Monthly Archives: March 2016

zl1/nl-076 Mount Parihaka 11th February 2016

After my last night in the Bay of Islands, it was time for me to drive back through Auckland to the Coromandel. A check on the sota mapping site threw up the possibility of activating zl1/nl-076 in Whangarei, just off my route, and virtually a drive on summit :smile:
I checked the location of the ‘car park’ using the app “what3words” and input them into navmii, the phone based GPS I’m using on holiday (I’d previously successfully used it to navigate to the parking spot for Kauri Mountain and found it to be excellent!)
Some hour and a quarter later I was indeed driving up the road to the car park virtually at the summit.
Only to be met with a sign “viewing platform closed” and another sign requesting “all suspicious activities to be reported to the police” I had visions of yet another run in with officialdom :wink: (apparently the suspicious activity is related to vehicle crime, according to numerous other signs regarding locking your car and removing everything from view)

Steps to the summit and numerous antennae!

Steps to the summit and numerous antennae!

Climbing the steps to the summit revealed the huge monument, and the viewing platform that was indeed, cordoned off due to workmen using power tools that were to prove rather RF noisy :frowning:

I wondered if the monument could be 'tuned' :wink:

I wondered if the monument could be ‘tuned’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

I ended up bungying the pole in a haphazard fashion to one of the pillars in the stone wall surrounding the monument, and spotted myself. Almost immediately, Paul, VK5PAS answered and did sterling work in trying to drum up contacts.. not many came :frowning: taking best part of 40 minutes to get the required 4 on 20m

The incredibly low slung linked dipole!

Giving up on the linked gp antenna i strung the linked dipole up, tying the ends to a couple of handy trees. A few CQs on 40m gave… nothing.. hearing some faint activity on 10m, i gave several CQs there too… nothing, so back to 20m I went, holding out until UTC rollover, just in case anyone needed points.

My 'work' position

My ‘work’ position

Just before I packed up, some old dear came past and remarked that I was sitting in such a lovely spot to do my work… i guess i must’ve looked hassled or something :wink: I neglected to say that i didn’t even have a work permit :wink:

Needless to say, a big thank you to everyone who called, and to those who took the time to try and drum up contacts, it was all appreciated!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:01z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s59 r57
00:01z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s59 r57
00:02z VK7CW 14MHz SSB s58 r54
22:47z VK5PAS 14MHz SSB s58 r55
23:00z VK2YW 14MHz SSB s45 r31
23:26z VK4RF 14MHz SSB s58 r58
23:26z VK4HA 14MHz SSB s58 r58
23:31z VK3PF 14MHz SSB s31 r31
23:40z VK7CW 14MHz SSB s58 r53
23:42z VK3PF 14MHz SSB s55 r41

zl1/nl-079 Kauri Mountain 9th February 2016

After a brief stay in Auckland, it was time to go north for a few days. I posted on the Australian and New Zealand lists that I was looking to possibly do 2 activations later in the day. However, a combination of a ‘dicky tummy’ (least said the better!) meaning I was later setting out, and completely missing the turn off for Moir Hill on SH1 :frowning: meant that it was only going to be Kauri Mountain, zl1/nl-079. Having previously looked at the details on various websites it seemed there were 2 options, one from the South, and one from the North. It appeared that the access from the North would be quicker, and not as steep :wink:
Well it turned out still to be rather steep! Although mostly on (steep) metaled private roads. Being part of the Kauri Mountain track, and part of a much longer national track it was fine to use these.

Sign at the small car park, just before the private road

Sign at the small car park, just before the private road

Start of the private road, it looked alarmingly steep!

Start of the private road, it looked alarmingly steep!

About half way up there was a sharp right turn onto a gravel road, and following the designated Orange markers eventually to the only part of the hike on grass (or it would appear, mud, when its wet!

Apparently there may be kiwi around... not in the daytime though.

Apparently there may be kiwi around… not in the daytime though.

After a few minutes walk in the bush, I eventually reached the trig, 35 minutes in total, as opposed to the 30 quoted on the sign, but that is probably for fit people :wink:

Not a fantastic amount of space, its the trig surrounded by trees. ..
Before starting I had to slap on a load more factor50. … and then untangle my linked ground plane antenna (reminder to self: make sure its not tangled up when you put it away)

The shack at the trig

The shack at the trig

Spotting myself on 20m I had 3 QSOs in 10 minutes, then… nothing :frowning:

Looking on sotawatch 15 minutes later I saw a request to try 18MHz, so I pulled out the links for the band and spotted myself, quickly getting the important 4th contact.
Nothing further on 18MHz so i dropped back to 20m for a final 3 contacts, including a s2s rom Rob VK2QR, who specifically moved from 40m to ensure the contact!.

Many thanks to those who contacted me, especially those who took the time to dig my signal out, the patience was greatly appreciated!

I finally packed up, and had a quick look around…. some fantastic views!

View to the South from the trig.. WOW!

View to the South from the trig.. WOW!

I glanced at the clock/thermometer, it said 51C (!) but it had moved out of the shadows!, My phone also decided to switch itself off, claiming that the battery was too hot! Perhaps I should make sure everything was in the shade next time!

After packing up, it was 25 minutes back down to the car and a further hour and a bit to the B&B up in the Bay of Islands.


Time Call Band Mode Notes
02:46z VK3AFW 14MHz SSB s59 r44
02:48z VK2IO 14MHz SSB s44 r31
02:56z VK5PAS 14MHz SSB s58 r22
03:17z VK3PF 18MHz SSB s58 r43
03:26z VK3LED 14MHz SSB s47 r42
03:29z VK3MEG 14MHz SSB s58 r53
03:34z VK2QR 14MHz SSB s58 r56 s2s vk2/sw-073
Track from the 'car park' to the Trig

Track from the ‘car park’ to the Trig


zl1/ak-016 Rangitoto 8th February 2016

Despite only about 6 hours sleep after the 30-odd hours in the air in cattle class, having woke early, by the time I’d sorted my stuff out I still found that I was going to be too late for the 7:30 Fullers ferry from Downtown Auckland and the short trip across to Rangitoto Island, and the SOTA summit zl1/ak-016. As it was, after numerous cups of coffee, and putting an alert on sotawatch I just made it to the 9:30 sailing!
It became clear, there being standing room only, that a public holiday is probably not the best day to activate this…

View from the ferry

View from the ferry

At Rangitoto Wharf

At Rangitoto Wharf

Once the ferry had disgorged its passengers, it was clear that, thankfully, at least some were on the tractor ride around the island. There were however, still a significant number heading up the summit track. I held back for a while, not wishing to be overtaken by everyone :wink:

There still seemed to be somewhat of a queue though :frowning:

some of the queue on the summit track

some of the queue on the summit track!

In all it took me about an hour and five minutes to reach the crater viewing platform

View into the crater

View into the crater

Climbing the remaining steps up to the top it was obvious that stretching out a 40m dipole would be a problem. I estimated at one point there must have been 90-100 people there, climbing all over the fencing, trig and the shelter :frowning:
I ended up bungying the travel pole to the middle of the fence and sat in the corner, out of the way but able to keep an eye on anyone getting too close to the wire that wasn’t very high to say the least..

 URL Title Caption Alt Text Description Attachment Display Settings Alignment Link To Size Not an ideal position for an antenna

Not an ideal position for an antenna

I tried 40m for starters, but with both ends just about on the ground and sort of in the way.. the swr was unacceptably high, so 20m it was. 3 contacts quickly in the log from VK, followed by a 4th from the other side of Auckland, who was so loud, I dropped my pen ๐Ÿ™‚

The few calls dried up, a bit early for contacts to VK I believe. Tuning around showed a lot of US activity on 10m, sadly there were no replies to several spotted CQs, and no replies to any answered calls.

I finished up on 2m, as I had a request to try a QSO, which was successful in the end, and another QSO with a local who seemed amazed to hear someone on 2m simplex!

Sadly I didn’t get to hear Warren on another summit as I had to rush back down to catch the ferry back!
The journey back down to about 50 minutes, but I did have to wait for several groups to pass, still on the way up to the top!

Slightly disappointed with the number of QSOs, but qualified nonetheless, so I don’t have to come back and do it again :smile:

27c on top, and cloudy by the time I got there so no real need for the factor 50, but hugely enjoyable. I did end up with a terrible sore throat, I put that down to the volcanic dust being kicked up from the many visitors!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
00:14z ZL1RCC 144MHz FM s59 r59
00:22z ZL1SKL 144MHz FM
23:09z VK3AFW 14MHz SSB s58 r33
23:10z VK2IO 14MHz SSB s58 r55
23:12z VK7CW 14MHz SSB s34 r31
23:19z ZL3TE 14MHz SSB s59 r59

‘Accessible’ SOTA Summits in the Welsh Borders

After some discussion on the SOTA Reflector regarding ‘accessible’ SOTA summits for less able potential activators, I was reminded of an old posting and the BurtonARC website, which although is now defunct, can be still found via

Following on from that work, originally done by Steve Warren, M0KPO, I thought I would use Google Earth, and the ‘flood tool’ as described by VK2GOM’s Ham radio and SOTA Blog to show the activation zones for a few of the G/WB SOTA summits that would possibly be of interest to people hoping to activate relatively easy summits.
I have activated all of these, and probably only Long Mynd Pole Bank (G/WB-005) would not be ‘drive on’ summit, although it appears from the ‘flood map’, the Portway may just skirt the Activation zone where it passes nearest to the south east of the trig point.

The other 3 summits have roads that actually run through the activation zone, one, Ruardean Hill (G/WB-021) does have seats next to the car park, which could be useful.

As ever, it is necessary for the activator to ensure that theย SOTA rules are adhered to, in particular:

Operations must not be in, or in the close vicinity of, a motor vehicle. No part of the
station may be connected in any way with the motor vehicle. However, the use of a bike
(non-motorized) or animals to enter the Activation Zone is permitted.

For all of these summits, the ‘flood level’ was set to the height of the summit (From the G/WB summit list) minus 25m, rather than taking the height listed in Google Earth. As ever, it would be best to verify the activator’s position is actually within the 25m vertical limit from the summit as per the rules. Several smart phone apps are available to show the altitude at your location.

G/WB-005 Long Mynd Pole Bank


Approximate activation zone for G/WB-005


The Portway skirting the AZ















The footpath up to the trig point is not particularly steep, and mainly well maintained. From the Shooting Box car park (at the top of the image) there appears to be some water damage, from Pole Cottage car park (at the bottom of the image) it is well maintained, although some walking along the road will be necessary to get to the path.
The ‘road’ from East to West across the AZ is probably only suitable for 4×4 vehicles.


G/WB-018 View Edge


The road bisecting the approximate Activation Zone on G/WB-018


There should be room for one car at the entrance to the old quarry, towards the East of the road bisecting the AZ
















G/WB-023 Hegdon Hill


The trig point is apparently on private land, but there is parking on the road side, G/WB-023.









G/WB-021 Ruardean Hill


Seats are available next to the small car park! G/WB-021