Ham Friendly Hotel: Namukulu Motel
The following was submitted by Murray, VE7HA. Murray visited from February to March 2005.
Comments: Robyn & Joe's Namukulu Motel was mostly destroyed by Cyclone Heta in Jan/2004. However one self-contained bungalow was spared which is where my wife and I stayed in Feb/March 2005. Effective May/2005, the brand new Namukulu Motel will open. The new motel is located at a higher elevation and a little further away from the ocean, but it will still be a very good accommodation from which Hams can operate.
Accommodation consists of three fully self-contained bungalows consisting of living, kitchen, bath and bed rooms. The bungalow we stayed in was very "woody" for that genuine cabin feeling. The bungalow was extremely clean. I call it "wife friendly" in addition to Ham friendly. Furniture included a good table and chairs on which to set up the station.
I installed a Steppir BiggIR vertical antenna for which Joe personally installed a 4x4 wooden post as a base for the vertical. I have never encountered a more Ham friendly hotel. I spread 14 above ground radial wires over the property for the 5 weeks I was operating. I couldn't have had more freedom for operating if I owned the property myself. And Joe has hosted many other Ham installations.
Since there is only one television station in Niue and even it is on the air for only a few hours each day, TVI is not a problem. I would recommend any operation to include an amplifier due to distance of Niue from major target areas such as western EU. I would also recommend a gain antenna for the same reason, although even a vertical performed well due to extremely low electrical noise at the Namukulu location.
Be prepared for excess baggage charges. It is very likely in this part of the world. Best airline routing is via Air New Zealand to Auckland, New Zealand then Polynesian Airlines to Niue. Traveling Polynesian Airlines to Niue from the north via Hawaii/Samoa means staying in Samoa 4 days southbound and 5 days northbound waiting for a connecting flight. Adding Samoa hotel costs makes Polynesian Airlines low airfares not so low. Our Polynesian Airlines flight south from Hawaii was also cancelled forcing us to stay in Hawaii for 2 extra days at their cost while their only jet plane was repaired. Even then, they had to put us on Hawaiian Airlines via American Samoa to get to Samoa. A real screw up.
In summary, Niue is an ideal Ham destination. I would strongly recommend not going there during Dec-March cyclone season. High risk of cyclones plus heat/humidity is hardly bearable. Go during Aug-Nov season when whales can be sighted from your motel porch. Otherwise, there is no better location than Niue for that Ham holiday since it is comfortable, easy to reach, easy to get a Ham license, people are friendly and you will be very sought after on the bands. Each time I called CQ, I created a major pileup even though I only had 100W and a vertical. I can only imagine what an operation with amplifier/gain antenna could do especially during a major contest.
During the right time of year, I would go again in a minute.
Ham Friendly Hotel: Niue Hotel. While used in previous DXpeditions, the Niue Hotel was destroyed by Cyclone Heta in Jan/2004 and it is not being rebuilt
Airline News: Taken from www.pacificislands.cc April 2002
”Niue hopes that an “open skies” air service agreement just signed between Tonga and New Zealand may be an avenue for recovering a direct international jet air service with New Zealand, according to the Niue Economic Review. The agreement would enable an airline — Niue hopes Air New Zealand — to introduce an Auckland-Niue jet service returning through Tonga. Since a Royal Tongan Airlines jet service ended early last year Niue has had to rely on a twice-weekly service from Tonga with a small Shorts 360 aircraft. “
I think the new air service is running as of 2003 de K2KW
Some basic tourist info can be found on a NZ travel website: http://www.pi-travel.co.nz/niue/index.html
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