Summit Restrictions Page

We are now launching a new page on the Web site, alongside some special links which appear on certain summit pages.

Summit Restrictions

A long-standing principle is that activators are responsible for their own actions:

  • Safety
  • Legality of access
  • Authorization to transmit

This is fundamentally your business.

However, we provide the summit pages with the means to add articles and links so that people can contribute, hopefully, useful information.

We can’t possibly research every summit ourselves, so it’s absolutely the case that the absence of any problems noted on a summit page must not be taken as evidence of absence of any problem with the summit.

Nevertheless there are certain categories of information we may be able to flag up on a broad basis, when we can source geographically-defined descriptions of affected areas, allowing semi-automated tagging of summits, as an aid to the activator.

Radio Quiet Zones

The first such category is that of Radio Quiet Zones. There are numerous RQZs around the World, most notably the National Radio Quiet Zone (W4V and W8V) and the two Square Kilometre Array RQZs (ZS/NC and VK6/CW).

On the affected summit pages for these areas (and more) you will find a highlighted special link. This takes you to a short description for the zone in which the summit sits, with a further link to more information on the Summit Restrictions page.

The regulations vary from zone-to-zone in their frequency coverage, strictness and application. Whilst in some cases they do not require adherence by itinerant operators (/M or /P) we ask you to be mindful of the science you might jeopardise if you are careless about RFI. Please take note of these links to be cognizant of the levels that would be harmful to observations and operate always to the high standards expected.

We are happy to assist, as also will be, I am sure, the coordination staff at the various RQZ offices.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Simon, G4TJC

[Full disclosure - I am involved with two of these sites]


A great concept. Having dealt with angry property owners in our region it would be great if the SOTA MAPPING functions used a special ICON on the peaks believed to be at issue with regard to access or other restrictions. The obvious thing to do is to allow users to set a flag on the summit page indicating that there may be issues and that flag would then trigger the appearance of the suggested ICON on the mapping page. N6IZ

No, we are not going to get into that.

Users can already leave notes on summit pages, and of course access issues are a good use for this. But this system of flagging by the MT is specific to well-defined geographical criteria that we can cite. For example, in the case of the RQZs we cite, primarily, Report ITU-R RA.2259 (09/2012), Characteristics of radio quiet zones.

While I appreciate that you might feel some posts (about access) would benefit from special emphasis, we have to be careful not to appear to sponsor a good/bad “flag”, which I think is how such a facility would be perceived.

Would military firing ranges be a good addition to this? I’m thinking specifically of G/DC-001 linking to Dartmoor firing times - GOV.UK

Simply make a link with the current facility.

Why can’t you support a good/bad flag ? Or rather a good/caution flag, i.e. approach activating with caution, you may need permission ? I don’t see any harm in this. The user chooses to use this flag anyway they like. Local users have a place to mark peaks with issues, just as they can leave a message on the peaks page, only it is much faster to see there is an issue. One sees the flag set, then would typically jump to the page to check the notes. SOrry, can’t see why this is a problem, other than the effort programming effort.

Because it is something that is impossible to verify simply and doesn’t scale when you have 152427 summits.

You don’t have to scale it. The flag is set by local users, not by some central authority. EX: I go to the peak’s page, knowing this peak has restrictions, and set the flag and leave a bit of a note. That doesn’t need to scale, it is all local. Virtually the same as leaving a note. Except that it shows up on the map with some indicator.

A good initiative.
In general I have noticed several reasons why there might be issues accessing (or limiting operation near) the summit.

  • private property
  • military facility
  • radio restriction zones
  • historical / cultural restrictions

Maybe add a the unicode symbol “PROHIBITED SIGN” to the summit name ?

/ “🛇” U+1F6C7 Prohibited Sign Unicode Character

or warning symbol

But I guess the database and most tools might not like that at all?

73 Joe

There’s a couple of factors here. Programming effort is one, but that’s relatively minor in the scheme of things.

The main problems are ones of scale and process. If you set the flag, but it gets set incorrectly (ie, the summit is a right-of-way, but an aggressive landowner temporarily blocks access) or you set the flag and don’t add a note, or you add a note, but the note is wrong, or any number of variations on incorrect data, who gets to fix it? I know you want the locals to fix it, but 90% of summit fixing requests (or more) come to the MT to have to work through and pass to AMs.

Second, how often are these flags reviewed? Who reviews them? Send the notetaker an email? What if the person who added the note loses access to their email (again, far too common a request to the MT) and doesn’t see the request to review. What happens if that person is SK? Do you allow anyone to unset the flag? What if the unsetter accessed the summit illegally because they didn’t see the private property sign and someone sets it again? Should the MT jump in and verify the activation?

What if the flag isn’t set and someone gets in trouble for trespassing? Is the MT vicariously liable because we created a sense that summits are good or bad simply on the basis of a flag we wouldn’t control?

Finally, there’s an existing framework on the summit pages that provides that functionality, in the form of links and notes (that does support unicode for Joe’s suggestion), that isn’t the MT blessing or otherwise a summit for access.

Now, scale that across ~160,000 summits and you’ll see why we’re not jumping to implement such functionality. Things like RQZs, Native American reservations or land mine mapping allows us to largely evaluate summits for restrictions on the basis of their location only, and to do that automatically. It’s very low effort for simple reward.

Pushing this out to general restrictions has the sense of creating a massive amount of work for the MT further down the track, no matter how good the intentions of activators are.

It could be just special access notes instead of a “warning” or “prohibited” icon. Sort of a “read me first, really” marker. It might be an environmental area where you must stay on the trail, a summit requiring a technical climb, an artillery range, grumpy land owners, whatever. Maybe the summit is private but part of the AZ is on public land.


Which can be done now with the existing system. You can add unicode to the Summit Article heading to put an icon in.

I would agree to that. I once posted a “ham radio operations not wanted” info on a summit info page after being approached from a representative of the property owner. A simple sign that indicates that such information exists would certainly be useful. If somebody else has more up to date information (such as "talked to the owner and he said it’s OK), then it’s no hassle to add that, the state of the flag being in the responsibility of the person who added the latest information.

73 Jens HB9EKO

I personally know 2 summits where this is the case. In one case it’s easy to see, since the privately owned summit is in DL, but the AZ extends into HB9. Yet, the summit has been activated from DL a few times after I added my notes, i.e. apparently not everybody is aware of the situation. I don’t want to judge, there are certainly reasons for that. For example I don’t check the summit pages of summits either when I repeatedly activate them, but I don’t know if this helps to increase the reputation of SOTA from the owner’s representatives point of view.

73 Jens HB9EKO