The other day I received a FaceBook request to “friend” a French radio operator, Ghislain, who is active in SOTA. Except this person operates as part of the 11m “Free DXers” movement. See the YouTube video at - YouTube
I think we can assume he has no callsign registered with telecom officials. But from what a French SOTA buddy tells me, this person is operating within the scope of French telecom regulations as long as he sticks with certain kinds of antennas and limits output power to 4W, as best I can tell from Google Translate of this webpage: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/loda/id/JORFTEXT000000325971/).
Without a callsign, he cannot enter his activations into the database, and his chasers can also not enter their contacts.
So do we have a parallel SOTA universe here? Do they have their own database and leaderboards?
As to the friend request, I will respond in the positive – I certainly don’t want to discourage people from getting in the hills with their radios (as long as the operation is legal), and perhaps he will be encouraged to get his amateur license.
Yes, there is a mountain radio activity of CB citizen band (11m) and also for 466 MHz PMR radios.
Recently met someone with an 25+ year old CB handheld was on a summit and he had a lot of fun talking to his buddies in the flatlands and truck drivers.
We had a nice discussion and he was very curious how far I can get with 2m and HF.
So definitely a potential for new radio amateurs and SOTA members.
He’s obviously one of those CB users who are proud to not know what they’re talking about.
They think it’s enough to deploy any two-way radio station on a hill to call it SOTA.
Since SOTA is a trademark and the rules only apply to the amateur radio service, there can’t be a SOTA parallel universe. They just don’t get it.
Edit: They’re lucky not to have used one of my activation pictures on their website. Other SOTA ops may check this.
I’ve lived for all my life in Niedersachsen, but never heard of the “Harz Hountain” listed in the map. High quality admins and operators, it seems.
The video flashes up what look like pseudo callsigns each time a new ‘chaser’ comes on the radio. And it looks like from the website they have summit references. Wonder if they use the official SOTA ones or made up new ones.
I wouldn’t be so hard on them, Pom. They are enjoying radio comms on hilltops like we do. It would be good to encourage them to come over to the real thing by working to get an AR licence.
I can’t really see the attraction IMHO - channelised low powered radios stuck on one frequency band with a rubber duck. City and Guilds has long gone so it’s easy enough to get a licence these days rather than messing around on Binatones and Fidelity’s surely? Thought there’d be a copyright infringement too? By the way is it still one - four for a copy??
There is no copyright on SOTA, it is a widely used acronym for “State Of The Art”. The copyright is for the words “Summits on the Air”.
Hmm. Sounds familiar - sounds like 2m with a handy! Except “skipland” can approach global when the SFI is high. AFAIC they are welcome to play as long as they don’t use “extra channels” on 10m, and if they do come over to ham radio, at least they won’t suffer from microphone shyness!
Hmm, it’s not CB but “Free Band”. i.e. anything goes. Any power, any mode, any frequency though typically around existing 27MHz CB allocations. The video shows operation on 27.715 ISTR which is not a French (CEPT) CB frequency.
If you are prepared to ignore the law regarding radio, do you expect people to obey the rules regarding an award scheme.
Nothing wrong with digi modes including PSK31 especially if you enjoy using the tippy tappy. CB faded off for me in the early 80’s - although cars and girls didn’t help! I remember young Roy Clayton (RIP) used to keep us all in check on 27 - yes he liked a go. Must still be a market out there for it then? Horses for courses I guess, but is there any fun without band hopping, building a multiband antennas and stuck with 4 Watts? Obviously there is.
Well well well… Never heard of CB SOTA, but 11m CB is quite popular here - in summer when the E-layer is propagating well I’ve occasionally tuned in to 27.355 (IIRC) the “DX call channel” and it usually sounds like a zoo .
One hears quite a few ‘callsigns’ too, which puzzled me initially.
One day I asked an old CB op - and he told me that one simply makes up a callsign that sounds good…! often something like ‘Sydney622’ i.e. location combined with something to personalize it.
Actually though, I have heard of something called the Mountain Radio Challenge. It apparently takes place on a certain date, and participants form a chain to pass a message along the Great Dividing Range as far as possible. (note for non-VKs - the GDR runs more or less down the east coast of Aus.)
Most truck drivers, construction work, etc uses 477MHz UHF CB here, with the (still legal) 27MHz band mostly the domain of errr… enthusiasts?
I wouldn’t blame them for using channels. That’s their rules. Radio Amateurs are allowed to use any frequency within our bands but when I listen on any ham band I find most radio amateurs are operating on X.5 or X.0 kHz. So they are using channels voluntarily
And I don’t want to blame them to use legal cb communication. Many of the vans and some cars from neighboring Poland have CB radio antennas on the roof.
Whenever I have to explain “what I’m doing” during an activity, I often get the reaction “CB radio operator?”
Many of my OM friends started using CB Funk in the 70s before licensing.