After a cold week, the forecast for Sunday was good. There was quite a bit of snow on the Alps so instead we set off once more to Banks Peninsula, with temperatures not too bad and partly cloudy skies. Lunch in Little River was good as usual, and we headed up to and along the Bossu Road. There were still patches of snow around, with the melt making the road muddy in places.

Saddle Hill from the Bossu Road, showing the route to the top
Saddle Hill from the Bossu Road, showing the walk to the top

The track is a farm road that climbs gradually to the summit ridge, and a good foot track from there. Very easy going, except for the snow.

saddle-hill-2

For once I don’t need to complain about the wind. It was almost calm on top and the views all around were superb.

Akaroa Heads from the top
Akaroa Heads from the summit

Erecting the antenna was easy and a rock ledge provided a comfortable operating spot. Close-in contacts on 40m were again difficult, but achieved with 50w. Signals from Wanganui north were excellent. 20m yielded a bit of a pile-up from VK (thanks again guys) including an S2S with Ian VK5CZ. The surprise was being heard in Slovenia and Italy.

Log: 14 August 2016
Log: 14 August 2016

After packing up the HF gear I heard some chatter on my handheld – Bill ZL3NB had returned home and wondered if he had missed me. 2m simplex with Bill and Graeme ZL3GK in Christchurch was easy on the handheld, and even Jim ZL3ND mobile near Methven was hearing me well.

Overall a very enjoyable afternoon and a great SOTA summit. Might become a favourite.

ZL3/CB-725 Saddle Hill

Height: 841m ASL
Directions: Drive to Little River, about 45 minutes from Christchurch. Just before entering Little River township, turn right into Kinloch Road towards Okuti Valley and the Southern Bays. Do not turn left towards Okuti Valley, instead follow Kinloch Road and continue as it narrows and climbs steeply to meet Bossu Road, near the summit ridge. The sealed road ends here. Turn left onto Bossu Road and follow it round (drive with care!) past junctions with Gap Road and Reynolds Valley Road. Just past Reynolds Valley Road are some old stockyards and a sign for Saddle Hill Reserve. Walk from here up the track to the summit.
Time to summit: 105 mins from Christchurch – 60 mins drive, 45 mins walk (190m height gain)
Summit marker: Trig beacon
Land access permission: Not required, Saddle Hill Scenic Reserve
Repeater access: Good into 146.75 Mt Grey
Cellphone access: Vodafone/2degrees 3G from the summit
Map: NZ Topo Map
More information: sota.org.uk

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