For tonights twilight activation we found another drive up – almost right in the middle of town. Parihaka is a popular tourist lookout and tonight it was particularly busy. Your see about an hour earlier the power had gone out to Northland. A fire close to the Whangerei substation had forced Transpower to isolate the 220 kV circuits feeding Northland. This occurred as we were sitting in an outdoor restaurant awaiting our dinner. Fortunately our meal had just been plated as the lights went out. We felt sorry for the other diners that had not yet been served. Not long after I spotted clues to the extent of the outage on Transpower’s facebook page. Soon after that I lost all connectivity from my cell. This could have consequences for our impending activation. Fortunately Emma’s cell is on another network and kept going. So we went up for the drive to find others looking at the smoke coming from the fire that caused the outage.
We got set up and made a few contacts on 7 and 14 MHz. About half way through the activation power was restored (in chunks to not destabalise the grid) and my phone came back to life. You realise how much you rely on it the moment its not there. While I was making contacts on the radio, photographers were perched on the lookout trying to capture the sunset.
This summit is another easy one for any newbie to SOTA or to amateur radio. If you are touring in New Zealand this is also an easy one to get in the log. Just be prepared for the inquiring public. A good chance to rpomote the hobby.
Summit – ZL1/NL-076 – Parihaka
Height – 241 mASL
Access – From Riverside drive turn left into Memorial drive and follow this to the top carpark.
Nominal time to summit – 5 min drive from Whangerei. Walking tracks also available.
Mobile and internet coverage from the summit – 3g coverage on Spark and Vodafone network (when the power doesnt go out).
Summit Marker – Monolith and viewing area.
Land Access Permission – Not required – Public Land.