The following was written for the Lakehead Amateur Radio Club news letter Hi-Q in December 1977 just before we left for New Zealand and the North Cook Islands. It is amazing that what starts out as a casual converation develops into a tangible goal.
You don't have to be crazy, but it helps! Anyone who will travel umpteen miles at great expense just to say hello to Thunder Bay Hams from some tropical beach where it is 85 above certainly needs a shrink (or at least a bottle of suntan lotion). Keeping in mind that should be easier to get operating priviliges in a Commonwealth Country, we started looking at New Zealand and Australian environs. Trying to make your mind up is really difficult, with constant second guessing that you hopefully have decided right.
After a great deal of cogitation, we thought ZK1 would be a nice prefix with the Cook Islands looking very enticing. Good chance of fair accommodations and a few interesting islands to cover. Since this is primarily a vacation, we had no intention of living in a tent.
Trying to get information on the Pacific, find out about air fares, accommodations etc, is a long tedious chore which does not bear repeating except to say when you live in the boon docks it takes a lot of phone calls and letter writing. We were stumped on accommodations, none of our inquires had replied, so we asked Air New Zealand if they could help out. They worked it out and the accommodations look pretty good, the price is reasonable and the islands look attractive. We will be staying on Rarotonga at the Moana Beach Lodge with a couple of side trips to some of the other islands. We are hoping to get to Manihiki and operate but it is a fair ways away and may be too much of a strain on the pocketbook.
Our itinery calls for us to leave Thunder Bay on January 9, 1978 travelling to New Zealand via Los Angeles and Honalulu arriving in Auckland on January 11, 1978, meeting Ian ZL1BCG, a former Ontario resident who we met on 20 meters and exchanged correspondence with. We leave New Zealand on January 14, 1978 arriving in Rarotonga on January 13, 1978 (figure that one out) staying there until February 6, 1978. Will try to operate in the ARRL DX phone contest February 4/5, 1978, then leave the next morning for Tahiti for a two and one half days lay over on our way back to Thunder Bay. (it's going to be tough to take, HI).
Equipment wise, we will be taking an Atlas 210X modified for semi break-in CW complete with a new keyer built by VE3EEW. A very compact unit. VE3BCD's TS820 along with VE3HTM's external VFO will also be making the trip. The clubs' TH3JR, an 18AVT modified for 160 meter operation and VE3EEWs' High Gain tape dipole will make up the antenna assortment along with various coax, wire, etc, to fill out the grag bag.
We will be operating on all bands, primarily on the CW end of the band and depending on conditions hoping to make a reasonable number of contacts on 40, 80 and 160 meters.
Cu on the bands as VE3EEW/ZK1 unless the distrations of the beach life are too great, we may have to go from operating to OPERATING.