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Frequently asked questions

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Q: Why don't you accept callsign modifier suffixes (e.g. /P) & prefixes (e.g. VK2/) in callsigns?

ZL4NVW updated in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2022-04-30

When entering logs or registering accounts, please use the base callsign for each party to the contact.  This allows us to associate all contacts and logs with the correct user. 

So VK3/VK2IB/P should be entered as VK2IB, with a check in the 'Portable' check box. The 'select place' menu or details field are used to record the location the station is operating from.

If you enter a callsign with a modifier prefix or suffix in your logs (or upload one from your logging program) then we will make a best-effort attempt to determine what part of the information entered is the callsign and will discard the prefix and suffix. This should work ok unless the prefix / suffix is longer than the callsign - at which point we will probably get it wrong!

Q: What's P2P all about?

ZL4NVW updated in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2022-04-30

P2P is a tally of your /P portable to portable contacts. It is similar to Park 2 Park or Summit 2 Summit contacts in POTA or SOTA, except that it includes all classes of location.

For a contact to qualify:
  • One operator must be at a Park, Hut, Island or Lake that is part of the NZ OnTheAir (ZLOTA) scheme. 
  • The other operator must also be portable and must be at a location recognised by either ZLOTA or any of the main international activities (POTA, SOTA or WWFF).
  • If either operator is activating multiple classes of place (e.g. park and lake - to - park), then you get one contact point for each class of place that is logged (2 points in this example)
  • If both operators are activating multiple classes of place (e.g. park and lake - to - park and summit) then you get one contact point for each combination of classes that is logged (4 points in this example)

Access - check before you go!

ZL4NVW updated in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2022-01-03

ZLOTA - ontheir.nz - lists all geographical features in each class in New Zealand.  The list is not restricted to those that are on Crown-owned land or have a right of public access.   Places listed at on the air include many that are:
  • On private land with no access rights
  • On private land accessible by easements, covenants or legal walkways
  • On crown land with a right of public access
  • On crown land subject to access restrictions for reasons of conservation (e..g Takehe protected area)
  • On islands that have restriction on landings
  • On areas that are closed due to safety (e.g active volcanic sites)
  • In areas subject to rahui
  • Tapu sites of significance to their traditional owners

It is always the operator's responsibility to ensure that they have a right of / permission for access prior to visiting a site.  It is the operators responsibility to ensure that radio operations from that site are in compliance with their license regulations and conditions.

The following is a collection of online resources about access to various classes of land in New Zealand, along with my summaries of their contents.  Note that my summary does not constitute legal advice. The Walking Access Commission is a good place to start for information and advice.

Conservation land

Public Conservation Land (PCL) in NZ comes with a default right of public access. Public Conservation Land is shown in green on the Walking Access Commission's maps.

Note, however, there are situations in which the conservation act or national parks acts allow access to be restricted. Offshore islands, breeding sites, and areas of active vulcanism are examples.

DOC can also administratively 'close' a facility if they believe it is not up to their standards. Such closures indicate that the facility is not fit for purpose, but do not remove the right of public access to the area. 

Private land:

Whilst there is no 'right to access' over private land in NZ, the law (trespass act 1980) does not prohibit access unless you fail to leave when asked.  This situation creates a lack of clarity and expectations about access that can lead to confusion and conflict.    

When considering access over private land - note that:
  • There are legislated locations where access permission is a legal requirement under other acts(e.g plantation forestry, ports, etc).
  • Most landowners will not be happy about accessing their land without permission irrespective of what the trespass law actually says or doesn't say
  • Any access implied by the trespass act may not translate into a right to operate an amateur radio station
  • Farms have critical times of year when disturbance to stock or farming operations can have massive impacts and costs to the landowner.  Unless you ask, you may not be aware of these until it is too late.

Easements, agreements, walkways and covenants

There are many situations in which public access has been provided across private land. But these are often buried in easements and covenants on the property title and not published elsewhere.  DOC and WAMS can give advice on some of these but do not know of all public access easements and covenants. 

For former pastoral leases that have completed tenure review the 'full substantive proposal' signed by LINZ and the leasee will list access easements and covenants over the resulting freehold land. 

For other private land the only definitive way to determine access rights is by requesting the title from LINZ, which is subject to a fee.

Unformed legal roads:

Legal roads are owned by the crown, not by the neighbouring landowner.  The existence of a legal (unformed) road may not be visible on the ground or acknowledged by the neighbour.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you remain within the bounds of that road. If you find access to a legal road blocked by barriers or stock, a complaint to the territorial authority is the appropriate step. Legal roads are shown in purple on the Walking Access Commission's maps.

Marginal strips and riverbeds

Marginal strips (Queen's chain) run along the banks of many rivers and lakes in NZ, but not all.  Even where they are present they may not be continuous and may not accurately follow the current course of the waterway.  Some are 'movable marginal strips' which change as the river course changes, others are fixed and may be nowhere near the current riverbed.  

Most marginal strips are crown-owned public conservation land (DOC-managed) and come with a right of public access (that is their purpose).  They are 11m or 22m wide and start from the edge of the legal riverbed. Older marginal strips are legal roads, managed by LINZ. Marginal strips are shown on the walking access commission's maps as either purple (roads) or green (conservation land). Note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you remain within the limits of the marginal strip and that access may not always be physically practical.  A GPS with the boundaries on it can be a big help.

The crown owns the beds of most major rivers in NZ, often including dry beds and channels. These are shown as blue 'hydro' areas on the Walking Access Commission's maps. This land is managed by LINZ, not DOC.  Where a riverbed is bordered by private land LINZ may agree for it's use (to the centre-line) by the neighbouring landowner - in this case there is no right of public access.  Where the riverbed is bordered by public conservation land (e.g. marginal strip) or a legal road then DOC/LINZ are the neighbouring landowner and access will be allowed to the centre-line.


NZART Lakes award

ZL4NVW posted in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2021-10-18

Details of the NZART lakes award are available here:

Q: How do the scores work

ZL4NVW posted in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2021-06-15

Q: How do the scores work

A: Activator and chaser scores work as-per POTA (and similarly to SOTA)

Activators: You gain points for activating a given place once per calendar year (UTC).  If you return to the same place within the calendar year, then chasers will get points for the additional contacts, but you will not.

Chasers: You gain points for chasing a given place once per calendar day (UTC).  If you chase two people on the same location in the same day then they both get activator points, but you will receive only one chaser point.

Bagging:  Your 'bagged' points is the count of the total unique locations you have activated and chased.  Revisits do not count to this score.

Q: Do Chasers need to submit logs if they chase a lake, hut, park, etc

ZL4NVW updated in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2021-06-09

Q: Do Chasers need to submit logs if they chase a lake, hut, park, etc

A: No. Only the activator needs to submit a log.  Both parties will receive their points for the contact. However, if you are concerned that the activator has not submitted a log for your contact, you can add a log as a chaser.  

Chaser logs are submitted in the same way as activator logs.  Your details go in the top part of the log form, with the stations you have chased one-per-row in the bottom half.  You can only include one calendar day of contacts per log 

Q: How do I receive emails of spots and alerts?

ZL4NVW updated in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2021-06-09

Q: How do I receive emails of spots and alerts?

A: You need to be a registered user to receive emails and have supplied your valid email address.  Once you have registered, view your profile under your callsign at the top of the screen.  You can Add or Disable emails for the Alerts and Spots topics from your profile page.

Only spots and alerts created here at OnTheAir will be emailed to you.  Spots/alerts received from ParksNPeaks, SOTA and POTA are displayed on the site, but not sent out by email.

Q: How do I submit a log if I activate / chase a lake and a park in the same contact?

ZL4NVW posted in ZLOTA - FAQ on 2021-06-09

Q: How do I submit a log if I activate / chase a lake and a park in the same contact?

A: Two choices:
  • You can add as many places to a single contact as you have activated / chased.  Select the hut, park, island, lake for either party using the 'Add Place' dropdowns on the log form. If you select multiple places then they will appear as a list next to the contact.  The contact will be registered against each place and counted in each category.
  • Alternatively you can submit a separate log for each place you activated (as an activator) or a separate contact for each place you chased (as a chaser).  This is the default behaviour for most logging programs so if you upload you logs from your logging program, then this format will probably be used.