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Summits On The Air PowerPoint Created by: Guy Hamblen – N7UN SOTA W7 Summits Manager Mountain Top Activations and Amateur Radio Presented by: Curtis Hays.

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Presentation on theme: "Summits On The Air PowerPoint Created by: Guy Hamblen – N7UN SOTA W7 Summits Manager Mountain Top Activations and Amateur Radio Presented by: Curtis Hays."— Presentation transcript:

1 Summits On The Air PowerPoint Created by: Guy Hamblen – N7UN SOTA W7 Summits Manager Mountain Top Activations and Amateur Radio Presented by: Curtis Hays – KC5CW Stephen Denison – W5SMD HamCom 2013

2 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

3 “For as long as there has been radio, amateurs have taken their stations to the tops of hills… “It’s perhaps a little surprising then that no formal programme for activating summits existed until March 2002!” Radcom, July 2004

4 How did SOTA start? Original idea of John, G3WGV Developed with Richard, G3CWI Launched on March 2nd 2002 Internet based activity –Industrial strength database by Gary, G0HJQ 1.8 million QSO’s in SOTA Database More than 5,900 registered users –Sophisticated web portal by Jon, GM4ZFZ Alerting, spotting, forum, etc –55 participating countries and nearly 60,000 peaks in the SOTA database and growing fast

5 wG0AT and N7UN on Humboldt Pk, CO

6 Richard, G3CWI/P on Snowdon - GW/NW-001

7 Stephen, W5SMD on Winding Stair Mountain, W5O/OU-002

8 Curtis, KC5CW, on W5O/QA-001

9 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

10 What is the SOTA program? “Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award program for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for everyone - this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers (who either operate from home, a local hilltop or are even Activators on other summits).” From

11 General SOTA Principles One set of generic rules for everyone DX entities form one or more “Associations” –USA and Canada are exceptions Associations maintain a list of summits SOTA scoring is based on elevation in that Association Activators, Chasers & SWLs are participants Various awards, Honor Rolls, etc. Totally Internet based administration Patterned after IOTA, Islands on the Air

12 Selected SOTA Associations G - England GW - Wales GD - Isle of Man GM - Scotland GI - Northern Ireland HA - Hungary F – France EI - Ireland DM - Germany OE - Austria SV - Greece ZS - South Africa HB - Switzerland W2 – USA ON – Belgium OK – Czech Republic OH – Finland SP – Poland LA – Norway HB0 – Liechtenstein ON – Belgium OK – Czech Republic OH – Finland SP – Poland LA – Norway HB0 – Liechtenstein SM – Sweden S5 – Slovenia PA – Netherlands OD – Lebanon TK – Corsica Z3 – Macedonia W1 – USA W6 – USA VE2 – Canada W3 - USA(W3) VP8 - Falkland Islands LX - Luxembourg 9H - Malta OZ - Denmark YO – Romania E7- Bosnia-Herzegovina VE1- Canada (Novia Scotia) More are on the way… W0 - USA(W0) UT – Ukraine W4G – USA (Georgia) W4T – USA (Tennessee) W4V – USA (Virginia) W5A – USA (Arkansas) W5M – USA (Mississippi) W5N – USA (New Mexico) W5O – USA (Oklahoma) W5T – USA (Texas) W7A – USA (Arizona) W7I – USA (Idaho) W7M – USA (Montana) W7N – USA (Nevada) W7O – USA (Oregon) W7U – USA (Utah) W7W – USA (Washington) W7Y – USA (Wyoming) W8V – USA (West Virginia) HL - South Korea W7 - USA(W7) EA1 - Spain - North West As of Apr 2011

13 When is a peak not a SOTA peak? A qualified SOTA peak is when: –Prominence is greater than 500 ft (150m) from surrounding peaks (333 ft, 100m for Oklahoma) Peak qualification rules: –Vertical separation concept (500’ prominence) –Must be a readily accessible summit Private property with permission only (no trespassing) Respect for Native American and Government properties

14 Prominence Definition 100m 300m 280m 330m 400m Sea Level Qualifies for SOTA Does not qualify for SOTA 200m 50m 400m

15 SOTA Scoring Based on ASL elevation of a qualified peak –Varies by Association –May include a “seasonal bonus” for activators –Same principles for Chasers and SWLs Scoring example for W5O – Oklahoma: Under 1349’1 point(28 peaks) 1350’ to <1550’2 points(48 peaks) 1550’ to <1850’4 points(32 peaks) 1850’ to <2250’6 points(43 peaks) 2250’ to <2450’8 points(23 peaks) 2450’ +10 points(8 peaks)

16 Association Reference Lists All Texas peaks listed in the W5T Association Reference Manual. All Oklahoma peaks listed in the W5O Association Reference Manual available at

17 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

18 Participation Roles Activators – those who “activate” a peak Chasers – those who work the activator Short Wave Listeners – those who can confirm a qso Each group scores “points” for their participation. Points then total for awards.

19 Web Tools for SOTA –The main site about the SOTA program –Alerts, spots, map, and a forum –Register to participate Anyone can read information posted database.sota.org.uk/ –Log chasing and activating QSO’s –Register to enter QSO’s and see more detail

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22 Chaser Honor Roll

23 Activator Honor Roll W5T Activator Rankings as of May 2013

24 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

25 SOTA Awards Certificates 100, 250 and 500 points Mountain Goat –1000 activating points Shack Sloth –1000 chasing points SWL Association awards Further certificates at 2500, 5000, points

26 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

27 Bands and Modes VHF+ –A lot of 2m FM –SSB is popular –CW is also used occasionally HF –A lot of CW, due to use of QRP equipment –10118 kHz, kHz, kHz are popular

28 Have a go! You don’t have to be a mountaineer! –Some summits where you can drive to the top, just walk out of the activation zone and then back up –You can participate from your shack But if you are... –There are many first expeditions yet to be done –It’s a good excuse to enjoy the outdoors on the summit looking at the views –It’s a great way to bring two hobbies together

29 Summits on the Air How did it start? What is it? How do I participate? Can I get any awards? How do I start activating and what equipment should I use? Safety and Operating

30 Mountain safety Safety is important to SOTA Competence rule… Don’t take risks SOTA does not add to the risks –Mountain peaks are dangerous already, wear a helmet Golden rules –Don’t take abnormal or unreasonable risks –Keep track of time, especially in winter –Don’t get cold, temperature drops as you go up –Drink/bring water, have food, prepare for emergencies Obey laws –Driving up Mount Scott is speed enforced

31 Principal Rules for Activators Cannot use motorized transport to summit Must operate from portable power source Must carry all equipment to summit Must make at least four QSOs QSO’s via repeaters don’t count

32 Equipment It’s all a lot easier these days! –Equipment is smaller, lighter and more efficient –Battery technology has improved immensely Typical activator radios –FT817, FT857, IC-703, Elecraft K1, KX1, KX3 –Various handy-talkies for 2m FM, 6m FM etc

33 Typical SOTA Equipment Handheld Radios e.g Yaesu VX7 Portable Radios e.g. Yaesu FT817 QRO (relatively light) Radios e.g. Yaesu FT857

34 Typical SOTA Equipment A wire antenna (EFHW, OCFD or Buddi) & Fiberglass Pole LiPO/LiFePO/etc are used due to light weight, high output Bugspray, throw rope & weight, first aid, log/pen, & a weather report.

35 Ollallie Butte, Central Oregon

36 Sunset Mt Fuji, Central Oregon

37 What’s Close?

38 Tech Apps! –iPhone SotaGoat Pocket SOTA HamLog/Pignology RepeaterBook (repeater QSOs don’t count but they can drum up some or if you REV and log a simplex QSO without the repeater, it counts) –Android Pocket SOTA SOTA Finder SOTA Logger

39 Summary So now go take a hike; go climb a peak! –Chasing –Activating Use the SOTA Internet based tools –Alerting –Spotting (if you won’t have internet on the summit, pre-spot, alert, cell ph a buddy, APRS –Database Be careful – it’s addictive!

40 Sunrise over Guadalupe Peak Highest Point in Texas

41 Questions? group/nasota/ Download this powerpoint from Or scan the QR code 


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