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SOTA (Summits on The Air)

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SOTA is a lot of fun!

There are two roles: activators and chasers.

Activators carry their gear to designated mountain peaks.  You can work any band, any mode with the exception that you cannot use repeaters to make contacts.  However, you can use the repeater to ask people to switch over to a simplex frequency and make contacts!  If you make 4 valid contacts, you get to claim the points for the mountain.  But you can only claim points for a designated summit once in a calendar year.

Chasers usually sit at home, in the comfort of their shack and watch the SOTA spotting website and try to work activators.  If you log a valid contact, you get to claim the points for the mountain.

CW is very popular, even slow speed.  I've worked stations at 8-10 words per minute.  And, activators will gladly slow down to your speed.  Most exchanges are very basic - signal report and state.  3 digits, 2 letters.  CW is very popular because it is much more efficient at low power than SSB.

 

Kyle NQ5M

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If you are thinking about being an activator for SOTA, here are some things you might find helpful.

First, the rules from the SOTA website.  Click here for a PDF.  Read them carefully, then read them again.  Fairly straightforward, but understand them and abide by them.

Second, a list of the valid SOTA summits in Oklahoma (and all the other states & countries).  Click here to visit the website.  There are very specific ways that a summit is listed as a valid site for the SOTA program.  Not all summits qualify.  Some are on private property, so permission is required.  Some in Oklahoma are inside the ordnance impact zone at Fort Sill, and will never be activated.  In Oklahoma, we have 7 different regions, and 182 different summits ranging from 1 to 10 points.

Third, visit this website.  You'll find a link to a plug-in called "flood", which allows you to flood the planet to a specific depth.  Take the elevation of the summit from the site above (in meters, because that's how the flood tool is written), then subtract 25 from it to get the activation zone.  Flood the planet to this depth, and you have a quick & easy representation of the valid activation zone.  You don't have to make it all the way to the summit -- in fact, some summits you can't without technical gear.  So, the 25 meter rule exists (Rules, 3.7.1.4).

 

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