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