20170730 - Summits of the Air (SOTA)

posted Jul 29, 2017, 3:20 AM by Glynn Davies
Summits On The Air, or SOTA, is an amateur radio operating award program launched in Great-Britain in 2002, which is now known worldwide. 

SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for all Radio Amateurs and Shortwave Listeners - this is not just for mountaineers! 

SOTA's aim is to encourage licensed amateur radio operators to operate temporarily from mountainous locations, combining hiking and mountain climbing with operating their amateur radio station from the summits of hills and mountains. 

Those who set up a station on a summit, usually for a few minutes to a few hours, are known as activators, and those who contact, or "work" activators on summits are known as chasers. 

Points are awarded to the activator for operating from, or activating a summit, and to each of the chasers contacting, or "working" the activator. The higher the mountain is, the more points the activator and each chaser receive. 

The most recognised SOTA awards are "Mountain Goat" for activators who reach 1,000 points, and "Shack Sloth" for chasers who reach 1,000 points. 

The rules include that "the method of final access to the Summit must be non-motorised" and "all equipment must be operated from a portable power source (batteries, solar cells, etc). Operation is expressly forbidden using permanently installed power sources or fossil-fuel generators of any kind". This usually forces the activators to minimise the total weight of their equipment while still bringing adequate antennas and electrical power (usually batteries) to the summits. 

According to the SOTA MAPS website, there are 261 summits to activate here in WA – close to Perth – the most popular is Mt Dale . 

In Australia the Yahoo Mailing Group, at SOTA_Australia, provides these services:

A mailing list is used for distribution of emails to all subscribers.

These subscriptions are self-managed.

It also contains a file storage/web site where you can find photos, GPS tracks and waypoints for specific summits, along with notes and helpful documents

Links to various websites including the above and the websites/blogs maintained by various active SOTA operators.

World-wide, Sotawatch.org.uk, is a dedicated website that shows real time information about the ongoing and planned SOTA activations (through "spots" and "alerts"), and an independent project, the SOTA Mapping Project, provides extensive information about the "SOTA summits" at sotamaps.org.