Hi everyone! Happy new year!
Things are quite slow over here in PY1 due professional duties, although I managed to make almost 20 activations in 2023, aiming the 100th unique.
With this goal in mind we are planning to enjoy some days in England during a family trip in Europe.
Unfortunately we’re spending only 4 days in England, but I could save one day to try an activation. As the kids are huge fans of the Harry Potter Saga, the priority is to visit the Warner Bros Studio. But on 15/05 we’re planning to visit Stonehenge and I saw my opportunity as Walbury Hill is not so far. (SOTLAS)
So I’d like to ask for some tips:
Do you think, it’s possible to visit Stonehenge and make the (not so long) activation in the same day?
If so, and thinking about propagation and weather, what should I do first, visit Stonehenge in the morning and activating in the afternoon or vice versa?
Anybody could help telling me if I should use my own callsign (and how to legally use it in GB) or ask for a visitor callsign (and how to do this).
If anybody likes to join me, will be welcome.
I still don’t know which radio I will use, but the antenna will be an EFHW.
After that we will go to Germany to show the kids the city where they were born (Munich) and I will try to activate over there too (will open a new topic in the German category). And in the end we will go to Portugal where my father was born and where my aunt still lives (and for that a new topic in Portuguese - wow SOTA is definitely very international!!!)
That’s it. Thanks everyone in advance for your help and considerations.
73 de PY1II
Brazil is not part of the CEPT scheme so you will need to apply for a reciprocal licence. There is an agreement between UK and Brazil so it should be straightforward (assuming you have an A licence). See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/47233/OfW346-Amateur-Radio-Application.pdf.
Harry Potter world is definitely worth visiting - book an early spot and spend all day there. It’s called Warner Brothers Studio Tour London but it’s not actually in London! Although it is nearer than London Luton Airport.
Hi Douglas @PY1II ,
Happy New Year.
Travelling from Stonehenge to Walbury Hill isn’t too much trouble - I assume you’ll have a hire car of course. It’s about an hour, heading East on the A303 and then North once you get to Andover. As you’ll be heading East, you shouldn’t hit any traffic; the A303 West from Amesbury/Stonehenge is usually a bit busy, especially at rush hour/weekends. You may want to budget extra time to actually get to Stonehenge from London, because of this. Be wary of Google travel timings, as the A303 can be a car park at times…
Walbury Hill has ample parking to the North West of the summit. It’s about 5 - 10 minutes from the summit car park up to the AZ. Note you can’t actually walk to the trig point on this hill, as it is on private land, but you can set up on the byway near to the trig, which is well within the activation zone.
Walbury Hill has good take-off for VHF and HF, so if you needed to be very quick you could just activate on VHF/UHF. For HF, 20m is usually pretty reliable from early morning to late evening - Nic & I activate quite early and we always get lots of chasers on 20m from mainland Europe, sometimes further away if the band is being friendly. 40m is OK later in the day usually, and brings inter-G quite regularly. Personally, I prefer the higher HF bands as the antennas are smaller, lighter etc and sometimes you get some really interesting DX.
If you have time, Avebury also has a stone circle and Marlborough is not too far from Stonehenge and is a nice village to visit, with some good shops. It can get busy, but has a big car park.
You should of course try to visit the wonderful town of Salisbury and the Cathedral with its 123m spire, which attracts tourists from many countries…
I no longer live in the area so probably couldn’t meet up with you, sorry, but it’s a pretty part of the country and well worth a day trip away from London; you should have no issue activating the SOTA on the same day.
many thanks for the link. I will read the instructions and fill the form in the weekend.
We’ve just booked hotel and the tour. The kids don’t know about it yet. It will be a big surprise.
73 de Douglas, PY1II
many thanks for all information.
Yes, you’re right, we’ll hire a car.
As a matter of fact we’re booked in Hemel Hempstead, so the traffic can be even worse as we’re riding some more miles, I think.
That’s what we need: an easy and fast access to the AZ.
I also prefer the higher bands. It’s quite sure I will use 20m, but I must try 10m to contact people in Brazil and Argentina otherwise I can’t go back to South America anymore…
And many thanks for the tips about the other places to visit. We will take a look and try to put them in the tour. As I said, this time we’re staying just a few days.
Hope at least we manage to make a QSO.
73 de Douglas, PY1II
Another summit worth looking into is G/CE-005 Wendover Woods which is only about a 30min drive NW from Harry Potter Studios. Oddly enough, although I’ve been there a number of times with the family for the walks… I’ve never actually activated it! It is dense woodland with open clearances in places and has some activities for younger children which should keep them occupied whilst you play radio. There’s also a cafe and the whole place can get quite busy on weekends.
73 de Lea.
The best spot to activate it from is the field at the northern end of the AZ where the trig point is. I usually set up along the fence line bordering the woodland to keep out of the way.
Thanks for the great tip.
You guys are making me dream of two activations in England!
Thanks Colin for the directions!
I will give it a try.
I would also add that I now live in Somerset and still regularly do the drive from N London to Glastonbury via Stonehenge. I see you are planning your Stonehenge trip mid-week and if so, the drive from say Watford to Stonehenge should be about 1hr 45mins without any stops if you’re on the M25 by 8am.