Summits on the Air is an amateur radio awards scheme. To participate in this scheme, you do not become a “member,” there are no dues to be paid or membership cards to be issued. You can join in straight away! Just go to SOTAwatch to see what is happening right now in SOTA. To post to SOTA facilities you will need to register an account. Then you will be able to add alerts and spots on SOTAwatch (which will likely help a lot, if you plan to activate) and upload your chases or activations to the SOTA database. There is no charge for registering. The SOTA Reflector uses a separate user account system; so, to join in with discussions there simply click on the “Sign Up” button. We recommend that you save a copy of your passwords in a safe place – every week we have to help people who have forgotten their passwords!
You can then Chase or Activate when you feel like it – SOTA is global, activations can take place throughout the 24 hours of the day. Once you transfer your log to the database there is a permanent record, you can check your entries against those of the stations that you contacted and keep track of your progress towards awards. Later you might wish to purchase awards, trophies or goods from our on-line shop. These purchases and the occasional donation are the means of financing the SOTA facilities.
As is so true of amateur radio itself, there are many variations of SOTA activating, which allow it to be as easy or as difficult as you wish it to be. It has been said many times and is now generally accepted, that SOTA is not a level ‘playing field.’ Thank goodness it is not! If it were so, there wouldn’t be the breadth and variation of targets available for participants of all ages and abilities from the barely mobile to the mountaineer/expeditionary. Yes, from the outset SOTA has been carefully designed to offer something for everyone and becoming a successful activator is most definitely not limited to the super-fit. Where’s the evidence? There are quite a few disabled activators and at least one successful blind summiteer! One operator’s father attended an activation of G/NP-028, when aged 90, even sending a greetings message! At the top of the abilities pyramid, there are seasoned mountaineers but there are also Mountain Goat Award holders who scarcely set foot on a hill before SOTA came along in 2002. The important prerequisites are enthusiasm, the possession of an amateur radio license and a love of the open-air.