members calling in.
The WARO Award continues to attract applicants, and a grand total of 322 operators, including 38 DX have gained the Main Award. In addition, 41 VHF and 7 SWL Awards have been sent out since the Award was begun.
The Thelma Souper Memorial (formerly WARO) Contest, held for the 10th time in 1986 was well supported and included 38 WARO members. It is noted that this contest is second only to NZART's National Field Day Contest in ZL participation. An additional trophy for the top-scoring OM has been donated by Vicki ZL1OC. WARO is deeply indebted to Vicki (and her constant back-up, Collin) for her work as Contest and Awards Manager. She has given countless hours to meticulous checking of logs and awards claims, and the membership do appreciate her work over the last nine years.
As a memorial to Myrtle Earland, the Executive have recommended the institution of a WARO Amateur of the Year Award. This is to be awarded to an amateur who has given outstanding services to WARO, and/or, is a WARO member who excels in any aspect of amateur radio (eg DX participation, NZART services, etc). It is envisaged as an annual presentation, but not necessarily so if no suitable candidate is found in any particular year.
As WARO reaches it's Silver Jubilee Year members look forward to a special Jubilee Award to be available in March 1987, a new heart-shaped seal for Award Endorsements, WARO souvenir teaspoons and a 25th Anniversary luncheon to be held in conjunction with NZART Conference in Wanganui on Sunday 31 May 1987.
Finally, a personal note. Certainly more YLs are being licensed today than ever before, but so often we hear them on air for a short period and then they are gone. (This applies to OMs equally.) What goes wrong? Only a few of us "go on forever!" Secondly, although we enjoy the YL company and exclusiveness on WARO, the need is not as obvious as it was in 1962 when the few YLs felt isolated and sometimes even ostracised. Let us enjoy this organisation of YLs which was formed to encourage friendship and interest amongst women radio amateurs but not become down-hearted if every YL is not a member. WARO can be an "optional extra" in amateur radio and very enjoyable too!
These historical notes have been compiled from available records and my memory, which is by no means infallible. Please excuse errors and omissions as it is impossible to cover every aspect. Break-In June 1987 will carry articles on individual subjects. - Celia Reed ZL1ALK.
Grateful thanks are extended to Celia for having made available, to our membership and other readers, such a comprehensive history of WARO which can be presented in one complete package.
Reprinted in January 2002 from the NZ WARO Bulletin of March 1987 - Jeanne Gilchrist ZL4JG