Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Butser Hill, G/SE-004

I activated Butser Hill G/SE-004 on HF today.
During my activation I was approached by a countrypark warden who told me that I should not be operating there without permission.
Butser Hill is situated in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park run by Hampshire County Council.

Apparently I should have sought prior permission from the Visior Centre on the A3 road on the day or in advance by email. The Queen Elizabeth Country Park website
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/qecp.htm gives and email address for enquiries as http://qecp.enquiries@hants.gov.uk

I explained that I was unaware of the visitor centre as I had walked there from the village of East Meon which is 1hrs brisk walk away in the opposite direction.

I agreed that I would request permission in advance if I wanted to activate this summit again.

Prospective activators of this summit please note.

David, G3RDQ

In reply to G3RDQ:I hope to activate Butser Hill on Sunday, I have emailed QECP so will be interested to see what they say. Did the warden comment on your antennas etc or give any indication of what would/wouldn’t be allowed? Hope your SDW walk goes/went OK. Dave G8XDD

In reply to G8XDD:

I have since found out that their concerns were :-

  1. Was I licensed to use the radio equipment .
  2. The hill top is a scheduled ancient monument and they were concerned that my aerial pole and guy fixings did not penetrate the ground too far.

As my pole only rests on the ground and my guy pegs only pentrate about 4 inches (I use 6 inch nails pressed into the soil) they were happy on all counts.

There is plenty of open space at Butser Hill so its easy to find a spot where a dipole can be errected ( mine is a linked dipole for 30/40/60m ) without crossing any footpaths.

Yes I had a good time there operating the radio and accompanied by the sound of skylarks singing in the sky.
A stroll back down the hill to East Meon and then buses to get me home via a change at Winchester.

I am interested to know how you get on as this is one of my closest summits and I will want to go there again sometime an it will help if we can keep the authorities on our side.

73’s and good luck with you activation plans.
David , G3RDQ

In reply to G3RDQ:

Hi, both.

Likewise, I have sent an e-mail asking for permission but as yet no response. If / when I get a reply I will keep you informed.

David, how did you find out the reasons for their concern please? Maybe it’s not as big a potential problem as it first seemed.

I shoud have been up there the day after your original posting but I have postponed my walk for a couple of weeks so there’s no immediate hurry. Nevertheless I’m keen to know asap.


In reply to G4ERP:
I had an exchange of emails with the park manager when I returned home.
He was quite friendly.
Just wanted to know what was going on in the park for which he has responsibility.
73’s David.

In reply to G3RDQ:

Hi, David.

Thanks for that. I sent my e-mail to qecp.enquiries@hants.gov.uk Thursday lunchtime but as yet no response.


In reply to G4ERP:
Hi, just got my reply from email I sent on Friday, their concern as originally stated was not to penetrate the ground deeper than 8 inches and not to be where cattle were grazing. This actually came from someone else from the park centre and not the park manager as he is off this weekend. I hope to be up there sometime on Sunday, although they did say they would prefer more notice, which kind of goes against the advice given previously of coming into the centre on the day. I guess the more notice that can be given, the better. Dave G8XDD

In reply to G8XDD:

Thanks, Dave. I just checked my “work” e-mail and no sign of a reply so maybe it got lost. Happily I’m not in a tearing hurry now so I’ll be patient.

Thanks to you both for finding out their thinking on this. Enjoy the activation tomorrow.

73, Richard

It does seem rather odd that “the authorities” are worried about an occasional lone amateur radio enthusiast when this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butserfest is a regular event!

I’ve never seen a warden on any of my visits over the years.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G3VQO:

Hi, Les.

Well, I think the “high on the downs” comment might be a little off the mark in it’s description of the Butserfest.
There are a couple of photos that indicate that the festival is held in the valley below the summit and quite close to the Visitor Centre. It looks like it’s in the fields through which the SDW passes.


73, Richard

In reply to G3VQO:

Frankly it’s also a bit bizarre when this fella http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/381746 is bang on top of the hill with its attendant buildings and road and has been there for some 50 odd years.

ps Actually it has grown a fair bit since that previous picture, now http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9750965 Fairly ugly as well…


In reply to M0DDC:

Regardless, it looks as if we need permission. I re-sent my e-mail and just got back the following:

"Hi, thankyou for your e-mail. Permission is required to operate radio equipment on County council property and the best way to do this is to ring (02392 595040) or e-mail one week prior to your visit.

Good luck with your trip.

Tim.Speller Manager."

So, it looks like we’re tied into this regime.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:

Perhaps the microwave station is the ‘ancient monument’ :))

We must, of course, abide by the rules.


In reply to M0DDC:
The most frustrating thing is that I can see Butser hill from my qth, I have purchased a season ticket for the car park, I had thought of doing quite a few activations this year,I could pop out to activate the hill on a whim,and be there in 10 minutes, but, I have to give a weeks notice! Maybe I’ll see if I can gain a activation season ticket !! Dave G8XDD

In reply to G4ERP:

I hope they impose the same requirements on anyone who happens to use a mobile phone there as that is radio equipment. It’s what is most stupid about Arthur’s Seat. As it is in the Queen’s back garden you need permission to use a radio from the grounds. Fair enough, but there were nearly 50 people on the summit when I was there all gabbing away on their phones saying “you’ll never guess where I am” in 50 different languages. It was like the Tower Of Babel. Nobody seemed bothered about all those radio equipment users.

In fact it would be worth enquiring if you need permission to use a phone and when they say no use that answer to justify normal radio operation without giving a weeks notice!


MM0FMF/A in IO67

Would you get approached by an official if you were using a handheld at either site?


In reply to M1EYP:

Probably not. Unless the Region Manager wants to take up this one, employing the level of tact that is needed, I will probably be next to have contact with the authorities in a couple of weeks time. Hopefully we will be able to demonstrate the minimal impact we’re capable of inflicting on the site and we will eventually be able to get a blanket concession to cover our style of short-term usage.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:

The warden was totally unconcerned about me using an FT-290R at the trig when I was there - probably more worried about one of the numerous kite flyers decapitating a member of the public on the summit that cold windy day in March 2006.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:
I was wondering, would it be worth me dropping in on the QECP Park manager armed with a SOTA leaflet? Which leads me to my next question, where are they on the website? I can’t find them anymore! I’m sure there was one for fellow Amatuers and one for members of the public.

Dave G8XDD