ZL1/WL-153 Crawford 21/05/2016

Mount Crawford is just a short drive from the Wellington city CBD and is the lowest Sota summit in the Wellington district at just 163m. It is also the only public “drive up” summit available in the Wellington area. An easy one for anyone visiting Wellington city. Within the activation zone of 25 vertical meters sits the now decommissioned Mount Crawford Prison.

Mt Crawford prison was built by prisoners themselves in 1927, using concrete blocks made with sand from Wellington’s South Coast. After 85 years in operation the outdated facilities were decommissioned in 2012. I am told four prisoners were hung there over the years.

We picked a day with little wind for our visit as Wellingtons notorious wind really can be something to behold and if it’s blowing hard at home you may as well stay there and forget about placing yourself on an exposed Wellington summit.

On arriving at the Prison carpark we noticed a few signs warning of private property in the area of the trig which can be seen over the fence only about 30 meters away. After talking with some locals I was assured the public are allowed access around the trig so with that we set up nearby and commenced with the activation.


The view south out through Wellington heads. No wind!


This was the first outing for the new 817 and it performed without fault.


We shared the place with cows and horses.


The activation went well and over about forty minutes I had around thirteen QSO’s with both ZL’s and VK’s. 15 meters was working especially well including a surprise call from NS7P Phillip in Oregon. A good test for the new 817 and the little mini jumpstart battery pack providing it’s power. They both performed well. Next step to save more weight would be to add links for 20 and 15 in the 40 meter home-brew dipole to eliminate the need for a tuner on future trips.



A stroll around the old Prison.


The main Prison complex from above.


Uninviting prison walls.


Somes island and the Hutt valley beyond.


Some more Sota summits over to the east….


Ward island to the east.


Wellington city from Crawford summit.



Summit – ZL1/WL-153

Height – 163m

Access – From Wellington city head toward the airport and Miramar peninsular. Follow Main rd to the summit carpark.

Mobile coverage at summit – Yes

Summit marker – Trig

Access permission – Contrary signs but assured public access is allowed. Can be activated from car park and surrounds.


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