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Leith Hill (G/SE-002) Friday 13th

An urgent family gathering requires our presence in the Kingston-U-Thames area on Thursday 12th. As we will be staying in Dorking, what better antidote is there than an activation of Leith Hill on the morning of Friday 13th. Weather and wardens permitting, I’ll have the vertical antenna etc deployed mid morning. QRV to be advised in the morning.

Regards, Dave, G6DTN

Hi Dave,

I hope that all goes well on Thursday.

…Weather and wardens permitting…

During my activation of Leith Hill on Good Friday afternoon,
I was told permission to operate was needed, which could be
obtained from Sam Bailey (the Head Ranger) on 01306 712711.
Same number on http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leith-hill/

The warden who told me this mentioned that Dorking Radio Club
regularly operate there, and was prepared to let me complete
my activation. I had headphones, was tucked into a corner of
the plateau away from the tower, and could truthfully say I
had looked around the hilltop for a warden before setting up.
However another member of staff might not be so forgiving…

I can’t help with the weather - but good luck with that!

73, John M0VCM

In reply to M0VCM:

Hmmm. I hope this is not a prelude to us being told that prior permission is required for operation from ALL NT sites!

I get the impression that there are “jobsworths” at certain locations. I was approached by an NT warden on the Long Mynd last year, but he simply expressed interest in what contacts I had made. No mention was made of “getting permission”, nor of any other restrictions.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G6DTN

If you are going there on Thursday its unlikely that you’ll met any wardens etc. I think that they only go there at weekends and bank holidays. I’ve activated this hill during the week and saw no one.

If the NT start to seek permissions for amateur radio, what are they going to do about mountain bikers and paraguilders? I for one as a NT menber of some years would be conplaining to their administrators!

Peter

G1FOA

In reply to G3NYY:

In reply to M0VCM:

Hmmm. I hope this is not a prelude to us being told that prior
permission is required for operation from ALL NT sites!

I get the impression that there are “jobsworths” at certain
locations. I was approached by an NT warden on the Long Mynd last
year, but he simply expressed interest in what contacts I had made.
No mention was made of “getting permission”, nor of any
other restrictions.

AIUI Walt, there have been Amateurs, who have been asked to leave Long Mynd, by NT wardens. However, it seems perfectly acceptable for 25 mountain bikers to decend on the trig point.

73 Mickey
2E0YYY

In reply to 2E0YYY and M0VCM:
I suspect it may be a case of familiarity. I note that Leith Hill has only had 69 activations since April 2003, whereas Long Mynd has been activated 234 times since March 2002.

There is also the point of timing. I am fortunate in being able to avoid weekends, and the popular hills on Bank Holidays. These are peak times for visitors and, of course, need the presence of wardens to control (?) the crowds.

Methinks a lone activator is much easier to warn off a summit - 25 mountain bikers would be rather more daunting. Sorry to sound cynical, but there is a safety in numbers. How about a mass activation!!

Regards, Dave, G6DTN

In reply to M0DFA:

How about a mass activation!!

OK, but maybe somwhere with a better VHF take-off :wink:

73 Mike
2E0YYY

In reply to M0DFA:

I suspect it may be a case of familiarity. I note that Leith Hill has
only had 69 activations since April 2003, whereas Long Mynd has been
activated 234 times since March 2002.

I suspect that’s down to three things 1) Its only a Band 1, 2) There are not a large number of SOTA activators in the area and 3) If you use VHF then you might struggle to make 4 contacts; your are a long way from the main chasing group “up north”.

If you haven’t been there before its quiet a steep climb, great view though.

Peter
G1FOA

In reply to G1FOA:

If you haven’t been there before its quiet a steep climb, great view
though.

I used to do a lot of Youth Hostelling and Rambling (Rather like this thread?) in that area in days gone by, Oh, and the Tanners Marathon twice.

Regards, Dave, G6DTN

In reply to M0DFA:
Hi all. I activated this hill on Sunday 21.08.11, There was a warden on site and I set up my 8m pole only about 10metre from were he was parked, He never came over to even see what I was doing. I operated on 2m FM & had 8 QSOs between 11.30 & 12.23. only a short time as had 2year grandauter with us. It was a nice sunny day with lots of people about,hope this helps. 73 Peter M1CNL

In reply to M0DFA:

I remain convinced that the problem with NT wardens is that there is no clear brief from NT HQ, hence you get it in the neck from the jobsworth / insecure brigade and ignored by those who are happy just to do their job and monitor the activities taking place on the hill. However, my feelings are that we are better off without a clear brief as we can deal with the occasional issue as and when it arises.

When I activated Leith Hill I was left alone by everyone associated with NT, but had kids and dogs ploughing through my position as though I didn’t exist, even though I was located in the middle of a patch of rough vegetation and using a hand held mast without guys… and then I was accosted by several dozy parents wanting to know whether I was monitoring bird song or other equally barmy suggestions. When I told them it was amateur radio, I just got blank looks.

Give me Hownam Law GM/SS-197 any day in any weather conditions! :slight_smile:

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

However, my feelings are that we are better off without
a clear brief as we can deal with the occasional issue
as and when it arises.

Agreed - much better to use tact and charm with individual
wardens as necessary. The chap who spoke to me wanted to let
me know the “rules” but clearly didn’t want to spoil my fun.

When I activated Leith Hill I …] had kids and dogs
ploughing through my position as though I didn’t exist

Sounds familiar! Normally I use headphones to prevent any
disturbance to other walkers, but on Friday I was happy to
have them keeping the playground noises out :slight_smile:

73, John M0VCM

As you will see from the stats, I am a regular activator of Leith Hill. During my twenty-five activations, I have seen, and been seen by, various wardens on at least half of the occasions. Apart from “good morning” or “good evening”, no other comments have been made despite my wire antenna being draped across the branches of various trees.

That said, I avoid peak times like weekends and bank holidays, and I usually operate from a bench to the west of, and slightly lower than, the tower. That works fine for HF, but the demands of VHF may make that a non-starter as the spot is shielded from London and the north by the summit itself.

Anyway, good luck with the activation! I am confident that the wardens will not bother you, but not so confident that you’ll easily make the four QSOs on VHF. While you’re calling hopefully, see how many other SOTA summits you can identify to the south.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to 2E0YYY:

it seems perfectly acceptable for 25
mountain bikers to descend on the trig point.

LOL! Celestial mountain bikers descending from on high, Mickey?
:slight_smile:

BTW I have not yet succeeded in activating Leith Hill. I never seem to be able to get beyond the Plough Inn at Coldharbour! (Highly recommended.)
:wink:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to M0DFA:

Ive activated this summit once for my "tick in the box" & will never return. I asked the NT people in the shop/cafe if they minded my activity - they replied if I stay out of sight, I should be ok. In other words, if I didnt interfere with their money grabbing operation I`d be tolerated. In the relatively early days of SOTA (2004) it took me 28mins to make 4 contacts on 2M FM. Quite surprising as you have line of site over Greater London which has almost 3 times the population of Wales! Things may have changed a lot in the intervening years. A word of warning - be prepared for idiots pelting around at full speed on their mountain bikes completely oblivious to all other hill users.

In reply to G3NYY:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

it seems perfectly acceptable for 25
mountain bikers to descend on the trig point.

LOL! Celestial mountain bikers descending from on high, Mickey?

:slight_smile:

It was reminiscent of a Tour de France checkpoint, the last time I was up there, Walt…

BTW I have not yet succeeded in activating Leith Hill. I never seem
to be able to get beyond the Plough Inn at Coldharbour! (Highly
recommended.)
:wink:

LOL, not too easy to erect an antenna in the bar :wink:

73 Mickey
2E0YYY

No problem when I was there on a busy summer Saturday afternoon:

http://tomread.co.uk/leith_hill_se-002.htm

…although we weren’t allowed up the tower!

That was 4 years ago though, so if there are now difficulties with our favourite characters Joe Public and Ward N. Jobsworth these days, then the best tactic for a stress free activation is to go early. Them two are never out and about at 7am.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to G4OIG:

I remain convinced that the problem with NT wardens is that there is
no clear brief from NT HQ

The matter was discussed at some length in 2008; this posting is relevant:

http://www.sotawatch.org/reflector.php?topic=2345

It includes a quotation of a statement from the National Trust which had been posted on a former Yahoo-based discussion board.

The implication of the remarks made then is that there is a National Trust policy that “low impact” operations are OK and do not require explicit permission. However it seems unlikely that the matter is of sufficient significance to have been drawn to the attention of staff generally. Nevertheless it might be helpful to be aware of the existence of this statement when having polite discussions with staff who query our activities.

The bye-law forbidding “broadcasting” is clearly a problem since the distinction between that and what we actually do is a subtle one to the uninitiated.

The MT said at the time that it did not intend to make any further approach to the National Trust. If particular hills are proving problematic, might it be time for the MT to reconsider? Clearly there is a risk of getting an unwelcome answer, but with a precedent set in 2008 and (presumably) no evidence of any adverse impact of the last few years’ activities, there is some hope that the situation would be clarified in our favour.

Personally I’ve never had a problem with any kind of warden, and only once had a grumble from a member of the public.

In reply to M1MAJ:

The MT said at the time that it did not intend to make any further
approach to the National Trust. If particular hills are proving
problematic, might it be time for the MT to reconsider? Clearly there
is a risk of getting an unwelcome answer, but with a precedent set in
2008 and (presumably) no evidence of any adverse impact of the last
few years’ activities, there is some hope that the situation would be
clarified in our favour.

The matter has not been discussed for some time, but for what its worth, my instinct is to avoid further contact with the NT unless it becomes absolutely necessary. As you say, there is the risk of getting an unwelcome answer, and if this happens then it is difficult to see a way forwards - and it is surprising just how many SOTA summits belong to the NT and NTS!

If questioned on the subject it is worth pointing out emphatically that our licenses explicitly forbid broadcasting.

73

Brian G8ADD

Friday 13th dawned misty and cold in Dorking, but the sun was out and it was warming up nicely by the time I reached Leith Hill. I found a comfortable picnic seat a little to the SW, but in sight, of the tower and set up the vertical and counterpoise. Having managed an S-to-S with OE3CHC/P on OE/NO-206, I self-spotted on 40M and started calling. Perhaps conditions were poor, or there were (points-wise) more attractive activations going on, but I could only work 7 other chasers on 40M. Only one (GM0KHK/P - Mull of Kintyre) was in the UK. The QSY to 20M only added 4 to the total, including 9H3AY (Gozo Island, Malta) and G3VQO (Les, Horsham). A further QSY to 17M brought a repeat chase from Les. Other than a visit from Nick, M5DND, a fellow member of the Powys ARC (PARC) I was left alone. No sign of a warden and only a few other people were in evidence.

Next weekend (19th - 22nd April) will be our first weekend away in the caravan, to the Abergavenny area. The 5-day forecast doesn’t look very good, but I hope to be able to activate a couple of the summits in the Black Mountains.

73s de Dave, G6DTN