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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 🙂

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

Taking a rig and lifepo4 battery through airport security

Monday 2nd February 2015, and it was an early start, having booked a last minute (Like the previous Friday!) week away in Madeira, and the possibility of at least a couple of Sota Summits, having failed miserably 2 years since when, apparently, the baggage handlers decided to lay waste to my MFJ 971 travel tuner en route.. but never mind, new year, new opportunity!
Just in case, I decided to take my MXP-817 Amp as well as the 817nd, Tracer 8Ah Battery, no tuner this time, but my old linked dipole (10-12-15-17-20-40-60m), 4m pole from sotabeams, and with a couple of bungees, and a hastily cobbled together guying kit (just in case).
Backup ‘plan’, in case the Tracer battery didn’t make it past ‘security’…. Umm, AA Batteries in the 817nd..
Boots, socks, a floppy hat (not a SOTA one) and a couple of ‘seaflo’ lightweight collapsible hiking poles completed the ‘other stuff’ in the lightweight case.
In order to get through BHX ‘screening’ the Radio and Battery went in the hand luggage along with the ‘real’ camera, and tablet, loaded with a couple of DVDs worth of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ for in flight entertainment.
The queue(s) for the ‘scanners’ were already backed up to the main door, and about a 20 minute wait ensued. Once to the front, all my ‘junk’ took up 2 trays as I was upfront about what was in the bag, and they made me unpack it all… For once, I didn’t manage to set the alarm off walking through the gate, but my trays appeared to be causing quite a bit of consternation, staff were pointing at the screen, people behind, in the queue were ‘tutting’… Other more important staff were called across and stood pointing at the screen for about 3 minutes… the queue of passengers waiting to come though continually growing….
The first tray was pulled though and I was invited to explain what was in it.. Well, a battery, since that seemed to be the thing they were pointing at, mostly… Asked what it was for, i pointed to the radio “that radio”… He took the battery to one side, swabbed it, put the swab in his ‘testing equipment’ and scanned it once again, whilst staff stood and pointed at the image on screen…
That appeared to be OK – yay! So I could put it in my bag.
“What’s this then?” said the man inquistively pointing at the radio.. “That’s a Radio! That the battery will be used to power”
I was invited to take it out of it’s leather case, to be swabbed, and sent through the scanner again… (Still the queue of relatively unhappy passengers grew….)
Staff pointed at the image as it went through the scanner again.
“Is it a ‘Ham Radio’?” I was asked, by the guy who appeared to be rolling his eyes somewhat..
I explained that it was, I got asked where I was going, and on what flight, and they handed the radio to me.
“Do you have a camera as well?” He asked
“Oh that’s fine, have a good trip!”
I thanked him politely for his attention to detail smile and hurried away from all of the held up passengers!.

It’s always wise to be aware of the latest regulations!

Since my Tracer LifePO4 battery is labeled as 96WH (It’s an 8AH one) it is within the 100WH that is allowed in hand luggage.


SOTA Long Mynd Pole Bank (G/WB-005) 21st June 2013

Summer solstice 2013, and there was an unofficial SOTA Summer Solstice event, hopefully to grab a load of summit to summits!

I made my way up to Long Mynd Pole Bank, G/WB-005, not really fancying a long walk 🙂 I parked up at the small car park at Pole Cottage, and took the short walk along the road, bearing left along the Shropshire Way to the trig point.

Short walk to the trig point

Short walk to the trig point

Despite being ‘Mid Summers day’, it was rather chilly to say the least, my hands had turned blue by the end of the fairly short activation!

Only 2M was used, 5W from the ft817nd into my home brew coaxial colinear, the bottom metre or so lying on the ground as the fishing pole bent so much in the wind!

Long Mynd 'shack'

Long Mynd ‘shack’ in the gloom

Long Mynd 'shack'

Long Mynd ‘shack’ in the gloom

All contacts on 2M FM using 5W:

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:10z G0IBE/P 144MHz FM s59+ r59 Richard on G/CE-001
20:12z 2E0XYL 144MHz FM Karen s55 r53
20:15z 2W0TDX/P 144MHz FM s59+ r 59 Neil on GW/SW-010
20:20z G6LUZ 144MHz FM s59+ r53 Steve in Crewe
20:20z M0NTC 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Gez in Dudley
20:22z 2W0WDS/P 144MHz FM s41 r59 Wayne on GW/NW-075
20:23z G6ODU 144MHz FM s41 r51 Bob in Ormskirk
20:25z G8IYE 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Jess, Clee Hill
20:26z G1ZAR/P 144MHz FM s59+ r59+ Stuart on G/CE-004
20:26z M0JLA 144MHz FM s59+ r55 Rod in Hereford
20:28z G7SET 144MHz FM s59+ r55 Andy in Redditch
20:38z G0FBO 144MHz FM s56 r58 Clive in Brownhills
20:41z M1EYP/P 144MHz FM Tom on G/SP-015
20:42z G8XYJ 144MHz FM s59+ r59 Matt in Ludlow

By now it was getting very cold and gloomy, I packed up, removing several small caterpillars from the equipment! and made my way back the short way to the car.

Oh, and 2 points!  Marvellous!

SOTA- Brown Clee Hill (G/WB-002) 15th February 2013

Encouraged by the Trans Atlantic QSOs the previous day on Callow Hill, I set out to activate Brown Clee Hill again, one of the 2 SOTA Summits I can see from my house 🙂

After parking next to the phone box / library as normal, I kitted up and walked up the bridleway, being somewhat surprised to find 2-3 foot snowdrifts at the top!

Successfully circumventing these, and finding the bog at the top pleasantly frozen over 🙂 I eventually made it to the top.

view from the activation point

View from the activation point towards Titterstone Clee Hill

I quickly setup the 44′ Norcal Doublet on the fishing pole and plugged it into the 817ND. Then…   I couldn’t find the cable to connect the rig to the 7AH SLAB.. Quickly remembering it was still lying on the hall floor back at home 🙁  GAH!!

It seemed that the internal batteries were fully charged in the rig, so I thought I’d give it a go, at 2.5W SSB, HF only, not wishing to take it all apart again, go home, return, and repeat the procedure!

I struggled to add a spot to sotawatch, adding ‘quick activation only 2.5W’ to it!

The rig managed to last an hour and a quarter (probably longer, but 2.5W wasn’t getting heard to most places) and 21 QSOs, including 2 Trans Atlantic ones again 🙂  One of whom called later, wanting to confirm that I was, in fact, running 2.5W!

Many thanks to all the chasers:

12:39z EA1LQ 14MHz SSB Ernesto Spain
12:39z N4EX 14MHz SSB Richard NC USA
12:40z OK2BUT 14MHz SSB Jan Czech Republic
12:41z OM1AX 14MHz SSB Vlado Bratislava
12:42z G6WRW 14MHz SSB Carolyn Kidderminster
12:43z OE7PHI 14MHz SSB Holger Austria
12:44z W4ZV 14MHz SSB Bill NC USA
12:59z G6WRW 7MHz SSB Carolyn Kidderminster
13:00z G4AFI 7MHz SSB Andrew Hants
13:00z G4ZRP 7MHz SSB Brian NW England
13:01z G4WSB 7MHz SSB Bill Swindon
13:01z G4UXH 7MHz SSB Colin Cumbria
13:03z M0MDA 7MHz SSB Mick Leeds
13:04z F5UBH 7MHz SSB Christophe France
13:05z PA0B 7MHz SSB Rob Netherlands
13:07z MW0IML 7MHz SSB Barry Wales
13:08z G0RQL 7MHz SSB Don Devon
13:11z ON4KCY 7MHz SSB Yves belgium
13:22z G1PIE 7MHz SSB Mark Preston
13:50z G0TRB 7MHz SSB Roger Staffordshire
13:55z MM0GPL 7MHz SSB Chris Scotland

Struggling to get any more contacts, it was time to pack it all away, and negotiate the snow drifts back down to the comfort of the car!

Masts on Brown Clee

Masts and the toposcope on Brown Clee Hill