What is SOTA (Summits on the Air)? (Article written by club member Herm, KB1RJC)
SOTA is a free program that originated in the British Isles by volunteers in 2004. It was later organized in the United States in 2011. Anyone can use it for DX (distance contacts), WAS (worked all states award) or just for fun. You can get involved as a Chaser or Activator....or both. There are 4,973 Chasers and 4,724 Activators. Over 3,000 hams participate in both! There are currently 95,627 designated summits worldwide of 1,000 feet in elevation and up. Each summit has a specific identifier and a point value tied to the specific elevation.
TO CHASE: Make 1 simplex QSO with an activator and exchange call signs and signal reports on any mode, band or frequency. You earn the point value of that summit! You can chase a summit once per day. QSO's with more than 1 operator on summit or on multiple bands do not earn any more points.
TO ACTIVATE: Make 4 simplex QSO's with anyone, any mode, band or frequency from within 25 vertical meters (80 ft.) of designated summit. The challenge is that you cannot be connected to any fossil-fueled energy source or vehicle. Exchange call sign and signal reports. You can only activate any one particular summit once per calendar year, which means you should get out there and explore more!
There are also awards for summit-to-summit (S2S) QSOs or if you chase and then later activate that same summit. This is a "complete."
The United States is divided into roughly the same areas as the ARRL map. The White Mountain Amateur Radio Club is located within W1, which contains 13 regions. Of these 13 regions we are located in W1/HA which is Hampshire Appalachians and has 235 summits. Naturally Mt. Washington is labeled W1/HA-001 and is worth 10 points!
W1/NL is New Hampshire Lakes. There are 26 summits here. W1/NL-001 is Mt. Shaw and is worth 4 points.
To our east is W1/AM (Appalachian Mountains) 428 summits. You don't have to go too far to find a summit or one that has never been done!
The SOTA website is actually a number of linked sites. Check out SOTAWATCH.org for Alerts of upcoming intentions or Spots for real-time traffic all over the world. From here you can go to main website and/or database. or just look at fantastic photos, summit info, maps and more.
If you decide to register be aware that each site requires different name and password.
Careful....it is addictive.
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