A weekend trip to Hastings for business ended with a bit of outdoors SOTA pleasure for Warren this weekend just gone. Despite the somewhat excessive at times wind we decided to brave it and get in another SOTA activation on our way to Warren’s goal before the years end.
The track starts with a short descent and looking at what lays ahead it would be safe to assume that the thought of “we have to walk back up here at the end” went through our minds, though onwards we went, down into the gully, along some flats and to the base of what was to be a steep but not too difficult climb to the top of the hills.
Once we reached the top, we thought we would be safe from the hard work, of course given the wind factor today, we couldn’t have been any more wrong. The wind gusts were something completely out of our comfort zones and I found myself bowled over quite a few times. The wind did however have a harder time bowling over two of us at once and we made it to the base of the last bit of climbing up to the summit. Luckily the path in the side of the hill top acted as a good little shelter from most of the wind. Walking around up top to get steady shots on the camera was certainly something that was not going to happen so things were a bit hit and miss until i found the settings to keep movement frozen in time at just the right moment. Don not be fooled by the sharp blue skies into thinking its just another sunny winters day, although apart from the cold wind i guess it kind of was for the most part.
Starting out on 40m we tried for a Summit to summit with VK1 but alas we were not to be heard. We did hear Blair ZL3TOY calling next but it seems 40m was not our friend today. So much so that we could not work ZL2AAA Morrie in Hastings. So Warren grabbed the handheld and braved the wind to work 5 contacts from the trig station (out of the shelter) on 146 MHz. Back to HF and we switched to 14 MHz to grab 2 VK contacts before looking at the time and each other and deciding enough is enough.
With conditions for SOTA not so flash we packed up and made our way down. As we got to the base of the hill, the rain clouds started to roll in and we made it back to the car just as the rain was setting in for what we guess was the rest of the day. The trip home was rather wet and rather windy in parts but we made it home in one piece, safe and sound with another SOTA tale to tell.
Summit – ZL1/HB-114 Table Mountain
Height – 494m
Access – Carpark on Ridgemount road – walk to summit following orange marker posts up the hill.
Nominal time to summit – 45 minutes to 1 hour walk
Mobile and internet coverage from the summit – patchy, need to go right up onto the ridge of the walk way at summit.
Summit Marker – Tigg station .
Land Access Permission – not required – DOC Track