SOTA – Summits On The Air

SOTA LogoIf you like the outdoor life and getting out into the fresh air, then there’s lots of radio fun to be had with SOTA – Summits on the Air.

The concept is a simple one – get together some portable equipment, hike to the top of a summit (you don’t have to be a mountaineer!), and make some radio contacts – there’s a competitive element to it too. If you’re up a summit, you’re “Activating” it, and if you’re at home making contact with activators, then you’re known as a “Chaser”

What’s a Summit?

Strolling to the top of a small local hill it’s going to cut it – SOTA sites have to be meaningful in terms of height – the official definition is that a site has to have a “prominence of 150 metres”.

Obviously, some parts of the country are more suited to SOTA than others. I live in East Anglia, and there’s not a single SOTA site in the whole region, whereas there are 55 in the Lake District (North East England), including England’s highest, Scafell Pike, with a prominence of 978 metres.

Here’s a breakdown of the SOTA sites:

  • Scotland: 1216
  • England: 174
  • Wales: 159
  • Northern Ireland: 65
  • Isle Of Man: 5
  • Guernsey: 2
  • Jersey: 1

There’s a list of all of the UK summits here: UK SOTA sites

SOTA sites - data from sotl.as and map from openstreetmap.org

SOTA sites – data from sotl.as and map from openstreetmap.org

SOTA Video

A SOTA activation featured in an episode of TX Factor – see below:

SOTA Websites

This short article is just to give you the basics – if you want to dive into SOTA, here are some handy links:

  • Introduction to Activating a Summit – A guide on how to get started, what’s involved and what to take
  • SOTAWatch – A real-time monitor of who’s been spotted, and where – the essential tool for SOAT chasers
  • SOTA Discussion Reflector – Essentially a forum to discuss all things SOTA, and announce upcoming activations
  • SOTLAS – Another excellent tool, including map and spots database – well worth a look
  • SOTA Beams – Online store to buy all the kit you’ll need to get /P up a summit

Got something to say about SOTA, or a link we’ve missed? Let us know as a comment below…

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