Goverment Shutdown Sota Stories

I was just curious how the shutdown has effected other SOTA activators. Feel free to share your stories and how you are changing your activation plans.

I myself have changed plans for 2 weekends in a row to cope with this inconvience. With some research I found that my activation for this weekend falls just outside of the Nation Park Boundries next to the campsite I will be staying at. The campsite is on private property.

So how has the shutdown effected you?


At least one of the Lodges in the area are ignoring the orders from the govermant to shutdown.

In reply to KK4NQQ:

Here is my story from two days ago, but it looks like you’ve already read it. Thanks for the comment, John! :slight_smile:

Readers from the UK may want to drill-down to the letter from my Congressman to our Forest Service chief (sent back in 2010) that I linked to in the caption of photo #5, as they may find it entertaining (insulting?). British history was never my strong suit, other than the WWII period, so… is he right about the “royal forests”?

Yesterday I chose a rather obscure summit out in the Tahoe National Forest where I was sure I wouldn’t run into any federal employees, even if the government were still fully operating. No problems at all, and after putting nearly 50 miles on my ATV zooming around the forest before and after the activation, I didn’t see another living soul. Perfect.

Tomorrow I hope to hit another summit out in a different national forest. Local news reports said that they have closed the campgrounds and boat ramps in the area, and this summit does have a lookout tower (inactive I believe), but I hope to again have no issues. I’ll report back if I do.


Eric KU6J

Free SOTA Spot Monitor Software + RBNGate FAQ:

In reply to KU6J:

British history was never my strong suit, other than the WWII
period, so… is he right about the “royal forests”?

Yes, that is correct. Royalty and the aristocracy in England had a very firm hold over land throughout the country in feudal times.

However, there were not many SOTA activations prior to the year 1215, so I don’t think activators were unduly inconvenienced!


The campaign is ongoing, to this day. You may be interested in the following report:

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to KU6J:

You may be surprised to hear that the ancient courts and officials still exist for three of the Royal forests - New Forest, Epping Forest and Forest of Dean. This is the website for the New Forest Verderers

Andy G8MIA.

In reply to G3NYY:
Don’t forget the National Trust, who own a huge area, if you total all their holdings. Their regulations, IIRC, forbid the use of radio transmissions from their land (but strangely, don’t mention mobile phones).
There are plenty of other landowners (eg the MOD) who, legally or otherwise, prevent or restrict access. Fortunately there are not many SOTA summits affected.

Regards, Dave, G6DTN

In reply to M0DFA:

I did not know there was a blanket ban on making radio transmissions from National Trust property. Where is this documented? I have often operated from Bradnor Hill, the Long Mynd and The Begwns, all NT property, without being challenged.

I know the Great Orme and Leith Hill are both frequently activated as well, although I have not been there myself.

Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY: GM, Walt. Some time ago, I took the time to read their rules at one of their sites. I’ve never been troubled myself, though. I’m not a member of the NT - I have enough ‘fun’ with our own property, let alone looking round other peoples’. There are similar regulations posted at some other places, such as Stiperstones.

Regards, Dave, G6DTN

In reply to G3NYY:

There isn’t Walt. The NT bylaw sections 13 and 15b could be applied. Section 13 applies to tents,shelters,wind breaks,poles etc. and 15 applies to noise pollution and mentions wireless sets specifically. The bylaws are dated 1965 hence the more antiquated terminology and it’s reasonable to assume they mean noise pollution from people listening to the “popular beat combos” of the day on their “pocket transistor radio” rather than operating a transmitter etc.

However, if you are asked to move on by an NT warden when SOTAing on NT land then you are “doing it wrong”. You’re not being low impact.


In reply to G3NYY:

from National Trust property. Where is this documented?

I could only find one potentially radio-related mention in the NT byelaws, under the heading “Noise” and including the phrase “after having been requested to desist”. There are, of course, various Acts of Parliament relating to the NT which may be relevant, but I’ve not tried reading them…

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to MM0FMF:

However, if you are asked to move on by an NT warden when SOTAing on
NT land then you are “doing it wrong”. You’re not being low impact.

Au contraire, Andy. When I was asked to vacate Long Mynd, I had nothing more than a colinear in the air, certainly a lot more low impact than someone operating with a linked di-pole strung across a summit.

If a Ranger wishes to implement the rules, then it’s not a case of either “low impact” or “doing it wrong”, it’s a case of the Ranger being well within his rights to ask me to leave. I didn’t argue, I closed the station and went home…

I was also approached by a Ranger whilst activating HuMP, Mow Cop and told I shouldn’t be transmitting from there. My station consisted of a Wouxun HT and SOTA pole, hardly high impact or maybe I was just “doing it wrong”.


This question has popped up periodically over the lifetime of SOTA. The only thing anyone is explicitly allowed to do is walk through the land. Hardly anything else is explicitly permitted - flying kites, having a family picnic, doing photography etc.

However, NT’s attitude in the past has been that “low impact activities are tolerated”. Low impact is not defined, but it is sensible to assume it means common sense things about duration and effect on other users of the land. That sounds like a good deal to me, so worth sticking with!

So a 30 minute activation using lightweight gear that takes 5 minutes to erect and 5 minutes to pack away, and set up a bit out of the way of the main summit/feature is generally pretty safe. “Silent” modes (CW, PSK etc) are also an advantage here.

On the other hand, an all day activation with large bulky equipment adjacent to the trig point/summit feature, and shouting into the microphone on SSB/FM carries significantly more risk of attracting negative attention and causing problems.

In 1457 SOTA activations, I have been approached by wardens/rangers/landowners around 10 times. Of these, 6 were positive and friendly, while some degree of concern was expressed on 4 occasions. However, on three of these the answers “around 30 minutes” and “about 5 minutes” to the respective questions “How long are you doing this for?” and “How long does it take to pack up?” have always resulted in me being allowed to continue with the activation.

The one exception was when Wendover Woods G/CE-005 was about to be locked up for the night! Fortunately, the AZ is huge and flat, so after packing away we completed the activation outside of the Forestry Commission site.


In reply to 2E0YYY:

I had nothing more than a colinear in the air

Complete with aluminium poles to support it?



In reply to 2E0YYY:
You will most likely find it’s down to the Individual Warden as to how the rules are interpreted… may be having a bad day and nothing like a bit of power =0).

Steve MW0BBU.

Thanks everyone for the info on the Royal Forests! Fascinating stuff, I didn’t realize that you still had them.

Speaking of Royal Forests and government shutdowns, here is my government shutdown photo of the day, snapped en route to my activation of Dixie Mountain W6/CN-006:!i=2810789959&k=HKRfwJb

Here is the caption in case it doesn’t show up: “Spotted this at Frenchman Lake. Before the government shutdown caused the Forest Service to run out of funds, this must have been one heck of a campground: DAY USE ONLY and NO CAMPFIRES!”

Should I send this to Jay Leno? :slight_smile:


Eric KU6J
Still Striving to Cause As Much Trouble as Elliott K6EL

In reply to KU6J:


In fact both these rules routinely apply to ALL National Trust land in England, at least in so far as vehicular access is concerned.

[National Trust By-laws 1963, para 3(a) and 11(a)(ii).]

“Day” is defined as the period between sunrise and sunset. Presumably, therefore, it is against the by-laws to bring a vehicle on to NT property for the Tuesday evening RSGB contests. (Pedal cycle and pedestrian access, however, seem to be allowed.)

Walt (G3NYY)

Sounds like a fun campground. I find it hard to call it a campground without an overnight stay and a fire. Just think no Smores!