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Great Orme GW/NW-070 Important Info

During today’s activation of GW/NW-070 Great Orme, I was approached by a Country Parks Warden. The Warden wanted to know why I was operating a radio from here without first seeking permission. I told her that I was unaware that I needed permission citing the fact there was no signs to this effect. However, the warden was having none of this and made it clear my presence without permission was not welcome. She pointed out that having my antenna guyed, could be seen as a trip hazard and Great Orme has SSI status although she did concede that where I was operating, some 35 Metres from the trig point, wouldn’t cause any impact on the wildlife, flora or fauna. After talking to the Warden for some time her attitude softened and she agreed I could stay to complete my activation.

It would appear that in future, Wardens will be taking a stricter approach to radio operators transmitting from Great Orme, “unless” prior permission is granted. I strongly suspect, that if you decide to operate from this summit without prior permission, and you are approached by a warden, you will be asked to cease transmitting and to remove your station…

For future reference, I have taken details of how permission can be obtained and will place them on the GW/NW-070 summit page.

As for today’s activation, sorry about 40m, it was unworkable for some reason, I could hear nothing and it seems no-one could hear me. The activation was completed on 20, 17 and 15m making it very difficult for the UK chasers to grab a point, however a number were successful.

Stateside was tricky, with a couple of weak signals and a couple of monster signals on the 15m band, the best being a nice contacts with Thaire W2APF in NH and Steve AA4V on the Isle of Palms.

Total of 58 contacts on HF, no VHF today.

Thanks to all the Chasers.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

In reply to 2E0YYY:

D’oh!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to 2E0YYY:
Sorry i was out at the time you on 40 meter i could hear north wales 59 well done and hope to hear you soon if you are on this weekend but i am out all sunday.

Ricky
MW6GWR

In reply to 2E0YYY:

that I needed permission citing the fact there was no signs to this effect

There in black and white: Great Orme Byelaws 17©

The problem with asking for permission is you can be told no.
The problem with not asking for permission is you can be told to clear off.
The problem with getting caught is you can be fined.
The problem with getting fined is you may make it impossible for anyone else to operate from this summit and bring the program into disrepute.

The solution is to ensure none of the above happen. i.e. ensure you have the minimum of impact and to avoid times when the place is crawling with people.

I’d have thought you’d have been OK midweek, perhaps you were just too obvious or there for too long. Or perhaps she was in a bad mood. Who knows. If you’d have been sat in your car operating to a car mounted antenna she’d have thought you were another CBer and ignored you. Of course you can’t operate from a car for SOTA. It’s an awkward situation to which there is no simple solution or correct answer.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

It’s a simple case of, you’re Damned if you do and you’re Damned if you don’t.

I’ve activated this summit on 5 previous occasions with no problems whatsoever.

As for todays activation, it lasted 1hr 58mins and I was using a pretty unobtrusive 6m fishing pole antenna.

Anyhow, the Country Park contact details have been posted on the Great Orme summit page.

Mike 2E0YYY

In reply to 2E0YYY:
“It would appear that in future, Wardens will be taking a stricter approach to radio operators transmitting from Great Orme, “unless” prior permission is granted.”

Unless of course it’s a mobile phone, Mike your problem was most likely it was someone making it up as they go along… do you really think that there is a line in the rule book regarding radio operation on the Great Orme. NAH!!!

Steve.

In reply to MW0BBU:

You’re right Steve, there’s no specific rule about radio. But there’s a useful section with a nice catchall condition… “(don’t) behave as to give reasonable grounds for annoyance to other persons on the land”. Covers a multitude of activities does that gem!

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Mike, nice bit of groundwave on 15m, Orme - Buxton 132km. Ant Diamond CP6 vertical here. With regards asking permission, I`ll just avoid the place in the future. 73.

In reply to G1INK:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Mike, nice bit of groundwave on 15m, Orme - Buxton 132km. Ant Diamond
CP6 vertical here.

Cheers Steve, I was struggling on the fishing pole, however, running an additional counterpoise wire out seemed to do the trick. Managed to find Tubby in Warrington, although his audio was not as strong as yours.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

Permission - minefield. Absolutely required for totally private land-no access summits like Myarth, Upper Park and Swinside, but for the majority that have public access, common sense should be sufficient.

Activating in the evening or early morning can be advantageous for otherwise busy places, or using the 25m AZ to keep well away from the crowds. On small busy summits, a VHF/UHF handheld activation might be preferable to using a large antenna, then it has no more impact than someone using their mobile 'phone.

Shorter activations can be recommended on busy summits. This all being said, I have activated many times from the summit of Great Orme, usually up by the trig point with guyed antennas, never in a rush and yet to be intercepted by a warden!

I have been intercepted elsewhere though, and the trick is to be very friendly and compliant. I say that I will pack away my equipment immediately if required, and that it will only take me five minutes to do so. Almost always I have then been asked “How much longer did you intend being here?”. I say about another 15/20 minutes, and they seem surprised that it was that temporary an activity and say “Oh, that’s no problem”.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Tom

Minefield is right!

In accordance with the rules, as they stand, permission is absolutely required for any activation. It doesn’t matter whether it is “a totally private land-no access summit” or “the majority that have public access”.

Either you have permission or you don’t.

You say common sense should be sufficient - but who is to measure the level at which common sense is set?

I got permission from the farmer to activate Hope Mountain GW/NW-062 which is on private land with no public access but have heard that Mr Bannister has refused others. He was delighted to see my kids having fun.

If you then nipped up there on a quiet week day and got 4 contacts before being asked to pack up and move on then you would have activated the summit without permission.

To say

"that I will pack away my equipment immediately if required, and that it will only take me five minutes to do so. Almost always I have then been asked “How much longer did you intend being here?”

means that you have been where you shouldn’t have been and are asking for permission in retrospect.

There are lots of examples of this and SOTA would be difficult if an activator were to need to track down the land owner or operator to ensure that

a) access was permitted
b) radio was permitted if access granted.

I activated Butser Hill in the fog under threat of a warden’s visit. I saw no signs up preventing radio operations but had heard some rumours on this site that that a warden visit might be on the cards.

The point is that had a warden appeared before I got my contacts and said “that’s OK” I would have been doing what I had been doing without permission until that point. Had he said “pack up” I would have been doing it without permission at all. Had he not turned up at all, as was the case, I have no idea if permission was ever required or not - as is the case for a lot of summits I have activated.

I very much accept that the SOTA programme should not be seen to actively encourage people to trespass or behave in any manner whether with or without a radio. Perhaps it should now be the responsibility of the individual activator to assess whether they have permission or not to access land or use a radio thereon and not the SOTA MT to police it?

Perhaps the MT should assume an activator has permission rather than the other way round.

Only a thought to add to the discussion.

Regards
Dave
M0TUB

In reply to M0TUB:

If I may pick you up on some of your points Dave:

Either you have permission or you don’t.

In public areas, such as National Trust, Forestry Commission, rights of way etc, very few activities are expressly permitted, However, low impact activities are tacitly tolerated so long as the land and other users of it are respected. Examples of other such activities are dog-walking, picnics and mobile 'phone conversations.

I got permission from the farmer to activate Hope Mountain GW/NW-062 which is on private land with no public access but have heard that Mr Bannister has refused others.

It is possible to get within the 25m AZ using the PROW without setting foot in the private field that contains the summit (although this PROW is blocked at the farm end, with signs for it removed). I have always found the farmer to be very pleasant and enthusiastic for activations, and never heard of him refusing access.

Means that you have been where you shouldn’t have been and are asking for permission in retrospect.

It means no such thing. It means that I am being friendly, polite and non-confrontational to the person, and declaring that I will respect any guidance they will offer. It just takes the edge off things to indicate that you intend to respect any authority they have.

The point is that had a warden appeared before I got my contacts and said “that’s OK” I would have been doing what I had been doing without permission until that point. Had he said “pack up” I would have been doing it without permission at all. Had he not turned up at all, as was the case, I have no idea if permission was ever required or not - as is the case for a lot of summits I have activated.

Yes.

It is a public place and common sense prevails. Low impact wins every time.

Perhaps it should now be the responsibility of the individual activator to assess whether they have permission or not to access land or use a radio thereon and not the SOTA MT to police it?

It is, always has been.

Perhaps the MT should assume an activator has permission rather than the other way round.

Always been the case.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M0TUB:

This sounds like a continuation of the Leith Hill saga. :frowning:

To be honest, if a summit is flagged up as one requiring prior permission, I just avoid it completely and go elsewhere. I cannot be bothered with the hassle. I have never been asked to leave a summit yet, although I have occasionally had to move to make way for hedge-cutting activities and similar.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to M0TUB:

"I very much accept that the SOTA programme should not be seen to actively encourage people to trespass or behave in any manner whether with or without a radio. Perhaps it should now be the responsibility of the individual activator to assess whether they have permission or not to access land or use a radio thereon and not the SOTA MT to police it?

Perhaps the MT should assume an activator has permission rather than the other way round."

Dave, its always worth looking at the General Rules, in particular I recommend the introductory paragraph to 3.7 (Rules for Activators) and rule 3.7.7 itself.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G3NYY:

I have never been asked to leave a summit
yet, although I have occasionally had to move to make way for
hedge-cutting activities and similar.

Perhaps you’ve just been lucky, Walt. I’ve probably done half the number of activations you have and I’ve been challenged on at least four occasions.

Admittedly, I’ve never been asked to leave a summit.

The reason for the thread was to point out that I was challenged by a Park Warden. My activation was allowed to continue, although this is not to say someone else may be so lucky. Forewarned is forearmed, especially if someone is planning a couple of hundred mile round trip to GO.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian

Thanks for the pointer. I am familiar with that paragraph and, as stated above, very much accept it.

The thing is that Tom’s post (at time 10:01) highlights just how difficult it is to ensure you comply with the rules.

3.7 Rules for Activators
All Expeditions must use legitimate access routes and comply with any local rules regarding
use of the land. In particular, Activators must ensure that they have any necessary
permission to operate from their chosen Summit.

I have read many reports from activators who have had to hop over a fence here or there - is that a legitimate access route? Surely if it were, then there would be a gate or a style? There are many well trodden summits which do not show a dotted line to the summit itself, but one which passes by in the vicinity. Of course, activators make their own judgement as to when they should strike out to the summit, but how do you know that that is a legitimate access route? Well you don’t, but you nip on up to the top in order to complete your activation in the hope you are not collared. If you were, as Tom says, you would offer to pack up and go. But it is too late - you have not complied with the rules.

Some other summits have a dotted line showing a track on the map but no visible track appears on the ground. I assume the route I take is permitted if there is a public track in the vicinity.

Seager Hill is another example.

I followed the track to a gate which I climbed over to get to the trig.

I was then very politely told by a chaser that I had trespassed because I was at the Trig. I didn’t know that, but packed up immediately. I set up again and re-activated from inside the AZ but from where I had been advised (by hearsay and in the spirit of compliance) was the area permitted.

I think the most important part is

“14. All SOTA operations are expected to be conducted in the spirit of the programme.”

where the judgement of the spirit is that of the activator and as I said before

“Perhaps the MT should assume an activator has permission rather than the other way round.”

Or perhaps just don’t ask awkward questions that won’t produce any awkward answers!

Regards

Dave
M0TUB

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom

Just spotted your reply

Means that you have been where you shouldn’t have been and are asking for permission in retrospect.

It means no such thing. It means that I am being friendly, polite and non-confrontational to the person, and declaring that I will respect any guidance they will offer. It just takes the edge off things to indicate that you intend to respect any authority they have.

The point is that had a warden appeared before I got my contacts and said “that’s OK” I would have been doing what I had been doing without permission until that point. Had he said “pack up” I would have been doing it without permission at all. Had he not turned up at all, as was the case, I have no idea if permission was ever required or not - as is the case for a lot of summits I have activated.

Yes.

How can the first bit mean no such thing and yet you agree with the second bit?

If your asked to move on then you have accessed where you are without permission. Of course, your friendly, polite and non-confrontational approach will certainly help to diffuse the situation and may well take the edge of things. It still doesn’t mean you have permission or obeyed the rules in 3.7, as indicated by Brian.

Interesting subject!

Regards

Dave

In reply to M0TUB:

Dave, can you possibly delete that last post and post it again so we know which bit Tom said and which bit you said. Use the Quote Original Post button and insert your comments accordingly. What we have at present makes no sense at all.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy
Appreciate that!

My last post should be inserted/read after Tom’s reply to me at 11:07.

I didn’t see Tom’s post it until after I had posted again in reply to Brian.

Anyway, it won’t matter much - people will get the gist of what is a good exploration of the technicalities of rules which probably rely mostly on the spirit of the activator.

Regards
Dave

How can the first bit mean no such thing and yet you agree with the second bit? If you’re asked to move on then you have accessed where you are without permission.

Absolutely disagree.

In a discussion with a warden, I will usually offer to pack away immediately if that is what they would prefer me to do. Their response at that time will be a judgement call at that time given all the factors at that time. It does not necessarily imply that any of my actions up to that point in time have constituted breach of anybody’s rules.

In any case, in ten years of activating, and over 1000 activations, I have been intercepted by wardens/rangers less than ten times. Only once have I ever been required to pack away immediately - and even that wasn’t because of any breach of rule - it was because the car park was about to be locked for the night!

Tom M1EYP