ZL1/AK-023 Maungawhau / Mt Eden
Mt Eden is the highest point in Auckland, although it presented us surveyors with a problem: According to Land Information NZ (LINZ), the summit at One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) was higher. A bit of research confirmed that Mt Eden was higher, and One Tree Hill seemed to be measured from the top of monument.
What this meant is that the closest summit to Auckland got closer, close enough for a post-work SOTA jaunt. I grabbed dinner at Britomart with the best intentions of taking a bus to the top, when I discovered I’d just missed a bus. Rather than wait 15 minutes, I grabbed a taxi.
It’s about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the waterfront or Britomart to Mt Eden. My taxi driver was very helpful and offered to drive me all the way to the top, despite the Auckland Council suggesting that vehicle access to the mountain was now ceased. With nothing blocking the way, we went straight up, and joined the other cars at the top. Total taxi fare was about ten times the bus fare, but the bus doesn’t drop you at the top!
I took a look around: the views from Mt Eden are quite extensive. It has a trig point on top, and a few bench seats scattered around. After taking a few photos, I set up on one of the bench seats. I kept the power down a bit as I was close to the antenna, and ran the counterpoise off in the direction of Australia, but along the ground.
The antenna tuned up easily, and I called CQ. After about 5 minutes, Ron VK3AFW came back, keeping his record of the only person to work ZL SOTA intact, at least until Gerard VK2IO came in. Immediately after, ZL SOTA went native, with Andrew ZL3CC occupying slot 3 from Christchurch. He is keen to activate a few South Island summits when that gets up and running. SOTA needs more Andrews.
I qualified my first ZL summit shortly afterwards, with Ian VK5IS in the log. The 1 point was in the bag! 3 more contacts on 20m followed before I QSYed to 17m.
I worked Ron VK3AFW again on 17m with the antenna not quite tuned, but 17m was otherwise fruitless. Ron has managed to work all ZL SOTA activations on 17m so far – both of them!
I went back to 20m and worked 8 others. Before going QRT about an hour after I started, colder and more insect bitten than I started.
I drew a bit of interest while I was up there. There is a steady flow of fitness fanatics who run (or walk) up the mountain, plus tourists. One high school person asked what I was doing in a somewhat aggressive manner, but seemed satisfied with the answer. Another gentleman and I had a long chat about SOTA and radio in between Rex 3OF and Peter 3PF calling in.
There were also the usual glances from the lady folk which seemed to say, “What’s that slightly weird, yet stunningly attractive young man doing sitting on a bench with a large metal object thrust into the air?” For some reason, none of them enquired.
I took the bus back into town from the mountain; all up, a great little activation. Auckland visitors take note.