Today’s adventure had two purposes. Ticking off another SOTA activation and amateur repeater maintenance at the Maroanui site. Last year we had ventured to the site and found the 675 repeater needed proper filtering and so that worked in well with managing to get on the air once again for SOTA.
We left home mid morning and made the 1.5hr drive to the site, where we met up with Kelvin ZL1KU and his friend Stuart, an up and coming HAM. If you are wanting to access this summit, Kelvin is the man to contact to make arrangements and put a plan in place for this. You will need a good 4WD to access the summit as the track goes across farm land and up a bush laden track to the summit and repeater site.
First things were first. Getting up and running and on the air for SOTA and after gaining enough contacts to claim the initial points the repairs to the repeater site followed for a good portion of the afternoon. We thought the day would be overcast and possible rain showers, however shortly after 1pm the blazing sun came out and the day in fact turned out to be a rather hot one. Kelvin and Stuart spent a portion of our time as the summit tidying up the grounds around the repeater hutt.
We installed new pass cavities on the 675 receiver and while doing some checks also discovered the UHF array was under performing for the national system. A quick climb up the mast and we bypassed the phasing harnesses leaving a single dipole for the national system which seemed to work better.
Apologies to those who were waiting for Warren to come back on the air, the repairs took on a life of their own and even saw Warren pull out his climbing harness and make his way up the tower – while he was up there i tied the camera (yes my heart was in my throat watching that go up into the air) to the line and Warren pulled it up and took some amazing photos out over the surrounding landscape. Views that unless you are up that tower, you are not privy to at all, unless you did a fly over of course.
Once repairs were done as best they could be, Warren was back on the air……Sorry it took so long Rick, but we did get back to you in the end. After a good 5hours up at the summit the SOTA gear was packed away and we were off home again. A return trip in the future will need to be made at some stage to replace the phasing harnesses on the dipole array, and a little more SOTAing :)
Summit height – 897 m
Access via dairy track off Tram Rd (near SH1 intersection)
Nominal time to summit – 15 minute drive from roadside.
Summit marker – Trig Station.
Land access permission – Required via Taupo amateur radio club (NZART Branch 60).