How the activation of two Scottish summits helped me to upgrade my German licence

I just wanted to tell someone this story. Not sure if you want to hear, but I will tell you anyway :wink:

During June last year, my boss asked me if I could step in for an ill colleague and visit a business partner in Frankfurt and Edinburgh. As a SOTA activator, I first checked the map and have happily spotted a summit in walking distance to the hotel in Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, there were three issues to solve. The UK does not accept my German “Klasse E” (CEPT novice/intermediate) licence; operating a radio on the summit requires written permission and as the duration of the trip was planned with just 2 overnight stays, only hand luggage was possible. At the Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, I asked an RSGB representative if it is possible to get a British licence as a German. Mark, M1MPA, explained to me the process and meant it should work, so I started the online course provided by GM6DX. It was not too difficult, and I soon passed every mock exam. Roughly, two weeks before the trip, I passed the RSGB operated online exam and got my UK foundation licence, so I could operate in Scotland as MM7TBE.

Foundation Licence

Regarding the issue with the permission to operate on the summit, I first chose to ignore and pretend being a stupid foreign tourist until I was told that it is really enforced, and my activation could be deleted. So, I asked the Ranger Service at Historic Environment Scotland for permission less than two weeks before my activation and received it just one day later with a comment that it is usually expected to ask one month in advance. Many thanks to the Ranger Service, next time I will come earlier – I promise!

park permission

The last issue was the size of the equipment. There is no tree on top of the summit Arthur’s Seat GM/SS-272, and I had very little space left. So I went with a KX3 with an AX1 antenna and a FT2D for 2m FM.

So, the journey could begin. On the first day, I was at a very high place in Frankfurt but unfortunately, it did not qualify for SOTA, and at the evening I arrived in Edinburgh.

The next day, late afternoon, the fun could start. A colleague and I walked from the city centre to the summit Arthur’s seat.

The AX1 worked way better than I had thought. So, while it became dark, I made 15 HF contacts (4x SSB, 11x CW) and 2 contacts on 2m FM. It was also my first activation outside my home association.

During one QSO I was told that there is a second SOTA summit not too far from Edinburgh, which could be reached by bus from the city centre. That came very handy, as I just received a mail from the airline. Thank you very much, Lufthansa for extending my stay.

flight Cancel

The next day, I took the bus to activate Allermuir Hill GM/SS-171.

The walk and ascent would probably be worth 8 points in my home association, but in Scotland it counted just as a small summit. The actual activation went smoothly, and surprisingly I made a lot of 2m FM contacts, so I ended up with 7x FM 2m and 14x CW on HF.

On the way back I met a … not sure what this is called …lying next to the trail. We agreed not to harm each other, and I passed it cautiously and slowly.

Many thanks to all the chasers for these and all the other activations.

Back home, I thought about all this. I always wanted to upgrade my licence in Germany, mainly due to the band restrictions, which limits HF to 160,80,15 and 10 meters here. But I couldn’t be bothered with the outdated and overly theoretical roughly 1000 exam questions. The way I have experienced the British Foundation licence exam made me thinking about whether I could proceed in the UK. So, I searched and stumbled on the Online Amateur Radio Community. They offer online courses for all three licences in the UK. It is a great help for learners and with their help I passed the Intermediate exam in October and the Full Licence exam in December 2022. The Full Licence comes with a Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate.

This certificate allows you to apply for a licence abroad, in my case at home, and get the highest-class licence. So, I am now able to operate as DM1TBE and M0KEU and use all available bands on SOTA here in Germany and elsewhere.

I will always remember these two activations, and I am very grateful for all the help I had. Thank you, Historic Environment Scotland, for your very quick response. Without the RSGB’s offering of an online exam, I could not have done this. You have a new member. And thank you too, OARC. It is very hard to get a Full licence as non-native speaker. But with your great help I made it and learnt a lot about the Brits and their way of doing things.


Thanks for the report and great story Thomas! I’m glad everything worked out for you, and you were able to activate some summits in Scotland. It’s funny how things work out sometimes! Congratulations on getting the M0 callsign, and hopefully work you sometime soon!

73, Matthew M0JSB

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Great story Thomas. Thanks for sharing.
Dont forget to re-validate your license every 5 years
Licence Revalidation - Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site : Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site.


What a great story and excellent outcome!
73, Robert

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A hairy coo. They’re fairly docile and timid, they just look fierce.

The Scottish Panda, however, has a reputation for being mean and aggressive. Scottish Panda


Great story, Thomas. It shows what determination and perseverance can achieve.

I’m tempted to say, that’s a load of bullocks. One never knows whether or not you’re joking Andy but I’ve encountered Belted Galloways all over the UK and they seem as disinterested as other breeds.

But for anyone not used to walking near cows, it’s the mothers with calves you want to avoid as they can be very protective especially if you are with a dog. Give them a wide berth.

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Our contest site is on a very large farm. The farmer is always interested in helping us and moves his cattle out of our contest field a few weeks before. He has plenty of Belted Galloways because their double coat means the meat is less fatty and they’re great on rougher ground, a lot of his land his higher rough grazing rather than beautiful green meadows. Talking about cattle with him and how we should deal with any that get into the contest field (people leaving gates open, broken fences etc.) his view (after many decades of beef farming) is to be super careful near Belted Galloways because they are so very unpredictable and can become aggressive for no good reason whether with their calves or not.

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What a wonderful story. Many thanks for writing it up.

My admiration for your language skills is boundless.

I did once apply for a fishing/angling licence in Germany. I remember it involved a lot of forms and a visit to the office of an official. :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing your experience, Thomas! Great story and happy to hear you now on 20, 30, 40 CW as well :slight_smile:
I have to admit that I was slightly confused when DL/M0KEU called me during one of my last activations (DM/BW-110 ?) with an unusual strong signal :thinking:

73 and hope to cu soon,