Papakura Radio Club inc.
& NZART Branch 65, Papakura.
1 Great South Road, Papakura.
“Working towards NZART Guiding Light award”
ZL2SEA Lighthouse Activities.
I will be going to the Bay of Islands for a bit of a camping trip from the 25th Dec 08 to the 2nd Jan 09.
Will be taking radio equipment of course so hope to make some contacts from those who are available.
Most night I should be available on 80m around 3.680 MHz and intend to be on the awards net at 3.677 9:00 pm
For those of you who may be interested in the “Guiding Light award” or just like to say hello it would be great to here from you.
On the 28th Dec 08 I am intending to operate from Cape Reingaso should be active about mid day on 40m 7062.5 kHz SSB and also will come up on 20m 14.195 MHz for some of the time. I will only be operating for an hour or so as I will be heading back to Russell.
On the 30th Dec I am tramping out to Cape Brett Lighthouse and will be staying 2 nights. (Taking the FT817 so will be operating QRP)
So on the 30th will try and come up on 3.677 MHz at 9:00 pm for the awards net. Plus will try 160M if I can at about 9:30 pm if not will stick to around 80m 3.680 MHz.
On the 31st will be active during the day on 40 M 7062.5 kHz after lunch plus on 20M 14.195 MHz for some of the time. Will try 40M & 20m again around 7:00 pm; in the evening I will be back on 3.677 MHz at 9:00 pm then will be around 3.680 MHz.
Tramping back to Russell on the 1st Jan 09 so will be back at the camp site that night.
Look forward to having some radio fun, trust you have a great holiday break also.
(This is part of a letter Nigels wife Diane sent to her parents)
Cape Reinga ... 28th December 2008
We went up to Cape Rengia on Sunday. For the very Northern tip of NZ, it was so busy!! I counted 9 busses parked in the upper carpark and there were no carspaces available in that carpark! There was a feel of city impatience in that carpark, so Nigel parked the car in the lower carpark further away from the light house. He wanted somewhere quieter to set up his aerial and make a few contacts with the Ham radio... while he set up the aerial, that carpark filled quickly as well!
I went for a walk to take some photos and found everyone rushing... rushing off the busses, rushing to get a glimpse of the light house, rushing to get to the light house, rushing up to the lookout, rushing back... it was almost dangerous to stand still!!
The wind got stronger to a good 25 to 30 knots and had a bit of a cold bite to it. Returning to the carpark, I noticed Nigel's flexible fibreglass aerial mast looking very much like New Plymouth's famous wind wand... the wind had blown the top half of it over in the direction the wind was blowing... that put his wires on the ground and dropped his signal each time it went down and as the pole straightened, his signal would pick up again...
After lunch we walked down to the light house and took some photos. Easier said then done!! The new Canon has proved itself an amazing little camera... for all the buffetting by the wind, the photos are clear with no sign of shaking and have turned out well. We had planned on hiking out to nearby Cape Maria Van Dieman, but we decided against it when we saw the clouds of sand being blown out to sea from the cape... one would be severely sand blasted going out there!!
Monday it rained all day... good preparation for the next day's long hike!! The soil in this area was clay... We go to explore Pahia only to have the car break down. It stalls in the middle of an intersection and I have to get out and give it a push to get through where we coast to a stop on the foot path. Nigel finds it is some electrical problem involving the LPG gas/petrol control switch. Road services are rung and while waiting a friendly council parks attendant gives us a hand getting the car further off the road. We got towed to the road service man's garage and the motor is hot wired to by pass the electrical problem and the car is wired to the petrol. We have Thai for dinner then take the fery back to the camp ground... Pahia remains unexplored.
Cape Brett ... 30th December 2008Tuesday morning we go to leave camp only to find a flat tyre on the car... after months of regularly pumping up the slow leak, it had given up. So one tyre change later, we started the hike at 0900 instead of the 0700 start Nigel had origionally planned on.
My pack was as heavy as I could manage and I couldnt move Nigel's pack! The first section had a flight of stairs going up... the track then went up... and up... and up... and up... and continued going up...!! Two hours later we were still going up!! By then I was in the lead as I am the slower walker, but Nigel's heavy pack made him slower still... We came to a small shelter with rain catchment and a lovely view over the bay. I was carrying 2 litres of water and had already drunk 1litre of water, so topped up the water bladder to 2.5litres... figured I was going to need it!
From a hiker who had done the track previously, there was apparently 6 hours tramping ahead of us from the shelter... 2 hours later we come across a sign saying Cape Brett 5 hours. We stopped for lunch... it was going to take us a lot longer than 5 hours to get there... we would be happy if we made it before 9pm when it got dark!!
Half an hour later I took the first of 3 hard falls, twisting my knee in the process. One section of track was covered by fallen trees covering the steps and was so slippery that I skidded down the slope a good 3 feet, managing to stay upright... Nigel was following and I suggested he go down backwards holding onto the tree branch... he did and skidded down as well, without going over. The track continued up, following the ridge line and then it would duck down, down, down only to return to up even steeper... most slopes were 5 steps a breather, 5 steps a breather, 3 steps rest, 10 steps a breather... I prefered to stop before my legs started screaming. Then the track levelled off a little and you'd keep going...
This "tramp" was a first time for me carrying a loaded pack and for a first timer "tramping", Nigel had chosen a track graded Hard! We finally made it to the Deep Water track sign... 30 minutes to Deep Water, 2 hours to Cape Brett.
I had been warned the last 2 hrs were the worst... we soon found the UPs got steeper and more frequent and the sharp downs lost valuable height gained... rapidly... just as hard on the old legs as the climbs. Nigel's legs had long gone to jelly, mine were getting tired. Taking photos of the scenery was a good excuse for a break...
At 7pm we finally made the sign saying Cape Brett Reserve... then the track was climbing steeply again, from 40 metres up through the tea tree scrub up to the ridge. Reaching the top, it was a bit scary... the track was on a ridge at 205 metres, about 6 feet wide with a sheer drop to the ocean about 3 feet from the track on the right and a steep drop down through the tea-tree to the ocean on the left. The last of the 2.5 litres of water was drained from the water bladder on that last rise. Nigel had run out much earlier and was thirsty but refused to take any of my water.
It was 8pm by the time we reached the lighthouse... more photos just to prove we made it! I dawdled the last 20 minutes down to the light keeper's cottage taking photos of everything as I went. The view was fantastic and the light house so pretty... the keeper's cottage had the golden glow of the setting sun on it, as did the grass and the offshore rocky islands. It was relief to get the pack off!! We found we had the keeper's cottage to ourselves...
I made dinner while Nigel set up a temporary antenae to try reaching the 9pm radio sked... not too successful as there was nowhere to hang the aerial and the wires were draping over the ground. We could hear the net, but they couldnt hear Nigel very well.
The Milky Way was out in all its glittering splendor.. It was fantastic to see the night sky so clear and so bright. Bed was a welcome relief!!
Wednesday (31st Dec) we spent the day exploring the old light house grounds and remains of the other 2 light keeper's homes and other buildings and structures that were part of the light station. I had a 4 GB memory card in the camera and was doing a great job filling it up. Also of entertainment value were all the tourist boats coming out to go through the Hole in the Rock. There were 2 crazy red jet boats that liked going fast... one was the "Excitor" dont know the other's name. Then there were the big catamarans... the yellow and blue Dolphin Discovery cruise boat, the white and blue Fullers cruise boat, another white cruise boat... they would drop into the little bay in front of the keeper's cottage and you could hear the PA system giving the tourists the history of the light house and station before they headed for the rock and went through its big arch... Mum and Dad have been through the Hole in the Rock... I just got photos of the ships disappearing into the rock.
The search for a suitable place for the antennae led us back up the hill, past the lighthouse, back up to 205meters to the old power pole we had passed on the edge of the cliff. Perfect! Nigel set up his antenna and soon had the small portable radio working flat out with really good signal... he was clearly reaching the South of NZ on 1 watt and at 5 watts output reached Australia. He even spoke to a fellow out at Nindigully!! He was happy as a pig in mud!! At midday with the sun's heat getting stronger he moved from the base of the power pole to under the shade of a tea tree bush.. From that little nest I have the "lion in the grass" type photos of Nigel playing on his radio.
We went back down to the keeper's cottage for a late lunch/early dinner and a rest. We noted a strange cloud formation moving in over the crest of the hill near the light house, which I photographed. Nigel made a phone call and booked a water taxi to pick us up the next day. Two more weary trampers made it to the cottage around 4 pm. Nigel and I headed back up the hill at 7pm for further radio contacts until the 9pm sked. It took us 30 minutes to reach the old power pole and by then we were in thick fog... the headlands were obliterated to within 20m of the ocean, mist was swirling past us as we settled into the nest under the tea tree out of the wind. It also tried to rain at one stage....
The radio signal was so good Nigel didn't want to stop playing with the radio. At 10pm I'd had enough, was cold and tired. Nigel quit at 1015 and we then had to walk back to the cottage by torch light, stopping at the light house to watch the new light send its beams out every 15 seconds. From where we were it looked like 4 bright spotlight beams sweeping the night sky, but from the sea, the light would have been a flash every 15 sec. We crawled into our sleeping bags at 1045pm.
Thursday the water taxi called into the little bay to pick us up at 1200. The 4 of us decided to leave by taxi and we all had our packs ready to go. We scrambled down to the rocky ledge to meet the water taxi. I didnt take any photos of the boat or of everyone getting onboard... we were to busy watching and then participating in getting on board. Sea water filled my hiking boots as the light swell came in across the rock ledge we were waiting on. The inflatable bow was chest high for me... the instruction was to hop on the bow... yea right!! grab hold and try jumping with no spring in your legs, hang on and dont let go... you just might go for a swim... get hauled in like a landed fish, slide down into the bottom of the boat head first, right yourself, find your feet, take the next little pack and try haul Nigel on board by his big pack...na his pack is coming off... grab again... no belt! Grab for a leg... he's just kicked away from reach... just grab the jeans and pull. He's in like a heavy landed fish too... The next two hikers are landed soon after, the boat crew leaps on and after a short safety talk by the skipper the rigid inflatable is off... bouncing across the waves at a great pace. I tried to photograph the peninsula that took so long to walk... the boat bounces along and the headland recedes into the distance... in 20 minutes the water taxi reaches the Rawiti drop off point and I get even wetter dropping from the bow into shallow water near the beach... I timed my drop wrong didn't I...
Kerri dropped nearly on dry sand and I waded into knee deep water to take her pack from the boat. Nigel hands over his radio pack then drops well timed but his new hiking boots also fill with seawater. Bill drops over the side and stays mostly dry. Nigel and I walked across the road we had been dropped off at the car! Surprisingly, all the photos taken on the bouncing speed boat turn out as clear as if taken on land!!
Friday we packed the car and packed up the big tent and headed south to Auckland. Traffic slowed to first gear, bumpa t bumpa miles out in the country... everyone heading back to Auckland... so we went west and took the road south down the western coast to Auckland. No problem!
Next installment will be due after the long week end. Our next lighthouse hunt is for the Waitangi Day long weekend. Im looking forward to catching 4 lighthouses that weekend! I have about 12 GB camera space available and will have to organize more spare battery power so I can keep shooting. I wonder if they will be anywhere near like the beauty of the Cape Brett Light??
How to contact us:
Papakura Radio Club inc.
1 Great South Road, Papakura
P.O.Box 72397, Papakura 2244