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Author Topic: Summits On The Air (SOTA)  (Read 6214 times)

RadioRay

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Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« on: September 08, 2014, 06:20:38 PM »
I am certain that anyone who reads my postings and those of Gil, know that we despise contests, viewing all contests somewhere between head lice and almost as low as politicians on the "YUK!" scale.





-...-

However, that does not mean that I feel the same way about all 'organized activity' on the ham bands. Of all the activities out there in ham, nothing is more enjoyable to me than operating out in the woods, preferably from a mountain top; and I did this for decades.  Unfortunately, age and injuries prevent me from being out there now, but I spent a LOT of time operating tiny CW rigs - usually home made - in very remote locations. So, what brings this up? 

Less than an hour ago I was talking with a friend who I've been helping with their CW (Morse code on HF radio). After our contact, I was tuning around and heard all the usual stations booming in from Europe.  Nice, but mostly the silly (UR 599 TU) kind of "contacts" not conversations. Then a little weaker I hear CQ CQ CQ SOTA DE S57XX/p  (This is a station on a mountain top, operating portable calling.) As it turns out, it's a club station in Slovenia that specializes in SOTA operation.  I called and we chatted for a few minutes before he shut down for the night. Here wasa  fellow ham, operating a few Watts 'QRP' possibly with a home made radio, definitely from a mountain top, and having carried his equipment a specified distance or more.  THAT is the type of person I really enjoy talking with via radio.

Here is a link to the main SOTA site:  http://www.sota.org.uk/

Check-out the posting about the 174 mW (yes - milli-Watt!) contacts.

and here is a blog of one fellow using a tiny RockMite transceiver: http://m1buu.blogspot.com/2012/03/rockmite-40-low-current-mod.html

Another organization which is for outdoor, backpack radio aficionados, is RaDAR. RaDAR not only has you pack the radio gear in to a remote site (though not focusing on mountain tops) the cool thing about them is that they REQUIRE the operator to pack-up and move the station a specified distance before they can set-up again!  This encourages TRULY "portable" and manpack radio operation.   

Here is a link to just one RaDAR site:  https://plus.google.com/communities/109283065808971118728


In a REAL communications emergency, these hams will be RIGHT at home.  Both SOTA and RaDAR eliminate all 'legal' cheating of pre-positioned antennas, generators, gas cans, refrigerators, trailers , parked behind the Piggly-Wiggly as practiced in the BIG name 'field' operations.

I may just serve as a ground station for these SOTA and RaDAR ops, when I find more about them.


73 de RadioRay ..._   ._
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 04:10:57 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

cockpitbob

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2014, 08:35:23 PM »
This is the kind of thing I love.  I would be big into SOTA were it not for being in Massachusetts where 15,000 years ago the glaciers flattened every mountain and to get above 1,000' I need to drive about 2hrs.  Too much time away from the wife, kids and chores. :-\   Still, I bring a QRP rig whenever I join the Scouts on a camp out.  I've also activated the 3rd story of several Residence Inns while on travel as well as the dock at a rented cabin in Maine  ::) .


gil

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2014, 10:30:40 PM »
Yep, I couldn't agree more. Even though I have not been out as often as I've wanted, but that will change big time next year, I won't say more until it is a certainty. Nothing beats using an HF station you just pulled out of a cargo pants pocket!

I wouldn't have any problem with contesters if they were respecful, but let's not go there or I'll write a novel...

SOTA and IOTA, great! Still not my style with 599-73, but at least they get out there. More SOTA than IOTA where the island is often a key you get to after a 5 mins boat ride and dock at the bar.. SOTA guys do actually hike mountains, at least I hope. Of course here in Florida, to do SOTA you only need a ladder...

It's amazing what you can do with a $200 transceiver, and end-fed and a slingshot.

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 08:31:04 AM »
Here's a good set of maps showing the already recognized SOTA peaks. 
 
Here's the map for Massachusetts.  I'm near Boston and as you can see, I don't have anything close.  But, it could be worse.  I could be in FL with Gil.  Fl doesn't even have a map on this site :-\


madball13

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 06:51:41 PM »
for those with iPhones you can get the SOTA Goat app that alerts you when stations are on the air. I have found it very difficult to contact these stations with my dipole and 100 watts but I plan to keep trying.

I am planning to activate some mountains that are within a 1-2 hour drive this fall and winter

cockpitbob

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 09:35:32 AM »
Was in Maine for a week long family reunion and I decided to get away for half a day with my MTR_V2 and do a SOTA activation.

I hiked up Pleasant Mt. not far from Naples, ME and Sebago lake.  It's only 2,000' tall but the vertical gain in the 2.5mile trail is 1,500' so I was working a bit.  I was in a forest all the way up, but the top was a bit rocky with an area of no trees that had a nice view (nice by New England standards).

There's a defunct fire tower I used to secure my end fed wire to.



The bands were crap due to a recent CME.  I called CQ on 14.060 for a few minutes with no luck.  Fortunately cell phone coverage was good so I spotted myself on SOTAwatch.org on 14.0610 and within a few minutes I had a mini-pile up  8) .  In a few minutes I made 7 contacts with stations as far away as AZ and Spain.

One thing that struck me is I got REAL signal reports from these guys.  I got several 449s and a 339.

Here's the station and view from the top.

I did some more digging and there's a lot of registered summits within 1.5hrs so I'll be doing this more often.  They are all 1 point summits.  It must take a life-time commitment to earn SOTA's 1,000point Mountain Goat award.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 09:37:10 AM by cockpitbob »

gil

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 12:38:06 PM »
Awesome Bob, thanks for the photos!

Gil.

vwflyer

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2015, 12:35:53 AM »
Great to see you've gotten around to it Bob. I was in Washington for two months and only got around to activating four summits. Fortunately they were 4 and 6 pointers. But I enjoyed each one and had a very similar experience to yours. It seems to be very important to be spotted. I tried it without first spotting myself and couldn't get anyone to come back to me. After I finally found the right position to hold my tongue and got a decent enough cel signal to spot myself I had a pileup six deep in less than a minute and everyone have me a miserable signal report. I probably averaged 449. The last peak I went up on was one where other people frequented and so I had a bit of an audience for that activation. It's a good thing I wore that QRP t-shirt you gave me. I noticed you weren't wearing one on your activation. I hope you got another one.

cockpitbob

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2015, 11:00:31 AM »
LOL about the t-shirt.  I did get another, but for reasons unknown even to me, I left it at the bottom of my suitcase when I got up that morning.

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Re: Summits On The Air (SOTA)
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2015, 11:00:31 AM »