Hey, just wanted to say hi and thanks for building such an interesting sport. Like most organizations, it is only as good as the sum of its parts and this one really looks to be at the forefront. I’m very excited to get involved in SOTA and I hope to hear you guys on the air. 73
Welcome Brad! Nice to see more folks from W7M-Montana engaged in the SOTA fun!
If you haven’t yet joined the NA SOTA Yahoo reflector where all things SOTA for NA are discussed, see https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/nasota/info . It’s a good place to ask any SOTA questions and is quite active with trip reports, activating/chasing questions, and equipment recommendations.
Good luck! Guy/n7un
I second that suggestion. In particular, go to that group’s file section and check out the FAQ’s for suggested frequencies and other goodies.
Welcome Brad !
Be listening for you on the bands.
Best, Ken, K6HPX
Hello Brad -
Montana has much to offer for combining hiking and ham radio - it’s introduced here in the Association Reference Manual: http://www.sota.org.uk/ARMViewer/W7M
You might enjoy the Pacific Northwest SOTA Newsletter - the current issue is here: www.pnwsota.org/sites/pnwsota.org/files/downloads/K7ATN/PNW%20SOTA%20Newsletter%20Jul-Aug%202016.pdf.
Newsletter back issues are here:
Let me know if you’d like to subscribe.
W7O Association Manager
Welcome aboard, Brad. Even though I don’t get to as many summits as I’d like to, it makes me appreciate the trips I do take. Even if the conditions aren’t the best (a lot of folks have been to a summit and not had the QSOs for a valid activation), you’re still outside enjoying the outdoors and playing radio. Even though I’ve only got a few summits, every one came with lessons learned, as well as a great time outdoors, great views, and the anticipation of the next exciting trip.
Best of luck, there’ll always be something to enjoy on every activation. And also on every chase for when you can’t get out yourself, but can help other activators get some points while learning about the summit they’re activating.
Have fun, it’s a great hobby and a great group here.
As I’m sure you know, SOTA is an international award scheme, so here’s a welcome on-board from the other side of the “pond”!
Standard warning - SOTA is addictive! Whether as a chaser or activator SOTA is a very active part of our great Ham Radio hobby and is constantly growing. With it’s principals built around inclusivity and friendlyness it’s a good part of the hobby. That’s not to say there are no arguments about rules and some peoples operating practices, making the work that the completely volunteer management team and association and regional managers perform not easy from time to time. They’re up to it though and in general for an activity that has grown from small beginnings both the management structure and the available computer systems to support SOTA work (in my humble opinion) very well.
So WELCOME BRAD and hope to catch you some day, either chasing me when I am activating a summit or the reverse me chasing you on your summit, even possibly a summit-to-summit contact.
73 Ed DD5LP.
I suspect you will have a blast with SOTA.
Thanks everyone for all the extra and warm welcome. I’ll be going through that when I get a little more time. I should be activating soon once a few more things show up. Hope to hear you on the air 73
Simple rules when starting activating - use the equipment you have and then see what you need to change (if anything), don’t try to get a “perfect station” before doing your first activation. Also try to start with an easier to access summit as you’ll be learning more about what to change (usually to reduce weight) and that you can find out with a summit that takes 15 minutes to walk to, just as well as one that takes 45 minutes walk or more.
One I forgot to suggest earlier - make a checklist. Not my idea, one of the more experienced folks on here mentioned it to me and it really helps. That way everything’s packed before you start the trip, and no looking for that one critical missing item once you’re at the summit. Can include safety/comfort items as well as radio stuff. Hypothermia is bad juju and even a $1 rain poncho and/or Mylar space blanket can be a lifesaver without adding lots of weight. Then there’s always snacks/beverages (maybe a whole other topic? I’m sure everyone has their own favorites) to make the trip more enjoyable and give you that extra boost when needed. Anything that adds to the enjoyment without a lot of weight can make the trip more fun.
Welcome to SOTA Brad. I look forward to working you on many of your upcoming trips! I’m sure you’ll have loads of fun experimenting with antennas, rigs etc. and exploring new places, i.e. mountains and ranges.
All the best,
Dennis - WA2USA
Good suggestions guys! A checklist is a must for me in many other areas, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it for this too. My first planned activations will be in some local 1 or 2 point summits. Sadly I live in the flat part of Montana so I won’t be able to get on any 10 pointers for a while.
It is great to see a new SOTA guy in Montana! I think that you will have fun exploring the summits in your area. I have always been intrigued by what little I have seen of the hills around Ekalaka (as an aside, I really like their museum), but haven’t had the opportunity to explore much. You will be a real pioneer for SOTA in that country. You also aren’t too far from the Black Hills area where there are a pile of summits.
Please say “hello” if you ever make it into the Helena area & also send me a note if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions as you get rolling. I will also 2nd Guy’s (N7UN) suggestion to check out the NASOTA Yahoo group.
Rob - AE7AP
W7M Association Manager
If you ever get down to this area be sure and check out the areas around Ekalaka, it’s very pretty. And of course be sure and say hello while you are down, I would enjoy giving a tour of the area and seeing how you do an activation. I’m sure I’ll be in touch with some questions before too long. Thanks again for all the nice welcomes everyone.
Another suggestion; when possible, do joint activations with other hams. Whether they are experienced SOTA activators or not, it is always great to share the experience, learn from each other, exchange some hints and kinks, even log for each other. It can help to split the load of equipment and other provisions. It’s a mini-field day experience and highly recommended. Of course when the other guy has never done a SOTA activation before, it’s a recruitment exercise as well!
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
Thanks for the tip! There aren’t many hams in the area as of now, but I am thinking of trying to combine SOTA activating with taking my nephews (who are in cub scouts) hiking. Maybe they’ll catch the ham bug