ZL South Island in winter?

Ahoy fellow activators,

Some mates and I are planning a trip to the Queenstown ski fields in August and being the activator type I can’t help but look at the absolute plethora of summits and wonder “why not”?

Fortunately my soon-to-be-wife is much more sane having grown up in New Zealand and immediately kiboshed any plans to activate The Remarkables due to you know, snow and winter and my general lack of knowledge for winter survival (VK summits are much more likely to roast you alive instead).

So my question for those ZL’s and others that have visited, should I just plan a 2M handheld only effort? Somewhere crowded with skiers like Coronet Peak won’t really suit HF antennas at all I don’t think, but the take off should be quite good! Alternatively other unactivated and lower summits like Ferry Hill might still be walkable and good for HF if the snow line is a bit higher up :slight_smile:

Any advice to help make the most of the trip would be awesome!

Hi Sam,
Your fiance is wise indeed! Be very careful!
2m only is unlikely to see you activate successfully as there are very few hams down that way (within 2m simplex range). If you coordinated very carefully AND picked a weekend day, you might be OK but I would strongly advise you to take HF as well to avoid disappointment.
The Kiwi Chasers are keen but most are working so weekday activations are risky. Again, if you advertise well (SOTAWatch, ZL-SOTA FB page etc) and have HF you should have no problem.

If you visit one of the Canterbury Skifields, 2m success would be just about guaranteed - we are very fortunate to have nice flat plains with hills either side and a great bunch of reliable VHF chasers.

Enjoy your trip and keep in touch!
Geoff ZL3GA