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Scotland fm activation


Most Scots pronounce Edinburgh like “Ed-in-buh-ruh”, but more local and not the posher tongued ones say “Edinbruh”

Walkhighlands website gives a lot of pronunciations for the Scottish summits as well as a lot of info.


The regulations used to be fetchable from the Holyrood Park website but it does seem to have done a “Lord Lucan” and disappeared. That doesn’t mean the law (it’s a by law) has been repealed. It’s a classic case of ignorance is no excuse of the law, although the inability to find the regulations prohibiting you do something is pretty good at making this a Catch 22… you find out you can’t do something when you get stopped for doing it.

So back to the issue here… Holyrood Park is not a park in the normal sense of a park in a city. It’s Crown Property, or put simply, the Queen’s back garden to her home in Edinburgh. It just so happens the Crown is happy for you to wander about lots of this private property and enjoy yourself. You can’t do the same at Sandringham, Balmoral or Buckingham Palace! There are (hidden) by-laws and among them is the one that says you cannot setup a radio station. If you ask (by email so it isn’t difficult) and say what you intend to do, permission normally comes back by return. If you say you want to rig a 100ft Versatower with 2x 5ele 20m monobanders then I guess they will say no. But a fishing rod away from the top (where all the tourists are) is not a big problem. As many people will tell you, it’s not hard to get permission.

When you get there and I’ve been many times, there is hardly any room by the trig point as there are so many visitors. It’s like the Tower of Babel as tourists finish taking photos and then phone home and say “Guess where I am” in a zillion languages. No, they don’t have written permission to use their 2 way radios (mobile phone). You don’t see the rangers rushing around handcuffing tourists for breaking the law so you could presume that using a handheld to bag 4 contacts are departing is OK. It may well be acceptable to the rangers but it’s still an offense and you could (but probably wont) be stopped.

What about a fishing rod away from the top? Again there are plenty of places in the AZ where it would not be a hazard to others. But that is likely to draw the attention of the rangers. I’ve never been there and not seen at least one ranger walking about. You could take a chance but as permission is easy to obtain why take the chance of being stopped.

The issue the MT want to avoid is when someone sets up an obvious station without permission and causes a hazard/problem then makes a fuss with the ranger when told to stop. That is the point when it all blows up and someone on the MT gets contacted by someone from Holyrood and we get told that this activity must stop and no more permission will be granted. It only needs one gobby activator and one jobsworth ranger and it is broken for all of us. Wont happen? Well I guess there wasn’t an item in the UK’s national radio mag about hilltop radio activities causing a nuisance last month!

So just email and get permission and don’t spoil access for everyone else.


It’s probably in The Holyrood Park Regulations 1971 ( UK Statutory Instrument 1971 No. 593) but it’s not available online.


My quick Google-fu suggests that is the doc and as you say it’s not online.

By the way the words “So just email and get permission…” were not aimed at you particularly Richard but at anyone considering the summit!


Well said Andy, started to search for the documents late last night and then though- “Nah, why should I, I’m not the one with the issue!” Well translate that into guid Scots tongue and ye’ll get ma drift.

Anyhoo, @KG5AUU, bring your tin hat!


I emailed the ranger service and after a few exchanges I was given permission earlier this year. They wanted photos of the equipment that I would be bringing and a reason as to why. They were insistent for me to make sure no damage was brought to the ground, ie with pegs for guying (the hundreds of pairs of boots walking up in a nice day didn’t seem to be an issue though). In the end it was too busy in my opinion for my HF station and used 2mFM HT only. I emailed the ranger service after I had left to say so and let them know it was a successful activation. They were very friendly and emailed back saying I would be welcome back in the future. So yes just email the ranger service and comply with any requests they have.



I too found the ranger service extremely friendly and accommodating for my own recent request and activation. Although in the end, I only used handheld as the summit was very busy, and rocky. I did find a quieter bit of space off the side, and within the AZ where I was contemplating setting up my 20m GP. But I had the thought “Hmm, wonder how easy I could get four contacts on my handheld?” So I did that - and got my four contacts pretty easily - and didn’t bother with HF.


I wonder if I would be worth someone contacting in a semi-official capacity asking for a way to streamline the process. Like a pre-made form we could advise on the creation of?

idk, email is probably fine. Depends who you get in the office I guess. Some may want more info than others.

Good Google fu btw guys, I couldn’t find a thing.




Definitely not. Wherever and whenever permission is needed, it should only ever be sought on an individual basis, for a single place and time. Contacting landowners in a manner that could be construed as being on behalf of the SOTA programme has the potential to invoke very undesirable outcomes.


Fair dos. Blame my light autism for making me try to solve problems that don’t exist. :slight_smile:


I received permission from Historic Environment Scotland. The email address above is outdated so I went to the contact page in the website and left details of the request and equipment I would use. I have authority from October 3 to 7. The restrictions are obvious (do not inconvenience visitors, etc.). If I do so it will probably be late afternoon October 3 or the morning of October 5.


Just so you know I am totally up for coming with and will email on Monday for permission just in case it happens.


Hi Brent,

I see you have posted for Arthur’s Seat GM/SS-272 this evening at 1730utc. I won’t be able to make a contact tonight as I’ll be on the other side of the country hiding behind some larger hills.

Ben Lawers on Saturday should be ok.

Anyway best of luck tonight and this will have bumped the thread up the list a bit so you might have a better chance of getting more contacts at that time of the evening.



Heh, I emailed Ken/Christine last night so they’re aware already :slight_smile:




Thanks guys. I look forward to it. Saturday that time may be a bit premature and is highly dependent on my wife but we should generally be on Ben Lawers at that time or an hour later. I didn’t post anything for certain Sunday as it is subject to change but hopefully that happens as well.


Well Brent isn’t one for activation reports so I’ll do it :slight_smile:

We both got our 4 QSOs from a very windy summit of Arthur’s Seat - with around 25 bemused tourists from around the world watching on. We had each other of course, which helped on a very quiet evening on 2M - we used 50 milliwatts :slight_smile:

We’d have been stuffed without @GM0AXY and @GM4YMM - although we did get one other welcome person who I’ve now introduced to SOTA chasing… welcome Scott @MM6SNT !

Initially Brent had a hard time getting his HT out Yank mode… :laughing: Also the distance between us meant that there was a lot of bleed over from each other into adjacent frequencies when we TXed at the same time.

I left Brent and his wife outside the parliament building and you’ll be hearing from him over the next few days - let’s try and make his visit a good one.

There were photos, which I’m sure will follow.


Sincere thanks to Scott, Ken and Christine for the contacts and patience with the wind noise and my fumbles on the vhf radio. No excuses other than I don’t do much vhf operation. Thanks to Mark for helping schedule and the insight on British culture. If I do not get any more activating I will still consider this a great success as I have Scotland in the activation log and have had a great time.

What a treasure you have with the hills so close to town. My wife took a photo of us on the hill but she is off on a tour and I have some time after work. Here is Mark and my sweetheart on the hike up.


I want to see your wife’s photo of us hopefully standing 26+ metres apart so I can do some measurements on the photo and check that we are :wink:

I’m SURE that we were, but it’s nice to check or we’ve just lost an activation each…