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UK SOTA needs to stop now

BMC and mountain rescue teams advise all climbers and hill walkers to stay in their home area and put all climbing and hill walking on hold.

Dave Turnbull, BMC CEO, said: “We never thought we’d be telling our members not to go climbing or hill walking, but that’s our current advice. It’s time to put it on hold.”

Elfyn Jones, BMC access officer and member of Llanberis Mountain Rescue said: “There’s been a lot of talk about justifying why we can still climb or hill-walk safely within our capabilities and that, somehow, we can do this without affecting anyone else or impacting spread of the virus. The simple fact is - we can’t. Please stop.”

“Stay in your home area. We all owe it to everyone else to do everything we can to help stop or at least delay the spread of this disaster. Please put climbing, mountaineering and hill walking on hold until it’s safe to do so.”

Mountain rescue cover across the UK will either be withdrawn totally or drastically reduced this week as health service resources are prioritised and popular mountain areas are closed down .

Link to BMC statement:

similar situation in austria:


also found a statement from the german alpine club:

stay home, stay save … 73 martin, oe5reo

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A lot of our SAR Teams are issuing similar statements. Here is Inyo County California’s (the High Sierra Nevada, Mt Whitney area) public announcement:

Do Not Take Part in High-risk Outdoor Activity in Inyo County
INYO COUNTY, CA, March 21, 2020 - The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, on behalf of Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR), requests that people do not take part in high risk outdoor activities at this time. Activities include backpacking, climbing, peak bagging, backcountry skiing, or anything that puts you at risk for potential rescue.
If you get sick, lost or injured and require SAR assistance, the responding team of volunteers will have to break social distancing and State mandated isolation by sharing rescue equipment, radios, and vehicles. You will be potentially taking those rescuers out of service for weeks due to post-mission quarantine protocols. In addition, many SAR teams, including ours, are operating at a diminished capacity due to many members self-isolating and not responding to operations due to age or other risk factors.
Your preventable backcountry injury will also stress ambulance and emergency room services. It is highly unlikely helicopters are available to assist in your rescue. Inyo County Sheriff’s Office DOES NOT own or operate any air assets, and our allied agency helicopters are currently operating at a very limited capacity.

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Listening to the Prime Minister’s announcement tonight it would appear that SOTA activating in the UK is over for the forseeable future.


How am I to set my watch without my daily alert that EYP will be QRV in 10 mins on The Cloud???



ROTFL - he was getting in a final activation as the lockdown was announced. I suppose he could declare the Cloud as his primary residence; I suspect his wife would agree.


Splendid idea. I guess I’ve got just enough time to get back down there and have the backpacking tent pitched before midnight…

I’m not too sure that he’s joking…!

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So that’s that then.

You’re allowed out once per day for exercise. It doesn’t specify that you cannot use a car to transport you to your chosen exercise. Which could then take the form of ascending a SOTA summit on quiet lesser-used route and operating well away from the main summit features.


We have an important ‘catch-all’ in SOTA - “The Spirit of the Programme”. More importantly, the actions described above, while arguably not explicitly ruled out by the new measures, would certainly not be in the spirit of what we are being asked to do.

We have a crisis and we are being asked to stay home. Home it is. SOTA activating it isn’t. I’ve got a lot of website updating to do (I quite liked Andy @MM0FMF’s AOL insult btw - made me think I could start saying my site had a “retro” look…). I’ve also got a stack of incoming buro QSL cards to deal with and a major shack clear-out and tidy-up to do.

I’ll probably venture out and explore the public footpaths near to my home QTH too for my once-per-day permitted exercise outing.

Anyway, I got a “final fling” in today on my trinity of local summits. On Shining Tor G/SP-004 this morning I sheltered beneath the rocks and enjoyed glorious views under a warm sunshine. Eight automated QSOs on 15m FT8, interspersed with 5 on 70cm FM and 14 on 2m FM. S2S with GW4TQE/P on Moel y Golfa GW/MW-026, and Viki MW6BWA/P & Rod MW0JLA/P on Edmund’s Tump GW/SW-020.

This evening I visited The Cloud G/SP-015 and Gun G/SP-013. The 45th consecutive day I’ve activated this pair of summits! Sadly that run now hits the buffers. Anyway, no shortage of chasers despite the low-effort 2m FM handheld & rubber duck approach. 18 on The Cloud and 17 on Gun. 35 QSOs in a combined total of 14 minutes operating time!

Driving home after Gun, I learned of the impending near lockdown while listening to BBC Radio 5 Live on DAB. Shame as it was shaping up to be a promising year with 176 activations recorded in the 83 days of 2020 so far.

It is what it is - stay safe everyone.


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy also is recommending that folks stay off of the AT, whether for through/section/day hikers. I received an email today that said in part:

“[P]lease stay away from the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Whether your hike is for a couple of hours or a couple of days, staying away from the Trail minimizes the spread or contraction of COVID-19…On the A.T.,…what they’ve found are trailhead parking lots exceeding their maximum capacities, shelters full of overnight hikers, day hikers using picnic tables and privies, and group trips continuing as planned. . Popular spots along the Trail…have seen day use reach record-breaking levels. Cars line the highways leading to popular day-hiking spots on the Trail. Hiking the A.T. has become, in other words, the opposite of social distancing.”

My local hiking club, where we hike 10-12 miles every Sunday, canceled all hikes through May, including our annual 25 miler on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail.

This still leaves lots of outdoor activities as long as we stay smart. This could be a good time to inspect the activation kit and make sure the tarps, bothy bags and other gear all are in good shape. Practice setting up the station and get on the air from safe outdoor locations.

73 Paula k9ir


Surely someone owns/lives on a summit? There are a few in VK that are privately owned.

Lonely hams:

“Could you be my Marilyn Monroe? Young, free and single - looking for long term (or distance - at least 150m vertical) relationship? Actually you don’t need to be blond or young, so long as daddy owns an estate in Scotland with a couple of monroes. Please send picture of your notable prominences.”


I’ve got a QSL card to finish off. The stack coming in is shaming me into completing it. You could also do your taxes as well. Or learn morse code. I’m trying to do all three, however…

I have a hob, sink, tap and breakfast bar to fit. We have done a complete kitchen refit. No chance of me being idle. Unless my wife has me working until midnight she doesn’t think she is getting her money’s worth.

Stay safe. Be productive. Hopefully this will be relatively short and sharp. That would be nice.

In the meantime, I refer you to Oatmeal’s working from home comic if you are concerned about the effects of working from home.

Mark. M0NOM


Day 1 of the lockdown at EYP Towers:

Jimmy M0HGY has been instructed to work from home. He set his alarm as usual, had his shower, got dressed, made his pot of tea and breakfast - all as per his normal workday routine. He is now grafting away in the conservatory. I’m a little bit impressed with his professional approach to the situation! He is on full wages though.

I’ve done some of the above, but probably not with the same level of focus as I’ve now got zilcho dosh coming in with the loss of all my tour gigs and maths teaching/tutoring work. Nonetheless, I’m in the shack and prioritising my professional website - http://tomreadbass.co.uk - before I get on to my SOTA website, QSL cards and shack tidy.

Marianne and Liam are still in bed and not expected to appear for some time yet.


There are definitely residential properties within the AZs for G/SE-007, G/SE-015, G/SE-005, G/WB-021 and many others. There will be several more within acceptable “daily exercise” walking distances. The subset of them that have licensed radio amateurs residing there will be significantly smaller, and those that are interested in SOTA smaller still. But it is a valid illustration that UK SOTA does NOT need to stop now. The General Rules stuff about legitimate access adequately covers it, even though this context was never envisaged.

That said, I very much doubt anyone will find themselves in the appropriate set of circumstances to conduct a UK SOTA activation anytime soon - but if they do, they will need pile-up management skills!

I have to take my xyl to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to have the plaster on her wrist removed. If I am passing a SOTA summit (and I would) can I use my “exercise” right to go and activate.

Purely hypothetical of course but I am already getting cabin fever :innocent:

It’s more of an “exercise concession” than a right. Even if you did, you would feel very guilty I think.

You should be able to do this “virtually” if you have a webcam in your laptop/PC. Of course everyman and his dog is trying to this so the “free” tier servers maybe unusable. Something using Facebook may work as they have some video chat apps.