So we were off on another adventure, this time of the musical variety and a weekend in Wellington catching up with Friends, but of course Warren had plans that meant another summit needed to be ticked off and squeezed into our schedule. Sometimes we have to wonder where we manage to find the time for all of these hill tops, but it must be possible, because here we are yet again having ticked off another summit.
Mount Kaukau is situated in the hills above Johnsonville, and I have to admitt first off that I was totally disorientated and did not believe that from the top I was indeed looking at the South Island seemingly just across the harbor. It turns out after about a 40minute relatively easy walk, mostly across the tops of the hills, you can infact see the South Island!! How daft did I feel when shown the map and I realised it was not the in the direction of the central city that I was looking!! The start of the track goes up steepily but after about ten minutes the remainder of the walk is fairly manageable for folks of all ages and stages. It was an extremely warm day and with midday looming, the heat was a factor and many short stops for re-hydrating were needed.
Things are a weeny bit decieving as you get to what you think is the summit, and find the lookout platform. The true summit where the trig stands is about another 5minutes of easy walking distance. The heat was starting to get to me so I sat under the trees to cool down while Warren made his way to the top and set up. I joined him about 15minutes later. There is no shade at the very top so I was glad I had taken the time for a quick stop before joining him up there. By the time I made it, Warren was pretty much set up and ready to get himself on the air, his first port of call was to contact a local Wellington HAM.
After exchanging text messages we worked Wynne ZL2ATH first on VHF so he could complete the summit, as both chaser and activator, having done this summit before himself. After that we got going on 40 and had ZL1BYZ waiting before even calling CQ. John and Jacky were both a good solid 5/9. Just as Andrew ZL3CC called Warren had a call on VHF that was a little odd. He recognised the call so went back to Ben. Ben did not reply so he worked Andrew while finding Ben on Facebook to message him that he had heard him call. It transpires that he was working 710 repeater with a -ve split (instead of the normal +ve split). He popped back to simplex and Warren worked him 5/9 from the handheld. This was Ben ZL4BEN’s first sota contact. We QSYd to 14 MHz to see if we could work VK but it was likely to be a bit early for propagation. VK3SQ managed to work us followed by Rick but I’m not sure Rick was hearing us and not JA3YBK that was on the same frequency working the WPX contest.
With enough contacts in the log and a few extra’s for good measure we packed up and headed back to base camp residence for the weekend and prepared for our next stop – the main event for a trip away – Jim Beam HomeGrown 2017!
Summit – ZL1/WL-116
Height –445 m
Access – Via Sirsi Terrace
Nominal time to summit – 45 minutes walk from Sirsi Terrace.
Mobile and internet coverage from the summit – 3g coverage on Spark and Vodafone.
Summit Marker – Trig station (not the large radio tower).
Land Access Permission – Not required – public land.