Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. It was an original concept by John, G3WGV and developed with Ric, G3CWI.
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).
SOTA is now fully operational in many countries across the world. There are 172 active associations (as of March 2020). This includes associations here in Australia (VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, VK8 & VK9).
Each country has its own Association which defines the recognised SOTA summits within that Association. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit.
Certificates are available for various scores, leading to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies. An Honour Roll for Activators and Chasers is maintained at the SOTA online database.
SOTA General rules
Below are the SOTA General Rules in PDF format (current as of April 2015).
The SOTA Mapping Project (SMP) is a website (www.sotamaps.org) offering mapping resources for radio amateurs participating in the SOTA program.
It aims to provide comprehensive mapping information in graphical form based on Google Maps on summits included in the program, for participants in the program as well as for the general user.
SOTA in Australia
SOTA in Australia commenced in Victoria (VK3) on the 1st February, 2013. This was followed by South Australia (VK5) on the 1st October, 2012. And the ACT (VK1) commenced on the 1st February, 2013. New South Wales (VK2) commenced on 1st September, 2013. Queensland (VK4) also commenced on 1st September, 2013.
The following is a list of VK Associations, their Managers & the dates they came online:-
VK1 -Bruce, VK1HBB (1st February 2013)
VK2 - Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH (1st September, 2013)
VK3 -Wayne, VK3WAM (1st February 2012)
VK4 - Dave VK4OZY (1st September, 2013)
VK5 -Ian, VK5CZ (1st October 2012)
VK6 - John VK6NU (1st September 2014)
VK7 - Justin VK7TW (1st October 2014)
VK8 - Jack VK2AXL (1st March 2014)
VK9 -Wayne, VK3WAM (1st May 2013)
SOTAwatch3 is the spotting and alerting facility for the SOTA program.
It is often hard trying to get through to SOTA activators if you are running QRP, or if you are activating from a SOTA peak yourself. Often, signals get drowned out by the 'big guns'.
So I try to develop the following operating practice when I am out in the field.
call for any SOTA activators. Summit to summit contacts