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VK2 and ZL trip


Hi all,

I’m shortly heading out to (mostly) ZL, with a couple of days around Sydney first, then a long weekend in Norfolk Island (VK9/N).

Mostly it’s a leisure trip, but I would be remiss not to include at least some SOTAs while I’m there!

I only have a couple of days in Sydney, though I do have a car, so anything within, say, 3 hours’ drive each way could be in scope. Any recommendations?

I’ll be in ZL for ~3 weeks, in a campervan, so much more time - again, recommendations most welcome!

Rob, M0VFC


Hi Rob,
Two very easy (drive-on) activations around Sydney are VK2/SY-001 Canoelands and VK2/HU-093 Mount Elliot. A little further away at the start of the Blue Mountains another easy drive-up access summit is VK2/CT-043 Mt. Tomah.

Check through my reports on activations of these summits either via the links on the summits pages or directly at my blog at vk2ji.com

73 Ed.


Ed, you star, they look like some great options!

Hopefully I can get some bigger summits in in ZL, but a couple of easier ones are probably the right call after just stepping off 24 hours of flight…

Rob, M0VFC


Hi Rob,

another not far from Sydney metro is to the south, it is Bulgo Hill, VK2/IL-017.

Not a drive-on summit, but not much of a walk either.

You’ll find Ed has a post on his blog about this one too. And the summit page has links placed by Ed, by Gerard VK2IO and others.

If you wanted to drive a bit further, VK2/IL-001 and -005 are both 4 point summits, a drive-on and a walk respectively.



Assuming you’re flying into Auckland, there’s Mt Eden and Rangitoto in the AK region that are both easy. Rangitoto is a 30 minute ferry ride from Auckland harbour, then a 30-40 minute walk. Mt Eden is on major bus routes and is about a 10 minute walk to the top.


And don’t overlook Mt Bates on NI. Allow 40 minutes from accommodation by car to end of bitumen and then easy walk to summit. Ditto return. Allow say 30 minutes for set-up and pull down time, 45 minutes operating time. Add 10 minutes to admire the view and take pictures. Allow 3 hours for leisurely activation.

Being /VK9 is like having a linear.



Thanks all!

Ron, I spotted Mt Bates last night after an idle wonder whether NI had any SOTAs!

I’m hoping to do as much non-portable operation from the cottage on Norfolk as I can as well, so if I’m just VK9/M0VFC (i.e. no /P), that will be from the cottage instead of the summit. If I’m up a SOTA, it’ll be /P.

Fixed operation, assuming the mains is reasonable, will be KX3 + Juma PA1000 on mainly 20m SSB and 30m CW, maybe also some 17/40m as time allows. SOTAs will be KX2 - probably 30m CW unless you tell me that’s an unusual choice with the chasers in VK/ZL?

Rob, M0VFC


Hi Rob,

AC mains is pretty good. Supplied by diesel generators at the airport so well maintained. There is some solar. Our accommodation was very noisy RF wise.but the mountain was very quiet. The locals are familiar with AR and are supportive.

30 m should be good for VK/ZL propagation wise, just less ops qualified to use the band. I used 20 m CW and SSB and worked a number of VK’s and ZL’s and a few W’s, JA’s, UA’s.



Hi Rob,
Don’t forget that you can run SSB on 30m in Australia and for the distances across the continent, it’s quite often the best band. Downside is that as it’s WARC band Foundation and Intermediate licence holders are not allowed on the band, so you are reducing the number of possible chasers but as you intend to use 30m anyway and you have a KX3 - why not runn SSB as well as CW on 30m?

73 Ed.


Hi all,

Thanks everyone for the advise - managed VK2/IL-001 and IL-005 yesterday morning / lunchtime after arriving. A pleasant drive down once I escaped the traffic, and two nice summits. Particularly the picnic benches on IL-005!

Tourist stuff today in Sydney, then off to Norfolk on Friday. Will try and do Mt Bates while I’m there - not sure exactly when, though.

Rob, VK2/M0VFC


Yes we just need to persuade councils to install such nice picnic tables at other summits! Glad you made it to those two. They are worth the trip.

73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH


If you need any directions for ZL let me know there are a few easy and not so easy summits worth activating depending on your itenarary.


@ZL2AJ pointers for ZL would definitely be appreciated. Itinerary very much flexible - ~3 weeks total, hoping to see bits of both North and South islands (campervan based).

Very happy with reasonable hikes though not technical climbs.

Summits with good views / photo opportunities are a bonus!


emmaandwarenzlsotazl2aj.wordpress.com has a good collection of summits i have done over the last 2 years. Summits near Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North and Wellington For ZL3 I have done a couple bear Christchurch. Andrew @ZL3CC has more exrensive knowledge than me. However a good clue is to search the summit name followed by “doc nz” to see if there is a department of conversation track etc. My blog is linked from www.sota.org.nz so if you see its a summit I have visited you can link to it. If you need more info regarding any summits or areas feel free to ask. Im located in south waikato area (near ZL1/WK-139) so if you are nearby I will put the jug on. Safe travels and stay in touch.


Hi Rob

Happy to help with advice on South Island summits. zl3cc at yahoo dot com

Note that unlike VK, SSB is not permitted on 30m in ZL. Also not many CW chasers here either.

Andrew ZL3CC


Thanks Warren and Andrew.

Just off to VK9N now so suspect I will be offline until I get back to Sydney on Monday. Then on to Auckland Tuesday.

Then I should really figure out where I’m going from there!



Quick update: I’m going to give Ben Lomond, ZL3/OT-266, a try tomorrow afternoon (ZL time).

Depends very much on how much snow there is as to whether I’ll make it up there or not, and I’m not sure how much space there will be for an antenna either - so it’s entirely possible I won’t get all the way up there, or even if I do, that I’ll be able to get on air. But it’s worth a try :slight_smile:

If not, I’ll try and give another one a go, but I’m in Queenstown anyway, so it seemed rude not to try.

20m CW is the plan - so chasers in ZL/VK/JA very much appreciated!

I should be on APRS as M0VFC-12, both on the drive there then the hike up.



Hi Rob, consider ssb also on 20 and 40 and even 80 if you have the capability. Not too many ZL CW chasers and being a work day it can be quiet. Will keep a watch for your spots.

Wynne ZL2ATH


Hi Rob,

20m CW should be fine for eastern VK and you should be able to qualify. If conditions are half reasonable 20m SSB would work too. Look forward to chasing on Friday.

Gerard - VK2IO


Hi all,

Success! Turns out when the New Zealand weather forecast says “mostly cloudy”, that equates to “amazing sunny day” in UK language.

Coupled with almost no wind, no snow, and an excellent track, it was a lovely summit to do. I took the slightly lazy option of the Skyline Gondola up to 800m, figuring that doing the next 1000m vertical ascent by foot was definitely enough to count as fair. It also provides some nice photo opportunities over Queenstown!

From there, the path to the saddle at 1300m ASL is easy walking; above the saddle it gets a little steeper and there’s just one or two points where you might use a hand to steady yourself, but nothing too scary.

After the obligatory photo stop at the very summit, I set up a few meters downhill and out of the way of others visiting the top:

No problems qualifying on 20m, with thanks to: N4EX, ZL1BYZ, VK5CZ, VK4TJ, VK2IO, VK3KAI, VK7CW all of whom popped up in short order after the RBN spot happened.

I would’ve hung around longer, but it turned out there was one risk I hand’t considered: the Kea. These large parrots took a rather keen interest in my Iridium tracker, and my rucksack now has an extra hole in it as a result! Certainly a first for my SOTA activations…

Anyway, time to go before anything got misappropriated :slight_smile: . A quick descent back to the gondola, and a short walk back to the campsite from there.

Will shout if I get chance to do another summit - it’d be nice to do one of the North Island ones to tick off that association as well, so thanks for the suggestions above.