Mr Neil Whittington ZL2MD ex ZL1UPK, ZL2TJH
Neil was born in Palmerston North on 9th December 1958 and spent the first half of his childhood growing up in Ashhurst before his family moved to Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty when he was nine.
He once said his interest in electronics was triggered when he carried out a major repair on the family record player with the help of his ‘comprehensive’ tool box consisting of a broken knife, his all-purpose wire strippers, side cutters, vice grips and pliers (his mother’s scissors).
Around the age of 14, Neil purchased a ZC1 from the Army Surplus Store – for listening purposes only, of course! His friend, also interested in getting his ticket, owned a ZC1and lived five miles down the road but they never did manage to make a contact in their one and only pirate operation!
Neil’s ZC1 remained in the garage whilst he finished high school and attended Waikato University and trained as a primary school teacher.
After marrying, and deciding to see the country before settling down, Neil applied for, and got, his first post down in Southland but had little time for radio.
In 1984, Neil was appointed to Waikaretu School, 55 minutes south of Pukekohe, 45 minutes west of Huntly – a very remote location. Neil’s then wife, Lindy, started attending a cake decorating class in Pukekohe through which Neil found that there were radio classes at the same location on the same night so joined up. On passing the examination he took up the call, ZL1UPK. Unable to afford a rig, Neil was not active.
Five years on, after moving to Wanganui, he looked up his 1975 Call Book to find the name of the local Branch Secretary and taking a long shot rang to find if the person listed was still around and interested. (He was/is!) Neil signed up with Br 48 and remained a member through to his passing.
Neil was a teacher at the Faith Community School and used to visit ZL2AUS/ZL2RR and wrote several amateur radio programmes using the Secretary’s Commodore 64. This was superseded by a PC when the late Kay, ZL2TJW, won first prize in a raffle held in conjunction with an NZART Conference.
Neil then joined the staff of the Wanganui Intermediate where Apple computers were the choice and after a period of time, resigned and spent two years attending a computer course in Palmerston North.
On completion, he took up an offer to become a course lecturer and eventually shifted to Feilding and later Palmerston North where he and his Wellington-based brother set up their own software business. Neil’s firm hosted our Branch Web site on their Server free of charge for a number of years.
Following a hostile take-over bid that caused the firm problems, Neil eventually worked in the IT department at Massey University before the onset of his brain tumour and he did return to work for a period after his operation.
Neil loved Wanganui and said he would retire here and, true to his word, was interred at the Aramoho Cemetery following the Palmerston North Service on Tuesday 6 March 2012, five days after his passing.