Scotland fm activation

I am visiting Edinburgh, Scotland for work and plan to activate October 6 and maybe 7. As much as I would like to operate HF and bring the sotabeams dipole “Home,” there is no space. I am planning an FM activation. It appears 2m activations are common in the UK, although I read about 2m difficulty on Arthur’s Seat and some other summits.

I am planning Ben Lawers and maybe a peak an hour east of there. Any advice on whether the likelihood of 2m fm success and tips would be appreciated. Any suggestions on different peaks in that area with a likelihood of success is welcome. I will have a 5 watt handheld and am building a 1/4 wave groudpane antenna for the trip. I should probably register for Europe sms as well. I have never activated with fm as I have always been in remote areas.

Do operators typically start at 145.500 and then move to the next frequency?

Thanks. I really want to get a UK activation.

Ben Lawers is good summit for access into the Central Belt towns and cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh and points between). 2m FM is viable as long as you make a fuss. i.e. post alerts and ensure people know you’ll be there. Also there are more 2m FM chasers now than in the past which helps big style.

The WX can be quite mild in GM in October, but do ensure you will have suitable clothing/footwear for what is serious altitude climbing in GM. Ben Lawers is the 10th highest peak in Scotland and the WX can turn in an instant. There are good paths but there’s nowhere to hide if it’s wet and windy. It’s 13C today 60miles South of Ben Lawers at 165m ASL. The predicted temperature is 3-6C for 900m altitude, for Ben Lawers probably another 2C colder. Before wind chill. If the WX is good then it’s stunning up there.

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You should be OK with 5 watts and a 1/4 wave GP from Ben Lawers; I have worked quite a few stations with similar setups from there. As you are planning on activating on Saturday / Sunday there are usually a few stations active. During the working week it may take a while to get the required 4 contacts.
I am only a mile or so south-west of the city centre of Edinburgh so I shouldn’t have any problems copying you; provided I am around of course.
Good luck

Thanks for the information. That provides comfort. I have read that the weather is very unpredictable up there. My wife and I are brining hiking boots and gortex. I am accustomed to desert operating and heat though!

It might be different!

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Excellent! Arthur’s Seat is difficult just because of getting permission, otherwise it’s easy.

When I tried the other week I was late for my alert and didn’t post a spot. You will have better luck.

There are several chasers around, the most prolific being Ken (GM0AXY) and Christine, and he’s already checked in here. I can also be around at the time.

If you like I can plan a trip to another summit near me and we can try a summit to summit. I need to do one more in the Pentlands anyway.

Also worth noting there’s a very active repeater network up here and it may be worth calling out on those for people to move to simplex.

I would love to do a summit to summit. I should finish my business Thursday or Friday midday in Edinburgh. I’m not familiar with the various mountain ranges but I had considered trying to get permission for Arthur’s Seat just because it is within walking distance of the hotel.

We have not finalized plans and I am trying to be flexible because she wants to see so much. I think we leave Edinburgh Friday to head north or maybe first to Fife I think its called as she heard good things about that area. But at least once on Saturday or Sunday I will operate and maybe one each day. I would like to bag Ben Lawers as it looks like a scenic hike and of good height.

Get permission anyways even if you don’t do it. It’s one email :slight_smile:

Actually… obviously I’ve not done Arthur’s Seat yet. Maybe I can tag along for that one?

I will be mobile that weekend back and forth to Glasgow so will check the times and even fit a radio in the car just in case.

I activated Ben Lawers and her four pals several years ago on a Thursday and managed to get more than enough contacts for each summit. Here is the link to the report. Activation of The Lawers Quad
Obviously to manage this route you need to get dropped off and picked up at the end. But you could manage to do the four summits in two trips.

Looking towards Ben Lawers from Meall Greigh summit

Looking back along ridge from Ben Lawers.

Anyhoo, best of luck and hope for your success - and the wx is kind.

73 Neil

Sure thing. I will contact you when arrangements are finalized. For Arthur’s Seat it probably needs to be Wednesday or Thursday evening or Friday am, which I’m not sure how many people are on the radio then.

Yes. Once you have a reply, find a clear frequency and hopefully you will get a number of callers. Often someone will spot you or you can self spot and then keep calling CQ SOTA on that frequency. You can also pop back to 500 and call something like “CQ SOTA listening on 450”.

73 Richard

PS. I’m glad you’ve noticed our 2m allocation is half of yours!

Arthur’s Seat was an easy qualification just on the 2m handheld s couple of weeks ago. I’m wondering if permission is really required for such operation? Several people on summit were operating a handheld transmitting device and I’m certain none had secured permission to do so.

If you think the law doesn’t apply to you then you can just ignore it. It’s how huge tranches of the world’s population operates.


As the hill, surrounding park and roads are Crown property it is required to obtain permission for certain activities. Not obtaining the correct permission could well have the activators log for the summit being removed from the database.
This was mentioned in a recent thread about vehicles driving up summits without permission.
Just because Scotland has a good “wandering” law it should not be flouted.
England and many others associations have summits that you need permission to access or its a no go! Why should it be different in Scotland.

So is there a sign at Holyrood Park saying you need permission to operate radio equipment? I cannot find any reference to any restrictions on the website or through Google.

I must admit I couldn’t find anything either to confirm it was needed. Just on here.

Is there a specific licence provision here?

Does there have to be a sign? Ailsa Craig doesn’t have a sign but if you want to venture past the rocky shoreline then permission is required from The Marquis of Ailsa. The boatmen from Girvan have the permission that is why you get to land on the island.

The Historic Environment Scotland website is very welcoming to Holyrood Park so clearly access is allowed. I would have expected something to tell me that I couldn’t use a two-way radio. There is an assumption that radio equipment is allowed on other Scottish summits so why is Arthur’s Seat different?

Thanks y’all from Texas for the insights.

I’m not positive I can fit Arthur’s Seat in but will email for permission as I hope to bag that hill. As a guest I don’t want to take any chances.

I read the trip report of the quad activation around Ben Lawyers and that looks appealing. Nice trip and report. But I am traveling with my wife and I know she would not be happy with that much hiking.

So I am thinking of Satuday for Ben Lawyers and other sightseeing and Sunday potentially for something easy like Glas Maol in eastern Scotland. We are staying in Pitllochry so that appears to be a good central location.

I look forward to making contacts with you. I’m going to have to look up what all these unique geographic terms mean. I have learned in preparing for this trip that Edinburgh is not pronounced the way it looks.