BBC1 Countryfile 6pm Sunday (Part 1)

And this was by design.

BBC were most insistent that participants were not “prepped”, which would risk the footage being unnatural and full of soundbites. In fact, I was told that if that was the case, the footage could not be used.

To be fair, Ben and some of the activators wanted detailed discussions and guidance of what to say/not to say etc. But given what the BBC team had stressed to me about this, I deliberately declined to organise the Zoom calls and just encouraged everyone to “be themselves”.

Anyway, it’s all worked out.


Hi Matt,

I’m not criticising Ben rather I would have expected the interviewers (as they probably didn’t understand the wording) or the producer to query and re-record that couple of points.

As I said, well done to Ben, but the presenters, who know their audience, could have helped.

When presenting to the non-technical public - I change my terminology when strangers come up and ask me what I am doing on an activation, that way I know I get a more interested response (and that is also in a different language for me).


As I said - nothing against Ben, rather the producers/interviewers.

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…which is also unduly harsh (in my opinion).

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Not in mine as they are professionals however we all have our own opinions. Overall a great piece.

I thought it was excellent. Well worth the licence fee. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.


Excellent :slight_smile: Well done all. Certainly debunked the “old man in a cupboard” stereotype!


For a 2.5 minute feature, I thought it was excellent, promoting Amateur Radio in general and SOTA in particular.

Well done Tom for all the behind the scenes organisation and to Ben, Gillian and Fraser - and those who contributed but not in view - for the hard work in making this happen in support of SOTA! :+1:


Having read the debate on this thread [after the live broadcast] about the use of technical terms (e.g. “2 metres”, “HF”) I watched the segment again via iPlayer and concluded it was probably useful that some technical terms were included (e.g. summit references, callsigns). Had it been entirely in plain speech, viewers would be more likely to think these people were unlicensed radio users (PMR or CB) rather than technically-trained amateurs.


My experience from working with the media for about 55 years on several headline news stories and others is that you do not often recogise, in what you see, what was originally input to the item. In this SOTA did get some good exposure which is a lot better than zilch such as I have several times seen after much time with the cameras. Great for SOTA.


I guess the BBC producers having decided to base a programme on the island Googled “Flat Holm” discovered the Marconi connection and the rest is history as they say. :slight_smile:

It’s is arguable Captain Henry Jackson did the first ship to ship radio transmission over the sea a few months earlier in Plymouth Sound but Marconi was better at publicity. :slight_smile: But being charitable Marconi did the first land to land over the sea.

And we won’t mention Ellie and Matt operating the radio. I’m sure it was VOX triggered. :slight_smile:

But many thanks to all involved. The last time ham radio was promoted on the TV must have been the famous Tony Hancock episode when any SOTA activity, had it been around then, would have involved valves and lead acid batteries plus a donkey or two to carry it all. :slight_smile:


Great job everyone! Thought that was a lovely positive demo of amateur radio and of course SOTA in particular. Many congratulations to everyone involved in both planning and execution. :clap::clap::clap:


Hi Ed, I agree with what you mentioned above, but believe me, the detailed explanation of VHF/UHF I gave was edited and not aired. They cut the beginning off of my sentence and just used the 2m part. Never mind, it seems to have gone down well.

73, GW4BML. Ben


It was great! Did you get to see a preview beforehand?


Imdeed it did Ben! I’ve had a number of friends, neighbours and family contact me tonight, surprised to see me on the TV and all commenting on how good it was.

Thanks to you Ben for taking the day off and spending 12+ hours on Flat Holm Island, with a three hour drive on either end. Without you it wouldn’t have happened. Great Job! :+1:


Hi Matt, no I had nothing. I went in completely blind and also never got to see a preview of what was being aired. They have edited some info out of it, but not a great deal. I didn’t expect to see as much as we did.

73, GW4BML. Ben


Absolutely Ben. They also edited out the characteristics of HF propagation too as I know you would not have mentioned just groundwave and left it at that!

I have some sympathy for Ed’s observation, as it’s something I try to do myself when interested passers-by approach on a summit. However, Andy @g8cpz makes a strong point about the value of there being some technical language and codes in there.

As you know, I strongly resisted calls to establish and agree exactly what we would and wouldn’t say, emphasis etc - as indeed the BBC had strongly told us not to do that. The result would always carry a risk of something being picked up on by someone with in-depth knowledge. Overall, I think the BBC have called it correctly, with the finished feature presenting really pleasingly.


:+1: I’m sure it must have a felt a bit strange with a film crew and presenters looking over your shoulder, but you looked very cool, calm and collected. As did everyone who was featured…


I activated 2 summits today and on both, people asked what I was doing. So as always, I explained in layman’s terms the gear I was using and why.
I also reminded them to watch Country File tonight as it would feature some of my fellow SOTA activators.

Perhaps each of us could carry a laminated QR code, pointing to a ‘SOTA Introduction’ video, with some snazzy drone footage of yours explaining SOTA better than I ever could.


Just watched in iPlayer…all very good, and glad the band conditions worked out.

On a point of order though…the presenters were allowed to send a greetings message, and were viewed operating the PTT themselves. My understanding is that all controls must be operated by the license holder (sorry to be a pedant :slight_smile: )

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