Parks on the air (POTA) is now active in ZL Have been working with the guys in the states to get this sorted and it is now live, Check out the site and go active! Similar to SOTA. If your interested give it a go, should be lots of fun!
I acquired my Ham Radio License in early 90’s Limited (ZL2UXO) studied and passed my Morse so upgraded to full. (ZL1MY) This call sign was originally my Grandfathers so was good to be able to take this over. In the beginning I was active on both 2 meter’s and 70 Centimeters with a home brew 12 element ZL special for 2 meters and a vertical for 70.
Later I acquired a TS-120S and begun to be active on HF running a 4
element tri-band beam. Also involved with SSTV which enjoyed at the
Since I have moved around due to work and had been inactive for a
period of time I have since became active again on HF and running mobile
gear, purchased a FT-857D and have a FT-897D, running vertical
antenna’s on the vehicle, ATAS-120a multi band vertical for HF and dual
band vertical for UHF/VHF
Have also become active on the digital modes, DMR & D-Star
although mostly on DMR, great modes and helps when you can’t have
antenna’s up at the QTH.
Decided to get into portable operation and purchased the Sotabeam 20-30-40 and 80 meter dipole, this works great with the help of the Spiderbeam 12m fiberglass pole HD
I have been working with the guy’s in the US so that we can get Parks On The Air (POTA) active here in New Zealand (ZL) hoping to get this active soon, it’s popular in the states and hopefully people will get involved in it here as they do with Summits On The Air (SOTA)
I have also ordered the Silver Bullet 1000 TIA (take it along) antenna, thanks to K8MRD RADIO STUFF as Mike was testing this on his YouTube channel I strongly suggest taking a look at Mike’s channel as it’s great to see the testing etc he does. I’m hoping this will allow for even quicker antenna deployment in the field, they have some great reviews on this antenna.
Lot’s of time have passed since writing last… What with Covid 19 now passing NZ shores for the time being we had like most of the world been in lockdown, I was hoping to have this project up and running while spending a little time at home although I still worked but shorter hours.
Ordered the Multi-Mode Digital Voice Modem board along with the case from Repeater Builder along with a radio to suit however with the postal service being in such a mess I hadn’t received the above till after lockdown!
Had a few issue’s with the radio not playing ball so had to purchase another to suit. A big thanks to Doug (ZL3DMH) for all the help getting this together and working as I couldn’t have done it without his expertise, I have no more miss key’s no more drop outs so this was well worth the wait and effort.
Now I can access digital modes from the local park without a hotspot setup and mobile to boot! Great system and so far so good, photo’s to follow.
Thought I would pull down the antenna and redo it with new wire and the length I used is 20 metres wrapped around the 12 metre sotabeams fibreglass pole still using the 9-1 Unun and a balun to help with RF.
Due to the Covid19 virus we in NZ are in lock-down for one month. I usually go to the local park so I can get on air portable however due to the lock-down we are not to go to local parks, at my QTH I have no room to put any antenna up and even if I can I have a high QRN S9+ 10db
However I decided to put up with it and erected my 12 metre fiberglass pole and had some wire and wound this around like a large helical whip.
Yes you guessed it I have S9 noise level and nothing that I do will get rid of it, this is all bands! I’m assuming we have plasma TV’s around here as these create havoc.
Over all I have been using this on 20, 40 and 80 metres with fairly good success both on phone and digital mainly FT8, early days but will also add more wire to get a better SWR as I need to use a tuner at present. I have a small one wire ground-plane consisting of a wire that runs along the veranda. Will update with more results as time allows.
I have a small log here if you want to see my contacts.
Went to our local park to have a weekly sched, was a lot of fun and success. Had the 897d with linked dipole. All contacts went well two in the south Island and one in Australia, all 5-9 copy both ways at 100w, went to 5w and signal went down by 3 S points but audio fine. Was out for over two hours and the setup went well on 40mtrs. Later in the evening I had a rather large number of what I thought mozzies but further investigating they were small flies!
The other day I ended up going to a local reserve called Madills Farm Reserve.
I wanted to setup my digital station as I had finished installing all the software on the Raspberry Pi A BIG thanks to Jason KM4ACK, Jason has a YouTube channel and posts lot’s of great info on setting up and running software on the Pi, he is a script guru go check put his channel at YouTube
Another person I would like to thank is Mike K8MRD this guy is active in parks in the US and is a great inspiration to get on air portable with lot’s of reviews and operating while activating POTA (Parks On The Air) check Mike’s YouTube channel K8MRD RADIO STUFF well worth looking.
Ok so went to the local reserve for a quick setup and check both with the Raspberry Pi and using the WRC (Wold River Coil) antenna. What I enjoyed this time around is I was under the canopy of a tree which meant no one came to see what I was doing so was left alone 🙂 I have no idea of how to use FT8 but had a play and made two contacts, Australia and Tahiti
Decided to try and activate ZL-0026 as the weather was
fantastic. Headed off mid-morning and arrived just after mid-day. Overlooking
Auckland city. Using the FT-897d with linked dipole and decided to use 40
meters as I noted the SOTA guys had been doing well on the band. Took a couple
of hours to make the contacts needed as towards the end the band became dead.
Only needed one more contact to make the ten required so it was down to 80
meters during the day with a mate south of me, around 350 KMH, band was open
enough to make the contact but only just although the station was 5/9 however
he was having issues receiving my audio.
All in all, it was a successful activation and a great day
had. Thanks to all for the contacts
Its official I have it as a Scheduled Activation, local park up the road detail to follow once I have attempted an activation, needed 10 contacts so cross fingers! Will more than likely add 60 meters as well and possibly more bands pending on conditions….. Watch this space!
Decided to drive to Clarks Beach this evening to operate portable for a sched I join in on each Saturday evening at 2000hrs. Thought it would be a good place as I used to live here and it was always quiet along with it being out of the city the bands also would be very quiet to which they had been.
Set up didn’t take long as it was the Wolf River Coil I was to use, spread the radials out in an area that had been closed off due to it being a grassed area over looking the sea and due to the rain we have been having it had been marked off limits to vehicles. It was dark while erecting the antenna but that was fine as had lighting etc so worked well.
Was somewhat unsuccessful with both ZL3WT and VK4DN although I did have a copy on VK4DN however due to his noise level I wasn’t making it over, I was decided to try in an hour so I had a play and tried 40 meters with ZL2WR, his station was 5/9 good copy most of the time however he struggled to hear me…..
Then it was all on as I was sitting in my vehicle another vehicle shot up in front of me up over my radials and over the other side of the grassed area! Lot’s of noise coming from the vehicle as they had been parked up then shortly after doughnuts on the grass area and some yelling, got out and went to have a look and abuse yelling from the vehicle looked like they had been drinking so decided it wasn’t worth the grief and packed up station after checking radials of antenna.
Enjoyed it until this happened, just goes to show you can’t go anywhere to escape clowns!
Thanks to all three stations that had kept in contact to ensure my safety all the way until I made the 50 minute trip back home.
Spur of the moment thought – Portable operations Cockle Bay (Auckland) before work. Headed off as it’s just over a 30 minute drive from home QTH (without traffic)
Arrived and had to wait for others to move as I wanted to setup where people take their boats out so I was to the side, away from everyone, not that there were many around as they were all out in the bay trying to find their 50 cockle limit… Not for me as I think you have to be hungry 🙂
Decided to give the Wolf River Coil 1000 TIA a go, started off with 40Mtrs then 80Mtrs, noise level on 40 was great however on 80 a little had been about but not that bad. Heard Mike ZL2WR, however Mike couldn’t hear myself, just bad conditions, as soon after Mike dropped out as well. Gave it a go with ZL3WT but nothing heard, maybe another day. Enjoyed, as it just gets me used to deploying the antenna and getting to find that tuning sweet spot, thanks for trying guys!