Chasing SOTA summits.
logging & spotting… SOTA life would be hard without (declared) chasers but
that's just what the early activators faced. Nowadays, band conditions
permitting, you can usually be confident of being chased; the introduction of
alerting and spotting systems all but guaranteeing it. The relationship between
activator and chaser is one of mutual respect and the drill is to validate each
QSO by giving the SOTA reference, accurately logging call signs and properly
exchanging reports. Chasers can be of great assistance to you; QSP-ing your
weak signals on request (apart from the report of course.) It can make for a
more efficient activation, when your call sign, summit ref and QRG are spotted
for you on SOTAwatch, early in the proceedings, but alternatively, there's the
option to self-spot using a mobile phone. If summit-to-summit (S2S) working is
your specialty, chasers often help by passing details of current activity to you
over the air. Finally, the people you work can become an important emergency
communications option, if any problem should develop.
summit activators is easy. Just check SPOTS at the SOTAwatch site to see what
is currently on the air. Check ALERTS to see what is coming up in the next few
hours, days or weeks. Then get on the air and make the contact. One note –
many U.S. SOTA activators will self-spot to
This is another place to watch for SOTA activations. SOTA chasing is one of the
fastest growing specialist interests in amateur radio today. Unlike the
activators who climb mountains and make QSO's, the chaser does not require any
specialist equipment or fitness to get started and in most cases your existing
equipment will allow you to start earning points. SOTA stations use a wide
selection of operating bands and modes, including 2m FM, 2m SSB, HF SSB, HF CW
and even 10 GHz.
QTH will have an effect on your choice of bands and modes. If you live close to
mountains then you can have considerable success with a 2m FM station and a
simple antenna, working activators in your own country. However SOTA is
international and you can contact activators throughout the world if you have
access to the HF bands.
of points gained for a contact depends on the height of the summit and each
summit has a reference number. In some countries a seasonal bonus of 3 points
per summit helps the score along. Activators issue alerts on SOTAwatch to let
you know the times and frequency when a summit is due to be activated. Chasers
may contact the same summit and count the points once in each UTC day. This
encourages chasers to contact the summit even if they have done so previously.
Certificates for 100, 250, 500 and 1000 activator points are available but if
you reach 1000 points, you can obtain an attractive 'Shack Sloth' trophy with
your callsign inscribed on it.